8 Movies to Look Forward to (After the MMFF)
Jan 7, 2020   •   Mikhail Lecaros
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Jan 7, 2020   •   Mikhail Lecaros
Today is the last day of the Metro Manila Film Festival, and after two weeks of the latest holiday offerings from the country’s biggest studios, Hollywood magic is returning to our big screens. Here, we’ve compiled a list of 8 films you can look forward to in 2020.
With no shortage of online ink spilled on its (dubious) aesthetic, Cats resembles nothing so much as a big-budget musical Dr. Seuss fever dream. Nightmare-inducing potential notwithstanding, the assembled cast is beyond approach, with the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Rebel Wilson and Taylor Swift lending their musical talents to the proceedings.
The film recently made headlines for being the first film in history to receive updated visual effects while still in theaters. Naysayers, critics, and terrible box office reception notwithstanding, this sounds just like the sort of disaster we can’t wait to see.
When it was announced that the final film in the Skywalker saga would be pushed back until January 8, Philippine fans took to the internet to petition for an early release, despite the pre-announced MMFF schedule. In response to the clamor, the studio arranged for a limited 3-day Philippine run, letting local fans enjoy The Rise of Skywalker along with the rest of the world. For everyone else, you’ll just have to wait until January 8 to see how Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, and Poe wrap up their current round of big-screen adventures.
Following her appearance in the (latest) Charlie’s Angels reboot, Kristen Stewart is back in Underwater, Wiliam Eubank’s follow-up to his previous sci-fi effort, The Signal. This time around, Eubank’s story centers around a group of scientists trapped in their underwater research facility following a series of earthquakes. Before long, a sinister creature begins stalking them, picking off the crew one by one in the facility’s numerous dark, pipe-laden corridors, basically looking a whole lot like Alien, but—wait for it—underwater.
When a bomb threat is correctly identified and called in by security guard Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser, BlacKkKlansman) at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he is hailed as a hero. Unfortunately for Jewell, his life becomes a living hell when he is wrongfully accused of masterminding the threat.
Under the watchful eye of director Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven, Gran Turino) a superb cast rounds off this effort, including Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards), Olivia Wilde (Booksmart), Kathy Bates (Misery, Titanic), and Jon Hamm (TV’s Mad Men). While the film hasn’t done well, box office-wise, it’s been critically-acclaimed, with Bates receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
After years of back and forth with original director Michael Bay (Transformers, The Rock) and (for a time) Joe Carnahan (The Grey), the third Bad Boys film is finally arriving, this time under the auspices of Belgian duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Black). As a sequel to the original Bad Boys (1995), the film reunites Will Smith (MIB, Independence Day) and Martin Lawrence (Big Momma’s House) as buddy cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett as they dish out their brand of justice in the city of Miami, Florida.
Along for the ride is their long-suffering captain (played by Joe Pantoliano, The Matrix), and Marcus’ wife, (Theresa Randle, Space Jam). Michael Bay may be gone, but if the trailer is anything to go by, these Bad Boys haven’t lost any of their penchant for jumping through the air sideways, twin guns blazing. We can’t wait.
Based on a true story, Just Mercy tells the story of Alabama man Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx, Baby Driver), wrongfully convicted and sentenced to Death Row for the murder of a white woman. His defense is handled by Attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan, Creed, Black Panther).
Based on Stevenson’s book of the same name, the film version is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (of Marvel’s upcoming Shang Chi adaptation), centering on the very human emotions, situations, and, yes, biases, that led to McMillian’s incarceration. Despite the expected dramatic liberties, Cretton never loses sight of his story’s core, aided immeasurably by award-worthy performances from Foxx and Jordan.
Between his roles in Stranger Things, It, and the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel, it’s safe to say that young Finn Wolfhard has found himself a comfortable niche in the horror genre. In The Turning, he joins Mackenzie Davis (of the unfortunate Terminator: Dark Fate) in a modern-day retelling of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One, Jurassic Park), the film is directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Days Later).
The story of a pair of orphans whose nanny (Davis) starts having supernatural experiences, the film was reportedly a passion project for Spielberg, who hasn’t had a horror project to his name since producing The Twilight Zone Movie (1983) and the original Poltergeist (1982). Whether or not The Turning will be as well-remembered remains to be seen, but we’re definitely looking forward to this one.
Since entering the pop culture consciousness with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, we’ve had no shortage of zombies on the big and small screens, from box office hits like World War Z, to TV’s The Walking Dead (10 seasons, 12 spinoffs, and counting!). Locally, titles like Zombadings (2011) and GMA’s The Cure (2018) have shown that audiences can’t get enough of reanimated corpses out to wreak havoc.
The latest effort, Block Z, comes from director Mikhail Red, who recently made headlines for crafting Netflix’s first-ever original Filipino film, Dead Kids (which, inexplicably, contained no zombies of any sort). With a Red at the helm, and a cast topbilled by Julia Barretto (Love You to the Stars and Back), Joshua Garcia (Vince and Kath and James), Ian Veneracion (Feng Shui 2) and Ina Raymundo (The Ghost Bride) as people trying to survive in a zombie-infested school, Block Z looks to be bloody good fun.
Which of these movies will you watch this January? Tell us below!
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