With the Metro Manila FiIm Festival’s traditional holiday takeover set to take place on December 25, fans of Hollywood movies are scrambling for word on when their favorite blockbusters will be hitting screens. Here’s our guide to eight blockbusters coming to local cinemas before the MMFF comes around!
House of Gucci
In 2019, Lady Gaga focused her larger-than-life stage persona to the tune of Oscar gold, scoring the Best Actress trophy for her brilliant performance in 2019’s A Star Is Born. Time will tell if lightning will strike again in House of Gucci, as Gaga takes on the role of Patrizia Reggiani, an ambitious social climber with murderous designs on the titular luxury label. Packed with family infighting, backstabbing, and loads of interpersonal drama inspired by real events, director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, The Martian) is clearly aiming for the heart of awards season. Will the cast, rounded out by heavyweights like Jeremy Irons (Justice League, The Lion King), Al Pacino (The Godfather, Heat), and Adam Driver (The Story of Us, BlaKkKlansman) be enough to bring home the goods?
Asia joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe by way of this big-budget, special effects-powered kung fu fest. Cultures clash when Shang-Chi, the wayward scion (Simu Liu, TV’s Kim’s convenience) of an immortal warlord (the legendary Tony Leung, In the Mood For Love, Hard Boiled), gets caught up in a high stakes race to save an ancient land from destruction. Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Raya: The Last Dragon) rides shotgun as (what else?) the hero’s sarcastic sidekick, along with a host of memorable characters played by actors that would be too spoiler-y to list!
The Conjuring’s James Wan (Aquaman) returns to his horror roots with Malignant, starring Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle, TV’s Peaky Blinders) as Madison, a woman whose imaginary friend from childhood may not be as imaginary as she once thought. Wan goes all-in on his favorite genre, spinning a web of foreboding dreams, vicious murders, and unborn children that promises to make cinema audiences wish they’d stayed home. Where titles like A Quiet Place II and Don’t Breathe 2 will undoubtedly deliver on the big screen shocks, Wan’s proven ability to craft unsettling horror that gets under the viewer’s skin delivers scares of an entirely different sort. We can’t wait!
Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) directs this tale of super-powered immortals and their roles in a world that’s forgotten them. The talent assembled here is staggering, with a cast headed up by Salma Hayek (The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Desperado), Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians, Captain Marvel), Richard Madden (TV’s Bodyguard), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, TV’s Silicon Valley), Don Lee (Train To Busan), Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), and Angelina Jolie (Salt, Maleficent). Reportedly serving up a number of firsts to create an altogether different sort of superhero movie experience, The Eternals is primed to chart an exciting new course for Marvel’s movies to come.
Between Moana, Mulan, Coco, Raya, and Shang-Chi, Disney’s quest to appeal to every demographic on earth continues, with this Colombia-set story about a family whose enchanted house grants them incredible powers. When the source of the magic comes under threat, it falls to Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz, TV’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine), the only member of the family without powers, to save them all. An original story that Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda (In The Heights) helped conceive, Encanto is Disney’s first film to feature an all-star Latino cast, with John Leguizamo (Chef, John Wick), Diane Guerrero (TV’s Orange Is the New Black), and Wilmer Valderrama (TV’s That 70s Show). Bursting with color, whimsy, and lovable characters, Encanto could very well go down as the latest milestone for Disney animation.
West Side Story
Not to be confused with Robert Wise’s (The Sound of Music, Star Trek: The Motion Picture) beloved 1961 film adaptation of the classic stage musical, this upcoming film is director Steven Spielberg’s take on the story of forbidden love in the heart of 1950s New York. Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) and newcomer Rachel Zegler (of Disney’s upcoming Snow White remake) star as Tony and Maria, the star-crossed couple caught between rival American and Puerto Rican street gangs. While the film sports an appearance by the original film’s Rita Moreno (The King and I, Singin in the Rain), a promising cast, and what look to be sumptuous visuals, we’ll have until December 10 to find out if the new West Side Story can live up to its namesakes.
No Time to Die
Daniel Craig (Knives Out) returns for his fifth go-around as James Bond in what’s being promoted as an epic conclusion to his tenure as the world’s most famous super spy. Wrapping up the storyline that allegedly (as per 2015’s painfully convoluted Spectre) began in 2006’s Casino Royale, 007 and his allies face off against a criminal mastermind with (what else?) plans of world domination. But with Bond having retired at the end of Spectre to live happily ever after with Madeleine Swan (Lea Sedoux, Midnight in Paris), will he be able to able to save the day one more time?
The Matrix Resurrections
When The Architect informed Neo (Keanu Reeves, John Wick) in 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded that everything in their virtual world was cyclical, he may as well have been talking about the state of big-budget franchises in general. And so it goes, 22 years since the world was introduced to “bullet time” in the first Matrix, that Reeves’ Chosen One is returning to wage war against the machines once more. Along for the ride is Carrie-Anne Moss (Memento, Netflix’s Jessica Jones) as Trinity, Neo’s love interest and kung fu-kicking compatriot. New faces include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Us, Candyman) as a younger version of Lawrence Fishburne’s (Ant-Man and the Wasp) Morpheus, Jessica Henwick (TV’s Iron Fist), Jonathan Groff (Hamilton, TV’s Mindhunter), Priyanka Chopra Jonas (TV’s “Quantico,”), Christina Ricci (Black Snake Moan), and Neil Patrick Harris (TV’s How I Met Your Mother).
Are you heading back to the cinemas soon? Tell us about it in the comments!