HOLLYWOOD—The year is slowing coming to an end, 2020 is fast upon us, so the movies will be rocking next year. The year will begin with “Jojo Rabbit” on January 1. Filmmaker Taika Waititi, not only writes and direct, he also appears in this bodily playful satire.
Set in Germany during World War II, the film tells of devoted young Nazi (Roman Griffin Davis), who come to question his beliefs after befriending the Jewish girl his mother is hiding in their attic. Waititi plays his imaginary friend Adolf, a caricature of the Fuhrer, as outlandish as everything else in this subversive critique of mass indoctrination.
On January 10, “1917,” will be released. A very different depiction of war comes in this World War Iepic from Sam Mendes, the Oscar-winning director of “American Beauty” and the last two James Bonds films. Based on a story told to Mendes by his grandfather, 1917 sees two young British soldiers on a race against time to avert a devastating assault on their comrades in arms.
Mendes’ bold concept is to tell the story of their mission in what looks like (but isn’t) a seamless single shot – one that takes the viewer into trenches, across battlefields and even under water. George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman play the callow leads in a film whose starry ensemble includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and Andrew Scott. Earlier this year Mendes called the film, which he also co-wrote, “a big, experiential, immersive picture” that was “incredibly close to his heart.”
On December 20,”Bombshell” was released in theaters. The sexual harassment scandal led to the departure of Fox News’ President Roger Ailes from the network he founded which is recreated in Jay Roach’s highly topical flick. Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie co-star as three of Ailes’ accusers, while John Lithgow plays Ailes. Malcolm McDowell, meanwhile, delivers a deliciously deadpan cameo as media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The makeup used to transform Lithgow into Ailes and Theron into journalist Megyn Kelly has to be seen to be believed.
On January 31, “The Lighthouse,” will be released. Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are sent to a remote New England lighthouse in this bizarre psychological thriller. Tormented by the elements, their isolation and a particularly irksome seagull, it’s not long before they find themselves at odds. Director Robert Eggers won a host of fans with his 2015 horror film, “The Witch” and will likely earn a lot more with this atmospheric, black-and-white follow-up. Pattinson’s deranged performance, meanwhile, suggests he’ll bring more than matinee idol good looks to his upcoming role as “The Batman.”
We than have “Birds of Prey,” on February 7. The Caped Crusader won’t be returning until 2021. In his absence, one of DC Comics’ villains is making a comeback. That would be Harley Quinn, last seen in 2016’s “Suicide Squad” alongside Jared Leto, aka the Joker. Harley – Robbie again – has moved on since that film and is now enjoying a “fantabulous emancipation” with the help of some other fantasy women. Ewan McGregor plays the villain in Cathy Yan’s comedic thriller, the first American superhero film to be directed by an Asian woman.
“Greed,” on February 21 brings us, Steve Coogan’s fruitful partnership with director Michael Winterbottom where he played impresario Tony Wilson in “24 Hour Party People,” porn baron Paul Raymond in “The Look of Love” and a version of himself in the TV series, “The Trip.” In their latest collaboration, Coogan plays Sir Richard McCreadie, the super-rich owner of a high-street fashion store chain about to celebrate his 60th birthday on Mykonos. Comparisons to a real-life knighted retail giant are there to be made in a cutting satire on ostentatious wealth, conspicuous consumption and the globalisation of labor.
On March 27, we have “The Mulan.” “Dumbo,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” all got the live-action remake treatment in 2018. This year will see Disney’s 1998 animation “Mulan” follow in their hoof/foot/paw-prints. The movie tells the story of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to fight in place of her ailing father in China’s imperial army. Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei plays the legendary warrior in Niki Caro’s film, which also stars Jason Scott Lee, Jet Li and Donnie Yen. But don’t go in expecting to hear Eddie Murphy, as his wise-cracking dragon Mushu won’t be making a reappearance.
In April, “No Time To Die,” will be released on April 3. With Sam Mendes otherwise engaged on “1917” and Danny Boyle bowing out, it’s been left to Cary Joji Fukunaga to bring the latest Bond to the screen. It has certainly been an eventful shoot, what with leading man Daniel Craig hurting his ankle and a crew member getting injured in an on-set explosion.
Yet none of that will stop the 25th James Bond movie – rumored to be Craig’s last – reaching screens in the spring. The film will see a retired Bond called back into action to confront a dangerous new adversary, played by “Bohemian Rhapsody” star and Oscar-winner Rami Malek.
Rose’s Scoop: Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! May your day be filled with love, peace and happiness!