This Month in Film: August 2020

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July was meant to be an exciting reopening for cinemas across the UK to kickstart the film industry back into life as it re-emerges into a new post-lockdown world; unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Instead, as much anticipated films like Tenet and Mulan got pushed back into August, most cinemas chains simultaneously halted their plans until the end of the month or indefinitely, and others like Odeon and Everyman have had to switch towards a gradual reopening of venues nationwide. However, there is another issue that has creeped up on distributors as we move into August and could have catastrophic consequences.

Even though plans from studios like Warner Bros to opt for a global rollout release schedule instead of the now-default simultaneous global release strategy for big titles like Tenet are much welcomed, we are potentially heading towards a major crunch-point for numerous independent cinemas in the UK as threats of a second wave loom over the film calendar. The box office figures are going to be vital and with a steady stream of independent titles coming out before the big hitters at the month’s end, fingers crossed these are the first steps towards recovery for an industry that won’t be the same for a long time to come.

Hope you all stay safe and enjoy this month’s film picks!

THE BLOCKBUSTER: The New Mutants, dir. Josh Boone

Release Date: August 28th

Starring: Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga

How fitting is it that one of the first ‘new’ blockbusters is a movie that was meant to come out two years ago and already been delayed four times. The title, The New Mutants, has now obtained a hint of irony considered it was planned as the first in a trilogy that now looks highly unlikely, thanks to Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox allowing certain X-Men characters to be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Instead, it will serve as the final instalment of Fox’s X-Men series despite introducing a new group of five young mutants, who find themselves trapped in a sinister secret facility. The first trailer shown way back in October 2017 hinted at a terrifying psychological thriller that had an aesthetic akin to Blumhouse Productions, alongside three young stars who already have had huge success – Williams, Heaton and Taylor-Joy. But with its troubled production involving proposed reshoots that never took place and constant re-edits to match director Josh Boone‘s original vision, is there going to be a happy ending?

THE ALTERNATIVE: Pinocchio, dir. Matteo Garrone

Release Date: August 14th

Starring: Roberto Benigni, Frederico Lelapi, Rocco Papaleo, Massimo Ceccherini, Marine Vacth, Gigi Proitetti

As you can see, this isn’t the long awaited Guillermo Del Toro/Netflix adaptation, which is scheduled for release next year, nor is it a live-action Disney remake. Actually, this is an Italian live-action rendition that was released on home soil last December, but will be finally arriving in the UK thanks to the distribution rights being bought by Vertigo Releasing on July 27th. Despite Carlo Collodi’s beloved fable being adapted to the screen numerous times already, the pedigree on show is likely to pique interest if you have done your research. With director Matteo Garrone, who achieved international acclaim with the crime epic Gomorrah and dark-fantasy Tale of Tales, working alongside one of Italy’s most cherished actors Benigni (Life is Beautiful) as well as the trailer showing off some truly gorgeous VFX (and some iffy English dubbing), it looks set to be a magical treat and a possible hidden gem.

EDITOR’S PICK: Tenet, dir. Christopher Nolan

Release Date: August 26th

Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh

Considering the ever-building hype and the heap of expectations from the now deprived film industry, Tenet has been the only ‘new’ film to truly get people thinking about returning to the cinema once again. Like his past back-catalogue, plot details have been kept to a bare minimum apart from the broad premise that our lead protagonist (Washington) works for an organisation known as Tenet and is tasked on a mission to prevent World War III. At the time of writing, the film has been pushed back three times to its new release date, August 26th, with an Inception re-release to come earlier – which might be a savvy marketing ploy from Warner Bros. in light of similarities that the two films have. There is a form of espionage, a dosage of sci-fi spectacle, and some mind-bending concepts at play that the trailer has teased, involving a car rolling backwards and upright as time reverses but moves forward at the same time. At this point, Christopher Nolan‘s name is a brand that elicits cinephile excitement – from the early days of Memento, to his arguably groundbreaking Dark Knight Trilogy and his last film, the war epic Dunkirk – with each release always pushing the boundaries of mainstream entertainment. We’ll have to wait and see if Tenet will achieve the same.

SUB-EDITOR’S PICK: Chemical Hearts, dir. Richard Tanne

Release date: August 21st

Starring: Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams, Sarah Jones, Kara Young

Making its way onto the small screen with Amazon Prime, Chemical Hearts will be sure to interest any remaining fans of Riverdale and also any that wish to see Reinhart in a more challenging role. Despite the fun being poked out of the TV show that propelled her into fame, it is clear that Reinhart has wanted more mature roles and from the trailer it seems that she is more than capable of pulling them off. The film follows both Henry Page (Adams) and Grace Town (Reinhart), Henry feeling incomplete and displaying typical wallflower traits while transfer student Grace is dealing with emotional trauma. Joined together for their school newspaper, Henry works to break down Grace’s emotional walls, both trying to help each other in what looks like a promising depiction of the wavering mental health in teenage years. With Reinhart not only starring but having an executive producer credit, Chemical Hearts is definitely one to look forward to for all of us who feel a bit lost in the adult world, teens or not.

 

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Film Editor. 3rd year film student. Loves Céline Sciamma, hates Thor Ragnarok (bored dragged-a-lot). Would be spotted having drunk film conversations.

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2nd year English and Film minor student and Film Sub-Editor 2020/21. Loves the cinema, hates the people.

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