Northern Male takes a look at the new films coming our way…

Like most, the movie industry remains all at sea with the constant shifting of the Covid sands. Consequently some films which should have been seen in the cinema are going straight to digital platforms or DVD. Others are bravely being released in cinemas only – but many are being held back for fear the millions they cost to make will return 7/6d.

So it’s rather pot luck where you’ll find some of these new films I’m about to recommend depending on where you are in the world. I should also make it clear I’ve not seen them either but have made a judgement call based on their trailers and the previous pedigree of the cast, production companies and directors involved. Oh, and my gut feeling from years as a local radio film critic. Ready?

THE LAST BUS was released in the UK at the end of August but very few got to see it on its short cinematic release and it was serially panned by the media so was practically stillborn. But Timothy Spall who plays central character Tom in this “plodding road movie” has never made a bad film. It’s currently on Amazon Prime for £4.99.

RESISTANCE:1942 is due for release to UK and Irish digital platforms on 10/01/2022. No big stars or a famous director, but this riveting WW2 French cat-and-mouse thriller features Jacques who uses a radio to broadcast messages of hope to his country under the Nazi jackboot. They want to shut him down. His daughter Juliet has other ideas and as they close in she must trust the kindness of a stranger to save him and her country.

THE BEATLES: GET BACK Hidden behind the Disney + TV pay-wall, this recently released gem has been put together from painstakingly researched archived film by director Peter Jackson. It’s a three part documentary which lasts 8 hours and is a long and winding treat for music lovers. If you have the attention span of a gnat and hate seminal pop music genius, then move on.

QUANT Whilst we’re in that era, a new documentary film worthy of your attention tells the story of Mary Quant. If the Beatles invented the music, she did the same for the visuals of Carnaby Street with mini-skirts, hot-pants and bold designs which shouted female liberation. Her stuff-you-let’s-do-this attitude put London at the centre of world fashion and led the so-called British Invasion. It’s a love letter from first time director Sadie Frost to a true national treasure who ruffled feathers big time. In this sad, woke world of 2021 it seems an age away.

THE BATMAN Whether we like it or not cartoon violence has been popular since the moving image was invented. Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Batman in 1939 for a DC comic and in May 2022 he returns once more to wreak vengeance on the bad guys – if C19 lets him. Effects-laden movies like these costs many millions and you can bet this is one film that will not be going straight to Netflix. “Riddle me this Batman. What is always on its way but never arrives?” Tomorrow is the answer – but it might also be this film which has a current release date of March 2022.

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS

Dame Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent and Toby Jones head the cast for a film telling the story of how Father Christmas began. Nikolas faced many obstacles as a child to become the Santa we all know and love. That’s it really. But I shouldn’t be a Grinch as I suspect this will become a much repeated classic. If you’ve not got Sky Cinema in the UK it’s also at your local flea-pit now.

MOTHERING SUNDAY A maid (Jane Fairchild played by Odessa Young) living in post World War 1 England, secretly plans to meet with the man she loves (Paul played by Josh O’Connor who you might remember playing Prince Charles in The Crown) before he leaves to marry another woman. Supposedly starring Colin Firth and Olivia Coleman as Mr and Mrs Niven, they hardly appear in this film. However, Josh and Odessa shine in this passionate period drama. It got a recent UK release – but few have seen it. I suspect it may re-appear on Sunday March 27th 2022. Who knows.

I have mentioned WEST SIDE STORY before but, since the recent death of Stephen Sondheim, even if you don’t care for folk singing in movies you really should make the effort to see this new remake by Steven Spielberg. It premiered in New York on 29th November and hits the big screen on 10th December.

CRY MACHO is a well trodden and predictable trail. But then you wouldn’t want to tread it if it wasn’t for one man. Thankfully, the 91 year old Clint Eastwood prefers his audiences to get out of their chairs and houses to see his films. Anyone who makes the effort knows pretty much what they’re going to get here from this acting legend.

What screen you see productions on these days seems to be becoming increasingly blurred, so finally I’m going to step across the line and recommend one that is a seasonal must see on the small screen.

THE MEZZOTINT is a short story written in 1904 by M.R. James and adapted by Mark Gatiss. BBC 2 have a long history of screening unsettling Christmas ghost stories and this one I am really looking forward to having read it as a boy. The BBC press release reveals this 30 minute adaptation stars Roy Kinnear as Williams, a university lecturer who acquires a picture of an English country house which contains a figure which seems to change in an increasingly disturbing way. A classic horror.

So entertainment wise we have lots to look forward to regarding new films this festive season and into 2022 – and I’d say we thoroughly deserve it. 

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