Film Highlights of the Decade 2010-2019

As the decade reaches its close, I take a look back at some of my favourite film trends and cinematic highlights from the last ten years…

The New Breed of Unmissable Directors

This decade has seen the emergence of a new breed of directors delivering must-see films. Leading the pack in Hollywood are Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins. Chazelle has delivered one of the decade’s best pictures with Whiplash, and two other fantastic films (La La Land and First Man). Meanwhile Jenkins gifted us two beautiful, nuanced pictures with Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk. Jennifer Kent has also created two different but powerful movies (The Babadook and The Nightingale), making her mark.

Other impressive directors who have emerged this decade include Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Justin Simien (Dear White People), and Julia Ducournau (Raw) also offered impressive debut features.

Excellent Late Franchise Entries

It really has been a decade of remakes, reboots, and belated sequels. Whilst many of these have been passable or forgettable, a couple of late franchise instalments have really stood out. George Miller bucked the trend to deliver one of the best films of this decade with Mad Max: Fury Road. The exhilarating fourth chapter in the franchise was breathtaking. Director Christopher McQuarrie re-teamed with Tom Cruise for the sixth Mission: Impossible film, and produced the best of the franchise and one of the best action films of the decade with Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Elsewhere director Steven Quale revived the tired Final Destination franchise with the very entertaining final chapter Final Destination 5.

Career Resurgences

This decade has seen a notable uptick in the careers of certain veteran actors. After a fairly quiet previous ten years, Laura Dern’s resurgence has been most rewarding to watch. This decade has seen the actress in an array of film roles including The Master, Certain Women, Marriage Story, and the upcoming Little Women. She has also been memorable on television in Twin Peaks and Big Little Lies. Michael Keaton has also had a belter of a decade, after a fairly unremarkable 2000s. He had major roles in Spotlight, The Founder, and Spider-Man: Homecoming (living long enough to become the villain), and was nominated for an Oscar for his brilliant turn in Birdman. Regina King has always delivered solid performances since her debut in Boyz n the Hood. It is only in the last few years that she has finally received the praise and calibre of roles she deserves, winning an Oscar for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk and playing the lead in the critically acclaimed show Watchmen.

Paddington Bear

In a bleak decade politically, Paddington Bear has been the hero we needed. Paul King’s Paddington and Paddington 2 have been a salve against the cruelties of this decade. A lead who is decent and kind (not to mention incredibly cute) has cut through the cynicism of the current world. The films were very entertaining, and a wonderful escape from current affairs. Paddington 2 in particular was very memorable and enchanting, with Hugh Grant on top form.

Christopher Nolan

If the decade had to belong to a single director, in terms of both critical acclaim and box office receipts, then that filmmaker would be Christopher Nolan. No one has been able to create original tentpole blockbusters in the way he has this decade. Nolan began the decade on top form with the action-thriller Inception, one of the biggest films of the year. He followed this with the final chapter of the Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. The film is just about the most hopeful blockbuster of the decade, reaching a peak of exhilaration that is difficult to match. Interstellar and the truly superb Dunkirk exhibited Nolan’s comfort in a range of genres. With the upcoming Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s films are always hotly anticipated.

Park Chan-wook and Chung Chung-hoon’s Continuing Collaboration

Director Park Chan-wook and cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon collaboration began in the 2000s, working on three films together (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, and Thirst). The fact that their partnership continued into this decade is a benefit to us all. With Stoker and The Handmaiden, Park and Chung delivered two of the decade’s handsomest pictures. The photography, the mise en scène, and the style are truly beautiful.

Trent Reznor Film Scores

After composing pieces for films earlier in his career (including for David Lynch’s Lost Highway), the 2010s was when Trent Reznor’s career as a composer really took off. His collaborations with Atticus Ross have been a highlight of cinema this decade. Highlights include the partnership with David Fincher (which netted Reznor an Oscar for The Social Network), as well as Mid90s and the recent Waves. Reznor and Ross also created the superlative score for the show Watchmen.

Directorial Debuts By Actors

This decade has seen some brilliant directorial debuts from well-known actors. These actors have proven their talents extend to behind the camera Highlights from this trend include Greta Gerwig’s wonderful Ladybird (Gerwig co-directed Nights and Weekends, but Ladybird was her first solo effort), and Jordan Peele’s fantastic Get Out. Other notable debuts include Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, Joel Edgerton’s The Gift, Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born, and Brie Larson’s Unicorn Store.

Previews: Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer, Goodfellas, More!

This week’s preview of coming attractions features the new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer, Baywatch, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, The Mummy, and more…

Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer

Here is the full Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer. The film seems to be very much in the style of the recent Marvel films, not least with the appearance of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. Starring Tom Holland as the title character, and featuring Michael Keaton and Marisa Tomei, Spider-Man: Homecoming is set for release on 7th July 2017.

Baywatch Trailer

Here is the trailer for the Baywatch film. Whilst it is yet another film reboot of a television show, this one looks like it will be a lot of fun. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, and Priyanka Chopra, the film reprises the characters from the original television show.  Directed by Horrible Bosses‘ Seth Gordon, Baywatch will be released in Summer 2017.

Goodfellas Trailer

Here is the first new Goodfellas in 25 years, produced for the 4K restoration of the film. The film is being re-released UK-wide, and as part of the BFI’s Martin Scorsese’s retrospective season which runs from 1st January-28th February 2017. The classic gangster film will be re-released in UK cinemas on 20th January 2017.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 Trailer

Baby Groot is just enchanting. Here is the first real look at next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Guardians of the Galaxy was a brilliant mix of action, spectacle, comedy, and music, and the sequel seems to offer the same. The film sees the return of Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and the voice of Bradley Cooper. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will hit UK screens on 28th April 2017.

Live By Night Poster

Live By Night Poster

Here is the latest poster for Live By Night. Director, screenwriter and star Ben Affleck channels the classic gangster movie with his latest. Affleck collaborates with author Dennis Lehane once again (after Gone Baby Gone) for the Boston-set thriller. Featuring an all-star cast, Live By Night will be released in UK cinemas on 13th January 2017.

The Mummy Trailer

Here is the trailer for Universal’s The Mummy. The film is another incarnation of the series of films, the first of which was released in 1932. This version stars Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, and Annabelle Wallis. Much of the action seems to take place in London, continuing the trend of city being destroyed in big-budget movies. The Mummy will hit UK screens on 9th June 2017.

Transformers: The Last Knight Trailer

Here is the trailer for the latest Transformers movie, the fifth in this franchise. Mark Wahlberg returns in Transformers: The Last Knight, along with Stanley Tucci, Josh Duhamel, and Tyrese Gibson. Anthony Hopkins also joins the cast this time around. Transformers: The Last Knight is set for release in Summer 2017.

Film Review: War Dogs

War Dogs

Todd Phillips’ War Dogs is a funny and engaging crime comedy-drama. The film entertains throughout its madcap tale.

David Packouz is at a standstill career-wise, when is school friend Efraim Diveroli arrives back into town. Efraim is making a great success of bidding on US military contracts, and invites David to join him. With their business expanding, the pair try to enter the big leagues of arms dealing…

Based on a Rolling Stone article, War Dogs is the true story of two high-school friends who became arms dealers during the Afghanistan war. Certainly some of the incidents in the film may appear far-fetched, but they are based in reality. The film is certainly a case of the truth being stranger than fiction.

The film is told from the point of view of David, a somewhat naive young man who shows insight later. It is easy to see why David is beguiled by his old friend Efraim; the latter appears to have a vociferous appetite for living. Nevertheless, at times David seems a bit too gullible in believing his friend’s excuses or reasoning. Overall, the pair have good chemistry, and are tremendous fun to watch.

The reason that War Dogs works so well is because of the tone that permeates the film. The tale gives an insight into arms dealing and the US military that few will know about. Phillips gives a clear opinion on what he thinks of this. Yet the film is funny and informative without being preachy or flippant. Similarly, there are shades of grey with the protagonists. Phillips does not completely condemn or absolve them, making for a more engaging film.

Miles Teller is decent as David. It is Jonah Hill who steals the show, however, as Efraim. It is one of the actor’s strongest roles to date – he is a lot of fun to watch. Bradley Cooper also amuses in a small role. The soundtrack to the film works well, much like in Phillips’ The Hangover.

Phillips perfectly blends entertainment with education in War Dogs. A great watch.

Previews: War Dogs Trailer, Finding Dory and more!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the War Dogs trailer, Star Trek Beyond, Finding Dory and more…

War Dogs Trailer

Here is the War Dogs trailer. The Hangover director Todd Phillips helms this action comedy. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star as two unlikely arms traders who travel to Afghanistan. Based on a true story, the film also stars Bradley Cooper. War Dogs reaches UK screens on 26th August 2016.

Star Trek Beyond Featurette

Rihanna talks about her love for Star Trek and her new song for the upcoming Star Trek Beyond. Justin Lin takes over directing duty from J.J. Abrams for this latest instalment of the franchise, which sees the crew of the USS Enterprise encountering a new threat. Star Trek Beyond will hit UK screens on 22nd July 2016.

Sully: Miracle on the Hudson Trailer

It is a bit strange to see the movie version of an event that many will remember took place less than a decade ago. Tom Hanks stars as the pilot who saved his passengers by landing the plane on the Hudson River. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film also stars Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhart. Sully: Miracle on the Hudson is released in cinemas on 2nd December 2016.

Finding Dory Clip

Baby Dory is just adorable. Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory shifts the attention to Marlin’s friend Dory. Along with her friends, Dory searches for answers about her past in this latest film. Finding Dory will hit UK screens on 29th July 2016.

Nerve TV Spot

From the directors of Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3, comes Nerve. Starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, the film is about a high school student who joins a popular online game. Nerve will be released in UK cinemas on 11th August 2016.

Morgan Trailer

Morgan is a science-fiction thriller produced by Ridley Scott. The film stars Kate Mara as a corporate troubleshooter is set to a remote environment to investigate an accident. Also starring Toby Jones and Paul Giamatti, Morgan is set for release in September 2016.

Previews: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Bridge of Spies and More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions including the full Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, a clip from Bridge of Spies and more…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

Here it is. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer has already set the internet ablaze since its release a matter of hours ago. People are reminiscing over their childhood, ticket sales are going crazy; it is pretty much the biggest news of the day. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in cinemas on 17th December 2015.

Bridge of Spies Clip

 

Tom Hanks stars as an insurance claims lawyer who finds himself thrust into the centre of the Cold War in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. The above clip shows Hanks’ character as he gets ready for his trip abroad. Bridge of Spies hits UK screens on 27th November 2015.

The 33 Featurette

The 33 is about the story of the Chilean miners who were trapped underground in 2010. This featurette sees the cast and crew of the new movie discussing the event, and their thoughts behind the film. Starring Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche, The 33 is set for release on 29th January 2016.

Joy Trailer

Writer-director David O. Russell re-teams with Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper for Joy. The film is about a family across four generations, and centres on a young woman who founds a business dynasty. Joy is scheduled for release in January 2016.

Hail, Caesar! Trailer

The Coen Brothers’ latest is Hail, Caesar!, a comedy set during Hollywood’s Golden Age. The film follows Josh Brolin’s studio fixer Eddie Mannix, who encounters plenty of problems with the studio’s stars. With an enviable cast that includes George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton, Hail, Caesar! will hit the big screen on 26th February 2016.

Previews: Spectre Vlog, Legend Trailer and more

Plenty to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the latest Spectre vlog, the Legend trailer, plus a first look at Macbeth

Spectre Vlog

In this latest Spectre vlog, director Sam Mendes and members of the crew discuss a car chase sequence from the upcoming James Bond movie. You can check out the Spectre trailer here, and more Spectre vlogs are available on the James Bond channel. Spectre hits the big screen 6th November 2015.

Legend Trailer 

Legend is not a remake of the 1985 fantasy classic of the same name. This version of Legend is about the notorious Kray twins. Written and directed by Brian Hegeland, the film stars Tom Hardy as both Kray twins. Legend is set for release in the UK on 11th September 2015.

Aloha Clip

Wedding Crashers‘ stars Rachel McAdams and Bradley Cooper reunite in this clip from Aloha. Cameron Crowe directs an all-star cast, which also includes Bill Murray, Emma Stone and Jay Baruchel. Aloha will hit UK screens on 4th September 2015.

Mad Max: Fury Road Trailer

The final trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road arrives two weeks before the film’s release. A combination of new and already-released footage, the trailer suggests that the film will be a crazy ride. Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult, Mad Max: Fury Road will be released in cinemas on 14th May 2015.

Macbeth First Look

Macbeth

Here is one of the first images released from the new film adaptation of Macbeth. Starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, Macbeth is due to make its world premiere at next month’s Cannes Film Festival. The film is scheduled to open in the UK in October 2015.

Poltergeist Featurette

Sam Raimi discusses his horror remake of Poltergeist in the above featurette. Remakes have been a prominent feature of the horror genre for several years now, so this new version of Poltergeist is no surprise. Starring Sam Rockwell and Jared Harris, Poltergeist will hit UK screens on 22nd May 2015.

Moomins on the Riviera Trailer

The Moomins holiday in style in this film adaptation of the comic strips. The English-language version of Moomins on the Riviera features the voices of Russell Tovey and Tracy Ann Oberman. The animated film will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd May 2015.

Magic Mike XXL Poster

Magic Mike XXL Poster

The latest series of posters for Magic Mike sequel Magic Mike XXL makes no secret of how viewers are being enticed. Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello are among those who have returned for the second instalment, alongside newcomers Elizabeth Banks and Amber Heard. Magic Mike XXL will thrust its way on to UK screens on 3rd July 2015.

What Happened, Miss Simone? Trailer

New documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? focuses on legendary singer Nina Simone. The film features previously unheard audio tapes, plus interviews with family members and friends. What Happened, Miss Simone? will make its debut on Netflix on 26th June 2015.

Stuff To Look At

A myriad of trailers this week, including Far From The Madding CrowdCinderellaAloha, and more…

Far From The Madding Crowd

Far From The Madding Crowd was one of the few books I remember reading at high school. How the names Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak take me back. This adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel comes with good pedigree; it is directed by Thomas Vinterberg and stars Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Michael Sheen. Far From The Madding Crowd is released in UK cinemas on 1st May 2015.

Aloha

Cameron Crowe’s latest Aloha features a stellar cast, including Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, and Rachel McAdams. Bradley Cooper stars as a military contractor who is given the opportunity to return to the site of his greatest triumphs in Hawaii. Aloha is scheduled for release in September 2015.

Cinderella

From the above trailer, it looks as if Cate Blanchett will really shine in Cinderella. As well as, of course, that magnificent-looking slipper. Kenneth Branagh’s update of the classic fairy tale, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, hits UK screens on 27th March 2015.

The Age of Adeline

The premise of The Age of Adeline hinges on an interesting aspect; its protagonist stops ageing at 29 years old. If only that could happen in real life, although granted, it would be a bit odd. Starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford, The Age of Adeline is released on 8th May 2015.

Mommy

Xavier Dolan’s latest offering is receiving a lot of critical praise. Mommy stars Anne Dorval as a widowed mother tasked with the full-time custody of her son, who has ADHD. Mommy is released in UK cinemas on 20th March 2015.

Trainwreck

Here is the first trailer for Trainwreck. Directed by Judd Apatow and written by and starring Amy Schumer, Trainwreck is about a young woman who doesn’t think monogamy is possible. The comedy will be released on UK screens on 28th August 2015.

Hot Pursuit

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara are the unlikely double act in Anne Fletcher’s action comedy Hot Pursuit. Straight-laced cop Witherspoon is tasked with protecting Mafia witness Vergara. Hot Pursuit speeds into UK cinemas on 8th May 2015.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Here is the trailer for Guy Ritchie’s update on 1960s television show The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. Set against a Cold War backdrop, the film focuses on a CIA agent forced to team up with a KGB operative. Starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is set for release on 14th August 2015.

Focus

Upcoming thriller Focus stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Rodrigo Santoro. Veteran con man Nicky takes on novice Jess and teaches her the tricks of the trade. Focus hits UK screens on 27th February 2015.