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: Mother! Poster, Wind River, More!

Lots to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Mother! poster, Wind River, IT and more…

Mother! Poster

Here is the latest Mother! poster. The upcoming horror movie is written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, and Michelle Pfeiffer. A teaser trailer can be viewed here. Mother! will be screened at Venice Film Festival, and will hit UK cinemas on 15th September 2017.

IT Trailer

Above is the first full trailer for the upcoming adaptation of IT. The footage gives us a proper look at Pennywise. Based of Stephen King’s best-selling novel, the film is directed by Andrés Muschietti (Mama). The story follows a group of children in a town called Derry, where children have been disappearing. IT will be released on UK screens on 8th September 2017.

Wind River Poster

Wind River is about a U.S. fish and wildlife agent who joins a rookie FBI agent to solve a murder on an Indian reservation. The film stars Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Gil Birmingham, and Jon Bernthal. Wind River will be released in UK cinemas on 8th September 2017.

Flatliners Trailer

Here is the new trailer for Flatliners. The film seems to be a part remake, part sequel to the 1990 film. This new version stars Ellen Page, Diego Luna, and Nina Dobrev. The film is about a group of medical students who decide to trigger near-death experiences. Flatliners will hit UK cinemas on 29th September 2017.

American Assassin Poster

Here is the latest poster for upcoming action thriller American Assassin. The film is about a Black ops recruit under the instruction of a Cold War veteran. The pair are asked to investigate a wave of attacks. The film stars Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, and Taylor Kitsch. American Assassin will be released on UK screens on 14th September 2017.

Previews: Darkest Hour Trailer, Dunkirk, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Darkest Hour trailer, Dunkirk, American Assassin, and more…

Darkest Hour Trailer

Gary Oldman once again proves his chameleon credentials in this new Darkest Hour trailer. Oldman stars as Winston Churchill as he becomes prime minister days before Britain enters World War II. The film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James, and is directed by Joe Wright (Pan, Hanna). Darkest Hour is scheduled for release in UK cinemas on 12th January 2018.

Dunkirk World Premiere Highlights

Here are the highlights from last night’s world premiere of Dunkirk in London’s Leicester Square. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film stars Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, and Cillian Murphy. Dunkirk will be released in both 70mm and standard presentation on 21st July 2017.

American Assassin Trailer

Here is the second trailer for American Assassin. The presence of Michael Keaton just makes everything better. The film is about a CIA black ops recruit under the training of a Cold War veteran. Keaton is joined by Dylan O’Brien, Taylor Kitsch, and Sanaa Lathan. American Assassin hits UK screens on 15th September 2017.

Atomic Blonde Featurette

This featurette focuses on Atomic Blonde‘s stunt coordination, and Charlize Theron considerable skill in this department. Theron stars as a lethal assassin sent to deliver a priceless dossier in 1980s Berlin. Also starring James McAvoy and John Goodman, Atomic Blonde is out in UK cinemas on 9th August 2017.

Maudie Poster

Here is the poster for Maudie. Based on a true story, the film is about an unlikely romance between a folk artist and a reclusive fish peddler. The film stars Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, and is directed by Aisling Walsh. Maudie will be released in UK cinemas on 4th August 2017.

Valerian Trailer

Above is the latest look at Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. If nothing else, the film will be a visual feast. Directed by Luc Besson, the film stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. Valerian will hit UK screens on 2nd August 2017.

Film Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a joyous comic book movie. It is easily superior to the last four Spider-Man films.

After his adventure with the Avengers, Peter Parker must return to his reality as a high school student from Queens. He attempts to balance his regular life with fighting low-level crime as Spider-Man. Things become complicated with a new villain on the scene…

After some false starts, Sony have teamed up with Marvel to deliver a Spider-Man film that ticks all the boxes. Spider-Man: Homecoming is well written, well directed, and captures the essence of the title character. The film is fun, engaging and entertaining.

Perhaps the most pivotal shift in this latest Spider-Man film is the quality of the writing. Spider-man: Homecoming was penned by no less than six writers (including director Jon Watts), and this combination seems to work. Characters are given enough depth, scenes are well constructed, and jokes are plentiful. Plot development is smartly executed. The film keeps an even keel, balancing frequent humour with action and sufficient motivation.

A refreshing aspect of this film is its scale. Whilst there are the necessary big set pieces, the narrative is performed within a smaller scope. In contrast to the grandstanding of the previous Avengers films, the world explored by Watts’ film takes place in a smaller world. Peter’s motivation is stopping the bad guys in his neighbourhood, even if he longs for a more striking fight. Similarly, the antagonist here has more down-to-earth concerns, rather than the world domination that consumes so many others in this genre. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a better film for this.

There are some great sequences in the film, including the montage of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Action sequences offer spectacle, whilst the visuals always look great. Tom Holland impresses as Peter Parker; his energy works well in the role. Michael Keaton turns in a great performance, as always. There is good support from Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, and Laura Harrier.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a very welcome addition to the Marvel world. The film entertains, amuses, and will leave viewers eager for more.

Previews: Flatliners Trailer, Girls Trip, More!

This week’s preview of coming attractions features the new Flatliners trailer, Girls Trip, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, and more…

Flatliners Trailer

Is it a remake of the 1990 movie, or is it a sequel? This new Flatliners trailer reveals a lot about the plot, but does not answer the question resolutely. The film stars Ellen Page and Diego Luna as medical students who decide to experiment with near-death experiences. Flatliners will hit UK cinemas on 29th September 2017.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard Trailer

This movie looks like a lot of fun. Action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard is about a notorious hitman who has to be guarded Trailerby a top protection agent. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Salma Hayek, and Gary Oldman. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is out in UK cinemas on 18th August 2017.

The Mountain Between Us Trailer

Here is the new trailer for The Mountain Between Us. The film is a thriller about two strangers who become stranded on a mountain following a crash. Based on the novel of the same name, the film is directed by Hany Abu-Assad, and stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. The Mountain Between Us is released on UK screens on 6th October 2017.

Girls Trip Poster

Here is the new poster for Girls Trip. The film is about four long-time friends who head down to New Orleans for the Essence Festival. The film stars Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish. Girls Trip is out in UK cinemas on 26th July 2017.

Spider-Man: Homecoming Featurette

This Spider-Man: Homecoming featurette focuses on the Spidey Suit. The film stars Tom Holland in the title role. He is joined by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, as well as Michael Keaton, Zendaya, and Marisa Tomei. Spider-Man: Homecoming launches onto UK screens on 5th July 2017.

Scribe Trailer

Here is the trailer for political thriller Scribe. The film is about a middle-aged man who is hired by a mysterious employer to transcribe phone-tapped conversations. François Cluzet, Scribe is released in UK cinemas and on demand from 21st July 2017.

Previews: The Beguiled Trailer, Baywatch, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the latest The Beguiled trailer, Baywatch, Alien: Covenant, and more…

The Beguiled Trailer

Here is the latest The Beguiled trailer. The film is from writer-director Sofia Coppola, and is based on the novel of the same name. The novel was made into a film starring Clint Eastwood in 1971. Coppola’s version stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. The Beguiled will be released in UK cinemas on 14th July 2017.

Alien: Covenant Crew Message

The marketing team behind Alien: Covenant are being astute at feeding viewers information before the film is released. Like the earlier clip of the crew socialising, this video reveals a bit more about one of the personalities in advance of the film’s release. Directed by Ridley Scott, Alien: Covenant hits UK screens on 12th May 2017.

Baywatch Poster

Here is the latest Baywatch poster. Based on the beloved nineties television series, the action-comedy stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, and Alexandra Daddario. If the original theme isn’t featured heavily in the film, the filmmakers are missing a hell of a trick. Baywatch launches onto UK screens on 29th May 2017.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Quick Peek

Here is a super speedy look at Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The film is a sequel to the 2015 hit Kingsman: The Secret Service, and sees the return of Taron Egerton and Colin Firth. They are joined by Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is scheduled for release in UK cinemas in September 2017.

American Assassin Trailer

Here is the first trailer for American Assassin. The film is based on the best-selling book of the same name, the film is about a CIA Black Ops recruit. It stars Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, and Taylor Kitsch. American Assassin hits UK cinemas on 15th September 2017.

The Red Turtle Trailer

The Red Turtle is the latest Studio Ghibli film. The animated film tells the story of a man shipwrecked on an island inhabited by turtles. The film is the feature debut of director Michael Dudok de WitMichael Dudok de Wit, who is known for his animated shorts. The Red Turtle will be released in cinemas on 26th May 2016.

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

Plenty in this week’s preview of forthcoming attractions, including the new IT trailer, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ferdinand, and more…

IT Trailer

Here is the brand new IT trailer. The film is an adaption of the Stephen King novel, which was famously made into a television miniseries in 1990. This version tars Bill Skarsgård as the villain Pennywise. IT is set for release in UK cinemas from 8th September 2017.

Spider-Man Homecoming Trailer

Here is the second trailer for the latest Spider-Man movie. Spider-Man: Homecoming sees Tom Hollander’s character return from his adventures in Captain America: Civil War, bringing along with him Tony Stark. The brilliant Michael Keaton plays antagonist Vulture. Spider-Man: Homecoming hits UK screens on 7th July 2017.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Trailer

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the latest scif-fi adventure from director Luc Besson. The film is set in the distant future, and stars Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen and Rihanna. Valerian is coming to UK cinemas this Summer.

Ferdinand Trailer

Based on the book, Ferdinand is about a bull who is mistaken for a dangerous beast and torn away from his home. The film features the voices of John Cena, Kate McKinnon, and David Tennant. Ferdinand will be released in UK cinemas on 15th December 2017.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Trailer

Well this trailer has arrived at a timely juncture. A sequel to the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the film focuses again on climate change. A crew follows Al Gore as he fights to highlight the perils of climate change. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power will be released later this year.

Snatched Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for comedy Snatched. The film stars Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer as a mismatched mother and daughter combination. It will be interesting to see if the comedy prowess of both actresses can create something memorable. Snatched is out in UK cinemas on 19th May 2017.

Justice League Trailer

This Justice League trailer oozes the style of director Zack Snyder. The film introduces new characters of the group to the ones who appeared in last year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller, Justice League hits the big screen on 17th November 2017.