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.

Film Review: Paddington 2

Paul King’s Paddington 2 is a brilliant sequel. The film is both thoroughly entertaining and genuinely heartwarming.

Living with the Brown family, Paddington seeks the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday. When he finds it, he sets about getting a job to pay for it. Unfortunately it is stolen before he can purchase it…

A sequel to 2014’s Paddington, director and co-writer Paul King’s latest film does its predecessor justice. The film features the same wonderful style as the 2014 film, and packs an emotional punch. The beauty of Paddington 2, and its predecessor, is the projection of a wholesome character in an idealised world. Yet this is never overly schmaltzy or patronising. Instead, the film is joyously positive and provides a charming and kind protagonist. The demographics of the street which the Browns inhabit might be a little less convincing, however this is barely noticeable in an otherwise finely rendered film.

With the origins story established in the first film, Paddington 2 moves the action forward to the title character’s established life. The narrative is predictable, but this does not matter as the script is great, characters are well written, and the set pieces are amusing. The story moves at a good place, allowing space for humour and emotional moments. Wisely, the Brown family take secondary roles in the film. King focuses the action on Paddington, and new characters he interacts with. This works well, allowing for larger-than-life characters to take centre stage.

Phoenix Buchanan is a great antagonist. Hugh Grant steals most of the scenes he is in, with a delightfully self-deprecating and outlandish performance. Ben Whishaw is most fitting as the voice of Paddington, and Brendan Gleeson appears to be having fun in his role. Special effects in the film are seamless; it is easy to forget that Paddington is a CGI character.

Paddington 2 is a welcome dose of happiness in a troubling world. Both children and adults should lap it up.

Previews: Justice League Poster, Paddington 2, More!

Cinematic delights in this week’s preview of coming attractions include the latest Justice League poster, Paddington 2, Newly Single and more…

Justice League Poster

Here is the latest Justice League poster. The film sees Wonder Woman and Batman be joined by three other heroes, as previewed in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, and Ray Fisher. The film sees the team face a newly awakened threat. Justice League hits UK screens on 17th November 2017.

Murder on the Orient Express Featurette

This featurette for Murder on the Orient Express looks behind the scenes at the making of the film. An adaptation on the classic Agatha Christie novel, the film features a star-studded assemble cast. Directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, Murder on the Orient Express rolls on to UK screens on 3rd November 2017.

Paddington 2 Poster

Hugh Grant looks wonderfully fun in these new Paddington 2 posters. Grant is the most high profile addition to the case of Paddington 2. The sequel to Paddington sees the return of the lovable bear, and the Brown family, in a new adventure. Paddington 2 is out on UK screens on 10th November 2017.

Newly Single Trailer

Above is the trailer for Newly Single. The comedy is about a film director who finds himself on the Los Angeles dating scene after splitting up with his girlfriend. The film is written and directed by Adam Christian Clark, and stars Jennifer Kim and Molly C. Quinn. Newly Single will debut at the Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia on 27th November 2017; its UK release will follow.

Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas Trailer

Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas just might be the longest film title of the year. The film is an animated comedy about an awkward explorer who must rescue his girlfriend from a millionaire looking for King Midas’ necklace. Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas is set for release in early 2018.