Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop
Being the first African-American to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay must bring with it a lot of pressure for future success, high expectations and, one would hope, more freedom to explore. Writer/director Jordan Peele, the 2018 winner of said Oscar for his commercial and critical hit Get Out, has apparently decided to stick to what he knows and create another horror-thriller brimming with social commentary, albeit with a little more focus on the horror this time around. It wouldn’t be far wrong to say there has been a lot of hype surrounding Us since it was announced as Peele’s next project, but is it worth the build-up, and, perhaps more crucially, is it a worthy successor to Get Out?
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Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Lashana Lynch
It’s been eleven years since Iron Man, the first movie within the MCU, was released, and in that time we’ve met many Marvel heroes, mostly male. There have of course been a few kick-ass females, including Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and The Wasp amongst others, the last of which co-headlined her own movie with Ant-Man. But now we finally have a Marvel female superhero fully in the lead role and title of her own movie. In the same way Black Panther brought attention and change in ethnic diversity within the MCU (and riding on the changing tides of cinema in general), Captain Marvel is putting forward an effort from Marvel Studios to encourage gender diversity within its films and the wider industry. As much as a huge step forward as this is in terms of progression, does Captain Marvel still manage to stand on her own two feet, or do Marvel still having something to learn about getting the balance right?
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Now that awards season is (mostly) out of the way, the pressure lessens and the entertainment can resume (kind of). March has quite the eclectic mix of genres, from potential blockbusters in the form of the long-anticipated, first female-fronted offering from the MCU, Captain Marvel, and Tim Burton’s live-action version of Disney’s Dumbo, to the more indie but no-less worthy likes of The Kindergarten Teacher and Lords of Chaos. Consider this a month in which to ease yourself into the upcoming summer season of films.
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Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
It’s starting to get repetitive to say that we are in the infant stage of a new era of cinema, one that is learning to embrace gender and race equality. But perhaps it’s that repetitiveness that will keep the motivation going and not allow progress to stall. Green Book is another such film that adds to the growing inclusion of people of an ethnic background other than white Caucasian, specifically African-American in this instance, and their stories, whether fictional, non-fictional or biographical. But are we also at risk of not bringing something new to the table and rehashing themes? Is Green Book a film that deals well with current themes, or just another well-meaning attempt to keep up the equality momentum?
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Director: Lee Chang-dong
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jun Jong-seo
The nominees in the Best Foreign Language Film category of this year’s Academy Awards are all very strong contenders, from Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma to Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War. Despite making the short-list, and being the first Korean film to do so, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning couldn’t quite reach the finals. However, it says a lot that it even made the semis, an unsurprising achievement after its success at the Cannes Film Festival last year. At the very least it provides audiences with a good reason to part with their money in order to see this adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story Barn Burning. Although it’s been garnering much in the way of critical acclaim over the past year or so, how does Burning really fare from a regular audience perspective?
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