Cold comfort during Covid | New Zealand Catholic Newspaper
Memories of last year’s hard lockdowns fade as life returns to normal.
Back then, the creative arts were online when theaters and cinemas were closed. Orchestras, ballet troupes and musical artists have used innovative ways to entertain their audiences and performers at work. Even the amateurs contributed, with parodies of popular songs related to the pandemic.
In New Zealand, at least, these efforts have long been put on the back burner and replaced by a steady regimen of live concerts and new films.
As a subject in itself, the pandemic has produced surprisingly little, given the time required and the uncertainty of releasing Hollywood blockbusters that require large paying audiences, rather than relying on home viewing subscriptions.
The directors of two new pandemic-themed films recounted View and sound magazine that it was a coincidence.
Greek Christos Nikou said Apples was written seven years ago in response to his father’s death. It is about a man who tries to rebuild his shattered world during a pandemic that causes amnesia.
Brazilian Iuli Gerbase wrote The pink cloud in 2017 and filmed in 2019. This is a mysterious weather phenomenon that forces people to take shelter indefinitely.
However, other pandemic films are firmly set for 2020. British director Ben Wheatley has directed In the ground over a few weeks last August. He is placed one year in a global pandemic.
This Sceptred Island is a five-part television series, starring Kenneth Branagh as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which covers the events of early last year.
London during the lockdown is also the setting for Locked (Universal / Warner Bros.), which mixes Zoom meetings, queues for groceries, baking, wearing masks, and a couple trying to end their relationship but unable to move out.
He has the bonus of a jewelry heist nailed with Harrods, in which the pair, played by Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofore (12 years of slavery), see a way out of their financial and emotional situation. The two have enough on-screen presence to energize an otherwise shaky storyline by Steven Knight, whose best work is solo drama. Locke (2013).
Hathaway missed Hollywood’s A-list, although he looks like a successor to Julia Roberts, and a handful of early hits (The devil wears Prada, Wretched). His best comedy roles have been dumped (Trainee, Love and other drugs), while she was eclipsed in the dramatic parts (Interstellar, Ocean’s 8). More recently, Serenity, Agitation, and The last thing he wanted had no impact.
Still, she goes out of her way to show her frustration as a high-profile executive for a luxury goods company and with her poetry-loving partner, who survives on a menial courier job.
Director of action Doug Liman (Edge of tomorrow) provides remarkable images of the deserted streets of London and the inner workings of its most famous store. Bens Kingsley and Stiller cameos, among others, add a bit of frosting.
Note: Mature audience. 118 minutes.
(Universal / Warner Bros)
There’s a lot of life left in video game derivatives, if this complete martial arts fantasy thriller is any guide. First released in 1992, the game spawned two films. The reboot has been one of the best box office results this year, perhaps because he doesn’t take himself seriously and is confident enough to put together a sequel before it ends. The all-Australian production stars director Simon McQuoid in his early days and impressive outdoor locations. The cast, however, contains multiple ethnicities as well as a computer-generated four-armed giant. Australian Josh Lawson brings slight relief as a talkative mercenary. At first, he is on the side of the Terrans, who must win a tournament against the extraterrestrials of Outworld to prevent the planet from being enslaved. The special effects that enhance the fight scenes are a worthy substitute for the big budget blockbusters that were absent last year.
Classification: reserved for the public over 16,110 minutes.
(Universal / Warner Bros)
Robin Wright strengthens his reputation, Card castle, directing his own almost solo performance in a midlife crisis drama set in a mountainous wasteland. A little naively, she chooses an isolated hut and fills it with canned food, showing that she has little survival instinct. His motivations are emotional and from the start you thought it was not a good idea. However, she has a companion (Demian Bichir), who visits her periodically and teaches her rudimentary hunting skills. The story is based on near-death experiences involving (of course) a grizzly bear, snowstorms, and other dangers in the wild. This leads the two characters to better understand the fate of the other. It’s a simple, unsophisticated story, which is handled with constant maturity, rather than reckless speed. The stunning photography in the Canadian Rockies makes up for any reservations about the conclusion.
Note: Mature audience. 89 minutes.
Anne Hathaway would have been involved in the early stages of this story a la Passengers of a woman’s fight for survival when she wakes up early from a deep cryogenic sleep. Instead, the production moved to France under the control of director Alexandre Aja and with Mélanie Laurent (Now you see me, The Round Up) in a role that confines it to a pod for most of the runtime. As Earth, it all depends on whether the viewer can be drawn into a single character story. His exposure depends on his conversations with MILO, an omniscient voice (Mathieu Amalric) who sounds like HAL from 2001: A space odyssey. The suspense is kept alive by a ticking of diminished air supply and the gradual revelation of her circumstances, as she attempts to regain her memory as a scientist engaged in futuristic research. It’s a celebrity acting opportunity, and one Hathaway must regret being unable to keep up. Incidentally, Hathaway appeared in Passengers (2008), in which she investigates a plane crash, but this has nothing to do with the 2018 sci-fi thriller.
Netflix Rating: 13+. 101 minutes.