If you are like me during this coronavirus-tainted time, you long to go back to a movie theatre, to sit in the dark, eat popcorn, and watch a couple hours of Hollywood-produced escapism. We all need the diversion to forget about politics, viruses, and everything else making this year a soup sandwich of despair.
Who knows when that will happen again, but when it does, there are some movies on their way that should get you pumped for the experience. Here are ten that have this author anxious for a return to the cinema.
1. “Greenland,” starring Gerard Butler
I love most apocalyptic stories, be they tales of the immediate apocalyptic event, or post-apocalyptic adventures set long after the catastrophe in question. In the upcoming “Greenland,” we have an impending apocalypse in the form of comets headed to obliterate the Earth. Yes, I love that. In every way.
Gerard Butler’s John Garrity, his estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin), and their young son must make a fraught journey to some sort of sanctuary before the comets hit. The family will no doubt come up against all kinds of peril, and I am here for it all. It’s nice to see something worse unfolding on screen than what is actually happening around us.
2. “Centigrade,” starring Genesis Rodriguez and Vincent Piazza
Based on real events (I always wonder how loosely such films are based on those real events…), this thriller tells the story of a young American couple who are traveling in 2002 in the arctic mountains of Norway, when they become trapped in their personal vehicle under impenetrable layers of snow and ice. And, oh yea, the wife is eight months pregnant and it is -30 degrees Celsius outside. Yikes. Sounds like tension and doom. Let’s do it!
3. “Wonder Woman 1984,” starring Gal Gadot
I don’t need to explain this one to you other than to say Gal Gadot (!), Chris Pine (who’s somehow back), and we have the music and culture of 1984 as the tableau in which Wonder Woman will kick ass. Take all of my money and give me the unlimited popcorn bowl. I might even dress up to wait in line.
4. “Sound of Metal,” starring Riz Ahmed
I usually enjoy movies both about music and overcoming adversity, and this one apparently tackles both. Riz Ahmed is reportedly great in this story about a metal drummer who begins losing his hearing, and who also struggles with addiction and what to make of his life. Sounds somewhat depressing, but by most accounts, the story is well-told and well-acted.
5. “Dune” starring Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, and Rebecca Ferguson
Man, it has been a long time since the release of 1984’s “Dune” movie, and we can probably all agree that while the sci-fi epic is a memorable ode to the Frank Herbert books, it left a lot to be desired. The books are famously hard to translate into a visual medium, given their scope and complexity, but I have high hopes that with today’s special effects and storytelling abilities, Director Denis Villeneuve can pull it off. Additionally, Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson is in the movie as Lady Jessica and that’s enough for me to be there. Oh yea, Zendaya and Oscar Isaac are in it, too. If Villeneuve can capture even part of the grandeur, mystery, and sweep of the novels, then it should be fun for all.
6. “Top Gun: Maverick”
Do I even need to explain this one here? I have no idea what it’s about, and I don’t care. Rebecca Ferguson’s “Mission Impossible” co-star, Tom Cruise, is back as Maverick, he is somehow still flying after 30-plus years in the Navy, and Goose’s son might even be involved. Who the hell knows and who the hell cares? If you are of a certain age, you have no choice but to see this movie. I think they’ll be mailing free tickets to everyone over 40. I plan to start playing beach volleyball again in my jeans. Jester’s Dead!
7. “Without Remorse” staring Michael B. Jordan
This is a film version of Tom Clancy’s 1993 novel of the same name, telling the origin story of recurring Clancy character John Clark, who is really former Navy SEAL John Kelly. The part has been played in previous films by Willem Dafoe (“Clear and Present Danger,” 1994) and Liev Schreiber (“The Sum of All Fears,” 2002), and this time, will be tackled by Michael B. Jordan. The character is one of the more compelling in Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe, and I am excited to see how the filmmakers update this story for the modern era. In the original, Kelly/Clark is a Vietnam War vet. Expect some modernizing of the tale.
8. “Tenet,” starring John David Washington
This one has been delayed by the coronavirus for some time now, and I am anxious for it to make it out there. It’s a Christopher Nolan espionage thriller, so what is not to find exciting? All I really know about it is that some shadowy organization is trying to prevent World War III, and likely, my brain will hurt afterwards, because Christopher Nolan. I’m in!
9. “The Courier” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel Brosnahan, Merab Ninidze (no trailer available)
This spy thriller concerns Greville Wynne (Cumberbatch), a British businessman who helps the CIA penetrate the Soviet Union’s nuclear program during the Cold War. Wynne, along with his Russian asset, Oleg Penkovsky (played by Merab Ninidze), provides critical intelligence that prevents the Cuban Missile Crisis from turning into a nuclear war. Please, take me back to the Cold War, when things were much simpler. I love a Cold War espionage tale.
10. “Voyagers” starring Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, and Lilly-Rose Depp (no trailer available)
Finally, we have a science fiction tale about sending a bunch of young people into deepest space on a generations-long voyage to insure the survival of humanity. The results are reportedly “Lord of the Flies” in space, and for that I am ALL IN. Plus, I like Collin Farrell and by now he should be playing some grizzled old space captain, I imagine. At any rate, let’s blast off and leave Corona-Earth behind, for a couple hours anyway.