Perhaps, the only source of solace for a moviegoer or the hardcore cinephile, in this COVID-stricken world, is the announcement of exciting new projects and films. At a time when so many people are forced to quench their desire for the big screen at home on their 13-inch displays, the joy of seeing new projects being announced is unparalleled. Who wouldn’t want a ready and bountiful supply of films when things do open up?
Most of us are already aware of the big tentpole projects that got delayed — Tenet, No Time To Die, Wonder Woman 1984, the perpetually inflicted The New Mutants. But the newer films, by writers, directors and actors we all cherish, are the cause of my current cinematic sustenance. Here are some of those names, announced during this lockdown, that are raring to go — back to the sets and onto the screens.
Malcolm & Marie by Sam Levinson, starring Zendaya and John David Washington
This is probably the film I was most fascinated by when I heard of it. Director Sam Levinson, who also wrote Euphoria, shot the entire film with a small cast and crew secretly during the COVID-19 outbreak over two weeks in June. Its production was aptly called a “filmmaking anomaly”. The film is about a couple dealing with marital conflicts, a thematic sister to Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. It feels rather apt and poetic to hear a story about familial issues that’s shot entirely in an unvisited and sequestered location.
Mira Nair’s adaptation of ‘The Jungle Price of Delhi’
Now, while this is a list on movies alone, I couldn’t help but swoon over this news — Amazon acquired the rights to turn ‘The Jungle of Prince of Delhi’ into a drama series, helmed by the capable Mira Nair. The New York Times story is about a Delhi family claiming that they are royal descendants. Dysfunctional families make for delicious content, and having an entire series devoted to that seems like a fairytale!
The Gray Man by the Russo Brothers, starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans
Extraction, with Chris Hemsworth and Randeep Hooda, was a bang for Netflix’s buck. And now, with The Gray Man reportedly being their most ambitious project currently, it seems like it will be a bigger bang for their buck. The first film in this action franchise is going to be taken up by known Marvel directors, Anthony and Joe Russo. Based on a bestselling novel by Mark Greaney, this action-espionage drama, that hinges on a rivalry between two steely and macho men, seems uncannily compatible with the directors’ skills and experience.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League or the ‘Snyder Cut’
Speaking of cinematic rivalries, one cannot forget Zack Snyder and his foray into that territory. However contentious that topic may still be, it is difficult to ignore the fact that the Snyder Cut was one of the most intriguing and vicarious pop culture movements. The myth of its existence has finally turned into a reality. All we hope is that Snyder’s cut of Justice League lives up to the massive commotion it caused, by the fans and its actors alike.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 by Aaron Sorkin, starring Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
From A Few Good Men, The Social Network to The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin has consistently demonstrated his prowess as a writer with cosmic abilities. And Molly’s Game is a great testament to his directorial skills. Sorkin wields his pen like a knight; he loves adapting actual, real-life stories. The Trial of the Chicago 7, based on the 1968 US Presidential Elections, is another one of them. With a stunning ensemble and a masterful writer-director, Netflix has taken on a solid and robust project.
#AA21 — Allu Arjun starrer directed by Koratala Siva
The last time we saw Allu Arjun in the theatres, taking on the masala character, was in Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo earlier this year. Koratala Siva’s upcoming project with the actor, by the looks of the poster and news, may just be another grand-scale film like his last one. And if the poster is any indication of what kind of a movie it will be, I am absolutely ready to see AA in a mysterious and bleak-looking epic.
Nag Ashwin’s untitled project, starring Deepika Padukone and Prabhas
The inexplicable sheen of on-screen stars has always coloured Indian cinema, arguably more so than any other film industry. So, to see a few of the biggest actors together, one from Bollywood and another from the South, feels like a metaphorical match made in heaven. Not much has been disclosed about Nag Ashwin’s directorial project, but do we really need more details than the casting of Deepika Padukone and Prabhas?
Nightbitch starring Amy Adams
When I first read that Amy Adams may play a dog in a film, I really hoped that it wasn’t a canine version of Cats (2019). Instead, it’s about a two-year-old infant who believes that his mother is turning into a dog as a result of solitary isolation and anxiety. The film, based on a forthcoming book by Rachel Yoder, sounds rather preposterous on paper. But it is this exact gutsiness and idiosyncrasy that makes me extremely curious about the movie.
Phone Bhoot by Gurmeet Singh, starring Katrina Kaif, Siddhant Chaturvedi, and Ishaan Khatter
We have seen some notable horror-comedies from Bollywood over the last few years. And are about to see a couple more — Laxxmi Bomb as well as Phone Bhoot. The wordplay and anagram between ‘Bhoot’ and ‘Booth’ evoke a Ghostbusters-themed image. Bringing a more desi spin to this Hollywood classic in 2021, I am rather excited to see Kaif, Chaturvedi, and Khatter don tuxedos as they take on the supernatural.
Martin Scorsese’s untitled documentary on musician David Johansen
Martin Scorsese is that rare, once in a blue moon filmmaker with the Midas touch. Regardless of the project he undertakes, almost everyone will remain jittery until its release. With documentaries and series’ like The Blues, The Last Waltz, and Shine a Light, Scorsese has time and again displayed his zeal for musical documentation. And here, we’ll get to see his take on David Johansen, the leading singer for the punk rock band New York Dolls.