The pandemic has transformed our movie-watching habits. Cinemas have had a shocking run of closing, reopening and closing again during lockdowns. And even when they were operating, some film-goers stuck with streaming services at home and others were wary about sharing cinema space with strangers. That meant many of us missed the big movies of the last year. With lockdown back, now is the chance to catch up.
When director Christopher Nolan’s epic sci-fi espionage thriller opened last August, it was the great hope to bring audiences back to cinemas around the world. But continued lockdowns and the time-bending, mind-bending plot limited how many people saw it.
Rundown: A nameless agent (John David Washington) faces an apocalyptic threat from the future where time can be reversed. With the help of an English spy (Robert Pattinson), he tracks down a Russian oligarch (Kenneth Branagh) via his glamorous young wife (Elizabeth Debicki).
Where to watch: Stream on Netflix, Binge, Foxtel; rent on Apple TV $2.99; Google Play, Telstra TV $6.99; Prime, Microsoft $7.99*.
WONDER WOMAN 1984
While other Hollywood blockbusters were postponed, the sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman opened as planned last Boxing Day. Director Patty Jenkins teamed up again with Gal Gadot as the immortal Amazon warrior.
Rundown: Working as an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Museum, Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman has to combat the world-dominating plans of an unhinged entrepreneur (Pedro Pascal) and a klutzy colleague who becomes Cheetah (Kristen Wiig).
Where to watch: Rent on Apple TV, Google Play, Telstra TV $6.99; Prime, Microsoft $7.99.
Australian films drew audiences back to cinemas in January with The Dry, Penguin Bloom and High Ground. Director Robert Connolly’s adaptation of Jane Harper’s bestselling novel soared to more than $20 million at the box office.
Rundown: When an Australian Federal Police agent (Eric Bana) returns to his drought-stricken hometown for the funeral of a childhood friend, he discovers a mystery around the apparent murder-suicide.
Where to watch: Rent on Prime, Google Play, Fetch, Microsoft, Telstra $6.99.
The Academy Awards were a triumph for previously little-known filmmaker Chloe Zhao. She shot this poetic drama, which won Oscars for best picture, director and actress, travelling across America in vans.
Rundown: With the collapse of a Nevada mining town, widowed Fern (Frances McDormand) is forced to go on the road as an itinerant worker. She finds a community of other nomads (playing versions of themselves).
Where to watch: Stream on Disney +, Foxtel; rent on Fetch $3.99, Google Play $4.99, Prime, Microsoft $6.99.
A warm-hearted autobiographical drama from American director Lee Isaac Chung that won best supporting actress for Youn Yuh-jung at the Oscars. It was also up for best picture, director, actor, original screenplay and original score.
Rundown: A family of South Korean immigrants move to rural Arkansas in the 1980s. While Jacob (Steven Yeun) wants to grow produce for fellow immigrants, wife Monica (Han Ye-ri) is upset about living with their children (Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho) in an isolated trailer.
Where to watch: Rent on Google Play, Fetch $5.99; Apple TV, Prime, Microsoft $6.99.
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
British writer-director Emerald Fennell emerged as a cinema talent with this savagely comic revenge thriller about toxic masculinity. It won best original screenplay at the Oscars and was also up for best film, director, actress and editing.
Rundown: A former medical student who works in a cafe (Carey Mulligan) confronts the predatory behaviour of men in bars, troubled by an earlier crime against her best friend.
Where to watch: Rent on Apple TV, Prime, Google Play, Microsoft, Telstra, Fetch $6.99.
A Danish drama with more than a dash of comedy that won best foreign language film at the Oscars and was also up for best director. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt, Kursk), it turns on a clever idea and the charm of Mads Mikkelsen.
Rundown: A high school teacher in a rut (Mikkelsen) and three colleagues (Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang) try a social experiment that suggests keeping their blood alcohol level at a constant 0.05 per is the key to happiness.
Where to watch: Rent on Google Play, Fetch $5.99; Apple TV $6.99.
PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY
American director Will Gluck’s family comedy Peter Rabbit, shot in Sydney, was a surprise hit in 2018. So he came back to make a sequel that was also a hit when it opened in March.
Rundown: The mischievous bunny (again voiced by James Corden) falls in with a gang of criminal critters and gets involved in a heist at a farmers market, while a smooth-talking publisher (David Oyelowo) tempts Beatrix (Rose Byrne) to sell out her principles.
Where to watch: Buy on Google Play $23.99; Apple TV, Prime, Microsoft, Telstra $24.99.
GODZILLA VS. KONG
A monster franchise that started with a reboot of Godzilla then expanded to Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of Monsters continued with this high-action instalment, partly shot in Queensland. It was a hit when it opened in March.
Rundown: Kong is living on Skull Island under the care of an anthropological linguist (Rebecca Hall) and her adopted daughter (Kaylee Hottle). But when Godzilla attacks a research facility, the two creatures are drawn into battle.
Where to watch: Rent on Apple TV, Prime, Telstra $6.99; Google Play, Microsoft $7.99.
A QUIET PLACE PART II
The sequel to a 2018 horror-thriller-sci-fi hit that revealed the writing and directing talents of John Krasinski (The Office) reached cinemas in May. It did even better than the original.
Rundown: After the attack by alien predators triggered by sound, a widow mother (Emily Blunt) has to keep her family safe in the outside world with the help of a reclusive survivor (Cillian Murphy).
Where to watch: Rent on Apple TV, Prime, Microsoft, Telstra $19.99.
A witty origin story for Disney villain Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmations. Directed by Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya), it drew on the talents of two fellow Australians: writer Tony McNamara and production designer Fiona Crombie.
Rundown: In 1970s punk-rock London, an orphaned grifter (Emma Stone) wants to make her name as a designer. But when she meets an unscrupulous fashion legend (Emma Thompson) she starts to embrace her evil side.
Where to watch: Stream on Disney + $34.99; buy on Apple TV, Prime, Google Play, Microsoft, Telstra $34.99.
Marvel’s latest blockbuster has been in cinemas for just over a week but locked-down viewers will have to turn to streaming now. Australian director Cate Shortland (Somersault, Berlin Syndrome) delves into the family history of the Black Widow.
Rundown: A damaged Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is reunited with her estranged Russian family (Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz) to hunt the villain (Ray Winstone) behind the program that trains kidnapped girls to be elite assassins.
Where to watch: Stream on Disney + $34.99.
* Details from JustWatch.
Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.
Email the writer at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @gmaddox.
Most Viewed in Culture
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article