Netflix faced tough competition in 2020 from the established studios finally deciding to take streaming seriously. Warner seems intent on making a serious statement with its HBO Max service and Disney has recorded incredible subscription numbers in a less than a year.
Despite all this, Netflix have decided to come out swinging in 2021 and their first major move is an announcement of their plan to release a new movie each week of the year. Not only that, but they have also released a list of almost all their film releases for the year, incase there was any doubt or questions around the quality of films they plan on releasing. The other reason for this approach may also be down to the rumoured price hike coming for Netflix customers. An announcement like this would ensure customers understood how their subscriptions were being spent and provide incentive to stay
Their promo video is a snazzy snapshot of the Stars, directors, and talented story tellers they have managed to attract. From where I’m sitting, it’s looking like it’s going to be an incredible year for Netflix film fans. Below are a few I’ve picked out
ARMY OF THE DEAD
Director: Zack Snyder
With all the noise about Zack Snyders Justice League cut, it would be easy for this to go under the radar, but this film is actually a big deal. With an all-star ensemble cast carrying out a heist in the middle of a Zombie apocalypse, this is sure to be a high powered extremely popular hit upon its release.
BACK TO THE OUTBACK
Directors: Clare Knight, Harry Cripps
In this animated feature, Isla Fisher plays Maddie, a poisonous snake with a heart of gold who leads a ragtag group of Australia’s deadliest creatures as they attempt to escape from their reptile house.
The characters will learn that just being different doesn’t mean you can’t be beautiful
Written and Directed by Andrew Dominic, this will be an explosive reimagining of the personal story of Marilyn Monroe. This is a fictional portrait so expect some facts to be embellished for dramatic effect. Marilyn was one of Hollywood’s first and quite possibly most famous and iconic sex symbols in the 50s and 60s so expect this to be edgy, daring and thoroughly entertaining. It based on the best-selling novel by Joyce Carol Oates
Director: Halle Berry
Halle Berry’s directorial debut is a powerful drama about a retired MMA fighter trying to restart her career and build her life back up by gaining custody of her son. Halle Berry has worked especially hard to ensure her portrayal of a battle-weary formal cage fighter is believable. If she gets the tone and performances right, this could turn into quite a rewarding debut film for her.
Director: Ricky Staub
Idris Elba stars in this tale which explores the vibrant urban-cowboy subculture in Philadelphia. It’s based on the book ‘Ghetto Cowboy’ by G. Neri and sees a troubled teen caught between a life of crime and his father’s vastly different lifestyle
DON’T LOOK UP
Written and Directed by Adam Mckay, the Big Short reunites to of my favourites from The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jonah Hill. It tells the story of two low level astronomers on a nationwide media tour to warn people of an approaching comet which will destroy the earth. Apart from that I know little about the film apart from it having an amazing cast list including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothee Chalamet, Tyler Perry and Ron Perlman to name a few.
From the premise and cast it seems most likely a comedy. Especially as the director has spent most of his career making comedies (he made no less than 7 comedies with Will Farrell). But in the last few years he has ventured very successfully into the drama genre with films like The Big Short and Vice. So, this could still go either way. We’ll know more once the first trailer arrives.
ESCAPE FROM SPIDERHEAD
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Futuristic thriller starring Chris Hemsworth. Two convicts attempt to escape from a visionary prison facility where the inmates are experimented in with emotion altering drugs. I expect this to be a bit ‘trippy’ with some decent action. The writer Paul Wernick is known for having written Deadpool 1&2 so this may be a thriller, but I don’t expect the tone to be too heavy
MALCOLM & MARIE (February 5)
Written and Directed by Sam Levison, this is sure to be true showcase for these two actors. There is even early talk that Zendaya may add to her accolade of being the youngest Emmy winner with an Oscar for her performance in this film. Let’s just hope she still has time for Spiderman 3!
Director: Anthony Mandler
A smart, likeable 17yr old honor student attending an elite school in Harlem has his world turned upside down when he is accused of felony murder. He faces the very real prospect of spending the rest of his life in jail and the film details the complex legal battle he faces. It also shows how an experience like this can fundamentally change and shape who you become. The film stars Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, Nas and John David Washington
MOXIE (MARCH 3)
Director: Amy Poehler
Directed by one of my favourite TV sitcom stars Amy Poehler, Moxie is a ‘coming of rage’ tale which tells the story of a shy 16yr old girl who is inspired by her rebellious mother to anonymously publish a school magazine. In it, she challenges the sexist toxicity at her high school which ends up sparking a mini school revolution!
OUTSIDE THE WIRE (January 15)
Director: Mikael Håfström
Full Trailer here
Written and Directed by Rawson Marshall, this film stars three of the biggest names in Hollywood right now. The Rock plays an FBI profiler, tasked with capturing some of the world’s most dangerous criminals. Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds play rival criminals. We haven’t received the first trailer yet, but these three actors are known primarily for their high-stake action films, their willingness to push themselves hard for a project and thirdly, for being willing to laugh at themselves and each other. So, I fully expect these three to be pushing each other’s buttons, fighting, and having a whole load of fun doing it when this film arrives later this year.
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Jake Gyllenhaal reunites with his Southpaw Director Antoine Fuqua in a psychological thriller about a 911 call dispatcher who sets out to save a caller he believes is in grave danger. The film take place over what is sure to be a one hectic morning at work. I really enjoyed Southpaw and I’m hopeful Jake can deliver something slightly disturbing like Nightcrawler so really looking forward to this one
THE HARDER THEY FALL
Written and Directed by Jeymes Samuel, this is described as a Western Drama.
We don’t really get many westerns these days let alone one with a mostly black cast, so I’m interested in seeing how they handle this genre. It’s an all-star strong cast and lists Jay-Z as one of its producers. This will be a tale of revenge and retribution in the old west
Director: Brian Andrew Mendoza
This stars Jason Mamoa is a man who swears vengeance on those responsible for his wifes’ death while protecting the only family he has left- his daughter. Doesn’t sound incredibly complex or original but it’s always entertaining to watch Jason Mamoa and this is an excellent opportunity for him to go on a rampage and kick arse all over the screen.
THE LAST MERCENARY
Director: David Charhon
Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as a former secret services agent who must return to France to save his estranged son from some issues with false accusations over drug trafficking. Its Van Damme, so if you’re a fan you know what you are getting, – Splits and high kicks
Director: Ben Falcone
Two estranged childhood friends rekindle their friendship and develop superpowers just intime to protect their city from the recent spate of supervillains threatening the city. We’ll have to see how well Mellissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer work as a comedy pairing but hopefully we get big laughs and Superpowers when this launches later this year
Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his directorial debut working with Andrew Garfield to tell the story of a struggling theatre composer, hoping to get his big break. Lin-Manuel is firmly in his wheelhouse here and Garfield is sure to bring depth and humility to this character who is approaching his 30th birthday, trying to overcome his anxiety and keep his dreams alive.