Is Covid-19 Saving ‘The New Mutants’ from the Jaws of Failure?

Filmed in the summer of 2017, the first trailer for this Marvel comics movie in the universe of the X-Men came out in October 2017 with a theatrical release date set for April 2018. This was then pushed back, not once, not twice, not even thrice, but at least four times! 

The Fox/Disney merger caused huge uncertainty with a number of projects that were in early stages of production but as this was essentially finished already and undergoing some reshoots it seemed to be shelved for a while, surprising many when it did get a new cinematic release scheduled under the Disney ownership. All seemed positive for it to come out in April until the COVID-19 pandemic pushed all movie releases back, making this a punchline and declared ‘cursed’ by critics and pundits. 

Disney announced this week that they’re pushing everything else on their schedule back again, most imminent of these was ‘Mulan’. It wouldn’t have been surprising then for this to be included in the list of films getting new release dates, though as it’s already been pushed so many times it seemed like it would be taken off the release schedule altogether and instead just go to streaming, but, as it’s not a good fit for Disney+, Hulu isn’t international, and pre-existing agreements seem to suggest it would have to go to initially HBO Max (also not international) as an exclusive streaming platform.

With the ComicCon panel online sparking rumours it was about to have a new date (the same day Disney moved a bunch of other titles to new dates) or be dropped on streaming, which would’ve been a great way to do it if that was what they were going to do, in the end, the panel brought neither. So, when the perfect opportunity to move or release the movie passes with nothing changing, ‘New Mutants’ now stands as one of the very first new wide releases on the schedule and by far the best known.

That leaves us with two possibilities. One, it’s about to be moved back yet again but Disney didn’t take the prime opportunity to announce that. Or two, something that could be sheer brilliance, ‘The New Mutants’ is going to get released as scheduled on August 28th, becoming one of the first new movies in cinemas in months.

Recently there have been other films proudly announcing that they were going to be deliberately releasing as one of the first new wide-releases, some suggesting they were doing it altruistically to benefit cinemas, others admitting they hoped to boost their box office chances. ‘The New Mutants’ wasn’t seen as one of those, it was caught up as a victim of the international cinema closures, yet now, by apparently holding to the once merely optimistic August date, it may give Disney an opportunity to turn a long-shelved, almost scrapped, troubled production, into at least a modest box-office success.

Marketing the movie with a stronger emphasis on its X-Men ties, a young cast popular from ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Game of Thrones’, even highlighting the director’s huge success with ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, could tempt people, especially those who are not in the older, vulnerable groups, back out to cinemas. 

When it looked like the film was being shelved and reworked, this seemed unlikely to get people into even a quarter of the seats in cinema screens, now, after there have been next to no new films released for nearly half a year, this has a really good chance of filling every available seat in many cinemas. Being as it was a film that might have originally been put into just one or two of the smaller screens with a few slots per day, it’ll now get a far bigger release than even the last X-Men film, potentially taking half, or more if popular, of the empty screens. What a potential turnaround. 

I’m hoping this actually is Disney’s plan, if so it’s a brilliant one, though I’ve got to resign myself to the more likely scenario that it’s either about to be rescheduled or reshelved yet again. I hope not, because I’m not the only one who has gone from originally only going to see this at the cinema if I heard really excellent reviews and found myself with some spare time and money, to planning to see it at my earliest possible convenience because I’m desperate to get back to seeing things at the cinema and a weird psychedelic super-powered horror could be just the ticket!

Oscar Nominees List 2019/2020 & Printable Academy Awards Ballot Sheet PDF

Here’s the full list of this year’s Academy Award nominees vying to take home those coveted Oscar statues on Sunday, February 9th, 2020.

Download my PDF ballot sheet here that can be completed digitally or printed and written on old school. Have a go at predicting the winners or challenge your friends and family to do the same. I’ve put my predictions beside the nominees below, my first choice, second chance winner, and where I’ve seen some of the films and have a personally preferred nominee I’ve marked that with a ‘P’.

BEST PICTURE
“Ford v Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit” – my review is coming soon.
“Joker”
“Little Women” – my review is coming soon.
“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
“Marriage Story” – my review is coming soon.
1. “Parasite” – I know, it’s a bold choice, but I just have a feeling it could win because of the preferential balloting system.
2.1917

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
1. Laura Dern, “Marriage Story” – she stands out in a film that’s all about two key lead performances, this is an easy win.
2P. Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit” – my review is coming soon.
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell” – my review is coming soon.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” – my review is coming soon.
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
2. Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
1. Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
1. South Korea, “Parasite”
2. Spain, “Pain and Glory” – It’s pointless picking a second choice, sorry Almodovar, but if Parasite didn’t exist this would win.
France, “Les Misérables”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)
“In the Absence”
1. “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
“Life Overtakes Me”
2. “St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. “American Factory”
“The Edge of Democracy”
“Honeyland” – Interestingly also up for ‘Best International Feature’ but I’m not putting all weight behind it on that alone.
2. “For Sama”
“The Cave”

ORIGINAL SONG
“I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown,” “Frozen II”
2. “Stand Up,” “Harriet”
1. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” “Rocketman” – his Oscar after-parties are legendary, the film won’t win anything else, this is almost a lock.
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4”

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“I Lost My Body”
2. “Klaus”
“Missing Link”
1. “Toy Story 4”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Irishman”
1. “Jojo Rabbit”
2. “Little Women”
“The Two Popes”
“Joker”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Marriage Story”
2. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
1. “Parasite”
“Knives Out”
“1917”

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
2. Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
1. Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
2. Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
1. Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

DIRECTOR
Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
2. Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
1. Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”

PRODUCTION DESIGN
1. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“1917”
“Jojo Rabbit”
2. “Parasite”

CINEMATOGRAPHY
1. “1917” – it’s Roger Deakins, he’s broken his streak of losses, s another win seems likely.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“Joker”
2. “The Lighthouse”

COSTUME DESIGN
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
1. “Little Women”
“The Irishman”
2. “Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”

SOUND EDITING
2. 1917
1. “Ford v Ferrari”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Joker”

SOUND MIXING
2. 1917
1. “Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Ad Astra”
“Joker”

ANIMATED SHORT FILM
“Dcera (Daughter)”
1. “Hair Love” – I just saw this beautiful film this morning and it made me cry into my coffee, available to watch on YouTube and well worth the six minutes. 
2. “Kitbull”
“Memorable”
“Sister”

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
2. “Brotherhood”
“Nefta Football Club”
1. “The Neighbors’ Window”
“Saria”
“A Sister”

ORIGINAL SCORE
2. 1917,” Thomas Newman – I thought it was a bit too prominent at times but it helps it to stand out I suppose.
1. “Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir
“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

VISUAL EFFECTS
1. “Avengers: Endgame”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“The Irishman”
2.1917
Read my thoughts on this category here

FILM EDITING
“The Irishman”
2. “Ford v Ferrari”
1. “Parasite”
“Joker”
“Jojo Rabbit”

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
1. “Bombshell” – for transforming Charlize Theron into Megyn Kelly alone should will win!
2. “Joker”
“Judy”
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
1917

2020 Academy Award Nominees: An Array of Brief Reviews

Here are my brief thoughts on a few award-contending films that I’m probably not going to write a full review of, either because of time constraints or in some cases because my thoughts on them need a more recent repeat viewing, or in some cases there’s not much I have to say. I’ve also given my thoughts on their chances of winning their respective Oscars.

The Lion King (2019) – Visually, it’s a really impressive film, yet somehow it’s staggeringly unimpressive in almost every other way. I don’t have a long-held love of the original from my childhood, I only saw it for the first (and second) time a couple of years ago, but I felt like this added almost nothing to the story and in some ways detracted from it. The photorealistic characters look amazing, they’re of the highest visual artistry but crucially they lack the personality afforded by the more anthropomorphised hand-drawn versions. The voice casting was generally excellent, but no amount of vocal charisma is enough to make this anywhere near as special as it needed to be a worthwhile reimagining of Disney’s most acclaimed animated classic. $1.6bn however means that Disney will continue making these, I just hope they work harder on adapting their classics in a way that actually adds something to each, not like this almost shot-for-shot remake.

Nominated for: Visual Effects. Chances of winning: Oddly low despite being completely made by VFX artists. It should be in the Animated category and people know it, though Disney are determined to package it as ‘Live-Action’.

Avengers: Endgame – I’ve been invested in the franchise from the start, so I was primed to love this and I certainly did. I saw it twice in the cinema, the first viewing being the midnight premiere screening as I couldn’t possibly wait or risk the chances of spoilers. The atmosphere was superb, the film clearly lived up to expectations. Much was said about the long runtime but it really doesn’t drag, there’s so much going on and every opportunity is taken to have fun with the characters, retroactively add extra layers of story development and nicely incorporate some fan service when possible. It holds up on repeat viewing very well and though there are bits that aren’t perfect, it does tie together the strands of the ‘Infinity Saga’ in a way that feels satisfying and complete.

Nominated for: Visual Effects. Chances of winning: Not too bad, it might happen as a way of giving recognition to the accomplishments of the whole franchise and the effects are extensive and varied so showcase many skills.

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker – I have really enjoyed going to see the Disney-era films at the cinema but this was a messy beast of a film. It felt overstuffed, muddled, and like it pushed aside all recent development and much logic in a thankless attempt to tick certain boxes. A minor let down for me, but I’m not a huge fan of the franchise with high levels of investment and expectations. I think it may even get worse on repeat viewing, especially if seen straight after episodes 7 & 8 as part of a marathon. The characters developed in this phase of the franchise are badly let down and it’s a waste of potential that was abundantly clear when I saw ‘The Force Awakens’. Hopefully, now they’ll leave the Skywalker saga completely alone and ensure that any future films or series don’t try to ‘fix’ the problems as it’ll just make things worse.

Nominated for: Visual Effects, Score, Sound Editing. Chances of winning: Low, they release a Star Wars film each year with similar effects, score, and sound, yet this being one of the weakest instalments there’s no impetus to award it.

Missing Link – Another example of beautiful filmmaking as is always the case from Laika, their animation always looks incredible, though I didn’t feel like the story or characters did very much to keep me completely interested. I liked the character of Susan and Zack Galifinakis voiced him brilliantly, especially as the film is more comedic than some of their others, though, beyond that, it’s not a tale that’s going to stick with me for very long. I have seen it twice on Netflix while very tired and kept dozing off, missing different bits both times, so I have seen it through but not in one perfect sitting, which may be more my fault than the film’s but still I feel like the adventurous aspects could be heightened a little more so it’s the exciting adventure it promises to be in the marketing.

Nominated for: Animated Feature. Chances of winning: Very low, while it won the Golden Globe it isn’t going to get the Oscar.

I Lost My Body / J’ai perdu mon corps – This French animation is possibly the lowest-profile of this year’s Academy Award nominees available to stream on Netflix. A severed hand makes its way across the city to get back to its owner while recounting key events in his life from his youth and recent past. This premise sounds somewhat macabre but in practice the film makes great efforts to be heartfelt and charming, effectively counteracting the weirdness of the unusual first-hand perspective. Hand in hand with that is the visual style, really beautiful hand-drawn animation that I found particularly expressive and endearing. No explanation is given for the hand’s agency. It’s not enchanted or extra-terrestrial, not superhuman nor supernatural, it’s just happening and facilitating the beautiful storytelling. I watched it in the English dubbed version for ease, which featured such voices as Dev Patel and Alia Shawkat and it kept me completely invested and entertained throughout.

Nominated for: Animated Feature. Chances of winning: None, there are much more beloved films in this race.

EE British Academy Film Awards – Printable BAFTA Ballot 2019/2020

Download our 2020 BAFTA Ballot PDF here! Or as images by clicking on the thumbnails!

With the Golden Globes long gone and the Oscar’s coming unusually soon, this week we have one of my favourite awards, the EE British Academy Film Awards, otherwise known as the BAFTAs, on Sunday February 2nd, presented this year by Graham Norton. Join in with your friends and family using our 2020 BAFTAs Ballot you can print out and fill in!

I’ve only seen a handful of these nominees so far, and so my predictions will be based more on what I’ve heard than on the very little I’ve seen (which may increase a bit in the next few days). Have a go yourself and please comment below what your predictions are.

I will be using my normal scoring system, 1. to indicate my first choice of what I think will win, 2. to show what I think could beat my first choice, and usually, I put a P. for my personal choice of what I think should win. This can later be scored as 2pts for a correct first choice win and 1pt for a correct 2nd choice, no points are given for personal preferences winning as that’s more out of interest and self-expression but really you can use whatever scoring system you like!

Again the PDF download is here for the 2020 BAFTAs Ballot and I’ll do a post in a few days with my predictions of who’s going to win!

Academy Award Nominations List 2019/2020 & Printable Oscar Ballot Sheet PDF

Here’s the full list of this year’s Academy Award nominees vying to take home those coveted Oscar statues on Sunday, February 9th, 2020.

Download my PDF ballot sheet here that can be completed digitally or printed and written on old school. Have a go at predicting the winners or challenge your friends and family to do the same.

 

BEST PICTURE
“Ford v Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit” – my review is coming soon.
“Joker”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
“Marriage Story”
“Parasite”
“1917” – my review is coming soon.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell” – my review is coming soon.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”
France, “Les Misérables”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)
“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“American Factory”
“The Edge of Democracy”
“Honeyland”
“For Sama”
“The Cave”

ORIGINAL SONG
“I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown,” “Frozen II”
“Stand Up,” “Harriet”
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4”

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
I Lost My Body
“Klaus”
Missing Link
“Toy Story 4”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“The Two Popes”
“Joker”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Marriage Story”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Parasite”
“Knives Out”
“1917”

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

DIRECTOR
Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”

PRODUCTION DESIGN
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“1917”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Parasite”

CINEMATOGRAPHY
“1917”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“Joker”
“The Lighthouse”

COSTUME DESIGN
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Little Women”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”

SOUND EDITING
“1917”
“Ford v Ferrari”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Joker”

SOUND MIXING
“1917”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Ad Astra”
“Joker”

ANIMATED SHORT FILM
“Dcera (Daughter)”
“Hair Love”
“Kitbull”
“Memorable”
“Sister”

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
“Brotherhood”
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbors’ Window”
“Saria”
“A Sister”

ORIGINAL SCORE
“1917,” Thomas Newman
“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir
“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

VISUAL EFFECTS – Read my thoughts on this category here
Avengers: Endgame
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
“The Irishman”
“1917”

FILM EDITING
“The Irishman”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Parasite”
“Joker”
“Jojo Rabbit”

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“Bombshell”
“Joker”
“Judy”
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
“1917”