THE INVISIBLE MAN | First on Showmax | Horror
Golden Globe winner Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) stars in this nail-biting horror-mystery, the ninth highest-grossing film globally of 2020 so far.
When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
The third stand-alone movie in Universal Pictures’ Dark Universe reboot, The Invisible Man is inspired by HG Wells’s novel of the same name, and written and directed by award-winning horror aficionado Leigh Whannell, who co-created the Saw franchise.
The cast includes Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor); Saturn and Black Reel award nominee Aldis Hodge (Underground, Hidden Figures); and BET and Teen Choice nominee Storm Reid (Euphoria, A Wrinkle in Time).
A 2020 People’s Choice nominee for Favourite Movie, The Invisible Man won Best Adapted Screenplay and Elisabeth Moss was named Best Actress at the Hollywood Critics Association’s 2020 Midseason Awards.
The Invisible Man has a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Rolling Stone saying, “Alive with fresh thinking from Whanell and a dynamite Elisabeth Moss, this socially conscious horrorshow tips the old monster mash into way scarier sh*t about toxic masculinity that’s as timely as #MeToo and Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs.”
Inspired by a true story and the viral New York Magazine article it sparked, Hustlers centres on a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.
Golden Globe nominees Jennifer Lopez (The Cell, Out of Sight, Anaconda) and Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) lead an all-star cast that includes Golden Globe nominee Julia Stiles (Save the Last Dance, 10 Things I Hate About You), BET and Black Reel winner and Emmy nominee Keke Palmer (Scream: The TV Series), and three-time Teen Choice winner Lili Reinhart (Riverdale), with scene-stealing cameos from Grammy winners Lizzo and Cardi B.
Hustlers made Time Magazine, HuffPost, and NPR’s lists of the best films of 2019, among others, and was the 50th biggest box office hit of last year globally.
Lopez was nominated for a 2020 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for the role, which had Rolling Stone gushing, “A Best Actress Oscar nomination for Jennifer Lopez? You better believe it. As a stripper who can work a pole better than rivals half her age, Lopez is that dazzling, that deep, that electrifying. This you don’t want to miss.”
The film is written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (New Girl, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), with Lopez also producing alongside Golden Globe nominee Will Ferrell, and the Oscar-winning writer of The Big Short, Adam McKay.
Hustlers has an 87% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Slate calling it “a pretty much perfect film… an immediate entrant into the pantheon of female friendship movies…. you can feel its heartbeat”; RogerEbert “Goodfellas in a G-string”; and Independent (UK) “a lean, fierce take on the nature of female empowerment in an inherently corrupted world.”
THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN | Crime drama
Directed by David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, A Ghost Story), The Old Man and the Gun has a 93% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus hails it as, “A well-told story brought to life by a beautifully matched cast… pure, easygoing entertainment for film fans – and a fitting farewell to a legend.”
That legend, of course, is Oscar winner Robert Redford (Ordinary People, All the President’s Men) as Forrest Tucker, whose audacious real-life escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 led to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded the authorities and enchanted the public.
Redford was nominated for a 2019 Golden Globe for what The New Yorker calls “a glorious, sly performance in a gloriously sly movie that masks its idiosyncrasy in brisk and breezy storytelling.”
“Robert Redford robs banks and steals your heart…. a virtuoso performance that feels like a valedictory. You want to salute him,” says Rolling Stone.
Redford isn’t the only Oscar winner in the cast: Sissy Spacek (Carrie, The Help, Homecoming) and Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) also star, alongside four-time Emmy nominee Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, Dream Girls) and Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Tom Waits.
As Time Out says, “The Old Man & the Gun is a throwback to an era when making beautifully understated crime comedies was the peak of Hollywood’s ambition.”
GREEN BOOK | Drama
Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings) and Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Ramy, True Detective) co-star in Green Book, winner of three Oscars and three Golden Globes last year, for Motion Picture of the Year, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Ali).
Ali plays Dr Don Shirley, a world-class pianist, who hires a bouncer from the Bronx (Mortensen) to drive him on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, where they have to rely on The Green Book to guide them to the few establishments that were safe for African-Americans in the 1960s.
Green Book won over 50 international awards, including Movie of the Year from the AFI Awards, BAFTA and Critics’ Choice awards for Ali, and Best Actor for Mortensen from The National Board of Review.
In Blindspotting, Grammy and Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) stars as convicted felon Collin Hoskins. He’s just three days from completing his probation, but his best friend Miles Turner isn’t making it easy to get there. Then Collin witnesses a white police officer gunning down a black civilian on the streets of his home turf in Oakland, California, and feels his carefully controlled reality begin to slide out from under him.
Diggs, who co-wrote the script, was nominated for 2019 Black Reel awards for Outstanding First Screenplay, as well as Outstanding Breakthrough Performance.
Blindspotting has a 94% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Entertainment Weekly calling it, “A timely meditation on what it means to be black and presumed guilty in America.”
Former US President Barack Obama listed it among his favourite films of 2018, and a spin-off series based on the film has been greenlit by Starz.
Listed among Rotten Tomatoes’ Best Action Films of 2019, Cold Pursuit stars Oscar nominee Liam Neeson (Taken, The Commuter) as small-town snowplough driver Nels Coxman, whose life is turned upside down after the death of his son in suspicious circumstances. Nels’s quest for the truth changes him from mild-mannered model citizen to ruthless vigilante as he takes on psychotic drug lord Viking and his henchmen.
So Liam Neeson doing what he does best, then. Nominated as Best Action Film by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, Cold Pursuit is basically “Taken on ice… pure revenge-movie escapism,” according to Rolling Stone.
A remake of the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance by the same director (Hans Petter Moland), Cold Pursuit also stars Oscar winner Laura Dern (Big Little Lies, Marriage Story).
Greta starts with an act of kindness: a young woman finds a handbag left on the subway and decides to return it to its owner, eccentric piano teacher Greta. But their friendship soon grows too close for comfort as the lonely widow becomes disturbingly obsessed with her.
Directed by Oscar winner Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), Greta stars Oscar nominee, Golden Globe and BAFTA winner Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and Saturn Award winner Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie), along with Critics Choice winner Colm Feore (Chicago, Riddick, Thor) and Oscar nominee Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Dickensian).
Named Best Irish Film of 2019 by The Dublin Film Critics Society, Greta was nominated as Best Thriller by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films and as Campy Film Of The Year for 2020 by GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.
“Jordan squeezes the plot for every ounce of campy, disreputable fun,” says Rolling Stone. “Huppert pulls out all the funny-scary stops playing cat to Moretz’s mouse. You can’t take your eyes off these two dynamos.”
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK | Horror
From the dark imaginations of Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) and acclaimed director André Øvredal (Trollhunter) comes Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, based on the iconic horror book series.
It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind but the small town of Mill Valley seems far removed from the unrest in the cities. For generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large there. In their mansion on the edge of town, Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time – stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home…
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark won Best Horror/Thriller Film at the National Film and Television Awards in the USA.
The tenth and final instalment of the box office phenomenon Madea film series builds on the winning formula Tyler Perry fans love, with a joyous family reunion that turns into a hilarious nightmare as Madea and the crew travel to backwoods Georgia, where they find themselves unexpectedly planning a funeral that might reveal some unsavoury family secrets.
Emmy winner and BET Ultimate Icon Tyler Perry once again stars in several roles (including Madea of course), along with franchise stalwarts Patrice Lovely and Cassi Davis. Also look out for the legendary Mike Tyson himself.
Despite seven Razzies, and a 12% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie opened at #1 in the US, and was #34 at the SA box office last year. Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 13+, summing up Madea’s swan song as a “winning but dirty slapstick comedy”.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Also look out for Viola Davis’s Oscar-winning performance opposite Denzel Washington in the 1950s drama Fences; Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning period drama Silence, based on Shusaku Endo’s classic novel; and two double Venice winners, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale and George Clooney’s Suburbicon. Check out everything on Showmax this month here.