Cinemas were cleared to open on Saturday 4th July, however, unlike the city’s bars and restaurants, the re-opening of Manchester’s silver screens has been much more tepid than the rapid response elsewhere.
The ODEON in Trafford Centre has opened but in the city centre – nothing.
Why? Well, there’s the serious COVID-19 social distancing measures to consider but also – there are no films! Productions stopped, films were re-scheduled and everything just sort of ground to a halt in March – leaving cinemas with not much to show except old movies and the potential of a couple of Summer blockbusters.
So when they do start opening again, what can you watch? Well, here’s a list of the best things on at the cinema…
Release date: 12th August
I think its safe to say that the entire movie and cinema industries have the majority of their hopes of earning any kind of money in 2020 on this film. It’s the new one from Christopher Nolan and many are hoping that it will make as much money (and more) than his previous blockbusters. Will it? Well, nobody seems to really know what it’s about – so it could be the new Matrix – or indeed it could be the new Johnny Mnemonic. Nobody knows. It should be out at the beginning of August if all goes well.
Bill & Ted Face The Music
Release date: 14th August
Sequels to films that came out over 20 years ago don’t usually go very well. There was that Dumb & Dumber one which was shite, as was Mary Poppins Returns. However, for every one of those you also have a Mad Max:Fury Road or Blade Runner 2049 – so this could go either way. Once you get past Keanu Reeves without a beard, it looks like it might be a lot of fun – tackling the multi-verse where the previous two tackled time travel and the afterlife respectively. I HOPE it’s good but we will see. Should be out mid-August.
Release date: 21st August
This live adaptation of the classic Disney cartoon was set to smash the international box office at the beginning of the year – pretty much sending the whole of China’s 1.4 billion population into a free-for-all frenzy of popcorn, air conditioning and talking dragons. Well, that never happened and Disney were forced to postpone the film’s release until now. It should be coming out at some point in August (they keep moving it) – so if the cinema is open – it’ll be the newest (and probably best) thing to watch.
The Secret Garden
Release date: 7th August
The famous story about a garden that is kept secret from everybody – probably because they’ll just trash it like they did to the Blue Peter garden in the 80’s. I actually heard from someone that one of the people who trashed it was footballer Les Ferdinand but that’s never been confirmed. I have zero interest in The Secret Garden but if you have kids (or old people) to entertain – this should be the perfect remedy. It’s out at the beginning of August.
For new films – that’s about it. In the run up to Christmas though – screenings should go into overdrive, with A Quiet Place Part II, The King’s Man, Wonder Woman 1984, Black Widow, No Time to Die, Dune, West Side Story and Top Gun: Maverick all to look forward to.
There are some old films to watch at the cinema in the meantime though – here’s my pick of the best…
If you missed this World War One movie when it was on at the cinema last year – this is the perfect time to catch it again on the big screen. All filmed in one continuous take (well, not really) – it tells the story of two solders on the frontline in France who need to cross into enemy territory to stop an advance and save 1600 lives. It’s a rollercoaster of energy and emotions and is absolutely fantastic right up until the very last minute.
The Empire Strikes Back
The best Star Wars film ever celebrates its 40th birthday this year, so they’ve re-released it in the cinemas complete with a brand new clean up – making it crisper and more colourful than ever. It really is a classic, a film that introduced us to Yoda and also really showed us what the Millennium Falcon could do. Oh and if nobody could see the ‘twist’ coming at the end – ‘Vader’ actually means ‘father’ in German you idiots.
Winner of this year’s Best Picture Oscar, Parasite is a truly wonderful film from Korean director Bong Joon-ho, one that makes you sit up and squirm throughout its entire runtime. The story of a family conning another family into their home, you’ll be hooked in seconds and the film never really lets up until right at the end. I was on the edge of my seat when I watched it – mostly through my fingers too.
It’s 20 years since people first asked ‘What is The Matrix?’ and although most people now know exactly what it is – it doesn’t diminish this film’s impact any less. Ignore the shite sequels – this is pure hard sci-fi action and it’s as tightly written as Trinity’s leather trousers. To celebrate the birthday this release is in glorious 4K – so it should POP like never before.