From inevitable delay to yay — films to watch this year

After 15 weeks of total closure, a ‘new normal’ cinemagoing experience is now in place which puts health and safety at the forefront

By LYDIA NATHAN

THE cinemas are finally back in business. From July 1, Malaysians have been slowly gaining confidence to escape their lives and enjoy all the blockbuster movies lined up for the rest of the year.

Of course, the Movement Control Order that began on March 18, along with lockdowns all over the world, had disrupted the schedule of movies that are supposed to pack in the crowd.

After 15 weeks of total closure, a “new normal” cinemagoing experience is now in place which puts health and safety at the forefront.

While the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic seems under control in the country, one could not be too sure that everything would be fine.

As it is, cinema operators have put strict preventive measures in place as part of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) recommended by the government.

The SOPs, while being a little tedious to some, are important as it offers moviegoers peace of mind whenever they go to the cinemas.

Among the basic preventive protocols are the recording of body temperature of all employees and patrons, social-distancing measures, as well as hygiene practices.

No matter which cinema chain you choose, be it Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), MBO or Tanjong Golden Village, please be reminded that moviegoers are also required to complete a digital declaration form upon entry to facilitate contact tracing.

Even the number of people present in each cinema will be monitored and controlled accordingly to prevent crowding which could jeopardise any social-distancing attempt.

Inside the hall, the one-seat gap arrangements have been implemented as cinema operators adhere to the social- distancing rules set by the Health Ministry.

Cinemagoers are also encouraged to purchase their movie tickets online to avoid queuing at the ticketing counter.

In terms of hygiene measures, enhanced cleaning and regular sanitisation of frequently used facilities are also assured, along with disinfection of seats which takes place after every screening.

The earlier weeks of the reopening saw exhibitors slashing price tickets for films that were shown before the MCO.

GSC took it to another level when it offered free movie screenings of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” as part of its reopening celebration.

One still has to admit though that the release calendar for movies this year has pretty much been ravaged due to pandemic.

While movie studios have been rushing to shift release dates this year, the rest of Hollywood continues to ponder how best to deal with a crisis such as this.

With that said, there are still a lot of exciting movies to look forward to this year, including Daníel Craig’s fifth and final Bond film, “No Time To Die” and plenty of horror thrillers.

Here are some of the titles you might want to check out too:

‘The Rental’

This American horror film directed by Dave Franco tells the story of two couples looking to celebrate a new business by embarking on a weekend getaway together, only to encounter something far more sinister as secrets and lies are exposed in time.

Labelled as slow-burn slasher movie, critics have said the film represents modern anxieties linked to the gig economy of today’s world in terms of millennial’s reliance on apps.

The film is destined to invoke suspicions, particularly now that restrictions are loosened and people are beginning to plan getaways themselves, but won’t fail on the suspense in unlocking everyday nightmares associated with the digital age.

‘Black Water: Abyss’

The aquatic horror film directed by Andrew Traucki is set to be released in Malaysia on Aug 6.

The Australian thriller sees a group of young friends going on an expedition to Northern Australia when a tropical storm approaches, trapping them in a cave, but not before realising the waters are infested with gigantic, hungry crocodiles.

In a battle of wits and quick thinking, the group has to fight for their lives in this thrilling and effectively tensed movie drama.

‘Tenet’

The first new blockbuster in months, “Tenet” is set to open on Aug 12, and will be an attempt to lure moviegoers back to the cinemas after months of shutting down.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, “Tenet” is a big-budget spy film, which stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, costing RM872 million (US$205 million).

Fans of Nolan can expect this movie to come with fast-paced action, explosions, violence and some adult language.

Adapted from the Disney cartoon, ‘Mulan’ is most likely to hit the big screen on Aug 21, 2020

‘Mulan’

Adapted from the Disney cartoon, the studio’s live-action remake has been delayed three times this year and is most likely to hit the big screen on Aug 21.

Disney’s co-chairman Alan Horn said while the pandemic has definitely changed the release plans for the movie, it will continue to be flexible as conditions change. Not to worry, it has not changed the belief that the film is set to inspire a message of hope and perseverance.

The movie, directed by Niki Caro and starring Liu Yifei cost RM852 million (US$200 million) to produce and had an initial release date of March 27, 2020.

Just like the 1998 cartoon, “Mulan” tells the story of a warrior who disguises herself as a man, taking the place of her father to fight in awar.

It is also the first of a Disney film to be rated as PG-13 in the US due to some low- level violent scenes.

‘Antebellum’

The Lionsgate film directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz is said to be one of the must-see horror films of this year.

The film tells of successful author Veronica Henley played by Janelle Monáe who is trapped in a horrifying reality, seemingly living in the days before the Civil War and the end to slavery in a very real American past.

It was originally set for release in April, but now has been pushed to Aug 21.

‘The Tunnel’

This Norwegian disaster film is actually based on true life events and revolves around a group of people returning home for Christmas, trapped in a tunnel after a tanker truck collides and catches on fire.

A blizzard outside plus heavy smoke inside the tunnel add to the rising panic, making it difficult for first responders to reach and rescue the people inside.

Produced by John Einar Hagen and Einar Loftesnes, the film cost RM16.6 million to make (US$3.9million) and will open in cinemas locally on Oct 29.

‘No Time to Die’

The exciting wait for the secret agent with a licence to kill will not disappoint as 007 returns this November.

The fifth and final movie for Daniel Craig, who plays the suave James Bond, will see this movie being a unique one with characters from previous films reprising their roles.

Names like Ralph Fieness, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Naomie Harris and Rory Kinner will be making appearances alongside newcomer Rami Malek, set to play the main adversary of Bond.

According to the official summary of the movie, Bond is no longer under Her Majesty’s orders, instead, he is recruited to rescue a scientist, bringing along challenges, hurdles, and some gun-toting action.

The movie was set to be released in April 2020, but now has been pushed back to Nov 26 in Malaysia.