Photo: Alan Markfield / Twentieth Century Fox
In a different reality, we would be in the middle of the Hollywood blockbuster season right now, enjoying the almost weekly release of a major event film, including highly anticipated sequel (F9) and new payments from beloved properties (No time to die). Instead, well, you’re locked in your place trying to figure out what to look at without going crazy.
This is where we come in. We will be presenting “Replacements” regularly: a list of five alternative choices for each large tent pole that you were eager to see before COVID-19 changed our lives. We will select films that are thematically or narratively similar to the reported blockbuster, offering choices ranging from cool obscurities to certifiable classics to forgotten gems. At the moment, event films are on hold. But I hope our alternatives will help eliminate this cinematic itch.
This week: The new mutants, a fallout from the X-Men franchise that has been delayed several times. Originally planned for a release in April 2018, this horror film was postponed to February 2019 … then to August 2019 … then to April 3, 2020 … and now, who knows in our current pandemic? After the creative and commercial disaster of last year, Dark phoenix, audiences may not be ready for more mutants anytime soon, but this film stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlie Heaton as a collection of young people detained by Alice Braga, who studies their untapped powers. Will The new mutants to be able to overcome his poisoned buzz? We have no idea, but in the meantime, let us recommend five replacements that might bother you – and, to be honest, might end up being better.
In the era of Stephen King’s rapid adaptations, the 1984s Fire starter tells the story of a little girl with pyrokinetic abilities (which means she can burn things with her mind) trying to escape an evil government agency with her father (David Keith). The thing is, you don’t want to make the little girl angry, especially when she is played by a Drew Barrymore, who is already anxious to show that she is more than little Gertie. The film gets a boost from his very hammy villains (Martin Sheen and a madly crazy George C. Scott), and while it can be a little conventional at times, his story of a child trying to wrestle with his overwhelming powers is surely a major theme of The new mutants.
Often films about young people with superpowers are dark and tormented affairs; these are metaphors for adolescent hormones and adolescent insecurities. Then there is The Incredibles, a very happy story about the Parr family, who tried to live like ordinary people, but it is impossible because they are not like you and me. With its cool retro-futuristic design and jazzy score, the first Pixar effort by writer-director Brad Bird – after The iron giant and its long association with The simpsons – elegantly heralded the era of Marvel / DC blockbusters, making the superpowers look like an absolute explosion. Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack are far from the miserable mutants of The new mutants – the worst they can do is to hide their true nature from the public – and The Incredibles“The dizzying action and the comforting exploration of the family make this vision ideal for all ages.
The premise of The Chronicle – three teens accidentally develop superpowers and have to deal with both these and the horrors of being a teenager – the sounds are whimsical, especially when you add a found footage format. But Josh Trank’s powerful conceptual thriller has more in mind than that, as it gets darker and darker as it advances, the fierce Andrew developing his powers in a different and more dangerous way than its most popular cohorts. This is the movie that made you think that Dane DeHaan was going to be a huge star (who turned out to be just for Michael B. Jordan) and seemed to represent Trank as a director to watch. It ended with its disastrous The Fantastic Four, but still, this story of the dangers of too much power given to the too inexperienced and callow resonates in a way The new mutants will have a chance to approach.
Not yet 24, Taylor-Joy has been on a hot streak for about five years. (For most others, getting an X-Men movie seems like a huge step forward. But at this point, The new mutants needs her more than she needs them.) The star of Split and Purebred showed a different side this year with the new adaptation of Emma., but if you have never seen it pierced, then it is time to see it in the film which was also Lighthouse evening of exit of the scenario writer Robert Eggers. The witch is a supernatural shock rich in period atmosphere and detail, studying a 17th century Puritan New England family who lives only in the woods. Suddenly, strange things start to happen, and after Thomasin’s little brother (Taylor-Joy) is kidnapped and killed, they wonder if Satanic events are going on. Taylor-Joy unleashed her burning and nervous intensity for the first time, and her character is our guide through The witchThe suffocating discomfort. The new mutants is presented as a horror film, but it will be a daunting task to overcome this supreme cooler.
This could be a bit of a cheat, given that at some point Deadpool and his cohorts visit the X-Men campus and (almost) interact with part of the crew. But the irony of a movie with a main character who has a lot of disdain for the X-Men is that Deadpool 2 is, in many ways, a bit like Professor Xavier: he is an older (albeit unconventional!) mentor helping young children to understand and control their powers… and finally to provide them with a clean community. . Of course, Deadpool may not be the sweetest father figure, but he’s a little softer in this sequel … almost sometimes Xavier-esque. He is even sitting in his chair!
Grierson and Leitch regularly write about films and present a film podcast. Follow them on Twitter or visit their site.