Cinemas await ‘film utopia’

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Monday 17 May 2021 is date cinema-lovers will have circled in red pen on their calendars – for that’s when the venues in the UK reopen and they can finally get back to watching films on the big screen once again. 

Yes, there may be people talking close by; yes, the light emitting from mobile phones will be annoying; and yes, many people don’t like the smell of popcorn. But who really cares about any of these things?

At last, we will be back in those dark rooms watching those flickering images that tell their wonderful stories. And these are prices worth paying, for as a ‘movie obsessive’, I can’t wait.

But here’s the question: what will our cinemas actually show in weeks that follow their doors opening once again?

One view is that many companies will release this year’s Academy Award winning and nominee films. For until now, we’ve only had the chance to see them at home on our TVs.

Nomadland, The Father, Soul, Promising Young Woman, Mank, Judas and the Black Messiah and Sound of Metal – this year’s big Oscar and BAFTA winners – will all be available. So, too, will those that missed out including News of the World, which had massive Western vistas and stunning scenery.

So far, I have seen six of the eight films nominated by the Academy Awards in the best picture category. Of these, Sound of Metal and Minari are my favourites.

Pause ‘play’ button

Looking ahead, the big question is simple enough: will those who have already seen a recent release at home go and watch them again?

Mark Kermode, the leading film critic, has been saying for a long time that all films in the future will have to be released at the same time in all formats.

It could well be the case that film fans have got used to seeing the latest blockbuster at home where they can pause the ‘play’ button, look up information about them, and discuss them with friends and family, before returning to see-out the rest of the plot.

Kermode is right about so many things when it comes to the film world. But, in this regard, only time will tell. Personally, I hope we see the majority of movie lovers rushing back to the cinemas. But only when we get to the middle of May will we know for sure.

Fingers crossed, it will be good news.

Report by Andy Godfrey, Sorted film critic

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