Malcolm & Marie | REVIEW
Malcolm & Marie is an utterly captivating and enthralling film that has you gripped, intrigued and feeling uncomfortable for its entire runtime because of the outstanding quality of writing, acting and directing on display here.
Sam Levinson (Euphoria, Assassination Nation) writes and directs a film in which Malcolm, played by John David Washington (Tenet, BlacKkKlansman) returns home with his girlfriend Marie (played by Zendaya, known for Euphoria, Spider-Man) following the premiere of his new film. What follows is a compelling argument between the two as Malcolm forgot to thank Marie in his speech at the premiere. All this is set across the backdrop of the two awaiting news about the response to his film and the couple’s relationship begins to strain as a result.
The film was entirely written, shot and edited between April and September of 2020, which by itself is quite extraordinary and of the few films I’ve seen that were made during the pandemic and during lockdown, Malcolm & Marie is by far the best. The film is really dialogue heavy and at it’s core it is just Zendaya and John David Washington talking to each other and arguing for 105 minutes straight but that really shouldn’t put you off as the chemistry between the two of them is so strong and the whole film is an extraordinary showcase of talent.
The reason why it works so well is twofold. Firstly, the writing. Levinson’s script is excellent. Whilst it does take quite a few digs at film critics, calling out the ‘white woman at the LA Times’ and film criticism in general to the point that even writing this review now feels a little contradictory and hypocritical, the script is so tightly written and full of really excellent dialogue.
Even with a great script, this film still might not have come out as well as it did. The second thing that made this film so good is the two lead performances. The two leads are absolutely mesmerising. In the first few minutes of the film John David Washington steals the show but then Zendaya begins to take all the attention for herself and for the entire runtime of the film, you just sit in awe of these two incredible performances as they spar with each other, highlighting their incredible acting ability. It’s very difficult to judge who was better in this film as they both really were phenomenal and brought different things to their respective roles.
As well as the tight writing and the outstanding performances, the cinematography is great too. It was shot on black and white 35mm film and it all looks beautiful. Despite there being no colour and despite the fact that there aren’t really any exciting, lavish locations to show off beyond the grand house that the entire film takes place in, it still is so beautiful to watch. The black and white really draws your attention to the nuances of their performances and to the great script.
Malcolm & Marie is a film that will leave you completely exhausted and worn out by the end of it as it really is just an hour and forty-five minutes of Zendaya and John David Washington acting their hearts out and it’s amazing to just sit back and watch these two young actors showcase their remarkable talent.
It’s a film that’s absolutely worth watching for so many reasons; the script, the acting, the cinematography and just to remember the fact that even during a worldwide pandemic, creative people are still out there, making incredible things.
Malcolm & Marie streams exclusively on Netflix from February 5th.
‘1883’ Spinoff Series ‘Bass Reeves’ Adds Dennis Quaid to Cast
Dennis Quaid (Far from Heaven, The Day After Tomorrow) is the latest star to join the cast of Bass Reeves, a new drama series coming from Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone, Tulsa King) and Paramount+, according to Deadline. Bass Reeves was announced as a spinoff to the Yellowstone prequel, 1883 back in May 2022 with David Oyelowo (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) attached to star as the legendary lawman.
Bass Reeves will follow Oyelowo as someone who is known to many as “the greatest frontier hero” in American history in his own series on Paramount+. The streamer already houses so many Sheridan-fronted programs, most recently, Mayor of Kingstown starring Jeremy Renner returned for its second season while CIA drama, Lioness added to its cast with Nicole Kidman and Morgan Freeman. Some believe that Reeves served inspiration to “The Lone Ranger” having worked as a peace officer for Indian territory capturing over 3,000 criminals on that land. Quaid will play Sherrill Lynn, a Deputy U.S. Marshall within the show.
Quaid most recently voiced the character Jaeger Clade in Disney’s animated feature Strange World which is currently available to stream on Disney+. He’ll also star in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming HBO Max series Full Circle alongside Zazie Beetz, Claire Danes and Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome.
Amy Winehouse Biopic ‘Back to Black’ Adds to Cast with Jack O’Connell, Eddie Marsan and Lesley Manville
Let the casting of music biopics commence! As we’ve been hammered with news of superstar musician biopics each and every week, we have more news of one that is filming currently with Back to Black about the late, great Amy Winehouse. While it was reported back in January that Industry star, Marisa Abela will be leading as Winehouse, we now have details courtesy of Deadline on who will be joining the British pop star’s life story on screen.
The report indicates that Jack O’Connell (Unbroken, ’71), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Another Year) and Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan, The World’s End) will all appear alongside Abela in Back to Black. O’Connell is set to play Blake Fielder-Civil, the love of Winehouse’s life who she was married to from 2007 until 2009, just a few years prior to her death as their love was unfortunately addled by prescription drug abuse and alcohol as well as multiple stints in rehab for both of them. Marsan will play Winehouse’s father while Manville will play Winehouse’s maternal grandmother in the film.
Back to Black will follow the life of one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all-time in Amy Winehouse. Her sophomore album (which the film is named after) won her 5 Grammy Awards all at the young age of 25 just before her untimely death in 2011 at age 27. The film will focus on Amy’s creativity, genius and upbringing at Camden High School in the UK before she propelled into stardom.
The film will be written by Matt Greenhalgh and directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson reuniting the two of them after their 2009 film Nowhere Boy, which chronicled John Lennon’s formative years and adolescence. Taylor-Johnson is coming off directing episodes of Hunters and Solos for Amazon but is best known for helming Fifty Shades of Grey.
O’Connell had a big 2022 starring in Netflix’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover and MGM+’s new original series, SAS Rogue Heroes. He’ll next star as professional race car driver Peter Collins in Ferrari. Manville most recently starred as Princess Margaret in the recent season of The Crown for Netflix and in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Marsan is best known for playing Ray Donovan‘s brother, Terry in the hit Showtime series but will next appear in the film, Fair Play with Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor.
Anthony Hopkins to Lead Peacock Gladiator Drama ‘Those About to Die’
Peacock is one of the streamers that has yet to break through in terms of their original content getting recognized for awards contention. One such series that might change that fate for the streaming service is Those About to Die and it’s starting to build out its cast. According to Variety, 2-time Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, The Father) is the first to join the drama series which comes from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). Saving Private Ryan screenwriter Robert Rodat will script the series.
Hopkins will play the character known as Emperor Vespasian in the series which is set in the world of gladiatorial battle. It will be an ensemble drama following many different Roman characters that will set forth for violent affairs in the arena among other complexities such as political power and corruption so expect a starry cast for this Peacock drama. Hopkins’ character is described as “despised by the Patricians jockeying for position in the Empire and looking to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get. Vespasian became the Roman emperor after a ten-year civil war. We expect to get more casting news soon as the show will begin filming in Rome in March.
Anthony Hopkins is coming off a terrific performance in James Gray’s Armageddon Time in 2022 after winning his second Academy Award for his role in The Father the year prior. He’ll next voice a character in Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon for Netflix and also will star in British drama One Life alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce. Emmerich is coming off directing the sci-fi disaster film, Moonfall in 2022.
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