DOCTOR SLEEP | Horror
Stephen King’s horror classic Doctor Sleep picks up years after the events of The Shining, as a now-adult, alcoholic Dan Torrance finds himself protecting a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.
Golden Globe nominee Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen and the Mission: Impossible movies) won Best Supporting Actress at the 2020 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, where Doctor Sleep picked up a further six nominations, including Best Wide-Release Film and Best Actor for Golden Globe winner Ewan McGregor (Fargo, T2 Trainspotting, Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi). Acclaimed horror writer-director Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Bly Manor, The Haunting of Hill House) also earned a Bram Stoker nomination for Doctor Sleep’s screenplay.
Doctor Sleep has a 78% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus says the horror “balances poignant themes against spine-tingling chills.”
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS | Drama
Never Rarely Sometimes Always follows a pair of teenage girls from rural Pennsylvania as they travel to New York City to seek medical help after an unintended pregnancy.
The film has a 99% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has won 25 awards, including the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award at Sundance and the Jury Grand Prix at Berlin in 2020. Never Rarely Sometimes Always was also nominated for three Critics Choice awards for Best Actress (Sidney Flanigan), Best Young Actress (Talia Ryder) and Best Original Screenplay (writer-director Eliza Hittman). Never Rarely Sometimes Always also stars Ryan Eggold (Dr. Max Goodwin in New Amsterdam).
Variety calls Never Rarely Sometimes Always “a quietly devastating gem”; Indiewire slammed its Oscar snub as “a crime”; and Rolling Stone says, “Eliza Hittman’s devastating abortion drama, starring a wonder of an actress named Sidney Flanigan, is an emotional wipeout that’s impossible to forget.”
TROLLS WORLD TOUR | Kids animated adventure
Trolls sequel Trolls World Tour is a feel-good animated family musical that sees Poppy and Branch set out to unite the six musically diverse troll tribes and stop Rock Queen Barb and King Thrash from turning everyone into rock zombies.
The stellar voice cast is led by Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (Love Life, Pitch Perfect) and Oscar nominee and Grammy winner Justin Timberlake. Also listen out for the vocal stylings of Golden Globe nominee James Corden, Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and Grammy winners George Clinton, Kelly Clarkson, Anderson .Paak, and Mary J. Blige.
Recommended for ages 6+, Trolls World Tour was nominated for a 2020 People’s Choice Award for Favourite Motion Picture and for four Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature. Common Sense Media praises the film’s positive messages and musical performances, saying, “This sweet sequel encourages inclusion and diversity – both in terms of musical genre and cultural background – while making audiences of all ages smile. It offers enough laughs and colourful visuals… and a medley of familiar covers and catchy original songs to charm even older kids and adults.”
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN | Crime drama
Written and directed by lead actor and triple Oscar nominee Edward Norton (Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, American History X), Motherless Brooklyn tells the 1950s New York story of a lonely private detective with Tourette’s Syndrome, who’s determined to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend.
The all-star cast includes Oscar nominee Alec Baldwin (The Cooler, It’s Complicated), BAFTA nominee Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Misbehaviour, Belle, and the upcoming Loki mini-series), Golden Globe winner Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Pulp Fiction), four-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate, The Florida Project), Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Mr. Robot, Ant-Man), four-time Emmy nominee Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country, The Wire), triple Emmy winner Cherry Jones (The Handmaid’s Tale, Succession), and Ethan Suplee (The Hunt, American History X, My Name Is Earl).
Based on the award-winning novel by Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn was nominated for a 2020 Golden Globe for Best Original Score (Daniel Pemberton), as well as a 2019 Camerimage Award for Oscar-nominated DoP Dick Pope (The Illusionist, Secrets and Lies). Norton won the Auteur Award at the 2019 Satellite Awards, where the film also won Best Art Direction & Production Design, and earned nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
The critically acclaimed coming-of-age comedy drama Lady Bird was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Directing (for now-triple Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig, in her solo directorial debut), Best Actress (for four-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan), and Best Supporting Actress (for multiple award-winner Laurie Metcalf). Oscar nominees Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, Beautiful Boy) co-star.
Gary Oldman won an Oscar for his tour de force performance as Winston Churchill in the acclaimed historical drama Darkest Hour, which also won an Oscar for Best Make-up (Oldman’s transformation must be seen to be believed), and earned a further four nominations, including for Best Picture.
The moving 2015 romantic drama The Danish Girl is loosely based on the lives of Danish artists Gerda Wegener and ground-breaking transgender pioneer Lili Elbe. The film earned supporting actress Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina and 2015’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) an Oscar, with Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything and the 2012 film Les Misérables) nominated for Best Actor and the film for two further Oscars.
Set in rural Australia, comedy-drama The Dressmaker is a tale of haute couture and sweet revenge with the cunning deployment of a humble sewing machine. With 15 international awards under its sash, the film stars Oscar winner Kate Winslet (Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Oscar nominee Judy Davis (Ratched, Husbands and Wives) and Satellite Award winner Hugo Weaving (Patrick Melrose, The Lord of the Rings).
Kate Winslet also stars in Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion, alongside Oscar winner Matt Damon (The Martian, Good Will Hunting) and Oscar nominee Jude Law (The Young Pope). The movie has seen a recent surge in renewed popularity with the advent of COVID-19.
A must-watch ahead of Freedom Day on 27 April 2021, the 1987 classic Cry Freedom tells the true story of South African journalist Donald Woods’ efforts to investigate the death in custody of his friend, activist Steve Biko. Written and directed by the multiple-Oscar-winning team behind Gandhi (late director Richard Attenborough and writer John Briley), and based on the writings of Donald Woods himself, Cry Freedom stars Oscar winners Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Biko. Cry Freedom also earned Oscar nominations for Best Score and Best Original Song for George Fenton and Jonas Gwangwa.