tv Review 2020 BBC News December 24, 2020 8:30pm-9:01pm GMT
the european union and united kingdom have finally reached a post—brexit trade deal after months of disagreement. both sides hailed it a success. the european commission president ursula von der leyen described it as a "good, fair and balanced deal". she said that she hoped for a continued close relationship. prime minister boris johnson said the uk has "completed the biggest trade deal yet", adding, "we have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters". the final hurdle was access to fishing waters... some fishing unions in the uk have spoken of their frustration and anger at the deal. those are the latest headlines. next, from theatre screenings to sofa screenings, mark kermode takes a look back at the big releases on both the big and little screens and how the film industry has had to adapt this year
in the year in film. hello and welcome to this review of the year in film. i'm mark kermode and over the next 30 minutes i'll be rounding up the highs and lows of what's proved a challenging but also surprisingly creative year for cinema. 2020 seemed to start so well with the uk release injanuary of the personal history of david copperfield. armand iannucci's superb reimagining of dickens‘ classic which brought 21st century colour—blind casting to this 19th—century tale with genuinely timeless results. your mama is ill. how ill is she? very ill. dangerously ill.
she's dead. dev patel seemed to be channeling the pathos of chaplin as he led a thrillingly diverse cast through this wonderfully comedic, absurdist and hugely entertaining adaptation. 0h, donkeys! this is a donkey—free zone! remarkable woman. very kind. in early february came the oscars, where south korean maverick bong joon—ho made history when his genre—crossing gem parasite not only picked up the award for best international feature, but also beat sam mendes‘s bafta and golden globe—winner 1917 to become the first foreign language film to win best picture, to the horror of soon—to—be ex—president donald trump, who complained to his supporters about south korea's triumph and how bad the academy awards were this year. he even pleaded, "can we get gone with the wind back, please?" they hound people in this world, anybody who's different. other significant wins this year
included renee zellweger winning best actress for playing the divine miss garland in judy. and joaquin phoenix taking best actor for his mesmerising performance in the divisivejoker. although for my money, the best performance in that movie was given by icelandic composer hildur gudnadottir, who rightly claimed the statuette for best score. then as february slid into march, we were treated to the uk cinema release of portrait of a lady on fire, french film—maker celine sciamma's enra pturing manifesto about the female gaze, for which she had won the cannes screenplay prize in 2019. with stunning performances and painterly visuals, this was another bona fide masterpiece from the creator of girlhood, one of my favourite films of the 21st century. it all seemed to be going so well,
and then in the middle of march, lockdown came and cinemas around the uk closed their doors with no clear idea of when they would open again. there had, of course, been warning signs. at the beginning of march, the producers of the bond movie no time to die, which had already been delayed due to the departure of original director danny boyle, announced that the film's release would be pushed back to november. at the time, this seemed like a drastic move, but it soon became clear that bond was just the first of a string of blockbusters that wouldn't be hitting the big screen anytime soon. and so began the great home—viewing boom of 2020. # woke up in the morning light. # today is the day that i do everything right...#. in april, trolls world tour, the phosphorescent sequel to the 2016 animated hit, became the first major studio movie originally intended for widespread
theatrical release to go straight to streaming services in the uk as a direct result of coronavirus. it was a pattern that would continue even as cinemas reopened, with other high—profile movies like disney's live—action mulan, which had made headlines as the most expensive movie ever directed by a woman, whale rider's niki caro, going straight to disney+ in september, where it was available to rent forjust shy of 20 quid in addition to the cost of channel subscription. some other blockbusters, however, were determined to keep that big screen buzz. can you see him? he's catching up! during the first lockdown, trailers for unhinged proudly boasted that this russell crowe road rage film would be released in theatres, with the studio head mark gill calling it the canary in the coal mine
for cinema reopening. across from your friend. he's not a friend, ok? indeed, at the end ofjuly, unhinged became one of the big movies to test the waters in recently reopened uk cinemas, offering a dumb, but nonetheless entertaining meld of duel and falling down, with russell crowe doing angry in the way that only russell crowe can. we were expecting you an hour ago. sorry. frank, this is your new guardian. i don't want him. we've all got to do our bit. that same week also saw the uk cinema released of summerland, a lovely, heartfelt film about matters of life and death from olivier award—winning playwrightjessica swale with great performances by gemma arterton and gugu mbatha—raw and some beautiful cinematography by laurie rose that really benefited from being seen on the big screen.
we all believe we'd run into the burning building. but until we feel that heat, we can never know. but when it came to blockbusters, the real standout of 2020 was of course tenet, christopher nolan's head—scrambling palindromic thriller that became the closest thing we had to a summer tentpole release when it opened in uk cinemas in august. john david washington, who'd done such sterling work in spike lee's blackkklansman, led an international ensemble cast that included kenneth branagh, robert pattinson and elizabeth debicki through a movie so ambitious, so overwhelming, and let's be honest about this, so baffling that many viewers had to go and see it twice or even three times to figure out what on earth was going on. well, i've seen too much.
if you're still confused, fear not, it's just come out on blu—ray, so you can spend the entire holiday studying it frame—by—frame trying to figure out exactly what that red string meant. tenet aside, blockbusters remained thin on the ground in what turned out to be an unprecedentedly difficult year for cinema. in october — the same month that the first big screen bond, sean connery, died — the latest bond movie announced yet another delay. this late—in—the—day cancellation coincided with cineworld and picturehouse cinemas closing their doors while other chains abandoned weekday screenings, setting alarm bells ringing about the future of cinema itself. as for bond 25, it earned itself the mocking nickname no time to open. it's currently set for release in april 2021, yet for some, this final daniel craig 007 outing already feels like yesterday's news. history isn't kind to men who play god.
while cinemas have clearly suffered from the dearth of big releases this year, one unpredicted effect of the absence of big blockbusters has been that audiences and critics alike have turned their attention towards smaller movies that might otherwise have been overlooked, movies like the whalebone box from british maverick andrew kotting, which premiered on the streaming service mubi in april and followed two journeys, one a pilgrimage to return the titular box to the outer hebrides, the other into the dreams of eden kotting, artist and daughter—cum—muse of andrew. no one makes movies like kotting. although you can find a kindred spirit in cornish film—maker markjenkin, who won a bafta for bait in february. are you ok? yeah, i'm fine. what's wrong?
girl problems. may saw the uk online release of eliza hittman‘s never rarely sometimes always, a drama that blends the gritty authenticity of a documentary with the poetic sensibility of pure cinema. i know this is hard. the narrative explores an oft hidden story of reproductive rights, yet the film is best described as an astute portrayal of female friendship, a coming—of—age tale with road movie inflections. listen. oh, my god, is this... oh, we love this song, this is our song! sorry, tim! in june, writer—director fyzal boulifa's lynn + lucy introduced us to screen newcomer roxanne scrimshaw, who starred alongside seasoned professional nichola burley as two friends torn apart in the wake of a personal tragedy. having won numerous plaudits
for his short films, boulifa established himself as a major new voice in british cinema, while scrimshaw, who was scouted through facebook, is clearly a star in the making. i want to be like p diddy and 50 cent. other impressive screen newcomers this year included bukky bakray, the teenage star of rocks, about a 15—year—old east londoner who returns home from school to discover that her mother has abandoned her and her young brother. you just can't keep going on by yourself. rocks was a uniquely collaborative production born out of workshops with young people and introducing a wealth of talented players to uk audiences. bravo.
from drama to documentary — white riot, an award—winner at last year's london film festival, which opened in via a string of virtual screenings and 0&as. providing a timely look back at the birth of rock against racism in the ‘70s. we weren't superheroes. we were just ordinary people. we were ordinary antiracist citizens. formed in response to an infamous "enoch was right" tirade in birmingham by eric clapton in 1976, rock against racism set out the challenge of tide of bigotry epitomised by the rise of the national front using music that could unite black and white youth in a fight for equality. mixing contemporary interviews with a wealth of archived footage, this film captures the sheer energy and passion with which rock against racism attempted to change the world, or at least the uk. meanwhile, over in the us, garrett bradley's documentary time focused on an african—american
family torn apart by imprisonment. this is sibil, again. no, we don't have anything. alrighty, thank you so much. my twins‘ll be 18 next month. they have absolutely no idea what it means to have a father in the house. what fathers even do. drawing on a wealth of home video footage shot by sibil fox richardson, aka fox rich, this profoundly affecting film that shows the toll that incarceration takes not only upon those inside, but also outside the prison walls. the subject matter may be tough, but time is as uplifting as it is eye—opening. success is the best revenge. when you get them home, they gon‘ pay, they gon‘ pay, they gon‘ pay. it is ordered, judged and decreed that walter mcmillan is to face death by electrocution. the same could be said
ofjust mercy, the real—life drama adapted from a 2014 memoir by activist bryan stevenson. you quit yet? no, sir. a moving tale of struggle to lend voice to the silence of dispossessed inmates of death row, just mercy open injanuary, publicised with posters emblazoned with quotes justifying and extolling the film's oscar—winning performances. and its absence from the academy's nominations injanuary demonstrated that the #oscarssowhite hashtag, which dates back to 2015, still had legs in 2020. get on the ground! keep your hands where we can see them. what is your badge number? just chill, just chill! i'm reaching for my cell phone! there was no oscar recognition eitherfor queen & slim, with eye—catching leads from daniel kaluuya and rising star jodie turner—smith as outlaws on the run against a backdrop of racially divided modern america. thank you for bringing us this far.
thank you for this journey. police! no matter how it ends. and in a year when the oscar best director nominations were all male, there was nothing for chinonye chukwu, who in 2019 became the first black woman to win the us dramatic grand jury prize at sundance for her film clemency. do you have any family that would like to claim your body? a low—key death row drama, clemency boasted note—perfect performances from alfre woodard and aldis hodge and an erie ambient by kathryn bostic. how do you keep doing it? i do myjob. released here injuly, it addressed the terrible impact of the death penalty upon all those it touches, from prisoners to wardens to society at large, an issue that seems particularly relevant at the moment.
i don't see how it's going to work. living with an empty shell of a wife. i will never get over seeing missjuneteenth cleaning toilets. on a more upbeat note, missjuneteenth could be in the running for next year's oscars. the date was june 19th. opening to rave reviews in uk cinemas and on vod in september, this quietly political charmer features nicole beharie as turquoisejones, a one—time beauty queen who desperately wants her headstrong daughter to win the titular pageant celebrating the belated freeing of slaves in texas on june 19, 1865, a full 2.5 years after the emancipation proclamation. what's her problem? i beat her. 2020 also saw the release of two netflix—backed films featuring chadwick boseman,
who we sadly lost in august. you can currently see him in his final screen role, a barnstorming performance as an upcoming trumpet player in ma rainey‘s black bottom, adapted from the play by august wilson. is it fair to serve more than the white americans who sent you here? nothing is more confused. early in the year, boseman co—starred in spike lee's da 5 bloods, which followed a group of vietnam vets returning to the country in which they fought the american war. nominally, they've come to recover the remains of a fallen comrade lost in battle, but they're also on the trail of gold, a stash which they buried all those years ago and now hope to retrieve. i see ghosts, y'all.
having won his first competitive oscar as co—writer of blackkklansman last year, lee has been particularly productive across a range of genres. his latest film, david byrne's american utopia, is a concert movie that recently opened in the uk on vod. meanwhile, you can see echoes of lee's 1989 classic do the right thing in another of this year's best releases. les miserables — no, not that one, but a contemporary urban drama which was oscar—nominated for best international feature. written and directed by ladj ly, the film largely plays out immortalising hugo's novel,
where a new member of the anti—crime unit learns about crime factions by colleagues whose methods blur the line between policing and harassment. les miserables also owed a debt to the 1995 french masterpiece la haine, which got a 25th anniversary re—release this year and looks more relevant than ever. for more recent international fare in 2020 saw the uk release of the county. having breathed bittersweet life into a tale of feuding sheep farming brothers in rams, it peels back another layer
of nordic culture as inga finds her voice amid the often chilly silence of agrarian life. heartfelt pain blending with absurdist humour. from finland came dogs don't wear pants, about a middle—aged heart surgeon whose life falls apart in the wake of tragedy. but who finds unexpected relief from grief in the rituals of pain. despite the title, which in english at least has unintended overtones of naff carry on—style buffoonery, the result is sometimes shocking often funny but ultimately redemptive and uplifting with the director taking us tumbling down a rabbit hole with unexpected results. stranger still was patrick, which i think i can safely say was the best belgian nudist
tragicomedy of the year. set on a remote naturist campsite, it tells the story of a young man worrying about the loss of first his hammer, and then his father. the fact that all this plays out in the nude is actually the least remarkable thing about this beautifully deadpan movie. the director a veteran of tv shows like peaky blinders and legion, whose cast ranges from a dutch stage and screen legend to new zealand comedian musician jemaine clement. sometimes to get what you want you have to not want what you want. think about it. the biggest chinese film to be released this year was the 800,
a historical war drama is set in shanghai's besieged warehouse in 1937. dubbed the chinese dunkirk, this had spectacle to spare. shot on vast sets and captured on imax cameras. it may have made little impact here, but in china, the 800 was a resounding box office hit. outperforming tenet and providing a huge boost for china's cinema industry. on the animation front, cartoon saloon teamed up with luxembourg productions for wolfwalkers. some things happen to me. yeah, i can see that. set in 17th ireland, tom moore's film runs in the tradition of princess mononoke. a treat for all ages.
tea ? meanwhile from australia came relic, a heartbreaking psychological thriller that examined the reality of alzheimer's through the language of fantasy. everything all right, gran? i thought this was where it got in. who? like the babadook, this is a horror movie with a heart, a profoundly emotional experience. my own favourite films of the year included a pair of saints. do you have a boyfriend? no. do you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend? no. then we have something in common. from america, st francis, a versus self—determined manifesto about subjects such as menstruation and reproductive rights in the disguise of a ditzy bittersweet comedy about midlife disappointment.
maud is looking out for me, you see. to save my soul. if i understand correctly. and from the uk came saint maud, an electrifying debut feature which announced the writer—director as a thrilling new force in british cinema. bless her mind, which is shrouded in darkness. so great in david copperfield, she's mesmerising as the newly religious nurse determined to save the soul of her patient. played with equal force byjennifer ely. the eerie score and sound design help make this a real modern classic. so, where does this all leave us?
clearly the way in which people view movies has changed irrevocably. and the events of 2020 have accelerated the rise of streaming releases. worth noting, too, that this year's london film festival opened with steve mcqueen‘s mangrove. the first instalment in a five—part anthology made for bbc television, which further blurs the line between cinema and tv. just because uk audiences watched red, white and blue at home and it premiered on bbc one, does that mean it is not a film? or that it could also be enjoyed in a cinema? as i've been saying for years, simultaneous steaming releasing is the future whether you like it or not. and we are increasingly moving toward a situation where audiences will be able to decide where and how they watch movies. whether it's on the phone, computer screen, tv or up there on the big screen. personally i think the cinema experience is profound and important enough to survive this change. like many people, i know that i get
something from seeing a movie in a movie theatre that i cannot get it home. and nothing can ever replace that thrill of sitting in a darkened auditorium watching a movie in the best possible environment. yes, the world is changing, but cinema is forever. let's leave things on a high note and bill & ted face the music. the belated threequel that put a smile on my face amid the darkness of 2020. in the us, the film was released simultaneously and theatres and on demand. whereas in the uk it was cinemas only, with digital coming later. having watched them on both big and small screens, i can tell you that i grinned like an idiot from start to finish in both formats. and in testing times like these, that's a real treat. no way!
how's it going, bill and ted? the skies are clearing across most of the uk. a starry, frosty night ahead. and that means that first thing in the morning, there is going to be a widespread frost on the ground. in fact, for england it could end up being the coldest christmas day in ten years or so. you can see the gap in the clouds there across the uk during the course of christmas eve, but that massive cloud in the north atlantic, that is a storm. it's brewing, heading in our direction, and it will arrive later on boxing day, but in the short term, it's quiet on the weather front, just in time for christmas. so here is the forecast through the early hours. you can see hardly a cloud
in the sky across most of the uk but in the northwest year however, the weather is ever ever so slowly turning. frost free around western isles and parts of northern ireland, down to minus six degrees across parts of england and wales and also southern and eastern scotland. so, here is friday, christmas day itself, you can see a lot of fine, bright, sunny weather and places. temperatures 11—5 , but that weather is turning in the western aisles and northern ireland, a hint of things to come, so make the most of christmas day, walk off that christmas dinner, because by the time we get to boxing day, storm bella will be knocking on the door. it's a large storm. the weather in the morning will deteriorate in the northwest of the country. the rain will sweep in, winds freshen and, in fact, the winds will start to strengthen across many western areas of the uk. now, this is a snapshot of the afternoon, probably not too
bad in the south and southeast, but later in the evening, the winds really will ramp up. in fact, it's prompted the met office to issue an amber warning for the severe gales, gusts of wind 70—80 mph, damaging, also damaging across other parts of england and wales, so a wild saturday night on the way as this large storm sweeps across the country, not just the wind, but also the heavy rain you can see moving into southern parts of the uk in the early hours of sunday morning. and then sunday itself, we are right in the centre of that storm, so that means that the winds will die down. there will be some showers around, but we can expect some sunny spells on sunday itself, and it's going to be chilly. merry christmas.
this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the european union and united kingdom have finally reached a post—brexit trade deal — after months of disagreement. both sides hailed it a success. it was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it. it is fair, it is a balanced deal. and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides. i am very pleased to tell you this afternoon that we have completed the biggest trade deal yet worth £660 billion a year, a comprehensive, canada—style free trade deal between the uk and the eu.