Out This Week: 23 April 2020 – WFH Edition

Our recommended tentpole franchise films.

This week on our WFH Edition, we will recommend tentpole movies that are parts of franchises. All of them are (spoiler alerts!) beloved by our critics. So let’s check them out.

Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King (2003)

Directed by: Peter Jackson
With: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, and Ian McKellen

What is it about: Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Heads Up: The third and last film in THE epic trilogy of the 21st century. It was nominated for 11 Oscars, and won all of them, a record that has not been broken before or since (Ben-Hur and Titanic ties this record, but neither won every single nomination). In his ★★★★★ review our critic Faizan Rashid wrote: “Tolkien wrote in the introduction to his books, “The tale grew in the telling” to emphasise how naturally the entire structure of what he had in mind fell into place, obviously because it was constructed out of his deep affection for the world he had imagined. On final inspection the same also holds true for the natural feel for quality delivery that Peter Jackson accomplishes with his swan song”. Note that this is a trilogy that need to be seen as a whole from the start to finish, and even though I am highlighting the marvelous conclusion, I encourage you to revisit the whole saga the Extended Edition for all its glory.

How to Watch it: Netflix / iTunes / OSN Store

The Dark Knight (2008)

Directed by: Christopher Nolan
With: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal,  and Michael Caine

What is it about: When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Heads Up: The second film in Christopher Nolan ambitious Dark Knight trilogy, is also the most successful critically and commercially. The late Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker earned a legendary place in the list of best performances of all time. In his ★★★★☆ review, Shariq Madani wrote: “At 2hrs 32mins, the movie is relentless and unforgiving. “The night is darkest before the dawn”, proclaims Harvey Dent in once scene. “Why so serious?” asks the Joker in another. Christopher Nolan humorlessly depicts Gotham at its darkest hour, and weaves a saga of crime that is not expected of a superhero movie. The characters are given a depth that makes them as believable as timeless. Indeed, the movie transcends the comic-book-movie genre to reach a level of sophistication hardly ever attributed to superheroes. It makes for almost-a-must multiple watch”.

 How to Watch it: Netflix / iTunes / OSN Store

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I (2010)

Directed by: David Yates
With: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint

What is it about: As Harry, Ron, and Hermione  race against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, they uncover the existence of the three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.

Heads Up: Shariq Madani picked the penultimate film in the Harry Potter Saga as his favorite (mine is the 3rd film: The Prisoner of Azkaban), and in his ★★★★☆ review, he wrote:”If it was the intention of David Yates to change the tone of the franchise, he has achieved what he set out to do. With Deathly Hallows 1, his third successive Harry Potter movie, Yates seems to have developed the series to the respectable level that it deserves. This further raises the expectations with his next film and the grand finale”. 

How to Watch it:  Google Play / iTunes / OSN Store

Skyfall (2012)

Directed by: Sam Mendes
With: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, and Jodi Dench 

What is it about: James Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Heads Up: This is my favorite of the Daniel Craig‘s era Bond films, and our critic Faizan Rashid was impressed too. He wrote in his 4½ stars review: “Director Sam Mendes is quite possibly the most high profile director to have ever worked on the series (from a critical appreciation perspective, he is the first and only Oscar winning director to have helmed a film about the famed agent) and like a true auteur, he leaves his mark on the series and makes permanent, long lasting changes to both characters alike and the mythology on the whole. I have no reservations whatsoever in stating it – this is the best modern Bond film I have seen”.

 How to Watch it:  iTunes

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Directed by: J.J. Abrams
With: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac

What is it about: Three decades after the Empire’s defeat, a new threat arises in the militant First Order. Defected stormtrooper Finn and the scavenger Rey are caught up in the Resistance’s search for the missing Luke Skywalker.

Heads Up: Many dismissed J.J. Abrams‘s sequel/reboot as a mere rehash of A New Hope the original Star Wars movie. I don’t agree nor do I care for this opinion. One of the best most memorable theatrical experience in my life was watching this film opening weekend with an enthusiastic crowd in an IMAX screening. By the end of it I had tears on my eyes and goosebumps all over my body. Faizan Rashid shares my love for this film, and in his ★★★★★ review he wrote: “There is no other way to say it. Believe the hype. Relive the fantasy. The Force Awakens brings back all the magic“.

How to Watch it: Google Play / iTunes / OSN Store

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
With: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Sean Harris

What is it about: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.

Heads Up: Each one of us in Filmphoria has a different opinion on how to rank the Mission Impossible films, but we are mostly in agreement that it’s one of the best most enduring action thriller franchises of the last 30 years, if not the best. It is the rare franchise that, for the most part, gets better with each subsequent film, and most of the credit should go to its star Tom Cruise who is basically a super human dedicated to perfection in his work and enthralling the audience. In his ★★★★☆ review our critic Faizan Rashid wrote: “By the sixth film, most modern cinematic franchises would be exploring how to perform a reboot, be shooting a prequel or simply fizzle out. Mission: Impossible continues to prove itself an exception, with Fallout extending the trend started with MI3 by being a stupendously entertaining, robust, all-out action film featuring stunningly executed stunts, distinctly gorgeous global locales and Tom Cruise sprinting all full speed to save the world”.

How to Watch it: Google Play / iTunes / OSN Store

About Abdullah Y

Abdullah Y is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is an avid consumer of everything Pop Culture; movies, TV, music, photography, podcasts, and social media. He loves to travel and to share his experiences.