The 2020 Film Release Calendar: Films Without Release Dates (A-L)
This has been perhaps the strangest Release Calendar I’ve ever done. Because the Oscars were held a few weeks earlier than they usually are, I wasn’t able to fit in the majority of the calendar before them. Usually I get the whole thing done by late January. And now, we’re post-Oscars, and I’m only on March. And the only reason January and February got done is because I wanted to get them up before some of the films actually came out.
But, here we are, working our way through the rest of the calendar for all the films to look forward to. I think you all know how this works — I’m gonna preview everything that’s set to come out (and a lot more that isn’t), and then guess what I think I’m gonna rate them all when I do manage to see them. And then we’ll use this as evidence of my ineptitude come the December wrap-up articles. These are my own twenty-seven 8×10 colored glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.
Today, we’re going over the many films that are yet to have release dates (or some that got dated for articles that already came out, because shit happens):
10 Double Zero
Det. Damon Reeves is infamous for crossing the line when he has to. After several fellow officers are killed in a brazen public shootout with bank robbers, Reeves and his partner, Det. Angela Laveau, set out on a personal vendetta to hunt down the cop killers. As they get closer to solving the crime, they soon find themselves the targets of a conspiracy in the ranks of the police force as the investigation leads right back to them.
Starring Nicolas Cage. Yeah, buddy. What a great way to start this list. With the man himself.
So the problem with these recent Cage VOD movies is, there’s been no spark behind most of them. They’ve either been 3-star watchable or 2.5 star uninspired. And I don’t even know which one I’m gonna get.
I should also mention that this one hasn’t officially been shot yet, so there’s a chance this gets shot later on and becomes an early 2021 VOD release for Cage, who seems to build them up and then have them get released over like five consecutive months.
I guess I’ll go 3 stars, the automatic Cage rating, and see what happens.
12 Mighty Orphans
Haunted by his mysterious past, a devoted high school football coach leads a scrawny team of orphans to the state championship during the Great Depression and inspires a broken nation along the way.
Martin Sheen and Robert Duvall are in this. So that’s cool.
The 40-Year-Old Version
A New York comedy about a down-on-her-luck playwright who thinks the only way she can salvage her voice as an artist is to become a rapper…at 40.
This went over well at Sundance. Written and directed by a woman, and the premise sounds interesting.
I think Netflix bought it, too. Which probably means it’ll come out late summer, early fall for awards consideration.
Sounds fun. 3.5 stars.
A pilot’s aircraft is hijacked by terrorists.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars, which is interesting. He’s one of those guys that doesn’t feel like he works all that often, and whenever he’s in something, it always seems like it always feels like a curveball.
The writer-director is making his first feature, but had an Oscar-nominated live action short a few years ago called Everything Will Be All Okay, about a divorced father picking up his daughter, told from the girl’s point of view, as the audience slowly realizes it’s not just a regular day out, but rather that he seems to be abducting her from preventing her mother from getting custody of her.
This seems like a pretty straightforward thriller, so I’ll say 3 stars.
A reflection on human life in all its beauty and cruelty, its splendor and banality.
This is by Roy Andersson, who made the brilliant Swedish Love Story in 1970 and also made, more recently, Songs from the Second Floor and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting Existence. So now he seems to have graduated from a pigeon reflecting on existence to himself.
The film’s only about 80 minutes long and seems to just be a beautiful ode to the beauty in normal things. Which I like a lot. I’m really intrigued by this one.
The story that lead to the first conviction for murder of an FBI agent.
This has been held over for like two years now.
It’s Phillip Noyce, who’s made films like Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games and The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence and Salt. Jack Huston, Emilia Clarke and Thora Birch star in this, and it just has not come out at all, which probably means it’s not very good.
But, given the director and the cast, I can’t imagine it’s anything lower than 3 stars. Even if it’s not great, it should at least be watchable.
A Boy Called Christmas
This is the story of Father Christmas, the tale of a young boy named Nikolas as he goes on his adventures. This is a Christmas movie based on a book of the same title by Matt Haig and will include snow, elves, kidnapping, more snow, and Dame Maggie Smith. What more could you want in a holiday movie?
Look at that cheeky IMDB synopsis. With an Oxford comma, no less.
This is directed by Gil Kenan, who made Monster House. This is not animated, however, but I imagine it’ll just be broadly likable family stuff.
A Christmas Carol
A radical retelling of the holiday classic that starts with a Victorian performance of the Charles Dickens tale before diving into the imagination of one of the children in the audience, taking the story to a darker fantasy realm.
No idea what that synopsis means, but mostly I’m intrigued that Andy Serkis is in this, presumably voicing either Scrooge or some sort of narrator. I’m not sure if it’s mo-cap or not, but I suspect they’ll get Andy to do multiple voices. Though it says he’s just playing Marley’s Ghost. Carey Mulligan I’m guessing is the old girlfriend of Scrooge’s. Daniel Kaluuya feels like a Bob Cratchit. Leslie Caron is in this? Shit. Maybe one of the ghosts? Martin Freeman feels like they’d cast him as Scrooge. Or if not, he’s the nephew Fred.
Doesn’t matter, point is, I’m in. It’s hard to fuck up A Christmas Carol.
3 stars. Though it could go 3.5 if they decide to do it like they did The Little Prince a few years ago.
Adam Leon Project
No synopsis at all, but it’s written and directed by Adam Leon, whose last movie was Tramps, one of the greatest hidden gems of this past decade.
Vanessa Kirby stars, and she’s great.
Sight unseen, I’m totally willing to go 3.5 stars here.
Adults in the Room
Greece in 2015: the economy is in tatters and the country is on the verge of bankruptcy. A new government rebels against the EU’s iron-fisted rule and inspires millions of Europeans.
Not something I’d normally care about, but it’s directed by Costa-Gavras, who is part of my Directors List and made great films like Z and Missing. I’m seeing it for him, though I can’t imagine I’m going to care one bit about the subject matter.
The film follows a father and daughter as they try to save the life of their robotic family member.
This is directed by Kogonada, who made Columbus a few years ago, which was decent.
Colin Farrell stars with Jodie Turner-Smith Haley Lu Richardson and Clifton Collins Jr.
Columbus looked really nice, even if I didn’t particularly love it. This plot sounds more up my alley.
Let’s go 3.5 stars.
All Day and a Night
A young man who committed a homicide deals with the repercussions of his action.
Netflix has this. The co-writer of Black Panther is writing and directing.
It stars Ashton Sanders, Yahya Abdul-Maheen and Jeffrey Wright.
The combination of Netflix and the plot makes me think I shouldn’t go higher than 3 stars, but I think I could get 3.5 out of this, potentially.
“Monster” is what the prosecutor calls 17 year old honors student Steve Harmon. He is being charged with felony murder. But is Steve really a monster?
This played Sundance in 2018 and still hasn’t come out. I think it just played a festival last month, but the lack of a serious release date is concerning to me.
The cast, by the way, is nuts. Kelvin Harrison Jr. stars, as does John David Washington, Jharrel Jerome, Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, ASAP Rocky, Nas, Tim Blake Nelson, Jennifer Ehle and Mikey Madison (who most people would remember as the Manson girl in the pool in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).
I’d normally go 3.5 stars on this, but the now-two year holdover is really concerning to me, so I’ll say 3 stars. If the film was really as good as the cast makes it seem, they’d have released it by now.
All Star Weekend
Two buddies form a rivalry over their favorite American basketball player.
Jamie Foxx wrote and directed this and stars a shit load of his famous friends. I’m interested in seeing it for that alone. Plus I also like it when actors direct. I’m not sure if they’re still editing this, or if no one wants to pick it up or what.
3 stars I guess has to be the rating, without having seen more. It’s hard to know just how this is gonna come together or if it’ll even be coherent or just famous people having fun together. I just don’t know, but I’m interested in seeing it.
Inspired by the headline-dominating kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst in 1974, this atmospheric drama is a fictionalized re-imagining of her time in hiding, from the perspective of Jenny, a political activist assigned to take care of her.
This played Tribeca last year. So conventional wisdom says it should at least get released sometime this year.
Sarah Gadon plays the Patty Hearst character (not directly her), and Hong Chau plays Jenny. The cast is call cool indie people, which is nice. And the writer-director wrote on Mad Men. Seems like it’ll be fine.
3 stars, only because I haven’t heard about this getting picked up, and it feels like one of those over-serious political thrillers that only goes 3 stars for me.
1840s England, an infamous fossil hunter and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.
Stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, and already I’m intrigued.
The director made only one feature before this, called God’s Own Country. It was nominated for the BAFTA for Best British Film and seems to be really acclaimed.
I love both leads and I’m happy that Kate is back on the screen again, since it feels like she’s been away a lot this past decade. She’s worked consistently throughout it, but it just feels that way, doesn’t it?
This feels like the kind of movie that will have great performances but just be a pretty good movie. So I’ll say 3.5 stars. I think it’ll be solid, but I can’t expect 4 stars out of this. Maybe it will be. Maybe it’ll be amazing. But this feels like a performance first kinda movie to me. But honestly, I hope it’s great.
An American Pickle
An immigrant worker at a pickle factory is accidentally preserved for 100 years and wakes up in modern day Brooklyn.
I’m in. Totally in on this based solely on that sentence.
Seth Rogen seems to be starring in it too, which is awesome.
3 stars. I don’t wanna assume anything more with a comedy, but this sounds awesome.
A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife, have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift.
I can’t believe this finally got made. Leos Carax had been going around, trying to get this cast for years. It was gonna be Adam Driver and Rooney Mara at one point, but then she got replaced by Marion Cotillard. And then they actually filmed it. Leos hasn’t made a movie since Holy Motors, and I truly didn’t know if he’d actually manage to get this one done. But here we are.
The film was written by and features songs by the band Sparks, who are also getting an Edgar Wright documentary about them this year as well. But basically, it’s a movie about an opera singing baby and murder. And it’s an Umbrellas of Cherbourg type musical. Or like Les Mis. Straight sung through, no dialogue.
I’m so in on this. 3.5 stars. Can’t fucking wait.
An Officer and a Spy
In 1894, French Captain Alfred Dreyfus is wrongfully convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s island.
This is Roman Polanski, who’s wanted to make a movie about the Dreyfus Affair for years. Dude’s 87 and finally got it done. It played Venice last year and then came out overseas late last year, which means it should come out here sometime this year. Jean Dujardin stars, and Louis Garrel plays Dreyfus.
I mean, it’s Polanski, so I’m sure it’s good. It got nominated up and down the Cesar Awards. 12 nominations.
Kyle and Swin live by the orders of an Arkansas-based drug kingpin named Frog, whom they’ve never met. But when a deal goes horribly wrong, the consequences are deadly.
Vince Vaughn is playing Frog.
It’s written and directed by Clark Duke, who you’ve seen in stuff.
Liam Hemsworth and Duke star, and it’s also got Michael K. Williams, John Malkovich and Vivica A. Fox in it.
On cast alone, I’ve gotta say 3 stars. Seems like a straight thriller, which is interesting, but that also doesn’t give it much upside either.
Army of the Dead
Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.
This is Zack Snyder, by the way, in case you thought it was overly promising based on that synopsis.
He is a good director, it’s just… when he’s got too much money, the creativity goes away. 300 was fun and Watchmen was great, but then he got too married to that style.
This feels like a nice palate cleanser for him.
I’ll go 3.5 stars and hope it’s not another Sucker Punch.
A hacker and her partners in crime accidentally steal millions from a crime boss, forced into hiding to train for their inevitable confrontation.
It’s Martin Campbell, director of GoldenEye and Casino Royale, whose last film was The Foreigner with Jackie Chan, which was actually solid. I wasn’t sure they’d let him direct again after Green Lantern, but it’s nice to see that he’s at least still working.
This is a straight action thriller and it’s got Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Gong Li and Maggie Q. So fuck yeah all around.
3 stars. Can’t ever assume more than that with a thriller like this, but that cast is awesome.
As Sick as They Made Us
A divorced mom tries to make peace with her dysfunctional family as she finds a second chance at love.
Mayim Bialik is writing and directing this, and it’s gonna star Candice Bergen, Dustin Hoffman, Simon Helberg and Olivia Thirlby. They haven’t shot it yet, but I think it’s set to go real soon, and this feels like a potential late-year kinda awards release. Funnily enough, I just looked and apparently someone thinks it’s coming out October 20th. Look at that.
3.5 stars. Not sure if Bialik is a great writer or director, but that cast and the late window release date leads me to believe that someone has faith in this. So let’s do it.
Ava is a deadly assassin who works for a black ops organization, traveling the globe specializing in high profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival.
Tate Taylor is directing, coming off Ma, but he’s also made Girl on the Train and The Help and Get On Up, so clearly he knows what he’s doing. Jessica Chastain stars, with Colin Farrell and John Malkovich and Common.
And the writer is Matt Newton, who’s made some really interesting character-based indies so far.
I can’t tell if I should go 3 or 3.5 here. Taylor seems to want to be branching out into genre stuff, and the film just kinda feels like a standard thriller. So I’ll go 3 stars, but with that cast, I hope it can go higher.
The Babysitter 2
Two years after defeating a satanic cult led by his babysitter Bee, Cole’s trying to forget his past and focus on surviving high school. But when old enemies unexpectedly return, Cole will once again have to outsmart the forces of evil.
Did we need a sequel to this?
I notice Samara Weaving isn’t back. Guess she’s finally above this kinda movie now.
I mean, 3 stars. I’m sure it’ll be watchable. It’s still McG and he still can make a watchable movie. But why did we need this?
A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting
A babysitter embarks on a mission to save a child who’s been abducted by monsters.
Yeah, I kinda got that from the title.
It’s from the director of Tank Girl. Damn. She hasn’t directed a movie in 25 years. And it’s going Netflix.
Oh, and it’s based on a book series. I have to imagine it’s generic kid stuff. The only question is if it’ll go 2.5 or 3.
Fuck it. 3 stars.
The unfolding of the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in history.
HBO spent a bunch of money on this to put it on their streaming platform. It got good reviews out of Toronto last year and is directed by Cory Finley, who did Thoroughbreds.
Hugh Jackman stars, with Allison Janney, Geraldine Viswanathan, Alex Wolff, Ray Romano, Kayli Carter and Rafael Casal from Blindspotting. Sounds great.
I’m going 4 stars. I think this is gonna be great. Feels like a 3.5 star-minimum film. Jackman always picks good material.
In 1989 an ambitious young woman gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career may come at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own.
This is from Justin Simeon, who did Dear White People.
Sounds like it’ll be smart, but I can’t tell what the tone is gonna be. So I have to stick with 3 stars.
A 17th-century nun in Italy suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She is assisted by a companion, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic love affair.
This is a Paul Verhoeven movie, and if there’s one thing he knows, it’s erotic thrillers. Though this seems like more of a drama than a thriller. But still. The writer of this also wrote Elle for him. So that might interest some people.
I’m gonna say 3 stars, just because… I didn’t really care for Elle all that much, and past the fact that it’s lesbian nuns, I’m not sure what I’m getting out of this that I’m gonna care about.
Revolves around an American filmmaking couple who retreat to the island for the summer to each write screenplays for their upcoming films in an act of pilgrimage to the place that inspired Bergman. As the summer and their screenplays advance, the lines between reality and fiction start to blur against the backdrop of the Island’s wild landscape.
This is by Mia Hansen-Løve, who did Eden and Things to Come. It’s got Mia Wasikowska, Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps in it, which is nice. I like all those people.
But, seeing as how this feels like it can be one of those psychological thrillers I generally don’t go for, I can’t guess more than 3 stars. Hope it’s good, but I just don’t know.
A portrait of Leonard Bernstein’s singular charisma and passion for music as he rose to fame as America’s first native born, world-renowned conductor, all along following his ambition to compose both symphonic and popular Broadway works.
Bradley Cooper writers, directs and stars. That’s all I need.
Not sure it comes out this year, but theoretically he could get it shot and cut by Christmas. So we’ll see.
A cranky, retired author reluctantly embarks on a final book tour to help out a young publisher.
Michael Caine stars along with Aubrey Plaza and Cary Elwes and Ellen Wong. I’m in.
Big Gold Brick
Recounts the story of fledgling writer Samuel Liston and his experiences with Floyd Deveraux, the enigmatic, middle-aged father of two who enlists Samuel to write his biography. But the circumstances that lead up to this arrangement in the first place are quite astonishing-and efforts to write the biography are quickly stymied by ensuing chaos in this darkly comedic, genre-bending film.
Stars Oscar Isaac, Emory Cohen, Andy Garcia, Lucy Hale and Megan Fox and is directed by Brian Pestos, who made a short with Isaac called Lightningface.
Sounds weird. And also kind of an Ex Machina kinda setup too. Or maybe that’s just me reading into it.
Still, genre-bending can go a couple of different ways, so let’s say 3.5 stars on possibility and hope it achieves it.
Big Time Adolescence
A suburban teenager comes of age under the destructive guidance of his best friend, an aimless college dropout.
This played Sundance last year. Still no release date. Stars Pete Davidson, who I don’t really understand as someone people like?
I guess we’ll say 3 stars, but it could be 2.5. I just don’t know how I’m gonna respond to something like this.
Set in a time where all drugs and alcohol are illegal, the only day anyone can participate in the ‘fun’ is on Binge day.
So it’s the Purge, but with drugs. Okay.
It’s by the director of The Wedding Ringer and apparently has Vince Vaughn in it, though I can’t tell if he’s starring. I know nobody else in the cast, which is never a good sign.
But, 3 stars on premise alone. The most it’s gonna be is 2.5 stars. I can’t imagine Vince Vaughn being in a movie that’s abjectly just unwatchable.
The Birthday Cake
On the 10th anniversary of his father’s death, Giovanni reluctantly accepts the task of bringing a cake to the home of his uncle, a mob boss, for a celebration. Just two hours into the night, Gio’s life is forever changed.
It’s a thriller, apparently. Ewan McGregor is in it, as is Val Kilmer. And a lot of Italians. So I think I get the tone of this one.
Oh, the star co-wrote it. And he’s been in… oh, yeah, I know what this is.
3 stars. Actors writing vehicles for themselves rarely turns out okay, though Ewan McGregor being in this gives me hope it’ll be passable.
A female filmmaker at a creative impasse seeks solace from her tumultuous past at rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons in intense and surprising ways.
Stars Aubrey Plaza, Sarah Gadon and Christopher Abbott.
Seems to be a psychological drama with some sort of twist in it that fucks with the audience and keeps you guessing. That means it could be smart and fun or really tedious. Any time there’s a psychological drama with a creative person, you almost roll your eyes when either it’s something they’re working on or it becomes something they write from the experience to get over their writer’s block.
No way of knowing now what it’s gonna be, so I guess 3 stars is the guess.
A teenager grieving over the loss of her parents bonds with a horse who was taken away from her family.
Oh, so they remade this. Okay, then.
Kate Winslet narrates as the horse. So I guess there’s that.
I see no reason not to guess 3 stars. The material makes it seem like it’ll be perfectly watchable.
A terminally ill mother arranges to bring her family together one last time before she dies.
Oh, so this is a pure indie movie.
Cast is nice — Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska, Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Rainn Wilson, Lindsay Duncan, Bex Taylor-Klaus. Director is Roger Michell, who’s made some good movies: Notting Hill, Changing Lanes, Enduring Love, Venus, Hyde Park on Hudson. His last movie was My Cousin Rachel, which was fine.
Indie character dramas just feel like 3 star guesses and me letting them be better if they’re gonna be better. Plus, it’s a remake of a Danish film, so that also makes me think 3 stars. Just because remakes of foreign films (remember After the Wedding?) always just level out to ‘just okay’.
Two young brothers from Colombia struggle to fit into their new lives in suburban America.
This just played Sundance. The premise sounded interesting. I think they get into heavy metal culture, is what I heard when I looked this up the first time.
I mean, sure. Let’s say 3 stars.
A spiritualist medium holds a seance for a writer suffering from writers block but accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife which leads to an increasingly complex love triangle with his current wife of five years.
I love the David Lean version. That movie’s 75 years old now. Jesus. Still looks great, though.
This is a BBC TV director doing this. Let’s see, who’s in it. Dan Stevens is the guy. Okay, I can buy that. Isla Fisher is the new wife, Leslie Mann is the first wife. Okay. Oh, and Judi Dench is the medium. Oh, that’s great.
This should be fun.
I mean, I can’t guess more than 3 stars, but I love the cast and I think this can be fun.
A fictionalized chronicle of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe.
I can’t believe he finally got this made. This is Andrew Dominik, who made one of my absolute all-time favorite films, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and also made Killing Them Softly and Chopper, both of which are great. And it’s his movie about Marilyn Monroe, based on Joyce Carol Oates’ novel about her.
Ana de Armas is playing her, which is interesting, since she’s got a noticeable accent. I think she’s an amazing actress, and I love the idea of her as that character, but I’m just not sure how that’s gonna be. But I trust Dominik completely. plus Julianne Nicholson and Bobby Connavale and Adrian Brody are in it. All underrated actors. I’m so in on this.
4.5 stars. This is probably in my top five most anticipated movies of the year. Dominik has yet to make a film less than great.
This is by Justin Chon, who made Gook and Ms. Purple and has established himself as a really great up-and-coming filmmaker.
He stars in this with Alicia Vikander.
Honestly, I don’t even need to know what this is about. 3.5 stars. He’s established himself as a guy who makes solid movies.
Born to Be Murdered
A vacationing couple fall trap to a violent conspiracy with tragic consequences.
Great title. It’s a Third Man quote.
Stars John David Washington, Alicia Vikander, Boyd Holbrook and Vicky Krieps.
Director seems to be Luca Guadagnino’s second unit guy. I mean, okay.
3.5 stars. The title and cast sold me.
A retired special forces officer is trapped in a never ending time loop on the day of his death.
Joe Carnahan action movie with Mel Gibson and Frank Grillo and Naomi Watts and Michelle Yeoh.
I know Joe Carnahan’s style, so this sounds like it’s gonna be fun.
Let’s go 3.5 stars, even though 3 makes the most sense. But fuck it. I like the cast, and Mel usually makes these movies fun.
The Boys in the Band
A group of gay men who gather in a NYC apartment for a friend’s birthday party. After the drinks are poured and the music turned up, the evening slowly exposes the fault lines beneath their friendships and the self-inflicted heartache that threatens their solidarity.
Oh, they remade this play. Okay. Oh, and it’s Ryan Murphy. This must be part of that giant Netflix deal he signed.
It’s a single-location play, and while casting all gay actors is nice, it’s a play on screen. I can’t really guess more than 3 stars on this.
On the cusp of fatherhood, a junior mechanic aboard an interstellar ark to New Earth must outwit a malevolent cosmic terror intent on using the spaceship as a weapon.
This is the title of a great underrated movie with Chris Cooper from 2007.
This is not that. This is a Bruce Willis paycheck movie. That’s our first Willis check of this list, isn’t it? And only one Cage so far. Let’s see who phones it in more this year.
2.5 stars. Bruce is not the junior mechanic, and whatever ‘cosmic terror’ is, I trust it’s not gonna be something I’m interested in.
Breaking News in Yuba County
A woman catches her husband in bed with another woman, causing him to die of a heart attack. She buries his body and takes advantage of the growing celebrity status that comes from having a missing husband. However, she soon finds herself in over her head, dodging cops and criminals, all while trying hide the truth.
Crazy cast on this: Mila Kunis, Awkwafina, Allison Janney, Ellen Barkin, Juliette Lewis, Samira Wiley, Jimmi Simpson, Matthew Modine, Clifton Collins Jr, Regina Hall, Bridget Everett, Wanda Sykes.
It also seems to be more of a crime movie than a comedy, which is interesting, considering the cast? I don’t know if I buy that. But still, good premise. Guessing this was a Black List script at some point. It feels like it would be one of those.
Tate Taylor is directing, and he knows his way around a watchable movie.
I mean, I guess… 3.5 stars? I don’t really know, but I figure it should be decent with that cast, right? Worst case it’s not great and only 3 stars. Unless he’s making a Blumhouse movie, Tate Taylor never makes anything below 3 stars.
A true story about the ’09 Abilene High School Football team.
Football movie with Laurence Fishburne as the coach. That’s the only reason I’m gonna see this.
3 stars because it’s football. But nothing about this leads me to believe it’s gonna be remotely good past that.
The Card Counter
Follows William Tell), a gambler and former serviceman who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past. Tell just wants to play cards. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk, a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel. Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk. Gaining backing from mysterious gambling financier La Linda, Tell takes Cirk with him on the road, going from casino to casino until the unlikely trio set their sights on winning the World Series of poker in Las Vegas. But keeping Cirk on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible, dragging Tell back into the darkness of his past.
It’s a Paul Schrader movie, by the way.
Stars Oscar Isaac, Willem Dafoe, Tiffany Haddish and Tye Sheridan. Are you in? Because I’m way the fuck in.
3.5 stars. I hope it’s amazing.
The plot follows H, a cold and mysterious character working at a cash truck company responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles each week.
Guy Ritchie directed this. Which means he could have two movies coming out this year?
Its’ a remake of a French film and stars Jason Statham.
I was in on Guy Ritchie, but if you’re giving me Statham too, I mean…
Castle in the Ground
After the untimely death of his mother, a teenager befriends his charismatic but troubled next-door neighbor and becomes embroiled in a world of addiction and violence just as the opioid epidemic takes hold of their small town.
From the director of The Other Half, the bipolar romance movie with Tatiana Maslany, which I liked. This one stars Imogen Poots, who I’ll watch in anything.
Sounds like a standard indie drama, though, so I’ll go 3 stars.
A high school transfer student finds a new passion when she begins to work on the school’s newspaper.
This is an Amazon Prime movie. Seems like a high school romance sort of deal. Not sure that particularly appeals to me whatsoever.
An Army medic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder becomes a serial bank robber after an addiction to drugs puts him in debt.
This is directed by the Russo brothers, their first film after Endgame. It’s nice to see them getting back to their roots, because I love Welcome to Collinwood, a film I’m sure almost nobody knows anything about. Tom Holland stars and it sounds like it’s got a good premise.
Given their ability to focus on story and not get bogged down with effects and things, I think I can safely guess 3.5 stars here. The worst I’m getting is 3. There’s no way they directed four Marvel movies without bringing something to the table.
The Christmas Chronicles 2
Kate Pierce who is now a cynical teenager, is unexpectedly reunited with Santa Clause when a mysterious troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas forever.
A sequel to this was a given. That first one was amazing. Can you repeat the formula? Probably not. But I’m glad they’re gonna give it a shot.
I don’t know who directed the first one, but here they brought in Chris Columbus, who seems like a natural fit for this stuff. He came up with Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire and did the first two Harry Potters… and now his genres are basically all gone. And Netflix is the only place that still does them. So I’m glad he has a home again to at least keep making stuff.
This one seems like it’s got much more of a ‘Santa Clause’ kinda plot, whereas the joy of the first one was more the galavanting around with Santa. But hey, I’m sure Kurt Russell will be fun again.
A famous pianist struggling with stage fright late in his career finds inspiration with a free-spirited music critic.
I have a copy of this already. They put it out on VOD end of January. Fortunately for me, I’ve watched absolutely nothing yet by the time I write this up, so I can still cleanly guess a rating here since, while I have a copy, I know literally nothing about it.
It stars Patrick Stewart and Katie Holmes, and really that’s the only reason I’m gonna check it out.
Sounds like your standard drama movie, so I’ll say 3 stars, even if it has a shot at 2.5. Those two feel like the only possibilities for this.
Coffee & Kareem
A Detroit cop tries to clear his name with the help of with his girlfriend’s young son.
The director did Goon, which was good, What If, which was fine, and Stuber, which was okay. So that’s a good sign.
Ed Helms stars, which is not a good sign. Taraji P. Henson is also in this. And she’s done her share of broad, bad comedies (What Men Want). It’s also Netflix, which concerns me.
It’s Ed Helms and a kid, too… yeah, I can’t go higher than 2.5 stars. Maybe I can get 3 out of this, but I just know me and I know how this whole setup feels like it’s gonna go for me.
This is directed by Mike Mills, who did Beginners, a story about his father, and 20th Century Women, a story about his mother. Both really solid films. I don’t know what this one’s about, but it stars Joaquin Phoenix, which is really intriguing.
The only alleged plot description I can find is: “Phoenix will play a documentary filmmaker whose latest project involves gifted children, while the story will find him bonding with his smart-yet-sensitive nephew, whose father struggles with bipolar disorder and is in the grips of a maniac episode.”
Honestly, given Mills’ output, I can’t guess less than 3.5 stars here. So that’s where I’m going with it. He makes good movies.
Before Alice went to Wonderland, and before Peter became Pan, they were brother and sister. When their eldest brother dies in a tragic accident, they each seek to save their parents from their downward spirals of despair until finally they are forced to choose between home and imagination, setting the stage for their iconic journeys into Wonderland and Neverland.
This sounds great.
Directed by Brenda Chapman, who did Prince of Egypt and Brave and worked for Disney for a lot of years.
Also in it are Angelina Jolie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Caine and David Oyelowo.
This just sounds so magical and is exactly the type of thing I respond to. So I’m gonna say 4 stars. Maybe it’s only 3.5. I don’t know. But I just think this sounds wonderful.
The Comeback Trail
Two movie producers who owe money to the mob set up their aging movie star for an insurance scam to try and save themselves. But they wind up getting more than they ever imagined.
Starring Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman and Emile Hirsch and Tommy Lee Jones. And I know what you’re thinking, “Weren’t Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman in one of those ‘old dude’ movies recently?” Yes. Yes they were. And let’s not forget Last Vegas. These guys just like to work, so don’t hate on them for that.
It’s from the writer of Midnight Run and the guy who wrote the original script that became Bad Boys. Granted, much of his recent resume has been more… broad family stuff… but this sounds like it’ll be fine.
3 stars. How can you assume anything but with this cast? It sounds like a generically okay comedy for the 60 and older crowd. There’s nothing wrong with that.
A teenager discovers the world of urban horseback riding when he moves in with his estranged father in North Philadelphia.
It stars Idris Elba and Jharrel Jerome. And Method Man is in it. Which is really the only thing making me interested in it. That synopsis is not really my cup of tea.
The true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team which was the first inner city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship.
John Leguizamo directed this from a script by Dito Montiel and stars. I can’t wait to see this.
3 stars. Sounds uplifting.
Cut Throat City
A heist movie set in the lower ninth ward in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
RZA directed this and the cast is crazy. The premise sounds great and the trailer looked fun.
I know I should say 3 stars on this, but I’m going 3.5 stars. So long as they stick to the message and don’t descend into unnecessary subplots and shoot-em-ups, I think this can be really solid.
Da 5 Bloods
A group of veterans from the Vietnam War return to the jungle to find their lost innocence.
Spike Lee’s first post-BlacKkKlansman movie. The cast looks great, and it’s Spike. I have to assume solid. 3.5 stars. Could go higher, but I’m just not entirely sure what this is gonna be. So we’ll split the difference and hope it goes higher.
The Devil Has a Name
A psychotic oil matriarch leaves the whole industry exposed when she attempts to outfight a bullish farmer whose water has been poisoned.
Edward James Olmos directed this. (And if it’s not good I’m gonna say he… Olmos directed it, just be warned.)
3 stars. I like it when actors direct.
Early 1930s, the young man leaves Shanghai to come to Europe and reunite with the love of his life.
Jackie Chan wrote and directed this and it sounds like a drama, which is interesting.
3 stars. No idea how good it’s gonna be, but I’m interested.
Die in a Gunfight
In New York City, a young guy falls for the daughter of his father’s nemesis.
This is basically Romeo and Juliet with guns. The cast is pure 3 star indie. But hey, it sounds fun.
An archaeologist embarks on the historically important excavation of Sutton Hoo in 1938.
Stars Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes and Lily James. That’s cool.
No idea what this is gonna be, though. About the dig, about the person, or what?
But, given the cast, I feel okay guessing 3.5 stars. Should be nice.
Dinner in America
A on-the-lam punk rocker and a young woman obsessed with his band unexpectedly fall in love and go on an epic journey together through America’s decaying Midwestern suburbs.
Sundance movie. Feels like 3 stars. Could be better, but 3 stars is usually a good way to go on most Sundance movies.
Don’t Look Up
A pair of astronomers try to warn everyone on Earth that a giant a meteorite will destroy planet in six months.
Adam McKay movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. They’re gonna start shooting this in April and it’s supposed to come out later this year.
With the two of them, and considering that it clearly seems to be about the public’s general ignorance and indifference toward climate change, I’m all in on this.
Don’t Tell a Soul
Two thieving teenage brothers, stealing money to help their sick mom, match wits with a troubled security guard stuck at the bottom of a forgotten well.
Wait, what? But how can you match wits with someone who’s stuck in a well? Can’t you just… walk away? I’m kinda fascinated by how they’re gonna pull this off. But sure.
The Dougherty Gang
Facing the possibility of prison – and in search of an idealized freedom – 3 siblings take matters in to their own hands with a cross country crime spree of epic proportions.
Crime speeds sound fun.
A teenager’s adventures as a bounty hunter takes an unexpected twist.
This one I tracked last year. It played Tribeca and then never came out. Margot Robbie is in it, apparently as one half of a Bonnie and Clyde duo.
Let’s say 3.5 stars. I’m not sure what I’m getting, but it sounds fun.
Three stories about the world of opioids collide: a drug trafficker arranges a multi-cartel Fentanyl smuggling operation between Canada and the U.S., an architect recovering from an OxyContin addiction tracks down the truth behind her son’s involvement with narcotics, and a university professor battles unexpected revelations about his research employer, a drug company with deep government influence bringing a new “non-addictive” painkiller to market.
Yup, we’ve got two films with the exact same title coming out. Which one would I expect to change theirs? Probably the other one. But we’ll see.
This is by Nicholas Jarecki, who did Arbitrage, which was great.
This sounds like it’s meant to be Traffic for the opioid era. And I’m here for it.
A directionless, young campus bus driver and a punk rock, Samoan security guard named Pineapple form an unlikely kinship as they navigate the unpredictable late shift shit show known as the “drunk bus.” Together, they break out of their endless loop and into a world of uncertainty, excitement and incredibly poor decision-making.
3 stars. Seems like your standard Sundance indie.
In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60 year old taxi driver, steals Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London.
Directed by Roger Michell and stars Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.
3 stars. Sounds fine.
Based on a true story, five college graduates decide the best way to get back at the unfair economy and live the life they’ve always wanted is to steal from Chicago’s richest and give to themselves.
Michael Shannon is in this, which is really the only thing that got me to notice it. First time-director, plot could go really generic — gotta guess 3 stars. But hey, maybe it works.
The Education of Fredrik Fitzell
After a chance encounter with a man forgotten from his youth, Fred literally and metaphorically journeys into his past.
Literally and metaphorically, you say? Well shit howdy, partner.
Seems indie. First-time filmmaker-y (even though it’s his second). 3 stars.
A fool for love becomes an accidental celebrity only to lose it all.
Charlie Day wrote and directed this. The cast is kinda nuts. And I like it when actors direct.
A life altering event leads Elyse into darkness, forcing her to face her truths.
Anthony Hopkins’ wife wrote and directs, and he’s in it.
Thinking 2.5 stars. It feels like a movie I see for an actor that they only did for someone else, and it’s not really that good overall.
A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.
Pablo Larrain directs.
An escaped slave travels north and has chance encounters with Frederick Douglass and John Brown. Based on the life story of Shields Green.
A 30-something woman navigating through love and heartbreak over the course of one year. During that time, she will unlock the secrets to her life in a sudden turn of events and in the most surprising of places.
Drake Doremus movie. At this point he’s basically a high-end 3 star filmmaker. His films rarely go more than a solid 3, because they’re all the same high-concept romance movie that really doesn’t have much substance apart from being generally well-made and well-acted.
When madly in love high school graduates Riley and Chris are separated by a tragic car accident, Riley blames herself for her boyfriend’s death while Chris is stranded in limbo. Miraculously, the two find a way to connect. In a love story that transcends life and death, both Riley and Chris are forced to learn the hardest lesson of all: letting go.
Oh boy, overly serious high school romance movie. And looking at the director’s previous output… 2.5 stars. And it’s lucky for me to be guessing that.
End of Sentence
After being widowed, Frank Fogle reluctantly embarks on a journey to honor his wife’s last wish of spreading her ashes in a remote lake in her native Ireland and a promise of taking his estranged son, Sean, along for the trip. As Sean steps out of prison the last thing on his mind is a foreign road trip with his alienated father. What he needs is a fresh start in California. But when his travel plans collapse he reluctantly accepts his father’s proposal in return for a ticket to the West Coast and a promise that they never have to see each other again. Between a disconcerting Irish wake, the surfacing of an old flame, the pick up of a pretty hitchhiker and plenty of unresolved issues, the journey becomes a little more than father and son had bargained for.
Stars John Hawkes, Logan Lergman and Sarah Bolger. Hawkes generally makes worthwhile indies.
Upon the disappearance of their mother, the child sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes runs away to become a fugitive private detective herself.
Stars Millie Bobby Brown. And Henry Cavill as Sherlock, Sam Claflin as Mycroft and Helena Bonham Carter as the mother.
Sounds fun to me.
After Jane falls into a state of despair over her schizophrenia, she encounters new sources of love and life with surprising results.
Stars Sally Hawkins, which makes me intrigued.
When aspiring musicians Lars and Sigrit are given the opportunity to represent their country at the world’s biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.
Will Ferrell co-wrote this and stars. Also has Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Pierce Brosnan and Demi Lovato. Director is David Dobkin, who did Wedding Crashers and The Judge.
I’m not really sure what to make of this. Ferrell’s comedies have been really bad these past couple of years. I’m not sure I can give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Every Breath You Take
A psychiatrist, whose client commits suicide, finds his family life disrupted after introducing her surviving brother to his wife and daughter.
Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan star.
The director made that movie Terminal, with Margot Robbie, which was pretty stylistic but empty. But Casey Affleck tends to pick good material. So I’ll say 3 stars, but I’m not particularly strong on this going much higher than that.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker seek redemption after their religious empire and marriage crumbles.
Interesting. Stars Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield and has Vincent D’Onofrio as Jerry Falwell. Michael Showalter directs, which really intrigues me too.
3.5 stars. Sounds like it’ll be good.
Falling for Figaro
A brilliant young fund manager decides to leave her unfulfilling job and long-term boyfriend behind to chase her lifelong dream of becoming an opera singer in the Scottish Highlands.
Directed by Ben Lewin, who did The Sessions.
Sounds pretty by-the-book. 3 stars.
A conservative father moves from his rural farm to live with his gay son’s family in Los Angeles.
Viggo Mortensen wrote, directs and stars. And that gives me hope for this.
The story focuses on a husband and wife who turn to a fertility doctor when they’re unable to conceive a child. The fertility doctor is unconventional, to say the least, and tricks the couple into letting him use his own sperm to impregnate the wife.
Ilana Glazer go-wrote this. And it’s a horror movie. So I’ve really got no idea what to make of this.
I’ll say 3 stars, but I don’t know if this is gonna amount to just another Rosemary’s Baby, or if it’s gonna do something else with a message behind it. I truly don’t know. So we’ll just wait and see.
Family Romance LLC
A man is hired to impersonate the missing father of a young girl.
Werner Herzog wrote and directs this and it seems to be entirely in Japanese?
I love that Werner is still making movies.
A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Imogen Poots, Olivia Williams and Rufus Sewell. That’s a hell of a cast.
Director is the writer of the play it’s based on. And that alone tells me the ceiling on this is 3.5 stars. If it’s a play and the playwright is directing, then it’s just an acting piece.
The story of a rowdy, unorthodox Santa Claus who is fighting his business decline — while a neglected and precocious 12-year-old hires a hitman to kill Santa after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking.
Mel Gibson plays Santa. I’m so in on this. And it’s from the directors of Small Town Crime, which I really liked.
A murder mystery shakes up the town of Shadyside, Ohio.
Based on the R.L. Stine series, which means automatic 3 stars. Broad family movie. That’s easy.
Feel the Beat
April who, after failing to find success on Broadway, returns to her small hometown and reluctantly is recruited to train a misfit group of young dancers for a big competition.
Netflix family movie. Not interested.
Two Brooklyn siblings whose summer in a rural Oahu town takes an exciting turn when a journal pointing to long-lost treasure sets them on an adventure, leading them to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage.
I enjoy these types of movies.
3 stars. Hoping for 3.5.
A father lives a double life as a counterfeiter, bank robber and con man in order to provide for his daughter.
Sean Penn directs. Hopefully it turns out better than his last one did. Sounds like it’s gonna.
It’s not about humanitarian doctors, so I can easily guess 3.5 stars here. Plus it has Penn, Josh Brolin and Miles Teller in it. So that’s also a good enough reason to guess that it’s gonna be solid.
The 47-year old Al Capone, after 10 years in prison, starts suffering from dementia and comes to be haunted by his violent past.
This is Josh Trank, who did Chronicle and that disastrous Fantastic Four movie. Tom Hardy stars as Capone, and I feel like this has been done for over a year. I wonder what the holdup is on getting this out. But maybe they finished it late last year and it’ll just hit festivals this year. Hopefully it’s not because it’s bad.
On Hardy playing Capone alone, I have to guess 3.5 stars. What else could you guess on that?
Force of Nature
A gang of thieves plan a heist during a hurricane and encounter trouble when a cop tries to force everyone in the building to evacuate.
It’s a Mel Gibson movie. I’ll watch the shit out of this.
Four Good Days
A mother helps her daughter work through four crucial days of recovery from substance abuse.
Rodrigo Garcia movie. Stars Mila Kunis and Glenn Close. Garcia generally feels like a solid 3 star filmmaker.
Four Kids and It
A group of kids on holiday in Cornwall meet a magical creature on the beach with the power to grant wishes.
British fantasy. Michael Caine, PaulA Patton, Matthew Goode and Russell Brand are also in it. It sounds broadly likable.
I’m also assuming it’s not four kids and a killer clown, which probably makes it much more magical than murderous.
After receiving life-altering news, a couple finds unexpected support from their best friend, who puts his own life on hold and moves into their family home, bringing an impact much greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined
Played Toronto and AFI. stars Dakota Johnson, Gwendoline Christie, Casey Affleck and Jason Segel. Doesn’t seem to have gotten great reviews.
I’ll say 3 stars, just for the cast.
Molly and Abbey, along with their crew of close friends and acquaintances, host a dysfunctional, comical and chaotic Thanksgiving dinner.
An aging Manhattan socialite living on what’s barely left of her inheritance moves to a small apartment in Paris with her son and cat.
Stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges. So that means cue the ‘Is this when Michelle Pfeiffer wins an Oscar’ discourse. Spoiler alert: it probably isn’t.
The director made a solid movie, The Lovers, and the writer wrote the book of The Sisters Brothers. And the cast is nice.
I kinda wanna go 3.5 stars, but I know better than to do that with a synopsis that sounds like this. I gotta say 3 stars and just let it become 3.5.
Ulrich Mott, an ambitious social climber, marries a wealthy widow in Washington D.C. in order to mix with powerful political players.
Christoph Waltz wrote, directs and stars. It played Tribeca last year to middling reviews and hasn’t yet come out, which is probably all I need to know about it.
3 stars. I’m still interested in it, but I can’t hold out hope for it to be really good anymore.
The Georgetown Project
A troubled actor begins to unravel while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he’s slipping back into his past addictions or if there’s something more sinister at play.
Russell Crowe stars in this. And I feel like this is one of those movies he does that no one sees and isn’t very good. Like Fathers and Daughters.
The writers did The Final Girls, which was good. Not sure if I can trust this to be that, though.
3 stars and I hope there’s more to it than just what seems like a standard thriller.
A feature film based on feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s best selling autobiography, My Life on the Road, telling the story of her itinerant childhood’s influence on her life as a writer, activist and organizer for women’s rights worldwide.
Julie Taymor makes a movie about Gloria Steinem starring Alicia Vikander as young Gloria and Julianne Moore as old Gloria. And Janelle Monae as Dorothy Pittman Hughes for good measure.
All of this sounds good to me.
A young and unskilled fairy godmother that ventures out on her own to prove her worth by tracking down a young girl whose request for help was ignored.
The Good House
Life for New England realtor Hildy Good begins to unravel when she hooks up with an old flame of hers from New York.
By Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky, who did Infinitely Polar Bear, which I really liked. And they did The Polka King, which I also really liked.
3.5 stars on the previous output alone.
Good Joe Bell
Tells the story of an Oregon father, Joe Bell, who sets out on a walk across America in honor of his son, Jadin.
Stars Mark Wahlberg. Which is interesting. Him doing a straight drama. The director is Renaldo Marcus Green, who did Monsters and Men, which was solid. He’s also doing King Richard with Will Smith. The writers are Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, who did Brokeback Mountain. And McMurtry, of course, also wrote the novels Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove.
That all sounds really good to me.
Good Morning, Midnight
A scientist, alone in the Arctic, tries to make contact with a spacecraft returning to Earth.
George Clooney directs and stars. And Felicity Jones, I’m presuming, is on the spacecraft.
A young man spends a summer in Italy where he meets his idol, Gore Vidal, who teaches him about life, love, and politics.
This was dumped by Netflix because it stars Kevin Spacey. I’m tracking it on the off chance someone dumps it on VOD like they did with his last movie.
A fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
David Lowery directs and Dev Patel stars as Sir Gawain. It’s also got Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton.
Lowery alone guarantees 3.5 stars. The question is if I can get 4. Given the material, I’m gonna stay more modulated and see what I get.
A family struggles for survival in the face of a cataclysmic natural disaster.
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, who’s made some solid crime movies. That alone tells me 3 stars. Oh, and it’s a Gerard Butler movie? Fuck yeah. 3 stars, and I’ll watch the hell out of this.
Guest of Honor
Veronica wants to remain in jail for a sexual assault she knows she’s been wrongfully indicted for. She and her father, Jim, find themselves acting out of the bounds of good behavior as the past haunts them.
Atom Egoyan directed this. That’s the reason I’ll see it.
3 stars. Not sure it’ll be good, but I’ll see it.
A secret sisterhood comes to the rescue of a mother-daughter assassin team.
Action movie. All female cast. Sounds fun.
3 stars. All these action movies basically baseline at 3.
The Half of It
A shy, introverted, Chinese-American, straight-A student finds herself helping the school jock woo the girl they both secretly love. In the process, each teaches the other about the nature of love as they find connection in the most unlikely of places.
Netflix movie. Seems like your standard high school movie.
Halo of Stars
Set against the backdrop of a small traveling circus, a European clown and his 5-year-old daughter lead each other through the everyday mysteries of love, magic and loss.
Traveling circus clowns. Done.
The Harder They Fall
A man looks to exact revenge against the guy who murdered his parents.
Has not shot yet. But… WESTERN. Starring Idris Elba.
Guessing he’s just the man who murdered the parents. But still. WESTERN.
The film is set post-World War II and will star Ben Foster as Harry Haft, a boxer who fought fellow prisoners in the concentration camps to survive. Haunted by the memories and his guilt, he attempts to use high-profile fights against boxing legends like Rocky Marciano as a way to find his first love again.
This is a Barry Levinson movie. Which is interesting. He hasn’t really made anything of note in a while. It’s all been either HBO movies or small dramas no one saw.
This sounds legit. Ben Foster, boxer, concentration camps. I mean, it’s probably gonna be dated, but hell, that’s like a real movie. That’s awesome.
It’s also got John Leguizamo, Vicky Krieps, Danny DeVito, Peter Sarsgaard.
Feels like a 3.5 star movie. I can’t imagine it definitively goes 4, but it could go 4. I trust Barry Levinson to make it worthwhile, and I hope he’s still got it.
Here Are the Young Men
Dublin teenagers Matthew, nihilistic Rez, and the deranged Kearney, leave school to a social vacuum of drinking and drugs, falling into shocking acts of transgression.
This is the story of young mother Sandra who escapes her abusive husband and fights back against a broken housing system. She sets out to build her own home and in the process rebuilds her life and re-discovers herself.
This is by Phyllida Lloyd, who did Mamma Mia and The Iron Lady.
A man recalls his life growing up in the Midwest with Appalachian values.
This is a Ron Howard movie for Netflix, written by Vanessa Taylor, who co-wrote Shape of Water.
Stars Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Haley Bennett and Freida Pinto.
Howard is a 3.5 star filmmaker at minimum and can get 4 stars out of something. But looking at his recent output — Rush, In the Heart of the Sea, Inferno, Solo… he hasn’t made a really good one in a while.
So 3.5 stars. I’m sure it’ll be solid.
To pay for her education, and the chance of a better life, a young woman joins a dangerous scrap metal crew.
Written and directed by a woman, which is nice, and the premise sounds really interesting. So I’m in.
Two single people agree to be each other’s plus-ones for each holiday celebration over the course of a year.
In case you couldn’t tell by the title, this is a Netflix movie.
3 is the ceiling on something like this, especially given the director’s output and the fact that Emma Roberts is starring in it.
A bank robber tries to turn himself in because he’s falling in love and wants to live an honest life…but when he realizes the Feds are more corrupt than him, he must fight back to clear his name.
Stars Liam Neson, and that’s about all we need, isn’t it?
A socially awkward woman with a fondness for arts and crafts, horses, and supernatural crime shows finds her increasingly lucid dreams trickling into her waking life.
This came out on Netflix a few weeks ago, but since I haven’t watched it yet, I’m good.
It’s Jeff Baena, who did Life After Beth and The Little Hours. Which means automatic 3 stars. I get his style, and it’s not always for me a lot of the time.
How Do You Live?
The film depicts the psychological growth of a teenage boy through interactions with his friends and uncle.
This is Miyazaki. He came out of retirement for this. I’m not sure it gets done for this year, but it’s never too early to get excited for a new Miyazaki film.
How to Build a Girl
The novel charts the journey of teenager Johanna Morrigan, who reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde: fast-talking, lady sex-adventurer, moves to London, and gets a job as music critic in the hope of saving her poverty stricken family in Wolverhampton.
Stars Beanie Feldstein, Emma Thompson, Paddy Considine, Lucy Punch, Alfie Allen and Chris O’Dowd.
Sounds very British.
Set inside a pre-war duplex in downtown Manhattan, The Humans follows the course of an evening in which the Blake family gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving. As darkness falls outside the crumbling building, mysterious things start to go bump in the night and family tensions reach a boiling point.
This was a play, right? I feel like it was.
Stars Beanie Feldstein Steven Yeun, Amy Schumer, Richard Jenkins and June Squib.
The playwright is directing his own play, which makes me think 3.5 is the ceiling on this, so I’ll go 3 stars. Plays tend to be tough to translate on screen, and usually all that gets me through them (especially this one, which feels pretty theatrical by nature) are the stars. So yeah, 3 feels about right for this.
Despite his devotion to his hometown of Salem, (and its Halloween celebration), Hubie Dubois is a figure of mockery for kids and adults alike. But this year, something is going bump in the night, and it’s up to Hubie to save Halloween.
This is an Adam Sandler Netflix movie.
The lives of two different families collide when their children begin a relationship that leads to a tragic accident.
3 stars. This sounds completely indie, through and through. Oren Moverman wrote it, though, and he typically writes 3.5 star movies. But this one… I’m just not feeling it.
Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen – for a very specific purpose – The Hunt.
This is that thriller they pulled in the wake of a shooting. Not sure if they’ll ever release it, but I figure I’ll give it one more year in case they figure they can.
I Am a Woman
The story of 1970s musician and activist Helen Reddy.
Sounds great. It played Toronto. Reviews were generally positive.
I Care a Lot
A legal guardian discovers that her seemingly perfect client is not who they appear to be.
Thriller. The only reason I’m staying with 3 stars here is because it’s Eiza Gonzalez and Rosamund Pike, plus Peter Dinklage, Macon Blair, Scoot McNairy, Chris Messina and Dianne Wiest!! The cast means it has to be at least watchable and isn’t some completely shitty thriller that we know where it’s going all the way through, right?
I Used to Go Here
Following the launch of her new novel, 35-year-old writer Kate is invited to speak at her alma matter by her former professor. After accepting the invitation, Kate finds herself deeply enmeshed in the lives of a group of college students.
This is playing SXSW. Cast seems pretty full of indie comics.
3 stars. I’ll err on the side of indie comedy and not ‘studio’ comedy, which are similar, but very different things.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
An unexpected detour causes a woman who is trying to figure out how to break up with her boyfriend to rethink her life.
This is Charlie Kaufman, so that means automatically 4 stars. I kinda wanna go higher, but we’ll stick with 4 for now.
The book this is based on is supposed to be really good, but I feel like I’d rather not know anything about it and just see what he’s got in store for us.
It stars Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, Abby Quinn and David Thewlis.
But honestly, I was in with just Charlie Kaufman.
I’m Your Woman
A woman must go on the run with her child due to her husband’s crimes. Their lives become intertwined with a man and a woman, forming an unlikely partnership that teaches them more than just how to survive.
This is from Julia Hart, who directed Fast Color, which I loved.
Rachel Brosnahan stars, and I’m not sure if I should be going 3 or 3.5 here.
I’ll say 3.5 stars and think positive. Why not.
A patriarch of a wealthy and powerful family suddenly passes away, leaving his wife and daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that threatens to unravel and destroy their lives.
Stars Lily Collins and Simon Pegg and Connie Nielsen.
3 stars. Seems like a passable thriller.
Cold War spy Greville Wynne and his Russian source try to put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This played Sundance. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessie Buckley and Rachel Brosnahan. Which is nice.
Because it’s a Cold War spy movie, I have to guess 3.5 stars, even though there’s a pretty decent chance I may only get 3 here.
The Jesus Rolls
A spin-off of The Big Lebowski centered on the notable bowler, Jesus Quintana.
I’ve got a copy of this and I’m really excited.
John Turturro had the idea for this movie and asked the Coen brothers if he could use the character and they said sure. So here we are. I’m interested as all hell.
3.5 stars. On principle. Plus, Turturro’s directorial efforts have always been interesting. I loved Romance & Cigarettes. Fading Gigolo was okay too. I can’t wait to see what this is.
An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever.
Jake McCall is a combat vet who now works as an assistant wrestling coach for a small college whose major claim is its wrestling team. He is married to a beautiful, caring wife and has a precocious five-year-old boy, and his life with them in a peaceful college town is idyllic. Or so he believes. Long ago, floating particles from outer space took forms in human brains and have controlled human bodies by altering memories. A violent world-takeover now looms, an apocalyptic day that has been set for over a century. The players in this multi-generational plan are known only to each other, and only at certain times. Jake McCall is at the center of the resistance to this plan, the lynchpin of the whole operation. And he has no idea. The aliens have taken him, cloaked his brain with an array of false memories and perceptions, and robbed his life of the one thing he needs to save the world. Jiu Jitsu.
THIS SOUNDS INSANE.
Oh, and I guess I should lead with the other important part — starring Nicolas Cage.
In. Totally in. Don’t even care if he’s not the star. I want to see whatever the fuck this movie is.
A bouncer with a slightly murderous anger-management problem that she controls with the help of an electrode-lined vest she uses to shock herself back to normalcy whenever she gets homicidal. After the first guy she’s ever fallen for is murdered, she goes on a revenge-fueled rampage to find the killer while the cops pursue her as their chief suspect.
From the director of Hysteria, which I quite liked.
It seems like Kate Beckinsale stars here, along with Bobby Cannavale and Stanley Tucci and Jai Courtney.
It sounds fun as shit.
Judy and Punch
Seaside (nowhere near the sea), puppeteers Judy and Punch are trying to resurrect their marionette show in an an anarchic town on the brink of mob rule.
This looks insane. In a good way. Also of a piece with things like Revenge and The Nightingale (and even Damsel), all of which I like, one of which also stars Mia Wasikowska. I’m in for this. This looks awesome.
A reluctant bare-knuckle boxer Lion and his manager/brother Stanley must travel across the country for one last fight, but an unexpected travel companion Sky exposes the cracks in their bond along the way.
Directed by Max Winkler, who did Flower, and stars Charlie Hunnam, Jack O’Connell and Jessica Barden.
That all feels like 3 stars.
The Justice of Bunny King
A triumph over adversity tale about women fighting their way back from the bottom of society.
Stars Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis.
3 stars. Can’t tell if it’ll go higher than that with so little information, but I definitely like the leads.
A woman’s life is turned upside down when her criminal parents invite an outsider to join them on a major heist they’re planning.
Miranda July movie. The plot sounds great. Stars Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger, Gina Rodriguez and Richard Jenkins.
I like all of that too.
A female assassin has 24 hours to get vengeance on her murderer before she dies.
Oh shit, so it’s DOA. Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
All in. Don’t care. This movie sounds amazing.
And Woody Harrelson is in it.
This is everything I want out of a movie.
Killers of the Flower Moon
Members of the Osage tribe in the United States are murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s sparking a major F.B.I. investigation involving J. Edgar Hoover.
This is Scorsese’s next movie. Due to start shooting sometime in the spring. The question is whether he can get it shot and cut by Oscar season. More than likely it’s gonna come out next year, but it feels weird to have it done shooting by summer and then wait a whole year-plus to put it out. But hey, Marty gets to take as much time as he wants.
Leo and De Niro are gonna star in this, and honestly, it’s Marty, so I was in a week ago.
Kilroy Was Here
A horror anthology centered around the phenomenon of the “Kilroy Was Here” graffiti.
Kevin Smith directed this, so I guess I have to guess 3 stars, although I’m really not sure how much I’m gonna care about this.
The Kindness of Strangers
The story of people whose lives intertwine during a dramatic winter in New York City.
Lone Scherfig directed this, and it should have come out about ten days ago, if that release date was to be trusted.
3 stars, on the cast alone. Though reviews haven’t been great, so I’m thinking a very slight 3 stars.
The Kissing Booth 2
Following the love adventures of Elle, Noah, and Lee.
Oh boy, more of this.
I’ll say 3 stars, but I really know I should go 2.5 here. The first one was decent, but these sequels almost never work out.
Kung Fury 2
The story will focus on Kung Fury’s universe with no real connection to the short movie other than the lead character.
I can’t believe this actually got made.
Michael Fassbender plays someone named Colt Magnum in this and Arnold Schwarzenegger is the president. How could you not be in on this?
The life story of Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder of Lamborghini.
Directed by Bobby Moresco, who co-wrote Crash. Antonio Banderas plays Lamborghini and Alec Baldwin plays Ferrari. That’s intriguing. Not sure it’ll be good, but it is intriguing.
A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming.
Robin Wright directs and stars. And I like it when actors direct.
When the aging Meyer Lansky is investigated one last time by the Feds who suspect he has stashed away millions of dollars over half a century, the retired gangster spins a dizzying tale, revealing the untold truth about his life as the notorious boss of Murder Inc. and the National Crime Syndicate.
Harvey Keitel plays Lansky, which is interesting, since he played Mickey Cohen in Bugsy opposite Ben Kingsley’s Meyer Lansky. Also has Sam Worthington and Emory Cohen in it. I’m guessing one of those two is playing younger him. Still, sounds interesting enough to watch.
Tells the story of Harry March, a retired writer whose life starts to unravel when a multimillionaire begins building a mansion across from his quiet island home in the Hamptons. Up until now, he has lived peacefully with his talking dog, Hector, a born-again Evangelical and unapologetic capitalist. To Harry, the gargantuan mansion represents the fetid and corrupt excess that has ruined modern civilization. Which means, quite simply, that this is war.
Langella plays the writer. Also has Bobby Cannavale and Ashley Benson and Stockard Channing in it. That doesn’t feel like a bad, broad studio comedy to me.
3 stars. Why not.
The Last Days of American Crime
In the not-too-distant future, as a final response to terrorism and crime, the U.S. government plans to broadcast a signal making it impossible for anyone to knowingly commit unlawful acts.
From the director of Transporter 3, Taken 2 and Taken 3. So I think we kinda know how this is gonna go automatically.
Last Letter from Your Lover
A young journalist in London becomes obsessed with a series of letters she discovers that recounts an intense star-crossed love affair from the 1960s.
This is by Augustine Frizzell, who did the great Never Goin’ Back. And it stars Felicity Jones, who’s great, and Shailene Woodley, who’s great.
That feels like an easy 3.5 stars. I can’t wait to see this.
Last Moment of Clarity
A normal New Yorker’s life is upended when his girlfriend is murdered by the Bulgarian mob. He flees to Paris to hide from her killers. But three years later, he sees a similar looking woman on the silver screen. Obsession with past love takes Sam to Los Angeles to look for answers, only to put him back into the sights of the Bulgarians.
So it’s Rear Window, but as a shitty thriller?
But hey, Samara Weaving and Brian Cox are in it. Oh shit, and Udo Kier! Okay, I’m in enough to see this.
The Last Planet
A retelling of several episodes in the life of the Christ.
It’s a Terrence Malick movie, too.
Usually, with a Malick movie, all I look for is who shot it. Here, I’m looking for who shot it and who he got to play Jesus. The DP for Hidden Life is back. And he got Geza Rohrig, from Son of Saul, which fits. Mark Rylance is playing Satan, too, which sounds dope.
4 stars. Feels like it’s gonna be narrative Malick. Not that it’s different from recent Malick, though Song to Song and To the Wonder were less built around a plot and were more just going for the straight tone poem feel. Hidden Life actually told a story, even if it did feel like those other ones. Still, I trust Malick to make this good.
The Last Shift
Stanley’s last shift at his fast food job takes an unexpected turn.
Richard Jenkins is Stanley. So I’m in for that. And Ed O’Neill is in this too. And I love him.
3 stars. Let’s do this.
The Last Thing He Wanted
A veteran D.C. journalist loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to unwitting subject in the very story she’s trying to break. Adapted from Joan Didion’s namesake novel.
Dee Rees movie for Netflix with Anne Hathaway and based on the Joan Didion novel. It came out on Friday. Considering Rees’ last movie was Mudbound and they released this in February instead of last fall, either it’s too tricky to sell, a la Velvet Buzzsaw, or the consensus is that it’s not good.
Let’s see what the trailer says.
Seems fine. Affleck, Dafoe, Rosie Perez, Toby Jones. I mean, 3.5 stars. Should at least be that.
I’m wondering if people don’t like this because it’s badly made or because it’s just not Mudbound. I find a lot of times when someone changes tones like this, the bad reviews tend to just be because people wanted them to do the same damn thing again. I’ll give Dee the benefit of the doubt here.
Let Them All Talk
Steven Soderbergh shot this movie quietly, much like he shot Unsane. Meryl Streep is starring, alongside Gemma Chan, Lucas Hedges, Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest.
I trust Soderbergh, so 3.5 stars. I wanted to make him automatic 4 stars all the time, but Laundromat scared me off it. He feels like he hovers between 3.5 and 4 most of the time. So we’ll see what we get out of this. I know literally nothing about it.
A couple fights to hold their relationship together as a memory loss virus spreads and threatens to erase the history of their love and courtship.
That sounds like it could be good.
From the director of Morris from America, too. Which I loved. And it stars Olivia Cooke, who I love.
3.5 stars. That seems easy.
The Little Things
Two cops track down a serial killer.
Is that really all you’re giving me on that synopsis.
Oh, I see why.
Written and directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Denzel, Rami Malek and Jared Leto.
When an acclaimed music producer goes off his medication for schizophrenia, his friends chase him though the LA music scene to help commit him to a psychiatric hospital, revealing the troubling inadequacies of our mental health care system.
Stars Simon Pegg. Played Tribeca and some festivals last year.
Gut instinct says go 3 stars. So I will.
Biopic of the prolific English artist who rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century.
Stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy. That’s nice. But do I care about the subject is the question.
I guess we’ll go 3.5 stars on the class factor and hope for the best.
To save her small law firm, earnest lawyer Susan takes a high-paying case from Nick, a charming new client who wants to sue a dating website that guarantees love. But as the case heats up, so do Susan and Nick’s feelings for each other.
Mark Steven Johnson directs, and on his name alone, 3 stars.
Love, Weddings & Other Disasters
It is a multi-story romantic comedy about the people who work on weddings to create the perfect day for a loving couple – while their own relationships are outlandish, odd, crazy and far from perfect.
From the director of Jack and Jill and Grown Ups.
And I was about to joke that Diane Keaton was in it because she’s always in family wedding movies, but Diane Keaton IS IN THE FUCKING MOVIE.
Holy shit. It’s like Rachel McAdams and time traveler movies where she gets the play the wife.
Love. Wedding. Repeat.
An English Language remake of French wedding comedy ‘Plan de Table’.
Of course. Everyone knows that movie.
This is Netflix. The director wrote Death at a Funeral, and it has Olivia Munn and Sam Claflin and Eleanor Tomlinson. Honestly, it being a remake it should be okay to get to 3 stars, so we’ll go with that.
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