Release Radar – April 28th, 2023

With a whirlwind travel weekend and some unexpected news on the family side of life, I didn’t get a chance to see any of last week’s new releases over the weekend and there is a really strong chance that I will not have the time to check any of this week’s options out either. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still coming and I know there are multiple titles that I will add to my ever-growing watchlist.

New In Theaters

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Director(s): Kelly Fremon Craig | Writer(s): Kelly Fremon Craig, Judy Blume (novel)

Stars: Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachael McAdams, Benny Safdie, Kathy Bates

Based on the famous novel by Judy Blume, this beloved coming-of-age story finally gets its big-screen adaptation. It has been a while but this seems like a logical sophomore project for Kelly Fremon Craig following The Edge of Seventeen. It has a strong cast as well and I expect it to deliver.

Big George Foreman

Director(s): George Tillman Jr.

Writer(s): Frank Baldwin, George Tillman Jr., Dan Gordon

Stars: Khris Davis, Jasmine Matthews, Sullivan Jones

George Foreman has an incredible story, and I hope this movie can do it justice. However, the trailers appear to be very…let’s say guided…and the weird glossiness of it isn’t particularly appealing to me. If you are interested in the man and the story, there is a 2017 documentary titled Foreman by Chris Perkel that you may want to check out.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Re-Release)

Director(s): Richard Marquand | Writer(s): George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan

Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

It’s the 40th Anniversary of Return of the Jedi and I feel super old. I don’t know that there is anything to say that hasn’t been said, but this is a great opportunity to check this one out on the big screen for Star Wars fans that never got that chance. I love the inclusion of the Revenge of the Jedi trailer as well.

Limited Release


Written & Directed by: Jalmari Helander

Stars: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan

A Finnish soldier finds gold in the wilderness and must defend himself from a bunch of Nazis who want to take it from him. The trailer is brutal but having fun watching Nazis get destroyed is one of the golden rules of cinema, no pun intended. In a year where John Wick 4 had such a strong audience, I think this will do well riding that same wave with a slightly different panache.

Polite Society (Theaters)

Written & Directed by: Nida Mansoor

Stars: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Renu Brindle

This martial arts action comedy from the UK looks like it could be this year’s version of Everything Everywhere All At Once. That is a really high bar obviously, and maybe not even fair to use that as a point of comparison but they will get made. I like the visual style a lot and the tone seems to fall into the “let’s have fun” category, so I am on board.

The Black Demon

Director(s): Adrian Grunberg | Writer(s): Carlos Cisco, Boise Esquerra

Stars: Josh Lucas, Fernanda Urrejola, Héctor Jimémenez

Is it a shark or a god? Either way, this seems pretty straightforward. There’s a really big shark that needs killing. You know the drill. Plus, you get the added element of isolation on a mostly abandoned oil rig. It’s not the kind of thing that is going to be at the top of my watchlist but I could enjoy this as an at-home watch.

Big Shark 

Written & Directed by: Tommy Wiseau

Stars: Erica Mary Gillheeney, Amber Nicole Dalton, Elaina Guidry

If there is one shark movie you have to see this weekend, it’s gotta be the second feature from cult movie icon Tommy Wiseau. The trailer for this movie is just as strange and bad as you would expect, featuring a weird boxing match and surprisingly very little shark.

Freaks Out

Director(s): Gabrielle Mainetti | Writer(s): Nicola Guaglianone, Gabriele Mainetti

Stars: Claudio Santamaria, Aurora Giovinazzo, Pietro Castellitto

The title didn’t do much to move the needle but the trailer has my attention. It reminds me of a cross between maybe Pan’s Labyrinth and X-Men, set during the WWII era with a group of outcasts with special abilities. I love the visual style and the circus element, so if this one is done right it could be awesome. It’s Italian so I am hoping it is not bound to the PG-13 trappings of the US market.

Nuclear Now

Director(s): Oliver Stone | Writer(s): Joshua S. Goldstein, Oliver Stone

The case for nuclear energy, as told by Oliver Stone. There are great humanitarian and ecological reasons to embrace nuclear energy as the way of the future, and if not for a couple of large-scale catastrophes that scared people off of it, we’d probably be well beyond the point of having this conversation. I will be curious to see how the argument is presented here.

Delicious Romance

Director(s): Leste Chen | Writer(s): Chao-jen Hsu

Stars: Yang Shen, Yi Shuaijie

I don’t think I had ever heard of a Chinese rom-com but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I never watched the show Delicious Romance so I don’t know if this is an adaptation of the show or a sequel film in the same vein as the Sex and the City TV to big screen curve. Definitely not my wheelhouse.

*The End of Sex – Editor’s Pick*

Director(s): Sean Garrity | Writer(s): Jonas Chernick

Stars: Emily Hampshire, Jonas Chernick, Gray Powell

Okay, when it comes to relationship comedies, this is the kind of rom-com I want to see. It’s not the typical, phony portrayal of love and romance that seems to be the throughline for the genre. I really like Emily Hampshire as well and I am happy to see her get the chance to be a lead in this role. Jonas Chernick wrote and also stars in it so I figure he is going to be pretty spot-on when it comes to tone. I’m in for this one and it get’s my Editor’s Pick.

T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets

Director(s): Sophie Fiennes | Writer(s): T.S. Eliot

Stars: Ralph Fiennes

I love minimalism and this is about as minimalist as you can get. Ralph Fiennes reciting T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets in a one-man show. It certainly sounds like my cup of tea and it’s also just an hour and twenty-two minutes.

Snag (Theaters + VOD)

Director(s): Ben Milliken | Writer(s): Ben Milliken, Brent Tarnol

Stars: Jeanette Aguilar Harris, C.J. Perry Barnyashev, Jonny Beauchamp

Guns, gangsters, and pink limousines. If it’s as good as it could possibly be, maybe we get an Australian version of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet but that’s a pretty high bar to meet.

Born to Fly

Written & Directed by: Liu Xiaoshi

Stars: Yibo Wang, Jun Hu, Yosh Yu

Elite pilots testing top secret fighter jets sounds like a good bit of fun, but can any movie about fighter pilots stack up now that Top Gun: Maverick has raised the bar so high? Probably not. If you don’t see your expectations too high, this could still be fun.

The Monsters Without (April 27th)

Written & Directed by: Randal Kamradt

Stars: Jake Macapagal, Jessica Niestadt, Christina Yr. Lim

This movie looks super weird and the filmmaking quality leaves a lot to be desired. What I find most strange in the description is that this sci-fi story is actually set a few years in the past, in 2017. Most films that deal with sci-fi at least leave room for an ambiguous near future, but this plants its roots firmly in the past. I don’t know if I have the bandwidth to find out why.

The Artifice Girl (April 27th)

Written & Directed by: Franklin Ritch

Stars: Tatum Matthews, Lance Henriksen, Sinda Nichols

This is 100% my kind of sci-fi! It’s a really big and intriguing concept, sort of like M3GAN without the slasher comedy elements or the budget. These kinds of films that don’t have the money to show off have to be smart in their presentation and while the budgetary restrictions are definitely there, this is a concept that can work within them. I am very much on board for this.

The Eight Mountains (New York)

Director(s): Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch

Writer(s): Paolo Cognetti, Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch

Stars: Luca Marinelli, Alessandro Borghi, Lupo Barbiero

This is a beautiful trailer and there is something quietly captivating about the way it’s shot. The music is a nice touch too but to see a story that unfolds over 40 years is also pretty rare and unique. Just the views of the Italian Alps alone are worth checking this one out, but I’m interested in the whole thing.

Streaming & Digital

Peter Pan & Wendy (Disney+)

Director(s): David Lowrey | Writer(s): David Lowrey, Toby Halbrooks, J.M. Barrie

Stars: Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Jude Law

There have been a number of Peter Pan adaptations over the years and I am at an age where there’s no real interest, but then I saw Jude Law as Captain Hook. From a production standpoint, it sure looks the part though. Since I am stuck at home this weekend once again, there is an increased likelihood of checking this one out but the user reviews on IMDB as currently abysmal.

Clock (Hulu)

Written & Directed by: Alexis Jacknow

Stars: Dianna Agron, Melora Hardin, Saul Rubinek

Some movie ideas are a little too on the nose. In this case, it’s all about the pressures of the female biological clock and a woman seemingly gets peer pressured to fix hers which is broken. I get the peer pressure element of having kids but the idea that this person is broken and needs fixing is a really terrible message to send Hopefully, there is more to it than that but those are the nuts and bolts of this horror idea.

AKA (Netflix)

Director(s): Morgan S. Dalibert | Writer(s): Alban Lenoir, Morgan S. Dalibert

Stars: Sveva Alviti, Saïdou Camara, Eric Cantona

What happens when you go undercover to infiltrate a crime family but end up forming a bond with the boss’s kid? That’s the question on the table in this French action-thriller. The music in the trailer is awesome and if the movie is as intense as the preview then we are in for something that could be quite good. The couch watchability is a big bonus this weekend as well.

Invitation to a Murder (VOD/Digital April 25th)

Director(s): Stephen Shimek

Writer(s): Gérard Miller, Brian O’Donnell, Jerome Reygner-Kalfon

Stars: Mischa Barton, Chris Browning, Bianca A. Santos

A Clue-like whodunnit set on a remote island in 1934. Not wholly original or compelling, but it looks the part of what it says it is.

Exhibit #8 (VOD/Digital April 25th)

Director(s): Ruben Broekhuis

Writer(s): Ruben Broekhuis, Sarah Offringa, Minque van Kessel

Stars: Nastaran Razawi Khorasani, Claudio Magaña Torres, Mike Reus

The use of a documentary setup for a horror film may be considered ambitious and possibly exploitative, but it also borders on brilliance. The success of the idea will ultimately depend on its execution. Personally, I am intrigued and willing to give it a chance, especially after seeing the unsettling trailer.

Going Nowhere (VOD/Digital April 25th)

Director(s): Isabel Shill | Writer(s): Felipe Dieppa, DIana Irvine, Drigan Lee

Stars: Isabel Shill, Diana Irvine, Felipe Dieppa

It’s hard to describe this movie but I am going to do my best. While it looks like a documentary, it’s shot that way because it tells the story of a first-time filmmaker working on their first film but it also happens to be director Isabel Shill’s feature debut in real life. So, it’s very tongue in cheek but I like that about this project. I guess if I had to find something as a springboard, it’s like The Office if it were about making a movie.

Kill Her Goats (VOD/Digital April 25th)

Written & Directed by: Steve Wolsh

Stars: Arielle Raycene, Danielle Mathers, Monica Sims

This film has an awesome poster that might be worth having even if the movie itself isn’t so good. With this traditional slasher-style setup, a group of scantily clad young women is extra vulnerable at a remote house in the woods with a shady history. There’s also a goat-headed creature with a double-sided chainsaw! “Why are there goats?” I can’t help but ask myself the same question. There’s only one way to find out.

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