I will be lucky if I get to see one of these new releases this weekend, but there’s a lot to get to so let’s just jump right in!
Director: Scott Mann | Writers: Jonathan Frank and Scott Mann
Starring: Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan
After a tragic rock climbing accident, a pair of friends attempt to climb a 2000-ft radio tower ladder (for some reason) as a way of cathartically processing their grief. Things don’t go so well. I like the general premise and I’m a fan of situational/environmental horror. “Contrivances” is a word I have seen thrown around a few times with this movie, but I also fully expect some way-too-convenient plot elements. If it’s effective and engaging, it can still work just fine. Whether or not I find that out in theaters is a different question, but I would be curious enough to watch it at my convenience.
Emergency Declaration (Theaters)
Written & Directed by: Jae-rim Han
Starring: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, and Jeon Do-yeon
If air travel weren’t stressful enough already, a terrorist unleashes a highly-contagious and deadly virus, mid-flight, on a crowded commuter jet. Panic ensues as the plane is refused landing clearance. This one looks super intense and although I have seen none of Jae-rim Han’s work, I am very familiar with Song Kang-ho (Parasite, The Host, Snowpiercer) and I know he is going to be great in this and that’s enough for me!
*Emily the Criminal (Theaters) – Editor’s Pick*
Written & Directed by: Jonathan Patton Ford
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, and Bernardo Badillo
This is the debut feature from John Patten Ford and the trailer looks great! It legitimately gave me goosebumps, so whoever cut that deserves a raise. Aubrey Plaza is one of my favorite actors right now because she is usually taking on interesting and challenging projects just like this. A woman who is buried in debt and desperate gets involved with some underworld criminals that lead her down a very dangerous path. This one also stars Theo Rossi who I liked a lot from his time on Luke Cage. It looks really intense and I’m here for it! That’s why it gets my Editor’s Pick this week.
Day Shift (Netflix)
Director: J.J. Perry | Writers: Tyler Rice and Shay Hatten
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Meagan Good, and Snoop Dogg
Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg as vampire hunters…say no more! Obviously, this movie knows what it is and doesn’t aim to be pretentious about it and there’s a place in my heart for movies just like that. This is the directorial debut for longtime stuntman J.J. Perry so I expect this to be a lot of fun in that regard. Plus, Jamie Foxx never disappoints.
Rogue Agent (Theaters & AMC+)
Directors: Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson
Writers: Michael Bronner, Adam Patterson, and Declan Lawn
Starring: Gemma Arterton, James Norton, and Matthew Douglas
This is based on the true story of a conman who tricked women into believing he was a secret operative for the British intelligence agency MI5 for years and the one woman who ultimately brought him to justice. This reminds me of Bill Paxton’s character from True Lies and I’m wondering if that character was based on this real-life person, Robert Freegard. Had I not stopped to watch the trailer, I probably would have skimmed over this one but I am glad it’s on my radar with more emphasis now.
What Else Is New…
Secret Headquarters (Paramount+)
Directors: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Writers: Josh Koenigsberg, Henry Joost, and Areil Schulman
Starring: Owen Wilson, Michael Peña, and Walker Scobell
As an adult, this isn’t the kind of movie I am going to jump at but it’s exactly the kind of movie I would have loved as a kid. In fairness, it is aimed at children. However, it looks like it is mixing several different well-known superhero elements together to appeal to that crowd. I like Owen Wilson and Michael Peña and the young Walker Scobell was good alongside Ryan Reynolds in The Adam Project, so I think there’s enough there to give it a chance. And I can’t pretend the couch access doesn’t help!
Mack & Rita (Theaters)
Director: Katie Aselton | Writers: Madeline Walter, and Paul Welsh
Starring: Diane Keaton, Elizabeth Lail, and Taylour Paige
Diane Keaton is a great actress and she’s supported and she’s supported here by promising talents Elizabeth Lail (You) and Taylour Paige (Zola), but body swap comedies are nothing new. When done right they can be a lot of fun, but framing this one in the scope of social media is worrisome. I’m sure it hits a lot of the same benchmarks as others in the genre, but I am probably not going to seek it out.
Director: James Ponsoldt | Writers: Benjamin Percy, and James Ponsdolt
Starring: Lia Barnett, Sanai Victoria, Madalen Mills, and Eden Grace Redfield
A coming-of-age story about a group of girls who go on one big adventure on the weekend before middle school. I saw this described as “pretty much a remake of Stand By Me” so if that’s your thing then I can see it being worth a watch. The trailer didn’t do much for me, but strong perfomances from the kids could go a long way in making it enjoyable. The 49 on MetaCritic does give me serious pause though.
Director: Masaaki Yuasa | Writers: Akiko Nogi (screenply), Hideo Furukawa (novel)
Starring (voices): Avu-chan, Mirai Moriyama (voice), and Kenjirô Tsuda
When I see the words serial killer, rock opera, and anime all in the same sentence, I can’t help but be intrigued. I don’t know much else about it other than one character wearing a weird mask and that’s the way I like it. I may wait to get this one at home, but it’s on my watchlist.
Girl Picture (Theaters)
Director: Alli Haapasalo | Writers: Ilona Ahti, and Daniela Hakulinen
Starring: Aamu Milonoff, Eleonoora Kauhaned, and Linnea Leino
There has been a nice amount of good films trickling out of Finland and Alli Haapasalo’s film follows a trio of girls who are becoming women. It’s another coming-of-age story but skews older. While two of the girls fall in love, the third sets out to find pleasure. Word of mouth has been good on this one, but it’s still going to be tough to find. There are a couple of indie theaters that may carry it but if I have to wait for video-on-demand, it’s not the end of the world.
Laal Singh Chaddha (Theaters Aug. 11th)
Director: Advait Chandan | Writers: Atul Kulkarni (adapted screenplay)
Starring: Amir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, and Naha Chaitanya Akkineni
This is the Indian remake of Forrest Gump. Need I say more? I don’t think the story is going to be able to translate very well while still maintaining what made the original work so well. There is a zero percent chance I will go to theaters for this. However, there is a level of morbid curiosity.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (IMAX only)
Director: Steven Spielberg | Writer: Melissa Mathison
Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, and Peter Coyote
E.T. is back for a special 40-year anniversary release in IMAX. It obviously wasn’t shot in IMAX, but it will be upconverted. The beloved classic from Steven Spielberg is an iconic piece of American cinema and this is a great chance for fans to relive the magic and an opportunity for those who haven’t seen it to experience it for the first time on the big screen!
Thanks for reading! I still believe word of mouth is the best way to help, so if you enjoy what I’m doing, please tell somebody. And if you have a comment, I’d love to hear it! Liking, subscribing, and sharing go a long way too. As usual, be well, be safe, and have fun no matter how you get your movies!