Release Radar – Aug. 19th, 2022

I love the doldrums of Summer. Fall is creeping up quickly and you can see the focus shift away from the blockbuster mindset. I also love seeing more unique cinematic ideas getting their opportunities, and the first one on this list is as weird as you are going to get!

Glorious (Shudder Aug. 18th)

Director: Rebekah McKendry

Writers: Joshua Hull, David Ian, McKendry, Todd Rigney

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, and J.K. Simmons

Fresh off a breakup that has him in a self-loathing spiral, a man encounters a mysterious entity in a rest-stop bathroom stall with an elaborate glory-hole. When he tries to leave he finds himself trapped and negotiating the fate of the universe. I don’t know if this is the first glory-hole horror film, but it’s the first I’ve heard of and it sounds like my kind of bizarre! I haven’t familiarized myself with filmmaker Rebekah McKendry, but I want to now. Ryan Kwanten seems like a great fit for this role and I love that it’s kept very small-scale cast-wise, but having J.K. Simmons do the voiceover work for the entity is a beautiful thing! This is exactly the kind of peculiar stuff I’m looking to take a chance on late at night on Sudder. Call this one runner-up for my Editor’s Pick.

Beast (Theaters)

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Writers: Ryan Engle (screenplay), Kamie Primak Sullivan (story)

Starring: Idris Elba. Sharlto Copley, Leah Jeffries, and Iyana Halley

The more I see the trailer for this movie, the less interested I am…and I see it a lot. I felt the same way about Bullet Train and while my expectations were lowered, I wound up enjoying that one more than I thought.S o, I can extend that same courtesy here to Idris Elba and Sharlto Copley who I both like quite a lot. There just happens to be some stuff in the trailer that looks like it will challenge the suspension of my disbelief. It’s still the biggest film of the weekend and will be a good litmus test of Elba’s drawing power.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (+IMAX)

Director: Tetsuro Kodama | Writer: Akira Toriyama

Starring (voice): Masako Nozawa, Toshio Furukawa, and Yûko Minaguchi

I have never watched anything Dragon Ball and I don’t plan to start now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. There is plenty of connective tissue between this and a number of genres I love, so it’s weird that I never got into it but I know a ton of people who really love it, and its cultural influence has had a global impact. So, if I ever was going to make the leap this would be it. The fact that it’s getting play on IMAX formats says a lot about its appeal and drawing power and I really hope all the fans get the best experience they can from it.

*The Immaculate Room (Theaters + VOD) – Editor’s Pick*

Written & Directed by: Mukanda Michael Dewil

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth, and Ashley Greene

A couple participates in an isolation challenge where they’ll have to live in a blank white room, with no contact with the outside world for 50 days, and if they succeed they’ll get $5-million. Sounds easy at first but with no distractions, every unturned stone in their relationship winds up under the microscope. Plus, the mysterious administrators of the game have their own plans to push the couple’s limits. I like environmental psychological horror and if it’s treated with respect, this could be a very interesting film. I love the set design of the Immaculate Room itself and it acts as something of a blank canvas for the story to unfold. I know Emile Hirsch and Kate Bosworth are more than capable of pulling it off, so this one is going to come down more to the direction and writing of filmmaker Mukanda Michael Dewil. My soft spot for oddly futuristic stuff leads me to give this one my Editor’s Pick.

Spin Me Round (Theaters + VOD)

Director: Jeff Beane | Writers: Jeff Beane, Alison Brie

Starring: Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Debby Ryan

Who wouldn’t jump at an all-expenses paid, company trip to Italy? The credits list doesn’t show any character names but when Alison Brie’s character arrives at the Italian institute, she learns that she was brought in for a much different purpose as she is romanced by the company’s owner, played by Alessandro Nivola’s character. Aubrey Plaza stars in this one too, so I am extra curious about just how dark this comedy is going to get and the rest of the cast is excellent too. Director Jeff Baena has good comedy chops and wrote this one with Brie, so this could be a sleeper hit.

The Territory (Theaters)

Director: Alex Pritz | Starring: Neidinha Bandeira, and Bitaté Uru Eu Wau Wau

“When a network of Brazilian farmers seizes a protected area of the Amazon rainforest, a young Indigenous leader and his mentor must fight back in defense of the land and an uncontacted group living deep within the forest.” This documentary looks absolutely fascinating as it dives into both the politics of Brazil and the culture at the heart of the Amazon. The visual storytelling in the trailer looks incredible.

Orphan: First Kill (Theaters + VOD)

Director: William Brent Bell

Writers: David Coggeshall (screenplay), David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (story), Alex Mace (story)

Starring: Isabelle Fuhrman, Julia Styles, and Rossif Sutherland

Esther is back and this time in America, but she isn’t who she claims to be. Even though I see a slightly more detailed description, that’s what I could gather from the trailer and it’s the least spoilery. Isabelle Fuhrman reprises her role in this one but that’s about it when it comes to rollover. I like Julia Styles and I think she’ll do a good job with this, it just seems like a lot was given away in the preview. Plus, it’s a little extra weird this is having a simultaneous video-on-demand rollout when the first film was successful. More access isn’t a bad thing though.

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