Release Radar – Jan. 7th, 2022

It is still a bit tough to believe that I just typed 2022 in the header but, alas, here we are. Maybe the studios are feeling it too as we approach awards season because there isn’t a whole lot on deck. However, the is the first Release Radar of the new year and I’m still going to do my due diligence.

The 355 (Theaters)

Writers: Theresa Rebeck & Simon Kinberg | Director: Simon Kinberg

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o, and Bingbing Fan

A group of female agents must work together to stop a top-secret weapon from falling into the wrong hands. I really love this cast but Simon Kinberg has burned me in the past and the concept is generic and kinda boring at this point. The action-spy-thriller genre is obviously very profitable (still) and I know a lot of people enjoy them, but I stopped watching Mission Impossible several sequels ago, lost patience with Daniel Craig’s Bond series, and tapped out midway through the second Kingsman. While they may have the spectacle and the star power, if it’s not bringing anything new to the table, it’s just a pandering cash grab. I’m not at all surprised to see unfavorable scores across all the major platforms.

A Hero (Theaters Jan. 7th + Streaming Jan. 21st)

Written & Directed by: Asghar Farhadi

Starring: Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabandeh, and Sahar Goldust

A prisoner on leave attempts to convince his creditor to withdraw the charges against him, but his plans don’t work out the way he planned. Writer/Director Asghar Farhadi was nominated for an Oscar for his 2012 film A Separation and this latest film won the Grand Prix Award (essentially 2nd place) and the François Chalais Award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. It’s received critical praise so far and it looks like it gets pretty intense. so I’m curious to check it out. I’m guessing theatrical releases will be sparse, so I can wait a few weeks for it to start streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

King Car (Theaters)

Writers: Sergio Oliveira, Renata Pinheiro, and Leo Pyrata | Director: Renata Pinheiro

Starring: Okado do Canal, Jules Elting, and Matheus Nachtergaele

A boy, with the extraordinary ability to speak to cars, befriends the vehicle that saved him from a traffic accident as a child and they eventually team up to tackle a variety of political issues. Stephen King’s Christine is one of my all-time favorites and I love weird sci-fi stuff, so this is right up my alley. This is a very ambitious idea and doesn’t appear to be a comedy either so it’s tough to tell what this movie is and the tagline isn’t very succinct either. Still, I’m curious.

See For Me (Theaters + VOD)

Writers: Adam Yorke, and Tommy Gushue | Director: Randall Okita

Starring: Skyler Davenport, Kim Coates, and Jessica Parker Kennedy

A young, blind woman is cat-sitting at a secluded mansion when a group of thieves invades the home looking for a hidden safe. Her only lifeline is a new cellphone app that connects the blind user with a sighted virtual assistant. Why a young blind woman is cat-sitting, alone at a secluded mansion is a question that needs answering, but the idea to tell this thriller from two different, layered perspectives that are experiencing is actually pretty brilliant. If it’s executed well, it could be very effective in achieving the kind of fear response you want from the audience.

What Else Is New…

The Tender Bar (Streaming on Amazon Jan. 7th)

Writers: William Monahan (screenplay), J.R. Moehringer (book)

Director: George Clooney

I am 99% sure that I had already previewed this close to a month ago, but I kept seeing it on the release calendar so here it is for its Amazon debut. I like the cast but nothing about this one is pulling at me to make time to watch it. It’s streaming now if you want to check it out.

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