The Academy Awards are this weekend, so it’s not really a surprise to see that the titles leading the box office are pretty antithetical releases. There are only three prominent titles dropping this weekend, but there are plenty of supplemental offerings if you don’t want more franchise films or are sick of dinosaur films.
New In Theaters
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet
Writers: James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick, Kevin Williamson (based on)
Stars: Courtney Cox, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega
Had you told me in the late 90s that this franchise would still be going on nearly 30 years later, I never would have believed it. I stopped at Scream 4 and haven’t been interested since, and that hasn’t changed. Moving things to New York is a right of passage for slashers in a way but that doesn’t move the needle for me. I’ve heard that it’s abysmal from some smart voices in the industry that I trust, but I am also glad to see that the fans of the franchise love it and think it’s #2 to only the original. Odds are I won’t be seeing it, but ya never know.
Written & Directed by: Scott Beck and Bryan Woods
Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman
It seems like directing duos is the theme for this week as the two highest-profile releases both have co-pilots. When I first saw the poster for this, I thought they were jumping way down the line in the Jurassic World franchise. However, if anyone is going to travel back in time to kill all the dinosaurs with a laser rifle, I’m glad it’s Adam Driver. It does maybe want to take itself too seriously considering how goofy the idea is, but I’m feeling the vibe. Sci-Fi and dinosaurs are typically two things I like.
Director: Bobby Farrelly | Writer: Mark Rizzo, Javier Fesser, David Marqués
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Kaitlin Olson, Matt Cook
If done right, this could be meaningful in the right way but it’s walking a fine line. We have seen the “coach that falls from grace and has to bring the misfits together” story before, so this has to be handled with care. I like Woody Harrelson so I am more inclined to give it a chance.
Confession (Theaters + Amazon Rental)
Director: Dayna Hanson | Writer: Gregory Mulligan
Stars: Clark Backo, Sterling Beaumon, Mark Cryer
An ambitious DA takes on a case of sexual assault against a young woman, but there’s an even deeper mystery afoot. This one definitely wants to be topical, but it has a lot of work to do to land its idea.
Punch (Theaters + Amazon Rental)
Written & Directed by: Welby Ings
Stars: Tim Roth, Jordan Oosterhof, Conan Hayes
A young boxer on the verge of his first professional fight has his entire world upended when he gets entangled with a Maori boy. I think this is Welby Ings’ first feature at the helm so there are no expectations from me. I am a fan of Tim Roth though and it’s a big get to have him on board. I’m glad to see filmmaking coming from New Zealand as well.
Director: Brad Watson | Writer: Nicole Bartlett
Stars: Daniel Stisen, Lauren Okadigbo, Yennis Cheung
A little bit of Assault on Precinct 13 and Hotel Artemis put a very dangerous man in a position to get hunted by some very dangerous people. It doesn’t look like the best movie but it doesn’t appear to set an unreasonably high bar for itself either. Could be a fun B-movie type thing.
Director: Jon Wright | Writer: Mark Stay, Jon Wright
Stars: Hannah John-Kamen, Douglas Booth, Colm Meaney
The poster for this movie is completely unserious so I didn’t expect the trailer to go hard on the horror vibe, but it looks like someone took Leprechaun and tried to make it as serious as possible…minus the specific mythology stuff. Could be decent.
Written & Directed by: Jeffrey A. Smith
Stars: Emma Myers, Katelyn Nacon, Gary Weeks
A rock star pushes the envelope with drinking and drugs. He hits rock bottom and turns to God, gets baptized, and transitions to his childhood dream of being a preacher. Normally, all of those things would be an automatic no. However, after watching Katelyn Nacon in Linoleum I am more inclined to give this film a chance for her sake…even though the hair gets a bit dicey.
The Magic Flute
Director: Florian Sigl | Writer: Andrew Lowrey, Florian Sigl, Jason Young
Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Iwan Rheon, Jeanne Goursaud
This isn’t my typical fare but I kinda want to see this for some reason. It’s like Harry Potter meets Chronicles of Narnia, except Hogwarts is a school for aspiring young musicians. Odds are I don’t try to catch this in theaters, but we will see.
Written & Directed by: Tim Clague and Danny Stack
Stars: Doug Cockle, Griff Rhys Jones, Nicole Faraday
See, I told you there was a theme of dual directors this week! Anyway, this is exactly the kind of movie I wished would have been getting made when I was a kid. Sadly, it falls outside of my desired wheelhouse as an adult.
Director: Anthony Nardolillo | Writer: Michael Corcoran
Stars: Cam Gigandet, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Lisa Vidal
This looks like a made-for-TV heist movie. I mean, it literally looks like it was made for the CW. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad or anything, but it follows all the typical heist movie beats and sprinkles in some Nazis to make the effort worth your while. I’ll pass.
Rewind & Play (NYC & LA)
Written & Directed by: Alain Gomis
Stars: Thelonious Monk
A very weird documentary chronicling a disrespectful interview at the end of Thelonious Monk’s European Tour in Paris in 1969. The teaser doesn’t give us much, so I think I am more likely to watch this one at home.
Bottoms (March 11th)
For whatever reason, I can’t seem to find the trailer for this movie. Of the two videos, I came across on YouTube titled “Bottoms Trailer”, one was a trailer for a different movie and the other was just a still image with a voice-over.
Director: Emma Seligman | Writers: Emma Seligman, Rachel Sennott
Stars: Dagmara Dominczyk, Ruby Cruz, Kaia Gerber
Streaming & Digital
Ghost Town (VOD March 7th)
Written & Directed by: Owen Conway
Stars: Owen Conway, Robert Sprayberry, Eva Hamilton
I like westerns and thrillers and creepy ghost story-type stuff, so I am curious. Owen Conway is all in from writing to directing to starring in it and I love that kind of passion which makes me slightly more inclined to check this out if I get the chance.
*Unseen (VOD March 7th) – Editor’s Pick*
Director: Yoko Okumura | Writer: Salvatore Cardoni, Brain Rawlins
Stars: Midori Francis, Jolene Purdy, Michael Patrick Lane
I feel like this idea is familiar but I can’t quite place it. I know for sure it reminds me a bit of Cellular I think it was called, but I like taking a concept that seems reserved for films wanting to be serious and turning that into a very self-aware idea that wants to have fun with the concept. I was all ready to give my Editor’s Pick to 65 and just call it a day, but I’m going to go a different direction.
ReBroken (VOD March 7th)
Director: Kenny Yates | Writer: Scott Hamm Duenas, Kipp Tribble
Stars: Scott Hamm Duenas, Kipp Tribble, Alison Haislip
A grieving father gets a vinyl record that allows him to communicate with his dead child. That’s…interesting. Part Synchronic part Frequency but significantly lower budget than either. I do like those movies though and I also think it’s important to process grief in a healthy way, although this trailer shows exactly the opposite. We’ll see.
Sound of Silence (VOD March 9th)
Written & Directed by: Alessandro Antonaci, Daniel Lascar, Stefano Mandalà
Stars: Lucia Caporaso, Chiara Casolari, Daniel De Martino
Bucking the trend of duos, this movie has a 3-way writer/director combo. Apparently, this all hinges on a cursed radio so take that for what it’s worth. Given that setup, you’d think it would make sense to feature the radio but it just seems like everything else becomes cursed which defeats the unique purpose of an old radio, to begin with. Obviously, I haven’t seen it yet but imagine I made a movie about a cursed coffee cup but instead of the coffee cup doing anything, it just makes the rest of my kitchen go crazy. See what I mean? Anyway, if this ends up on Shudder I will probably take one for the team.
Chang Can Dunk (Disney+)
Written & Directed by: Jingyi Shao
Stars: Bloom Li, Ben Wang, Zoe Renee
If this manages to avoid some very obvious racial pitfalls, this could be a fun and heartwarming story about perseverance and overcoming the odds.
Faraway (Netflix March 7th)
Director: Vanessa Jopp | Writer: Jane Ainscough, Alex Kendall
Stars: Naomi Krauss, Goran Bogdan, Adnan Maral
The Florence and the Machine song is doing a lot of heavy lifting for the trailer here. Kinda gives off a How Stella Got Her Groove Back for Europeans vibe, for better or worse.
Luther: The Fallen Son (Netflix)
Director: Jamie Payne | Writer: Neil Cross
Stars: Idris Elba, Cynthia Erivo, Andy Serkis
I already covered this one when it went to limited release, but it’s landing at home on Netflix this weekend.
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