Release Radar – March 15th, 2024

Naturally, the week I get back to the Release Radar also happens to be a week with more titles on the schedule than any other week I can recall. Convenient. The Oscars are over and I’ve got a lot of work to do, so let’s get right to it.

New In Theaters

The American Society of Magical Negroes

Written & Directed by: Kobi Libii

Stars: Justice Smith, David Allen Grier, Drew Tarver

I don’t know if it’s quite cut from the same cloth as say an American Fiction, They Cloned Tyrone, Sorry to Bother You, or Dear White People but there is some fabric in common. While I am not super excited about this one, perhaps due to seeing the trailer one too many times, I liked all those other films I listed and will be seeing this.

Arthur the King

Director(s): Simon Cellan Jones | Writer(s): Micheal Brandt, Mikael Lindnord

Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Nathalie Emmanuel, Simu Liu

I’m sure this is a perfectly heartwarming based-on-a-true-story good time. And I would probably sob in the theater if I decided to go. I have space for those in my habits, despite my penchant for much weirder fare. Heck, I just watched Nyad and it fits that bill nicely. This is a film that, at least on the surface, doesn’t really interest me.

*Love Lies Bleeding (Expands) – Editor’s Pick*

Director(s): Rose Glass | Writer(s): Rose Glass, Weronika Tofilska

Stars: Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Ed Harris, Dave Franco

I saw this one while it was in limited release last week, and I can confidently say it’s my favorite film of the year so far. And, no shade, but yes I’ve seen Dune. If you want a more in-depth look at why, you can check out my review for Love Lies Bleeding here. Since I didn’t get to do the Release Radar last week, this is my Editor’s Pick.

One Life

Director(s): James Hawes | Writer(s): Lucinda Coxon, Nick Drake, Barbara Winton

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Lena Olin, Johnny Flynn

When considering films based on true stories, this one is much more my speed. Plus, Anthony Hopkins is a treasure and he’s not going to be around forever. So, I want to make an effort to absorb the work of his later years as much as I can.

Snack Shack

Written & Directed by: Adam Rehmeier

Stars: Conor Sherry, Gabriel LaBelle, Mika Abdalla

After Dinner in America, I will watch whatever Adam Rehmeier wants to do. The sense of humor, the style, and the entrepreneurial spirit are all up my alley. Plus, I liked Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans, so I am curious to see him in a role that’s more unrestrained.

Limited Release

The Woods are Real (March 12th)

Director(s): Alix Lambert | Writer(s): Matt Dellapina, Sean Christopher Lewis

Stars: Matt Dellapina, Chinasa Ogbuagu, Campbell Scott

Okay, okay. I figured this was a horror movie, but it looks much more cerebral and offbeat than a typical cabin-in-the-woods slasher. The vibe reminds me of the kind of stuff I like From Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, so i will give this one a chance…assuming I can find it.

Blackout (March 13th)

Written & Directed by: Larry Fessenden

Stars: Marshall Bell, Michael Buscemi, Joseph Castillo-Midyett

Quirky indie drama turns werewolf horror…now we’re talking! Larry Fessenden doesn’t play around. He’s got a ton of experience at what seems like every level of filmmaking, so I really want to see what he is able to do with this.

The Animal Kingdom

Director(s): Thomas Cailley | Writer(s): Thomas Cailley, Pauline Munier

Stars: Romain Duris, Paul Kircher, Adèle Exarchopoulos

This is a lot more intriguing than I had initially expected. I don’t know what I had envisioned in my head, but it wasn’t this. Adèle Exarchopoulos just had a pretty substantial role in Passages last year, so I am curious to see how big of a part she plays here. This one has climbed the charts of interest.

Butterfly in the Sky

Director(s): Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb

Stars: LeVar Burton, Kenny Blank, Alisa Reyes

I was of the age that Reading Rainbow was part of my childhood. I grew up and didn’t realize the show continued into the 2000s. Similar to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood the show meant a lot and seems to be a forgotten style of television programming for kids. I don’t know that I will rush to the theaters to see this one, but I will check it out at some point.

Club Zero

Director(s): Jessica Hausner | Writer(s): Jessica Hausner, Géraldine Bajard

Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Amir El-Masry

Something between a high school drama and a cult leader origin story, this one looks like it’s my kinda jam. The music is just creepy enough to make the outfits bug me even more and the cinematography I see on display in the trailer is sumptuous. I think Mia Wasikowska can slay in this lead role. I’m in.


Written & Directed by: Jae-hyun Jang

Stars: Choi Min-sik, Kim Go-eun, Lee Do-hyun

South Korean cinema continues its ascension. Gravedigging, mystery, horror. Sign me up! This one could be difficult to find given the fact that it’s in limited release, but I will make the effort.

Knox Goes Away

Director(s): Michael Keaton | Writer(s): Gregory Poirier

Stars: Al Pacino, Marcia Gay Harden, Micahel Keaton

It’s been 15 years or so since Michael Keaton’s directorial debut, but I’m pleased as punch that his resurgence has afforded him this opportunity. You had me at Michael Keaton, but I’m staying for the Al Pacino, Marcia Gay Harden, and James Marsden. Yes, please!

The Neon Highway

Director(s): William Wages | Writer(s): Phillip Bellury, William Wages

Stars: Beau Bridges, Rob Mayes, Sam Hennings

The other Bridges brother gets a crack at a version of Crazy Heart. This trailer isn’t doing it for me. There was a moment in that trailer where it could have turned into something exciting, but it doesn’t appear to go in that direction. Oh well.

On the Adamant

Director(s): Nicolas Philibert | Writer(s): Linda De Zitter, Nicolas Philibert

Stars: Mamadi Barri, Walid Benziane, Sabine Berlière

Given that I work in mental health when I’m not doing the movie stuff, I may be particularly susceptible to this story. I can already feel myself getting emotional from the trailer and I’m intrigued by the idea of this floating psychiatric centre. I’ll find a way to watch it.

Remembering Gene Wilder

Director(s): Ron Frank | Writer(s): Glenn Kirschbaum

Stars: Alan Alda, Mel Brooks, Harry Connick Jr.

Gene Wilder is one of cinema’s greatest underrated treasures, and I don’t say that lightly. Documentaries fueled by nostalgia can come across in a certain way but here, I think it reflects a very genuine love of Wilder’s contribution to the arts. I can see myself watching this one and then chain-smoking his entire filmography.


Director(s): Paul Middleditch, Hamish Bennett | Writer(s): Sonia Whiteman, Paul Middleditch, Hamish Bennett

Stars: Julian Dennison, Minnie Driver, Rhys Darby

Julian Dennison has shown himself to be an enjoyable screen presence and this is a great chance for him to use the humor that we’ve seen from him and make a meaningful transition to more dramatic work.


Written & Directed by: Mickey Keating

Stars: Colin Huerta, Vero Maynez, Ruby Vallejo

This trailer is more of a teaser. So, it’s difficult to glean much from it. It’s a horror film. It looks like there’s maybe a home invasion. I’ll have to wait and see.

State of Consciousness

Director(s): Marcus Stokes | Writer(s): Guillaume Tunzini, Dikran Ornekian, Rylend Grant

Stars: Emile Hirsch, Gaia Scodellaro, Michael E. Rodgers

Emile Hirsch never became the kind of star I think we all anticipated after Into the Wild, but he’s continued to do good and varied work. It’s been a more noticeable return over the past couple of years and I trust him enough to take a chance on a sci-fi thriller in my wheelhouse.

Hey, Viktor!

Director(s): Cody Lightning | Writer(s): Cody Lightning, Samuel Miller

Stars: Cody Lightning, Hannah Cheesman, Simon Baker

This is the kind of completely psychotic energy that I want from my indie flicks. Whether or not it pans out remains to be seen, but I’m here for all the unhinged stuff I can get my eyeballs on.

**DogMan – Runner Up*

Written & Directed by: Luc Besson

Stars: Caleb Landry Jones, Jojo T. Gibbs, Christopher Denham

When I think of young actors who define intensity, Caleb Landry Jones is the first name that comes to mind. Plus, The Fifth Element and Léon: The Professional writer/director Luc Besson helms this project. So, even if it’s a total trainwreck it’s going to be a glorious sight to behold. I’m on board! If it weren’t for Love Lies Bleeding, this would be my Editor’s Pick.

Much Ado About Dying

Director(s): Simon Chambers

An intimate portrait of a man at the end of his road and his nephew who is tasked with watching after him. This one might hit a little too close to home for me right now as it deals with hoarding and the dangers of living alone as your loved one’s faculties decline. I want to see it, but I’m scared too.

The Prank

Director(s): Maureen Bharoocha | Writer(s): Rebecca Flinn-White, Zak White

Stars: Rita Moreno, Connor Kalopsis, Ramona Young

Riat Moreno is great and having Keith David and Kate Flannery in the mix certainly elevates the floor for this project. It seems to have the kind of humor I enjoy and it’s rated R. And it’s 90 minutes which is always a big plus.

Re: Uniting

Written & Directed by: Laura Adkin

Stars: Jesse L. Martin, Michelle Harrison, Roger Cross

This wouldn’t be my typical go-to but I am starting to get closer to this age demographic and I like to support debut features, which this is for writer/director Laura Adkin. This is likely to be one that I would tackle from my couch when it inevitably hits digital after a narrow theatrical window.

Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus

Director(s): Neo Sora

Stars: Ryuichi Sakamoto

Tender. Intimate. A love letter, about one year after the acclaimed composer’s death. This is for a niche audience, but I think it’s going to be great for those in the target demo.

The Shadowless Tower

Written & Directed by: Lu Zhang

Stars: Bai Qing Xin, Yao Huang, Zhuangzhuang Tian

This too is much more of a teaser than a trailer, but I have been seeing more and more stuff coming out of the Chinese cinema space over the past few years and I think it’s important. I would like to see a full trailer before jumping in feet first, but I could see this being something I enjoy.

The Throwback

Written & Directed by: Mario Garcia

Stars: Bobby Kee, Will Sasso, Justina Machado

Midlife crisis meets the body-swap movie model. I didn’t think I would want to see it, but there are a lot of good comedic performers and it seems like it has heart. This too would likely be one I wait until digital for, but it looks cute.

Prey (+VOD)

Written & Directed by: Mukunda Michael Dewil

Stars: Mena Suvari, Emile Hirsch, Ryan Phillippe

See! I told you Emile Hirsch is staying busy. Plane crash survival horror plus lions…I’m into it. Fortunately, this one does get a bonus digital release so it will be easier to access. The cast is really strong so I see potential here.

French Girl (+VOD)

Written & Directed by: James A. Woods, Nicolas Wright

Stars: Zach Braff, Vanessa Hudgens, William Fichtner

Meh. I’m not a big enough fan of Zach Braff to be into this one. It might end up being pretty funny, but I’ll wait and see.

Streaming & Digital

One-Percent Warrior (aka One Percenter) (VOD/Digital)

Written & Directed by: Yûdai Yamaguchi

Stars: Tak Sakaguchi, Shô Aoyagi, Itsuji Itao

The drone cinematography looks like it could be a good addition to this premise, but I’m here for the guy dodging bullets and breaking collar bones with a wrench.

Silver Haze (VOD/Digital)

Written & Directed by: Sacha Polak

Stars: Vicky Knight, Esme Creed-Miles, Charlotte Knight

Revenge is a dish best served in blazing glory. I’m in.

Inshallah a Boy (VOD/Digital)

Director(s): Amjad Al Rasheed | Writer(s): Delphine Agut, Rula Nasser, Amjad Al Rasheed

Stars: Mouna Hawa, Haitham Alomari, Yumna Marwan

I remember previewing this one last year, but I can’t tell if the release date got bumped along with many of the other delays from 2023. Either way, you can rent it right away if you are interested.

The Lionheart (MAX March 12th)

Director(s): Laura Brownson

Stars: Michael Andretti, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti

Racing is inherently a dangerous sport and Dan Wheldon paid the ultimate price. Now, his wife is faced with their sons wanting to follow in their father’s footsteps. I bet there is a lot of emotion at stake here and I will be checking this one out on MAX.

Little Wing (Paramount+ March 13th)

Director(s): Dean Israelite | Writer(s): John Gatins, Susan Orlean

Stars: Brain Cox, Kelly Reilly, Brooklyn Prince

Brian Cox has been a great actor for a long time, but I am equally as excited to see Brooklyn Prince continue her rise. I’ve watched her Apple original show Home Before Dark for several years and I wished she had gotten a better run in Cocaine Bear. So, I am confident that this will be my speed. And it’s on Paramount+ so I have easy access.

Frida (Prime Video March 14th)

Director(s): Carla Gutierrez

Stars: Frida Kahlo

Another good documentary option this week brings the art and the life of Frida Kahlo into focus with a beautiful purpose. I’ve been waiting out the busy weekends lately, so I am glad to see so many strong options for my couch-watching habits.

Irish Wish (Netflix)

Director(s): Janeen Damian | Writer(s): Kirsten Hansen

Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Ed Speleers, Alexander Vlahos

Is Lindsay Lohan back? I can’t quite tell, but this seems like the kind of movie she would have made back at the height of her star power. This is the kind of rom-com territory I rarely tread, but my wife will likely be watching this one.

Trolls Band Together (Peacock)

Director(s): Walt Dohrn, Tim Heitz | Writer(s): Elizabeth Tippet, Thomas Dam

Stars: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Kenan Thompson

I could have sworn the Trolls was successful enough to warrant a theatrical run for its sequel, but here we are. I didn’t see the first one, and I have no plans to see this one either, but it’s good for families that want something new to watch without having to break the bank at the theaters.

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