While there has been a lot going on that’s been nearly all-consuming, I still love going to the movies and I added more than 30 new releases to my watchlist over the past month that I’ve been unable to go. Now that I am feeling a little better I can finally enjoy some of that particular self-care brand.
New In Theaters
Book Club: The Next Chapter
Director: Bill Holderman | Writers: Bill Holderman, Erin Simms
Stars: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen
I never thought I’d see the day when the Book Club sequel would be the biggest title on a summer release weekend in 2023, but here we are. I’m happy that this opportunity exists for a story about women in their 70s but I already saw Jane Fonda’s characters get the focal love life in Grace & Frankie, 80 for Brady, and Moving On. I won’t be watching this movie if I can help it, but let her play second fiddle to one of these other capable actresses for a change.
Director: Robert Rodriguez | Writers: Robert Rodriguez, Max Borenstein
Stars: Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, JD Pardo
So, this is Jessica Jones‘ Purple Man story turned into an action-crime thriller? I don’t know if Rodriguez is trying to toe the line between the superhero genre and the Netflix-brand action movie, but I had zero awareness of this movie until right now and that’s not a good sign for a director whose work I mostly like.
Knights of the Zodiac
Director: Tomasz Baginski
Writers: Josh Campbell, Matt Stecken, Kiel Murray, Masami Kurumada (original work)
Stars: Mackenyu, Famke Janssen, Madison Iseman, Sean Bean
I have no clue where this one came from either but it looks like it wasn’t cheap and it has some interesting casting wrinkles that have intrigued me. If this one were streaming, I would jump all over it just to see Nick Stahl in a suit of magical battle armor but I have so many movies to check off before I can get to this.
Director: Matt Johnson
Writers: Matt Johnson, Matthew Miller, Jacquie McNish (book)
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson, Cary Elwes
This isn’t one I necessarily thought I was going to be interested in but the more I see the trailer, the more I want to see the film. It’s kind of an unofficial recent history trilogy along with Tetris and Pinball. Jay Baruchel is usually pretty consistently good, but I am really excited for Glenn Howerton here.
Rally Road Racers
Written & Directed by: Ross Venkour
Stars: Jimmy O. Yang, J.K. Simmons, Sharon Horgan, Chloe Bennett
It’s been six years since the last Cars movie, so I guess we needed another animated racing film? I like Sharon Horgan but I don’t even recall hearing her in the trailer and it’s weird to have J.K. Simmons in the cast and then saddle him with whatever that weird accent I heard was. I’ll pass but it’s a good option for anyone looking for something to take the kids to.
Written & Directed by: Charlie Day
Stars: Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Adrien Brody, Kate Beckinsale, Jason Bateman, Ray Liotta, John Malkovich, Edie Falco, Common, Ken Jeong, and more
I just saw this trailer for the first time the other day and it looks like it just might be a complete and utter disaster. However, the cast is awesome and I like Charlie Day enough to get behind his directorial debut which he also wrote and starred in. It’s going to walk a tightrope between brilliance and buffoonery, but I am totally here for it.
Monica (+ VOD)
Director: Andrea Pallaoro | Writers: Andrea Pallaoro, Orlando Tirado
Stars: Trace Lysette, Emily Browning, Patricia Clarkson
A woman returns home to care for her dying mother, but also has to unpack a lot of family and personal history along the way. If I am not mistaken, Trace Lysette who stars in the titular role is a trans woman and that’s also part of this character’s story but that is left out of the plot summary that I read. So, it’s a good sign to see that this is being marketed as a human story and not just a trans story. It’s also perhaps a little strange that the language in the pull quotes talks a lot about Patricia Clarkson and not Lysette given what the story is. I’ll check this one out but will probably have to jump through some hoops to find it in limited release.
The Starling Girl
Written & Directed by: Laurel Parmet
Stars: Eliza Scanlen, Lewis Pullman, Jimmi Simpson
We have seen coming-of-age stories before but this time we get to see a 17-year-old girl struggle with Christian fundamentalism as well as a sexy youth pastor, well that’s damn near sacrilicious. It wouldn’t be my typical go-to, but I am more intrigued than I would have otherwise been.
Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West
Written & Directed by: Ashley Avis
Horses are majestic animals and I have been known to have an emotional reaction to other films where a horse suffers or dies. So, to see that in documentary form is going to be gutting I’m sure. If I can. find this one in limited release, I will make a point to see it.
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Writers: Emanuele Crialese, Francesca Manieri, Vittorio Morni
Stars: Penélope Cruz, Vincenzo Amato, Luana Giuliani
Set in 1970s Rome, a mother looks to embrace and love her children for who they are while navigating societal pressures. This one also has a plot summary that doesn’t even mention the child in the story struggling with their identity. I’m curious if it’s a marketing tactic or something, but the visual fingerprint I saw in the trailer is excellent and I am curious to see what else is in store.
Carl Jackon’s LAX 2 Paris
Written & Directed by: Carl Jackson
Stars: Andrea McClew, Carl Jackson, Daniela Di Cosmo, Crystal Santos
This is a sequel to a movie that I didn’t know existed and I can’t even find an IMDB listing for it, which is very strange. I like the idea of this black-and-white, one-room storytelling, and what I have seen looks solid, but I have no idea what is going on.
It Ain’t Over (NYC/LA)
Written & Directed by: Sean Mullin
Stars: Andy Andres, Roger Angell, Marty Appel
My baseball fandom is a thing of the past but if there was ever a compelling character to get me back on board, at least for a limited runtime, it’s the story of one of the game’s most overlooked greats: Yogi Berra. This is how I want my baseball.
Streaming & Digital
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez | Writer: John Griffin
Stars: McKenna Grace, Brady Noon, Billy Barratt
Everyone was teasing Disney for their Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie, and rightfully so, but this looks like what I would expect from Disney+ content. It reminds me a bit of the kind of adventurous kids’ sci-fi I grew up with like Flight of the Navigator and Explorers. So, if this ushers in a new era like that then I’m all for it.
The Mother (Netflix)
Director: Niki Caro | Writer: Misha Green, Andrea Berloff, Peter Craig
Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick
Vengeful moms are borderline superhumans and Jennifer Lopez is going to kill everyone in her path to get to her daughter. For better or worse, this is exactly the kind of stuff that comes to mind when I think of Netflix originals. I would probably never see this one in theaters anyway, so it’s a good thing that there’s a place for movies like this to find their own level.
*STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie (Apple TV+) – Editor’s Pick*
Director: Davis Guggenheim | Writer: Michael J. Fox
Stars: Danny Irizarry, Hannah Galway, Kai Kreinman
Get ready to cry because this is going to bring on the waterworks. Michael J. Fox was a phenomenon and it’s going to be very emotional to look at his battle with Parkinson’s, how his spirit has persevered, and ultimately an examination of the character that made MJF such a compelling person in the first place. I was set to give my Editor’s Pick to something else, but I have changed my mind and I’m giving it to this!
The Curse of Wolf Mountain (VOD May 9th)
Director: David Lipper
Stars: Tobin Bell, David Lipper, Danny Trejo
This is about as much of a straight-to-video movie as you could draw up, but it looks solid within that scope. There is no IMDB listing and I can’t find any screenwriting credits, so who knows what’s in store?
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!