Release Radar – May 31st, 2024

It seems we are still living in the shadow of Furiosa because there is nothing on deck this weekend that is even trying to compete. That’s good news for me because I still have some catchup to do, but there are a lot of interesting options on deck this week if you’ve had your fill of sand. Let’s have a look.

New In Theaters


Director(s): Tony Goldwyn | Writer(s): Tony Spiridakis

Stars: Bobby Cannavale, Robert De Niro, Rose Byrne, Vera Farmiga

Tony Goldwyn has been a solid filmmaker for over twenty years but doesn’t get the feature film spotlight often, so I’m very interested in this. The cast is amazing and that’s a good start. There’s always one feel-good movie every year that wins me over pretty good this might be it.

Summer Camp

Written & Directed by: Castille Landon

Stars: Kathy Bates, Diane Keaton, Betsy Sodaro

Why a summer camp would have a 50-year reunion, or whatever, is beyond me but this too has a strong cast. If it leans into the humor more than the romance we could have something that’s a lot of fun, but it looks like it wants to walk that line and play both sides.

In a Violent Nature

Written & Directed by: Chris Nash

Stars: Ry Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Cameron Love

The new “it” horror film of the year has arrived. Oddly, I was recently talking to a friend about the trajectory of horror films that play to their core audience by romanticizing the killers and making the “protagonists” the ones to root against. This seems like exactly what I was talking about taken to the logical conclusion. Given my options this week, this one is pretty high up on the board.

Limited Release

The Commandant’s Shadow (May 29th)

Written & Directed by: Daniela Volker

The true story of the family from The Zone of Interest. It’s really fucking weird to see Hitler, yes that Hitler, listed among the “stars” of the film, especially when it’s just archival footage. I’m sure it’s a very interesting documentary.

Young Woman and the Sea

Director(s): Joachim Rønning | Writer(s): Jeff Nathanson, Glenn Stout

Stars: Daisy Ridley, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Stephen Graham

It’s always peculiar to see movie trends. I can’t think of a movie about female swimming before Nyad rightfully got a lot of respect and attention last year, and now here we are with another very similar true story and character with many of the exact same story beats. There are some unavoidable similarities, but I have to wonder if this was made with Nyad in mind.


Director(s): D.W. Waterson | Writer(s): Joanne Sarazen, D.W. Waterson

Stars: Devery Jacobs, Evan Rachel Wood, Kudakwashe Rutendo

It’s been a long time since Bring It On but there was a competition documentary recently that was pretty intriguing. I trust Evan Rachel Wood will be good, and the choreography isn’t playing around either. I’m hopeful.

*The Dead Don’t Hurt – Editor’s Pick*

Written & Directed by: Viggo Mortensen

Stars: Vicky Krieps, Viggo Mortensen, Solly McLeod

A frontier Western with Viggo Mortensen writing, directing, and starring? I am so in! Vicky Krieps is also fantastic. Say no more.


Director(s): Christopher Wilcha | Writer(s): Joe Beshenkovsky, Adam Samuel Goldman, Christopher Wilcha

The indie documentary to redefine indie docs. Christopher Wilcha mixes the passion for saving a record store with the film he’s always wanted to make. I get down with this.

What You Wish For

Written & Directed by: Nicholas Tomnay

Stars: Nick Stahl, Tamsin Topolski, Randy Vasquez

Nick Sthal is back! With The Menu, Boiling Point, The Bear…chef dramas are the in thing. Kidding aside, this looks like a very intriguing concept that could be very good…or at least up my alley. #NickSolidarity

The Young Wife

Written & Directed by: Tayarisha Poe

Stars: Leon Bridges, Aya Cash, Kiersey Clemons

I like the visual style and color that I see in this trailer, but reading the description of the movie is confusing. The meaning of love and commitment is the easy part, but I’m not sure what a non-wedding is. There’s enough hear to pique my interest.

Big Boys

Written & Directed by: Corey Sherman

Stars: Isaac Krasner, Dora Madison, David Johnson III

As a “heartwarming coming-of-age comedy” it’s not exactly the most compelling sales pitch, but beneath the familiar foundation is a more nuanced story element that can thrive and find effectiveness in this familiar environment.

Deer Camp ’86

Director(s): L. Van Dyke Siboutszen | Writer(s): Bo Hansen, Riley Taurus

Stars: Noah LaLonde, Jay J. Bidwell, Arthur Cartwright

I don’t expect this to be frightening but I think it can be fun.

The Hangman

Director(s): Bruce Wemple | Writer(s): Bruce Wemple, LeJon Woods

Stars: Lindsey Dresbach, Jessy Holtermann, LeJon Woods

This movie at least is focused on trying to be frightening, unlike a lot of horror films these days. Whether or not it succeeds remains to be seen, because I see the one-liners too. Plus, like many new horror films, the killer has to be wearing some kind of easily identifiable mask.

Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes

Director(s): Sam Shahid | Writer(s): Matthew Kraus, John MacConnell, Sam Shahid

Stars: Vince Aletti, Don Bachardy, Vincent Cianni

I have no idea who George Platt Lynes is, but the showcase here is pretty self-explanatory. I don’t know for certain, but I would guess he inspired a photographer I do follow, Rob Woodcox, and so that may be enough of a tether for me to grab onto here.

Invisible Nation

Director(s): Vanessa Hope

Stars: Chu Chen, Yu-jie Chen, Bi-Khim Hsiao

This is fascinating! I’m in.

Protocol 7

Director(s): Andrew Wakefield | Writer(s): Terry Rossio, Andrew Wakefield

Stars: Rachel G. Whittle, Matthew Marsden, Josh Murray

These kinds of corporate espionage and corruption films tend to be vehicles for bigger names, but given that this appears to be an anti-vaccine…or at least an anti-conglomerate…story, I understand. Maybe not so oddly, the description of this film leaves that verbiage at the door and uses words terms like corporate fraud and whistleblower instead.

Shadow Land

Director(s): James Bamford | Writer(s): Ian Corson

Stars: Rhona Mitra, Jon Voight, Marton Csokas

This is the kind of movie that would have been a solid mid-budget thriller in the 90s. That’s a good thing quality-wise. The primary cast is small but solid, so we’ll see how it holds up.

International Marketplace

Robot Dreams (New York)

Director(s): Pablo Berger | Writer(s): Pablo Berger, Sara Varon

Stars: Ivan Labanda, Albert Trifol Segarra, Rafa Calvo

Finally, this movie is getting out there a little bit. I am not sure how the Academy works with this kind of stuff, but this movie was nominated for Best Animated Feature despite not getting a theatrical release in the US within the eligibility window. Also, international films don’t need to meet that requirement when being submitted for International Feature. I don’t know, but it’s basically June and we are just now getting the most limited of releases. But, I am way behind on my workload, so maybe I can cut them some slack. Just lemme see it already!

Queen Tut

Director(s): Demi Morsi | Writer(s): Abdul Malik, Bryan Mark, Kaveh Mohebbi

Stars: Alexandra Billings, Thom Allison, Ryan Ali

There has been a big swing in drag representation on screen in the last few years, and I would have to think a large part of that is due to the success and influence of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Rightfully so! Opening those doors gives the room for stories like this to breathe and find an audience that otherwise wouldn’t have access to this. The trailer is a little generic still, so I’m hoping it delivers bigger swings beyond that.

Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle

Director(s): Susumu Mitsunaka | Writer(s): Haruichi Furudate, Susumu Mitsunaka

Stars: Ayumu Murase, Kaito Ishikawa, Yûki Kaji

Anime is a huge blindspot for me, but I did get to see a little more of it during AniMaytion month when I sponsored it with the film club. Based on the title, I wasn’t really thinking it’s a volleyball story, but I did just attend a Southern California regional club tournament for volleyball, so I’m more intrigued than I would have been.

Rani Rani Rani

Written & Directed by: Rajaram Rajendran

Stars: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Asif Basra, Danny Sura

Sadly, I don’t think this movie is going to get much if any run in the States but it’s right in my genre sweetspot. Time loop and time travel movies have kind of run out of steam, but this puts an interesting twist on the idea. I would definitely watch it in theaters if I could.

Handling the Undead

Director(s): Thea Hvistendahl | Writer(s): Thea Hvistendahl, John Ajvide Lindqvist

Stars: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Bahar Pars

Now this is what I am looking for in a horror film! Something that wants to challenge the audience to be uncomfortable and scare them, even if that is more of a slow burn. I’m all the way in.

Streaming & Digital

Bionic (Netflix May 29th)

Director(s): Afonso Poyart | Writer(s): Josefina Trotta

Stars: Jessica Córes, Miguel Falabella, Gabz

This may very well be a Blade-Runner-wannabe, stylistically, but I don’t care. Gimme all the bionic people in a cyberpunk future. If Netflix only gave me stuff like this, I would be stoked.

Die Hart 2: Die Harter (May 30th)

Director(s): Eric Appel | Writer(s): Tripper Clancy, Derek Kolstad

Stars: Kevin Hart, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ben Schwartz

I had no idea this existed until today, because why would anyone expect there to be a sequel to Die Hart? It is kinda weird that Kevin Hart has become the guy that makes this B-movie among B-movies. I can’t begin to make something of this. Maybe I’ll just avoid it.

Jim Henson Idea Man (Disney+)

Director(s): Ron Howard | Writer(s): Mark Monroe

Stars: Frank Oz, Bonnie Erickson, Brian Henson

Similar to Stan Lee, Jim Henson is responsible for so many wonderful creations and memories. I think this look into who Henson was and where his creative energy came from is going to be inspiring. I’m in!

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