There are so many movies this week, that it makes me not want to do this every week. However, there are also a good amount of movies that I wanna see. So, let’s share in the wealth together and take a look at what’s on deck.
New In Theaters
The Marvels (+ IMAX)
Director(s): Nia DaCosta | Writer(s): Meggan McDonnell, Elissa Karasik, Nia DaCosts
Stars: Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Samuel L. Jackson
I have seen this trailer far too many times against my will. I wouldn’t say I am excited about it because I didn’t love the first Captain Marvel, through no fault of Brie Larson’s, but it was just fine as a superhero film. The negative reception of the first is probably why this one isn’t named Captain Marvel 2 but I can’t pretend it’s not weird to shoehorn this character in as the strongest hero in the MCU (after Wonder Woman beat Marvel to the box office) and then stick Carol Danvers in a team-up movie the second time around. I like Teyonah Parris and I think she can bring a lot to this film, so I’m optimistic. I’ll get to it after the weekend but I should probably finish Ms. Marvel first.
Journey to Bethlehem
Director(s): Adam Anders | Writer(s): Adam Anders, Peter Barcocchini
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Milo Manheim, Geno Segers
Jesus is Born: The Musical! I was not expecting this. As much as I am not a fan of movies that leverage holidays to market themselves, if there was going to be an exception to the rule…this would be it.
It’s a Wonderful Knife
Director(s): Tyler MacIntyre | Writer(s): Michael Kennedy
Stars: Jane Widdop, Jess McLeod, Joel McHale
On the other side of that holiday exploitation coin, we have this slasher. Dressing up like Moonknight probably isn’t the best outfit for a killer who goes around slashing people, but it will make for a very splatter-tastic look.
Your Lucky Day
Written & Directed by: Dan Brown
Stars: Angus Cloud, Elliot Knight, Jessica Garza
This is not The DaVinci Code Dan Brown, but it’s good to see him getting the chance to expand his short into a feature-length film. Plus, we lost Angus Cloud far too soon, so I am definitely going to check this one out.
The Great Turkey Town Miracle
Director(s): Angus Benfield | Writer(s): E. Joren Christensen, Steve Dini
Stars: Sharon Oliphant, Cameron Arnett, Corey Cannon
As much as this looks exactly like the kind of movie that I would never watch, the trailer is pretty charming. It strikes me as much more of a fit as a Hallmark original and that may be where it ultimately finds its audience.
The Holdovers (Expands)
Director(s): Alexander Payne | Writer(s): David Hemingson
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Hoy Randolph, Dominic Sessa
I was fortunate enough to see this one in its limited release window and it’s fantastic. David Hemingson’s script is marvelous and Alexander Payne brings all the emotion through the screen. Excellent performances all around. Safely one of the best films this year. So, when faced with the other low-hanging holiday season fruit, choose Payne. Alexander Payne.
*Dream Scenario – Editor’s Pick*
Written & Directed by: Kristoffer Borgli
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Lily Bird, Julianne Nicholson
No offense to Lily Bird, but how did she get top billing here? Anyway, as the Sheist International Film Club celebrates #NicVember, we are graced with a true holiday miracle. I will let the trailer speak for itself because you already know where I stand and that’s with Cage.
Written & Directed by: Blair Moore
Stars: Tammin Sursok, Nathan Phillips, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor
Here I was thinking this was another biblical story for the holidays, but boy was I surprised. I definitely didn’t expect a crime drama about a crime boss with multiple personalities. It does seem like an exploitative look at dissociative identity disorder, but I can’t complain too much.
A Place in the Field
Director(s): Nikki Mejia | Writer(s): Bluesmon Del Vecchio, Don DiPetta, Khorri Ellis
Stars: Ashless Brian, Kelvin Bryan, Troy Curvery III
Meh. The trailer was kinda boring but the themes are valuable at least. It does have a 9.2 on IMDB based on 7 reviews, so take that as you will.
There’s Something in the Barn
Director(s): Magnus Martens | Writer(s): Aleksander Kirkwood Brown, Josh Epstein, Kyle Rideout
Stars: Amrita Acharia, Townes Bunner, Alexander Karlsen El Younoussi
If I have learned anything about inheriting an isolated property, you might as well just burn it for the insurance. I like the combo of Norwegian and American horror coming together here for the holidays. I am not sure if I can get to it, but I will try and check it out if it’s playing near me.
The Dirty South
Written & Directed by: Matthew Yerby
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Willa Holland, Shane West
This should have been a straight-to-streaming title. I know it will get there soon enough, but even if this does turn out to be good it’s going to be really hard to find.
Showdown At The Grand
Written & Directed by: Orson Oblowitz
Stars: Terrence Howard, Dolph Lundgren, Amanda Righetti
Now this is the kind of small movie I can get behind. Hell, I am in it for Dolph Lundgren’s hairpieces alone. But in all seriousness, the plight of indie movie theaters is real and I like the way it’s made with a wink, a nod, and a laugh.
Director(s): Ira Rosensweig | Writer(s): Benjamin Sutor,
Stars: Melvin Gregg, Bradley Whitford, Alice Braga
I’ve always been fascinated by isolation horror. Technically I see this listed as a sci-fi thriller but I like those words too! Maybe it’s a Black Mirror episode, but I like that too. The least interesting thing about this is that it’s being marketed as “the first feature film ever to be shot entirely from one fixed camera angle”. Well, there’s a reason for that and so we’ll have to see how it manages to stay entertaining when that’s the premise as well. I’ll see it though.
Written & Directed by: John Trengove
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Adrien Brody, Odessa Young
It’s weird to think we have a movie starring Jesse Eisenberg and Adrian Brody and it’s basically a secret. Branding, secret societies…maybe it’s on brand. It looks like it will head to expanded release next week, but this new model of interesting films with good talent just sorta flying under the radar while we get some of the other things taking up oxygen is an odd pattern. I’ll check this out.
Orlando, My Political Biography
Written & Directed by: Paul B. Preciado
Stars: Arthur, Emma Avena, Amir Paylly
I typically don’t care for documentaries that employ reenactments but the artistry on display here is very compelling and it’s a collection of stories that is worth hearing. Hopefully, I will be able to find this one.
Stamped From the Beginning
Director(s): Roger Ross Williams | Writer(s): Ibram X. Kendi, David Teague
Stars: Angela Davis, Alexa Rachelle Jennings, Ibram X. Kendi
This is another hybrid documentary that takes on a worthwhile subject, but we’ll see how it handles folding in scripted elements. When visiting the National African American History Museum in D.C., a lot of this information is available but not in a streamlined way that is easily digestible. Good for Netflix.
A Still Small Voice
Director(s): Luke Lorentzen
Stars: Margaret ‘Mati’ Engel
The life of a hospital chaplain is not an easy one. It’s a job where you’re primarily focused on the business of death and pain when families are at their most vulnerable. However, it’s an important job and with so many people experiencing loss over the past 3+ years that importance is magnified.
This Much We Know
Director(s): L. Francis Henderson | Writer(s): John D’Agata
Las Vegas has the highest suicide rate in the country, for some obvious reasons and some not so obvious. If everything lines up, there’s massive potential here. If you are a documentary lover, this is definitely the week for you even if this particular doc isn’t up your alley.
Written & Directed by: Mick Davis
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Shane West, Kelli Garner
If you ever wondered what Dexter would be like if he was a court stenographer, now is your moment in the sun. I’m happy to see Emile Hirsch getting more work again but of all the people I would expect to have multiple films out this week, Shane West wouldn’t be the one. I’ll check it at some point but I am not in a rush.
Streaming & Digital
The Christmas Classic (VOD Nov. 5th)
Director(s): Shane Dax Taylor | Writer(s): Austin Nichols, Shane Dax Taylor
Stars: Malin Akerman, Carlos Alazraqui, Will Blagrove
The Malin Akerman/Amy Smart rivalry element seems like good fun, but this is exactly the kind of Christmas pandering that doesn’t spark anything in me. Who knows, it could be alright.
Polaris (VOD Nov. 7th)
Written & Directed by: Kirsten Carthew
Stars: Viva Lee, Muriel Dutil, Charlene Abraham
I did not expect this to be set in a post-apocalyptic 2144 and I sure as heck didn’t expect a space traveler looking like a power ranger to show up halfway through the trailer either. I’m not sure how to feel, but I am more interested than I was at the start.
Christmas With Jerks (VOD Nov. 7th)
Director(s): Leanna Adams, Kristina Arjona | Writer(s): Leanna Adams
Stars: Leanna Adams, Tyler Buckingham, Naddya Alicea
Another Christmas rom-com?!? Color me shocked. Maybe if the trailer was even remotely funny, there would be something to go on. I will say that there are some big fans who have all given this a perfect 10 on IMDB and it’s a great display of astroturfing the reviews. Good for them!
Lion-Girl (VOD Nov. 7th)
Written & Directed by: Kurando Mitsutake
Stars: Derek Mears, Juli Burrise, Stefanie Estes
For better or worse, this shit looks wild. I don’t know if I want to see it or not, but I know that I have to! I need to! It reminds me a bit of Super Infra-Man from the 60s and that’s totally my jam.
Love Virtually (VOD Nov. 7th)
Director(s): L.E. Staiman | Writer(s): Cheston Mizel, L.E. Staiman
Stars: Cheri Oteri, Stephen Tobolowsky, Paul F. Tompkins
Imagine Ready Player One and a rom-com. This is the kind of romantic comedy that I can get behind.
Ghosts of the Void (VOD Nov. 7th)
Written & Directed by: Jason Miller
Stars: Carter Shimp, Michael Reagan, Tedra Millan
I love the simplicity of the trailer and not overselling. That may not translate to the film but it’s an effective trailer that has me on board.
Christmas at the Holly Day Inn (VOD Nov. 7th)
Director(s): Monika Gergelova, Adam Wilson | Writer(s): Lisa Chapman
Stars: Tamla Kari, Colin Baker, Mark Arnold
I was hopeful that a non-American take on the holiday rom-com would yield something different…something better, but it’s not looking that way. All these movies follow the same formula, so just pick one.
Lord of Misrule (VOD Nov. 7th)
Director(s): William Brent Bell | Writer(s): Tom de Ville
Stars: Ralph Ineson, Tuppence Middleton, Matt Stokoe
After that last trailer, I am spiritually obligated to support the horror movie released in the middle of all the holiday cheer. Ralph Ineson is always worthwhile and this culty, dark alternative is a good one for me.
Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld (Netflix Nov. 8th)
Written & Directed by: Kilian Lieb & Max Rainer
It seems unlikely that a lot of this footage was captured as part of the documentary, so at what point does the line get blurred? A creepy underground bunker in Germany is about as creepy a place to start a movie as imaginable. So, let’s go.
You Were My First Boyfriend (Max Nov. 8th)
Written & Directed by: Cecilia Aldarondo & Sarah Enid Hagey
Stars: Ella Fraley, Natalie Grace, Trinity Soos
Another documentary, another set of recreations. Honestly, there are way too many movies coming out this week but when it comes to doc subjects, this is an interesting one. The notion of play acting as younger selves is something a lot of people can relate to but this wasn’t a great trailer. Hopefully, the actual film is better.
Albert Brooks: Defending My Life (Max)
Director(s): Rob Reiner
Stars: Albert Brooks, Judd Apatow, James L. Brooks
This is a documentary that has some built-in interest for me because of the man at the center and the history of the business that comes with it. I’ve seen Albert Brooks a lot, but there’s like a whole lifetime I didn’t witness. I will probably watch this and then deep dive Brooks career.
Director(s): David Fincher | Writer(s): Andrew Kevin Walker, Alexis Nolent, Luc Jacamon
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell
The two-week window is up for David Fincher’s latest and it’s going to be a talking point on social media. I went to check it out in theaters and enjoyed it pretty well. I didn’t love it even though I loved things about it, but I ultimately walked away thinking that it was a movie I would likely continue to think about over time. A grower, not a shower. Check it out.
Out of the Darkness (VOD Nov. 8th)
Director(s): Anders Refn | Writer(s): Flemming Quist Møller, Anders Refn
Stars: Jesper Christensen, Bodil Jørgensen, Mads Reuther
Well, this is a sequel to a movie I haven’t even heard of so the odds of me seeing this have gone off a cliff. The trailer is pretty intense as you may expect from a movie about WWII and the growing brutality of the Nazis.
Best Birthday Ever (VOD Nov. 8th)
Director(s): Michael Ekbladh | Writer(s): Rotraut Susanne Berner, Aje Brücken
Stars: Jonathan Bailey, Jennifer Saunders, Adrian Edmonson
I won’t be watching this but if you are looking for something that’s kid-friendly for the family, this is your best bet.
Adventures of the Naked Umbrella (VOD Nov. 8th)
Written & Directed by: Gerald Brunskill
Stars: Tom Arnold, Richard Riehle, Jeremy Davies
Conspiracy theorists, pyromaniacs, grannies doing coke, and aliens? Now, this is my kinda Christmas movie! Ridiculous in all the best ways. Let’s go!
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