Release Radar – Nov. 12th, 2021

Eternals ruled the roost in its opening weekend and will likely power through its second week, but the kids’ demographic got a boost this week and streaming services are offering a lot of variety for your home viewing pleasure. Without further adieu, let’s get to it.

Passing (Select Theaters + Netflix Nov. 10th)

Written & Directed by: Rebecca Hall

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, and Alexander Skarsgård

It’s a Netflix kind of weekend and I’ll start the list with a film that I saw advertised quite a while ago. Set in 1920s New York, two high school friends reunite and their lives as light-skinned, white-passing women of color are thrown into competition and disarray. This is the directorial debut for Rebecca Hall and I love her as a performer, so I’m excited to see how she approached this charged psychological thriller from behind the camera.

Red Notice (Netflix)

Written & Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds

Rawson Marshall Thurber, the director of Dodgeball, We’re The Millers, and Central Intelligence reunites with The Rock for Netflix’s latest action-comedy. Netflix loves these kinds of top-heavy, star-power action flicks and I can’t say I blame them. Clearly, someone in the executive food chain remembers the 90s fondly. Thurber has made some fun and enjoyable movies and it’s hard to go too wrong with this cast. Johnson, Gadot, and Reynolds appear to be all checking in as characters they have played before, so just plop on the couch and don’t overthink it.

Belfast (Theaters)

Written & Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Starring: Jude Hill, Lewis McAskie, Jamie Dornan, and Caitriona Balfe

This is as least partially autobiographical from writer/director Kenneth Branagh who was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1960. The story follows a young boy and his family as they navigate the tumultuous period in Ireland during the late 60s known as The Troubles. Branagh is an accomplished filmmaker so it’s no surprise to see this one receiving critical acclaim so far.

7 Prisoners (Netflix)

Writers: Thayná Mantesso and Alexandre Moratto | Director: Alexandre Moratto

Starring: Rodrigo Santoro, Josias Duarte, Cecília Homem de Mello, and Vitor Julian

A teenager, desperate for money, takes a job at a junkyard in São Paulo, Brazil but ends up stuck in a human trafficking ring. I don’t know much about the players involved but the trailer looks intense and it’s got some interesting production ties. It looks pretty good, so I didn’t want to leave it out.

tick, tick…Boom! (Theaters + Netflix Nov. 19th)

Writer(s): Steven Levenson (screenplay), Jonathan Larson (musical)

Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus

Full disclosure, I do NOT work for Netflix, they just happen to have the best selection this weekend. I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t mention this movie. My girlfriend absolutely loves Rent and this is the story of the man who created it, Jonathan Larson. It’s directed by musical royalty Lin-Manuel Miranda and we just saw Hamilton at the Pantages last night, so it feels like I should include this one on the list this week. I like Andrew Garfield and he’s taken on a lot of interesting roles since moving on from playing Peter Parker so I’m curious to see what he does with this one.

Julia (Theaters)

Directors: Julie Cohen and Betsy West

Starring: José Andrés, Julia Child (archive footage), and André Cointreau

The documentaries keep on rolling in for 2021 and Julia tells the story of the iconic Julia Child., an unlikely star that reinvented the way Americans think about food. In the process, she revolutionized an aspect of television and refined the perception of women in the industry.

What Else Is New

Clifford the Big Red Dog (Theaters Nov. 10th)

Writers: Jay Scherick, David Ronn, & Blaise Hemingway (screenplay) Justin Malen and Ellen Rapoport (story), Norman Bridwell (books)

Director: Walt Becker

There is a 0% chance I’ll be watching this, but if you have kids and are looking for something to go see then this is the one. In fairness, I do love dogs and I’d probably be able to enjoy the movie.

Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago (Theaters – One Night Only)

Written & Directed by: Sylvester Stallone

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and Carl Weathers

This was my favorite of the Rocky movies as a kid and it still has its merits, but there may be some renewed interest as it ties into what’s going on in the new Creed franchise. The new “Ultimate Director’s Cut” is showing in theaters for one night only and apparently has 40-minutes of new footage. Get ready for a training montage like you’ve never seen before.

Home Sweet Home Alone (Disney+)

Writers: Mikey Day, Streeter Seidell (screenplay), John Hughes (story)

Director: Dan Mazer

Starring: Ellie Kemper, Rob Delaney, and Archie Yates

I have no interest in this one and it’s a little too far out from Christmas for me to give it credit for striking on the holiday rush. If the IMDB score is any indication, my instincts are right to stay away. Maybe give it a chance once you’re desperate for a kids’ Xmas movie to stream.

Mayor Pete (Amazon Prime Video)

Writers: Jeff Seymann Gilbert, Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss | Director: Jesse Moss

Starring: Chasten Buttigieg, Pete Buttigieg, and Mike Schmuhl

It’s a little odd to see this documentary with three writers listed in the credits, so I’m not sure exactly what this movie is trying to be. In a general sense, it’s a look at Pete Buttigieg’s run for President in 2020. However, it appears to be a more crafted narrative about being a gay person in the most public of arenas and how he and his family dealt with that pressure. I will reserve judgment but rest assured this will be fodder for people who aren’t fans of Mayor Pete.

Word of mouth is still the best way to help, so if you enjoy what I’m doing, please tell somebody. 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!

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