Writer(s): Chloé Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, Kaz Firpo, & Jack Kirby (comics)
Director: Chloé Zhao
Starring: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek & Kit Harrington
Disney must really love Chloé Zhao because she’s got two screenplay credits on this film if you take a close look. All kidding aside, Zhao is a talented director who’s hot off taking home Best Director at the Oscars so the buzz is self replicating. This is still a huge leap for a young filmmaker who has never made a film anywhere near the scale of a Marvel movie. It’ll be very interesting to see how she and the other writers adapted Jack Kirby’s source material for their needs. The cast has some great names attached so it’s pretty clear that the studio was willing to invest in a big risk and bank on the star power to make it work.
The Harder They Fall (Netflix Nov. 3rd)
Writer(s): Jeymes Samuel & Boaz Yakin | Director: Jeymes Samuel
Starring: Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beets, Regina King & Idris Elba
This movie has been out on Netflix already for a few days and I had the chance to sit down and watch it already. In the beginning I felt the tone was a little off from what I like about Westerns. It felt maybe a bit over stylized, like a music video, but that ends up being one of its biggest strengths. You can see the influences from films like Tombstone, Django Unchained, and The Quick and the Dead proudly on display but Jeymes Samuel also gave this film its own clearly defined spirit. There were some great performances from a stacked cast but, not to leave anyone out, my favorite probably belonged to Danielle Deadwyler. It’s certainly worth checking out.
Writer(s): Steven Knight | Director: Pablo Larraín
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall & Jack Nielen
I feel like I’ve been hearing about this project forever…the last several years at least…and I had kind of forgotten about it until just recently. It still seems like a weird point in history for the Princess Diana movie but America’s obsession with the British Royals hasn’t really slowed down and probably reintensified with all the Meghan Markle stuff over the past few years. Anyway, Pablo Lorraín is a skilled director and I really enjoyed Ema that finally got it’s release earlier this year, so I am very curious to see this. I wouldn’t count Kristen Stewart among my favorite actresses but she’s had some performances that I’ve really enjoyed and, by all accounts, she’s fantastic in this. This will likely be my choice for counterprogramming this week.
Finch (Apple TV+)
Writer(s): Craig Luck & Ivor Powell | Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Starring: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones & Oscar Avila
Who doesn’t love Tom Hanks? Now add a dog a friendly robot and you’ve got a recipe for a feel-good dystopian sci-fi adventure. It looks like Call of the Wild mixed with Chappie, so I’m willing to give it a shot. I like the idea of opening up this kind of storytelling to be more kid-friendly, but we’ll see how it goes.
What Else Is New
Mark, Mary & Some Other People (VOD)
Writer & Director: Hannah Marks
Starring: Ben Rosenfield, Hayley Law & Nik Dodani
A young couple gets married a before they are really ready and agree to experiment with an open relationship. Natrually, things get complicated in a hurry. This is Hannah Marks sophomore feature as a director and it looks cute and quirky and weird in a way I don’t see a lot of. Other than that, I really don’t know much about it but the trailer has me intrigued.
The Beta Test (Theaters + VOD)
Writers & Directors: Jim Cummings & PJ McCabe
Starring: Jim Cummings, Virginia Newcomb & PJ McCabe
When a married man accepts an anonymous invite to a sexual trist, his life is thrown into chaos as the rabbit hole turns out to be much deeper than it appears. I am always interested in projects where the filmmakers are basically woven into the tapestry of the project at every level. It’s a passion project and those are always near and dear to me. This one also reminds me of a comic name Casual Fling that came out earlier in the year, so I’m curious to check it out.
Writer & Director: Blerta Basholli
Starring: Yllka Gashi, Çun Lajçi & Aurita Agushi
“Fahrije’s husband has been missing since the war in Kosovo. She sets up her own small business to provide for her kids, but as she fights against a patriarchal society that does not support her, she faces a crucial decision.” Based on a true story, this film has been a darling of the international film festival circuit and it looks like one of those films that has a certain time of magnetism.
One Shot (Theaters + VOD)
Writer(s): James Nunn (story) & Jamie Russell | Director: James Nunn
Starring: Scott Adkins, Ashley Greene & Ryan Phillippe
For a film that boasts about it’s single-continuos-shot filming style, the trailer does a piss poor job of highlighting that aspect. Clearly the filmmakers saw 1917 and thought, “we can do that”. Take all that away and it still looks like a fairly interesting story about a covert CIA black site that is attacked. I’m sure the shooting style lends itself to the intensity of the situation, but I’m hoping it’s more than just a gimmick.
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