Release Radar – Oct. 22nd, 2021

It’s a bit of a slow week in terms of overall releases. That’s likely because the Halloween weekend and accompanying horror film frenzy are still a week away, but one of the most highly-anticipated films of the year finally gets its moment in the sun and it’s being given a wide berth. So, let’s take a look at what’s on deck for this week.

Dune (Theaters + HBO Max)

Writer(s): Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts, & Frank Herbert (novel)

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebeca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Mamoa, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Zendaya, & Dave Bautista

One way or another, Dune was never going to be able to escape its lineage. I haven’t seen it myself yet, but I’ve already seen reactions all across the spectrum and much of that comes from fans loyal to Frank Herbert’s novel and/or David Lynch’s 1984 cult-classic adaptation. There are even two current Dune comic book titles coming from BOOM! Studios. I have always argued in favor of tempering expectations and this film is a great example of when to do that. Denis Villeneuve faced similar challenges with Blade Runner 2049 and, ultimately, that film was swallowed by comparisons to Ridley Scott’s original 1982 film. However, that didn’t make Villeneuve’s vision any less brilliant and that’s why I trust him here. He also teamed up with incredible writers Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts to bring this vision to life. Obviously, the production budget is sizable but the cast is absolutely stacked as well and that’s more than enough for me to extend some credit.

Ron’s Gone Wrong (Theaters)

Writer(s): Sarah Smith & Peter Baynham | Director(s): Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine, & Octavio E. Rodriguez

Starring: (Voices) Jack Dylan Grazer, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, & Olivia Colman

An animated allegory for the social media age, this movie tells the story of a lonely young boy who becomes friends with his new malfunctioning toy. The heart of this story seems to be about finding genuine connections and friendships in the new digital age. It should resonate with most people that felt awkward at some point during their youths. The great thing about these new animated films is their universal appeal and their ability to be substantative for older audiences while adhering to the guidelines of a rate-PG film. If you’re looking for something to see with the kids this weekend, this one looks to be a good choice.

The French Dispatch (Theaters)

Writer(s): Wes Anderson (screenplay & story), Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness, & Jason Schwartzman (story) | Director: Wes Anderson

Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and so many more.

If you had to envision a Wes Anderson film, you couldn’t imagine a more Wes Anderson film than this one. It appears that all the actors he’s worked with over the years have teamed up to make the most Wes Anderson movie of all time. If you’ve never seen one of his films, this could even be a good jumping off point as his career’s worht of expereince and style collide in this wildly ecentric vision.

The Harder They Fall (Theaters + Netflix Nov. 3rd)

Writer(s): Jeymes Samuel & Boaz Yakin | Director: Jeymes Samuel

Starring: Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, LaKeith Stanfield, & Delroy Lindo

Writer/Director Jeymes Samuel and Boaz Yakin bring us the story of an outlaw who gets the gang back together in order to hunt down an old aversary who is being released from custody. I have been anticipating this one for a while now because the cast is absolutley fantastic and I am a huge fan of Westerns, but it’s especially nice to see this genre as a vehicle for Black performers as well. The genre itself is filled with tales of revenge, loyalty, honor, and duty, so it’s cool to see Samuel apply that to his own vision. It’ll get a short theatrical window before it finds its home on Netflix Nov. 3rd.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (Theaters + Amazon Prime Video Nov. 5th)

Writer(s): Will Sharpe & Simon Stephenson | Director: Will Sharpe

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch & Claire Foy

Amazon Studios has some interesting projects under their belts since their inception and this one fits the bill. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as late 19th century English artist Louis Wain who gains notoriety for his paintings of cats. I don’t know that this would be my typical go-to based on subject matter, but the storytelling style looks intriguing and Cumberbatch is flanked by another great performer in her own right, Claire Foy. It looks very cute with a peek into some very real mental health conditions. It will also get a small theatrical window before landing home on amazon Prime Video on Nov. 5th.

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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