Release Radar – October 29th, 2021

Halloween weekend is upon us and most of the horror films have made their way to market earlier in the month, but there’s something to be said about saving the best for last.

Last Night in Soho (Theaters)

Writer(s): Krysty Wilson-Cairns (screenplay) & Edgar Wright (story)

Director: Edgar Wright

Starring: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, & Matt Smith

I wouldn’t describe myself as an Edgar Wright fanboy, but I do like the majority of his work and this is one of my most anticipated films of the year. There’s just something about the style of the visual storytelling and the contrast between the bright, colorful imagery and dark thematic nature of the premise that I find especially intriguing. I gave Thomasin McKenzie my breakthrough award a couple of years back so it’s great to watch her continued upward trajectory. Plus, Anya Taylor-Joy has continually sharpened her iron and become one of the best in the business since getting her first significant role in the horror film The Witch (2015) where, oddly enough, she plays a character named Thomasin. I feel like this pairing was meant to be.

Antlers (Theaters)

Writer(s): Henry Chaisson, Nick Antocsa, & Scott Cooper | Director: Scott Cooper

Starring: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, & Jeremy T. Thomas

Nick Antocsa helped adapt his short story for the big screen, working with Henry Chaisson and director Scott Cooper. It’s an interesting change of pace for Cooper who has mostly made films with strong Western elements. I like his work and don’t think he’s made a bad film yet, but I’m very curious to see how his narrative style translates to the horror genre. Jesse Plemons is just a gem that shines in whatever role he takes on and Keri Russell brings a ton of quality experience to the project. The red band trailer wasn’t as graphic as I had expected, but it looks exceedingly creepy and dark. If I wasn’t going it for Last Night in Soho, this would be my top pick for this weekend.

Army of Thieves (Netflix)

Writer(s): Zack Snyder & Shay Hatten | Director: Matthias Schweighöfer

Starring: Matthias Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, & Ruby O. Fee

If you were to tell me, Zack Snyder was going to produce a spin-off from Army of the Dead this wouldn’t have been what came to mind. However, Matthias Schweighöfer’s character was the best part of that film so, if you were going to make a spin-off, this actually makes some sense. There’s no reinventing the wheel here, so it’s going to be all about execution. Given that Schweighöfer is directing and starring, the pieces are in place to maximize the strongest elements of this idea. If you’re not into Halloween or horror movies, you can watch this one from your couch.

Violet (Theaters)

Writer & Director: Justin Bateman

Starring: Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey, & Justin Theroux (voice)

Everyone has some version of that voice in your head that amplifies all your anxious tendencies and insecurities, and this film takes that idea and runs with it. It’s a story about not letting your fears get in the way of your life. It looks like a good role for Olivia Munn and I think she can excel in it. The trailer waivers between selling an intense, dark physiological drama and more of an uplifting self-discovery story, so I’m not really sure what to expect.

The Spine of Night (Theaters + VOD)

Writers & Directors: Philip Gelatt & Morgan Galen King

Starring: Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, & Patton Oswalt

If you know me even a little, you’ll know I like the weird stuff and this animated film from Philip Gelatt & Morgan Galen King is right up my alley. I can’t even explain what it is beyond a story of heroes battling evil. Maybe something like an animated Evil Dead but I can’t say for sure. What I do know is the cast is good and that should tell you something. It would be tough to find something more unique than this on Halloween so, if you’re looking for something off the beaten path, this is the one.

What Else Is New

13 Minutes (Theaters)

Writer(s): Lindsay Gossling & Travis Farncombe| Director: Lindsay Gossling

Starring: Thora Birch, Amy Smart, & Anne Heche

If Twister was meant to be taken seriously and not as a goofy 90s action movie, it probably would have been something like this. Several families are caught in the line of a massive tornado and are forced to fight for survival. The cast is pretty good but this is also Lindsay Gossling’s feature directorial debut, so I really don’t know what to expect.

A Mouthful of Air (Theaters)

Writer & Director: Amy Koppelman

Starring: Amanda Seyfried & Finn Wittrock

A children’s book author battles postpartum depression after her daughter is born. This is Amy Koppelman’s directorial debut and she got Amanda Seyfried to star…or so it seems. The IMDB listing for this film doesn’t have Seyfried credited although that’s definitely her in the trailer and on the promotional poster, and even Seyfried’s own page doesn’t have her name attached to this project. Opposite her, Finn Wittrock’s name isn’t listed either although his brother Dylan is. Something weird is going on so I don’t know what to make of it.

The Souvenir: Part Two (Theaters)

Writer & Director: Joanna Hogg

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Honor Swinton Byrne, & James Spencer Ashworth

I never saw The Souvenir (2019) but it has a very strong critical reputation. Tilda Swinton is always magnetic, and it looks like she’s a more central character this time around. Her daughter also stars, so it’s probably interesting to watch them work together. I’ll have to go back and check out part one, but early word is overwhelmingly positive for the sequel.

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (Paramount+)

Writer: Christopher Landon| Director: William Eubank

Starring: Emily Bader, Roland Buck III, & Dan Lippert

The 6th(?) installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise hasn’t given away much about the plot. The storytelling was already getting stretched pretty thin with all the prior sequels, so it’s hard to imagine a version of this idea that brings something worthwhile to the table. I’d say it’s a quick cash-grab, but it’s going to Paramount+ instead of theaters. Maybe it’s better than my mind’s eye can see and, from the comfort of your couch, it’s a good situation to take a gamble.


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