Release Radar – Sept. 9th, 2022

With football back, I am completely swamped and I am 100% going to fall behind. I am already a few reviews in the hole when it comes to movies, but I am going to try my best! It’s Spooky Season and this week has some really weird and interesting stuff lined up, so let’s jump right in.

Pinocchio (Disney+ Sept. 8th)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writers: Robert Zemeckis and Chris Weitz (screenplay), Carlo Collodi (original story)

Starring (voices): Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hanks, and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth

Even though this isn’t a “horror” movie, and neither was the animated original, it was always a good bit of nightmare fuel and the visuals here back that up with emphasis. I guess it’s going the dark Dumbo route which is fine. It’s got a very good voice cast and a director in Zemeckis who has made a lot of movies I like. Plus, I can watch it at home and that’s a big bonus these days.

Saloum (Shudder Sept. 8th)

Director: Jean Luc Herbulot | Writers: Jean Luc Herbulot, Pamela Diop (story)

Starring: Yann Gael, Evelyne Ily Juhen, and Roger Sallah

Speaking of movies you can watch from home, this Western style action-horror film from Senegal looks absolutely wild! Some of the filmmaking style is very clearly influenced by Tarantino and the trailer just looks like it’s all over the place. The only thing I know about the story is that some mercenaries are sent in to extract someone or something of value. Shudder is definitely my jam and if I can’t get out to theaters this weekend with football back, I’m going in on this one. I almost gave this one my Editor’s Pick.

Barbarian (Theaters)

Written & Directed by: Zach Cregger

Starring: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long

This isn’t the first movie recently that has toyed with the idea of a mistaken rental arrangement, and I guess it seems to work pretty well although I haven’t actually seen any of them yet. I was interested in this one based on the cast and the trailer, so I didn’t need to know that “a producer” of other well-known horror movies produced this one as well. I get that it helps the marketing, but it dilutes the value of what I am seeing in the trailer. I have heard this one getting talked about a lot and while I am unfamiliar with Zach Cregger’s work, this movie is boasting some pretty good scores right now.

*Speak No Evil (Theaters) – Editor’s Pick*

Director: Christian Tafdrup | Writers: Christian and Mads Tafdrup

Starring: Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, and Fedja va Huêt

A family visits some friends they made on holiday but it turns out that their new friends aren’t who they thought and things become increasingly intense as their differences rise to the surface. I don’t know what it was exactly, maybe the tangibility of the uncomfortable reality of their situation but of all the horror movies on the docket this weekend, this is the one that really gave me goosebumps. Christian Tafdrup’s other movies are pretty weird so I expect there to be more to this one than it’s grounded, awkward premise. That’s why I gave it my Editor’s Pick.

Athena (Theaters)

Director: Romain Gavras

Writers: Elias Belkeddar, Romain Gavras, and Ladj Ly

Starring: Dali Benssalah, Sami Slimane, and Anthony Bajon

It was hard to tell exactly what was going on in this one amid the chaos of the trailer, but it looks good on screen. Apparently, a group of siblings sparks some kind of conflict with the police after their youngest brother is killed. I could be way off on that, but there is definitely some class warfare and a sharpened stick pointed right at the authorities. I’m glad this one is on Netflix over the weekend.

House of Darkness (Theaters)

Written & Directed by: Neil LaBute

Starring: Kate Bosworth, Justin Long, and Gia Crovatin

Two strangers meet at a bar and go back to her place to hook up but in the process of getting to know one another things take a sinister turn. The trailer implies that this is a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with the gender roles reversed. Justin Long is having a big weekend with two movies out, and I like Kate Bosworth and Neil LaBute, so I am curious to see what they do with this idea.

What Else Is New…

Brahmāstra Part One: Shiva (Shiva)

Director: Ayan Mukerji | Writers: Hussain Dalal, Ayan Mukerji

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan

I won’t pretend like I watch Indian cinema but it has been coming on strong in recent years and this looks like the kind of bat-shit crazy that I would enjoy. If this was something I could take a chance on from my couch, I’d do it but I’ll probably start with some other Indian films before I go after this.

Medieval (Theaters)

Director: Petr Jákl

Writers: Petr Jákl, Petr Jákl Sr. (story), Marek Dobes and Michal Petrus (based on), Kevin Bernhardt and Petr Bok (story)

Starring: Ben Foster, Sophie Lowe, Michael Cane

Inspired by the true story of the Czech warlord Jan Zizka in the 15th century who bested the armies of the Roman Empire and Teutonic order. I really like the cast with Ben Foster, Michael Caine, Til Schweiger, and Matthew Good but something about it just looks a tad cheap in the filmmaking, at least in the trailer. I like historical war films in general so I would probably be more willing to take the leap of faith based on that.

End of the Road (Netflix)

Director: Millicent Shelton | Writers: Christopher J. Moore, David Loughrey

Starring: Queen Latifah, Chris Bridges (aka Ludacris), Shaun Dixon, and Mychala Lee

A young, kind of homeless black family on the road in Texas, stops at a motel to rest. When they hear something they assume is violent next door, they decide to go check it out and Luda grabs a bag full of cash. Even in the setup for the trailer, it doesn’t seem like this family would go messing in someone else’s business. At least it’s on Netflix, but I don’t have high hopes based on what I saw.

About Fate (Theaters + VOD)

Director: Marius Vaysberg

Writers: Tiffany Paulson, Emil Braginskiy and Eldar Ryazanov (based on)

Starring: Emma Roberts, Thomas Mann, and Madelaine Petsch

If you are in need of a generic rom-com palate cleanser on a weekend full of crazy stuff, this is the one for you. It looks about as typical of a movie in this genre as you can get, so it’s going to come down to the performances. I’ll pass, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile if that’s your thing.

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