While I take the time to tie up some loose ends from 2019 and put together my list for the 3rd Annual Sheist Film Awards, I decided to get started with something new for 2020.
Obviously, we are a couple of weeks into the new year so Dolittle and Bad Boys For Life have already hit theaters but here’s what to keep an eye on this week.
Written & Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, and Colin Farrell
Coming of Disney’s Aladdin, Ritchie’s return to his roots in gangster comedy seems long overdue and perhaps the window is closed. The fact that this effort isn’t a sequel to RocknRolla is a crushing disappointment, if not an outright mistake, but the cast here is excellent so there’s reason to have faith in the performances. However, Miramax has been marketing the crap out of this title and that’s usually not a good sign. It will be tough to outperform Bad Boys at the box office, even in its second week, seeing as how they’re aimed at basically the same demographic.
Written by Carey W. Hayes & Chad Hayes
Directed by Floria Sigismondi
Starring: Mackenzie Davies, Finn Wolfhard, & Brooklynn Prince
Sigismondi hasn’t directed a feature film since The Runaways about a decade ago so taking on this adaptation of Henry James’ novel is interesting. Whoever cut the trailer did a great job playing into all the right elements because it’s pretty damn creepy. Davis gets her first real crack at a lead role that’s her own and she’s going to be where the film is won or lost. Horror films have been a good starting block for many successful leading ladies including Jennifer Connelly, Hilary Swank, and Amy Adams to name a few. However, there is a lot of competition with The Grudge and Underwater released earlier in the month.
Color Out of Space (limited) – *Editor’s Pick*
Screenplay by Richard Stanley, written Scarlett Amaris, based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft
Directed by Richard Stanley
Starring: Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson
Stanley is a unique filmmaker, to say the least. He hasn’t directed a feature film since the mid-90s, thanks in large part to his exit from the Island of Dr. Moreau, but he’s maintained a cult following thanks to his early films and this looks to be a return of sorts. Nic Cage isn’t one to turn down any offers these days but every now and then, something interesting comes down the pipe and this just might be the right kind of film for him to shine. It’s weird, heavily stylized, and you can bet your ass he’s going to be screaming at some point. For my money, be it good or bad, this is the most unique and interesting movie you can see this week.
The Last Full Measure (limited)
Written and Directed by Todd Robinson
Starring: Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Plummer, Ed Harris, Bradley Whitford, and William Hurt
Robinson hasn’t directed a film in about seven years and maybe that’s because his last one (Phantom) was a soviet submarine thriller starring David Duchovney and Ed Harris. There’s Hacksaw Ridge thing going on but the focus is less on the act of heroism as it occured and more about the fight for recognition of it after the fact. This isn’t typically the kind of “based on a true story” movie I’d have my eye on but the cast is really exceptional which leads me to believe there is something here because the production budget couldn’t have been that big. Even if Sebastian Stan doesn’t turn out to be the most compelling lead, it looks like there’s a lot of character depth. This could end up being a successful sleeper and it’s a good bit of counterprogramming if nothing else.
Have fun at the movies!