Matt writes: With the Academy Awards just weeks away, there appears to be a quartet of front-runners emerging in the acting races: Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” for Best Actor, Renée Zellweger in “Judy” for Best Actress, Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” for Best Supporting Actor and Laura Dern in “Marriage Story” for Best Supporting Actress. As for Best Picture, the winner is anybody’s guess: Sam Mendes’ “1917” took home the top dramatic prize at the Golden Globes, while Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” snagged the highest accolade at the Critics Choice Awards. This past Sunday, Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” earned Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards and received a standing ovation, as did Robert De Niro when he won the Life Achievement Award (you can view his speech embedded below). Make sure to also check out Jana Monji’s report from the Golden Globes as well as Sarah Knight Adamson’s coverage of the Critics Choice Awards.
Saint Frances (2020). Directed by Alex Thompson. Written by Kelly O’Sullivan. Starring Kelly O’Sullivan, Charin Alvarez, Braden Crothers. Synopsis: After an accidental pregnancy turned abortion, a deadbeat nanny finds an unlikely friendship with the six-year old she’s charged with protecting. Opens in US theaters on February 28th, 2020.
Lost Girls (2020). Directed by Liz Garbus. Written by Michael Werwie (based on the book by Robert Kolker). Starring Thomasin McKenzie, Amy Ryan, Dean Winters. Synopsis: When Mari Gilbert’s daughter disappears, police inaction drives her own investigation into the gated Long Island community where Shannan was last seen. Her search brings attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers. Debuts on Netflix on March 13th, 2020.
True History of the Kelly Gang (2020). Directed by Justin Kurzel. Written by Shaun Grant (based on the book by Peter Carey). Starring George MacKay, Essie Davis, Thomasin McKenzie. Synopsis: The story of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang as they flee from authorities during the 1870s. US release date is TBA.
I Was At Home, But… (2020). Written and directed by Angela Schanelec. Starring Thorbjörn Björnsson, Esther Buss, Martin Clausen. Synopsis: After a 13-year-old student disappears without a trace for a week and suddenly reappears, his mother and teachers are confronted with existential questions that change their whole view of life. Opens in US theaters on February 14th, 2020.
Sergio (2020). Directed by Alice Winocour. Written by Alice Winocour and Jean-Stéphane Bron. Starring Eva Green, Zélie Boulant, Matt Dillon. Synopsis: An astronaut prepares for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station. Debuts on Netflix on April 17th, 2020.
Hillary (2020). Directed by Nanette Burstein. Synopsis: A look at the life and work of Hillary Rodham Clinton, interweaving biographical chapters of her life with behind-the-scenes footage from her 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. US release date is TBA.
Guns Akimbo (2020). Written and directed by Jason Lei Howden. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Rhys Darby. Synopsis: A guy relies on his newly-acquired gladiator skills to save his ex-girlfriend from kidnappers. Opens in US theaters on February 28th, 2020.
Charm City Kings (2020). Directed by Angel Manuel Soto. Written by Sherman Payne (based on the film by Lotfy Nathan). Starring Milan Ray, Teyonah Parris, Jahi Di’Allo Winston. Synopsis: A young boy joins a dirt bike gang in Baltimore. Opens in US theaters on April 10th, 2020.
The Lovebirds (2020). Directed by Michael Showalter. Written by Aaron Abrams and Brendan Gall. Starring Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Anna Camp. Synopsis: A young couple is pulled into a bizarre (and hilarious) murder mystery. Working to clear their names and solve the case, they need to figure out how they, and their relationship, can survive the night. Opens in US theaters on April 3rd, 2020.
The Kindness of Strangers (2020). Written and directed by Lone Scherfig. Starring Andrea Riseborough, Zoe Kazan, Bill Nighy. Synopsis: The story of people whose lives intertwine during a dramatic winter in New York City. Opens in US theaters on February 14th, 2020.
Stargirl (2020). Directed by Julia Hart. Written by Jerry Spinelli, Kristin Hahn and Jordan Horowitz. Starring Giancarlo Esposito, Grace VanderWaal, Darby Stanchfield. Synopsis: A boy becomes intrigued by a mysterious and quirky student named Stargirl and spends his time trying to know more about her. Debuts on Disney+ on March 13th, 2020.
Morbius (2020). Directed by Daniel Espinosa. Written by Matt Holloway, Art Marcum, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (based on the comic book by Gil Kane and Roy Thomas). Starring Adria Arjona, Jared Leto, Michael Keaton. Synopsis: Biochemist Michael Morbius tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but he inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism instead. Opens in US theaters on July 31st, 2020.
Hope Gap (2020). Written and directed by William Nicholson. Starring Josh O’Connor, Annette Bening, Bill Nighy. Synopsis: A couple’s visit with their son takes a dramatic turn when the father tells him he plans on leaving his mother. Opens in US theaters on March 6th, 2020.
The Night Clerk (2020). Written and directed by Michael Cristofer. Starring Ana de Armas, Helen Hunt, Tye Sheridan. Synopsis: Voyeuristic hotel clerk becomes the subject of a murder investigation. Opens in US theaters on February 21st, 2020.
Olympic Dreams (2020). Directed by Jeremy Teicher. Written by Nick Kroll, Alexi Pappas and Jeremy Teicher. Starring Gus Kenworthy, Nick Kroll, Alexi Pappas. Synopsis: In the Olympic Athlete Village, a young cross-country skier bonds with a volunteer doctor after her competition ends. Opens in US theaters on February 14th, 2020.
Ordinary Love (2020). Directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn. Written by Owen McCafferty. Starring Liam Neeson, Lesley Manville, Amit Shah. Synopsis: An extraordinary look at the lives of a middle-aged couple in the midst of the wife’s breast cancer diagnosis. Opens in US theaters on February 14th, 2020.
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2020). Directed by Daniel Roher. Synopsis: A confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robbie Robertson’s young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band. Opens in US theaters on February 21st, 2020.
Spenser Confidential (2020). Directed by Peter Berg. Written by Brian Helgeland and Sean O’Keefe (based on the novel by Ace Atkins and Robert B. Parker). Starring Mark Wahlberg, Alan Arkin, Colleen Camp. Synopsis: An ex-felon named Spenser returns to Boston’s criminal underworld to unravel a twisted murder conspiracy. Opens in US theaters on March 6th, 2020.
The 4-Star Films of 2019
Matt writes: This compilation of reviews features our writers’ picks for the films from 2019 deserving of four stars, including “Ad Astra,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “Little Women” and “A Hidden Life.” Click here for the full article.
R.I.P. Buck Henry (1930-2020)
Matt writes: The Oscar-nominated writer of “The Graduate” and co-director of “Heaven Can Wait,” Buck Henry, passed away on January 8th and was eulogized by Brian Tallerico. Click here for the full article.
Half Shot at Sunrise (1930). Directed by Paul Sloane. Written by Anne Caldwell and Ralph Spence. Starring Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Dorothy Lee. Synopsis: The stage stars Wheeler and Woolsey play two soldiers who go absent without leave in Paris, during World War I.
Hook, Line and Sinker (1930). Directed by Edward F. Cline. Written by Tim Whelan and Ralph Spence. Starring Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Dorothy Lee. Synopsis: An evil gunslinging midget comes to terrorize the good little people of Tiny Town. The townspeople organize to defeat him, and zany antics ensue.
Angel and the Badman (1947). Written and directed by James Edward Grant. Starring John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey. Synopsis: Quirt Evans, an all round bad guy, is nursed back to health and sought after by Penelope Worth, a Quaker girl. He eventually finds himself having to choose between his world and the world Penelope lives in.