#357 June 25, 2019
Matt writes: A week ago today, we celebrated Roger Ebert’s birthday by republishing various reviews and essays by the inimitable critic, as well as new installments in our “My Favorite Roger” series by Brian Tallerico, Nell Minow and Allison Shoemaker. Click here to find some of his finest writing hand-picked by various contributors at RogerEbert.com.
Doctor Sleep (2019). Written and directed by Mike Flanagan (based on the novel by Stephen King). Starring Ewan McGregor, Jacob Tremblay, Rebecca Ferguson. Synopsis: Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrence meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal. Opens in US theaters on November 8th, 2019.
Sorry We Missed You (2019). Directed by Ken Loach. Written by Paul Laverty. Starring Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone. Synopsis: A hard-up delivery driver and his wife struggle to get by in modern-day England. US release date is TBA.
Phil (2019). Directed by Greg Kinnear. Written by Stephen Mazur. Starring Greg Kinnear, Eoin Bates, April Cameron. Synopsis: A depressed dentist in mid life crisis tries to learn why one of his happiest patients suddenly commits suicide, and a dark comedic adventure ensues. Opens in US theaters on July 5th, 2019.
Lying and Stealing (2019). Directed by Matt Aselton. Written by Matt Aselton and Adam Nagata. Starring Theo James, Emily Ratajkowski, Fred Melamed. Synopsis: Ivan is a gifted and discerning art thief who wants out. Elyse is an aspiring actress whose own past transgressions in Hollywood haunt her, as well as a mountain of debt. These two outsiders are drawn to each other. Opens in US theaters on July 12th, 2019.
The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019). Written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen. Synopsis: Zak runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true. Opens in US theaters on August 9th, 2019.
Official Secrets (2019). Directed by Gavin Hood. Written by Gavin Hood, Gregory Bernstein and Sara Bernstein (based on the book by Marcia Mitchell and Thomas Mitchell). Starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes. Synopsis: The true story of a British whistleblower who leaked information to the press about an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the UN Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Opens in US theaters on August 30th, 2019.
Share (2019). Written and directed by Pippa Bianco. Starring Rhianne Barreto, Charlie Plummer, Poorna Jagannathan. Synopsis: After discovering a disturbing video from a night she doesn’t remember, sixteen-year-old Mandy must try to figure out what happened and how to navigate the escalating fallout. Premieres on HBO on July 27th, 2019.
Bad Trip (2019). Directed by Kitao Sakurai. Written by Eric André. Starring Eric André, Lil Rel Howery, Michele Dawson. Synopsis: Two friends embark on a cross-country road trip where they prank people using hidden cameras. Opens in US theaters on October 25th, 2019.
Rojo (2019). Written and directed by Benjamín Naishtat. Starring Claudio Martínez Bel, Mara Bestelli, Alfredo Castro.Synopsis: Set in Argentina during the mid-1970s, Benjamín Naishtat’s hypnotic drama follows a successful lawyer whose picture-perfect life begins to unravel when a private detective comes to his seemingly quiet small town and starts asking questions. Opens in US theaters on July 12th, 2019.
The Plagiarists (2019). Directed by Peter Parlow. Written by James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir. Starring William Michael Payne, Emily C. Davis, Lucy Kaminsky. Synopsis: A young couple is shaken by a seemingly fraudulent yet unprovable act that strikes to the core of their cultural pretensions. Opens in US theaters on June 28th, 2019.
Point Blank (2019). Directed by Joe Lynch. Written by Adam G. Simon. Starring Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Marcia Gay Harden. Synopsis: To save his pregnant wife, an emergency room nurse teams up with an injured murder suspect in a race against time, rival criminals and renegade cops. Debuts on Netflix on July 12th, 2019.
Into the Ashes (2019). Written and directed by Aaron Harvey. Starring Frank Grillo, Luke Grimes, Marguerite Moreau. Synopsis: With an honest job and a loving wife, Nick Brenner believed he had safely escaped his violent, criminal history. But his old crew hasn’t forgotten about him or the money he stole, and when they take what Nick now values the most – his wife – he has nothing left to lose. Opens in US theaters on July 19th, 2019.
Ready Or Not (2019). Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. Written by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy. Starring Samara Weaving, Andie MacDowell, Mark O’Brien. Synopsis: A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game. Opens in US theaters on August 23rd, 2019.
The Amazing Johnathan Documentary (2019). Directed by Benjamin Berman. Synopsis: What begins as a documentary following the final tour of a dying magician – “The Amazing Johnathan” – becomes an unexpected and increasingly bizarre journey as the filmmaker struggles to separate truth from illusion. Premieres on Hulu on August 16th, 2019.
Trolls World Tour (2020). Directed by Walt Dohrn and David P. Smith. Written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. Starring Anna Kendrick, Charlyne Yi, Sam Rockwell. Synopsis: The sequel to the Oscar-nominated animated feature, “Trolls.” Opens in US theaters on April 17th, 2020.
Frozen II (2019). Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. Written by Allison Schroeder. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff . Synopsis: Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendalle and travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest to uncover the origins of Elsa’s powers and save their kingdom. Opens in US theaters on November 22nd, 2019.
Franco Zeffirelli (1923-2019)
Matt writes: On June 15th, we lost Franco Zeffirelli, director of the greatest Shakespeare adaptation in all of cinema, 1968’s “Romeo & Juliet.” He passed away at age 96. Click here to read Peter Sobczynski’s illuminating obituary.
Why “5B” is a Must-See
Matt writes: Nurse Guy Vandenberg and his longtime partner Steve Williams are two of the subjects in Paul Haggis and Dan Krauss’ deeply moving documentary, “5B,” about how the fifth floor ward at San Francisco General Hospital served as a sanctuary for AIDS patients during the Reagan era. Click here to read my conversation with Guy and Steve.
The Last American Hero (1973). Directed by Lamont Johnson. Written by William Roberts (based on articles by Tom Wolfe). Starring Jeff Bridges, Valerie Perrine, Geraldine Fitzgerald. Synopsis: A young hellraiser quits his moonshine business to try to become the best NASCAR racer the south has ever seen.
The Crossing (2000). Directed by Robert Harmon. Written by Howard Fast. Starring Jeff Daniels, Roger Rees, Sebastian Roché. Synopsis: A dramatization of George Washington’s perilous gamble of crossing the Delaware River and attacking the Hessian forces at Trenton.