Matt writes: Scott Wilson (1942-2018) may be best known to modern viewers for his work on “The Walking Dead,” yet his great screen career spanned several decades and included numerous memorable performances. His first two films, both released in 1967, proved to be classics: “In the Heat of the Night” and “In Cold Blood.” He earned a Golden Globe nomination for acting opposite Stacy Keach in William Peter Blatty’s 1980 horror offering, “The Ninth Configuration,” and went on to be featured in unforgettable pictures such as “The Right Stuff,” “Dead Man Walking” and “Junebug.” Wilson’s sole scene in Patty Jenkins’ “Monster” (embedded below) is the most shattering in the film, and made an indelible impression on Academy voters, who awarded his co-star, Charlize Theron, the Best Actress Oscar. Everyone who met Wilson during his multiple visits to Ebertfest have wonderful memories of him, and there is no question he will be deeply missed. Read Peter Sobczynski’s full obituary here.
The Mule (2018). Directed by Clint Eastwood. Written by Nick Schenk. Starring Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Taissa Farmiga. Synopsis: A 90-year-old horticulturist and WWII veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel. Opens in US theaters on December 14th, 2018.
Cold War (2018). Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. Written by Pawel Pawlikowski and Janusz Glowacki. Starring Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc. Synopsis: A passionate love story between two people of different backgrounds and temperaments, who are fatefully mismatched, set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris. Opens in US theaters on November 21st, 2018.
Ben is Back (2018). Written and directed by Peter Hedges. Starring Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance. Synopsis: Follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns, who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben’s wary mother welcomes her beloved son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way. Opens in US theaters on December 7th, 2018.
Shoplifters (2018). Written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. Starring Kirin Kiki, Lily Franky, Sakura Andô. Synopsis: A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find on the street. Opens in US theaters on November 23rd, 2018.
Pet Sematary (2019). Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. Written by David Kajganich and Jeff Buhler (based on the story by Stephen King). Starring Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz. Synopsis: After the tragedy of his family’s cat being killed by a truck, Louis resorts to burying it in the mysterious pet cemetery, which is definitely not as it seems, proving that sometimes, dead is better. Opens in US theaters on April 5th, 2019.
Here and Now (2018). Directed by Fabien Constant. Written by Laura Eason. Starring Renée Zellweger, Sarah Jessica Parker, Simon Baker. Synopsis: A singer in New York gets a grim diagnosis that puts her life and dreams into perspective. Opens in US theaters on November 9th, 2018.
Mortal Engines (2018). Directed by Christian Rivers. Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson (based on the book by Philip Reeve). Starring Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan. Synopsis: A mysterious young woman named Hester Shaw joins forces with Anna Fang, a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head, and Tom Natsworthy, an outcast from London, to lead a rebellion against a giant predator city on wheels. Opens in US theaters on December 14th, 2018.
Bodied (2018). Directed by Joseph Kahn. Written by Joseph Kahn and Alex Larsen. Starring Calum Worthy, Jackie Long, Rory Uphold. Synopsis: A progressive graduate student finds success and sparks outrage when his interest in battle rap as a thesis subject becomes a competitive obsession. Opens in US theaters on November 2nd, 2018.
The Night Comes For Us (2018). Written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto. Starring Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Joe Taslim. Synopsis: Ito, a gangland enforcer, caught amidst a treacherous and violent insurrection within his Triad crime family upon his return home from a stint abroad. Debuts on Netflix on October 19th, 2018.
Black ’47 (2018). Directed by Lance Daly. Written by Lance Daly, P.J. Dillon and Pierce Ryan. Starring Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea. Synopsis: Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the drama follows an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to reunite with his family. Now playing in US theaters.
Clara’s Ghost (2018). Written and directed by Bridey Elliott. Starring Paula Niedert Elliott, Chris Elliott, Abby Elliott. Synopsis: Fed up with constant ribbing from her self-absorbed showbiz family, a Connecticut woman finds solace in and guidance from the supernatural force she believes is haunting her. US release date is TBA.
Welcome Home (2018). Directed by George Ratliff. Written by David Levinson. Starring Aaron Paul, Emily Ratajkowski, Riccardo Scamarcio. Synopsis: A couple spend a weekend at a vacation rental home in the Italian countryside in an attempt to repair their relationship, but soon become victims of the homeowner’s sinister plans. Opens in US theaters on November 8th, 2018.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018). Directed by Clay Kaytis. Written by Matt Lieberman. Starring Kurt Russell, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Oliver Hudson. Synopsis: The story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about. Debuts on Netflix on November 22nd, 2018.
The War at Home (1979), 4K restoration. Directed by Glenn Silber and Barry Alexander Brown. Synopsis: Interviews with people involved with and leading the Madison, Wisconsin area resistance to the Vietnam war. US release date is TBA.
Overlord (2018). Directed by Julius Avery. Written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith. Starring Wyatt Russell, John Magaro, Pilou Asbæk. Synopsis: The story of two American soldiers behind enemy lines on D Day. Opens in US theaters on November 9th, 2018.
High Life (2018). Directed by Claire Denis. Written by Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau and Geoff Cox. Starring Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin. Synopsis: A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation. US release date is TBA.
Aladdin (2019). Directed by Guy Ritchie. Written by John August and Guy Ritchie. Starring Billy Magnussen, Will Smith, Naomi Scott. Synopsis: A live-action retelling of the 1992 Disney film of the same name. Opens in US theaters on May 24th, 2019.
Reykjavík International Film Festival
Matt writes: Earlier this month, I had the extraordinary privilege of covering the 2018 Reykjavík International Film Festival for RogerEbert.com, where I penned daily dispatches about films and notable events at Iceland’s annual celebration of cinema. You can find the full table of contents here.
Matt writes: A decade after she earned an Oscar nomination for her searing family dramedy, “The Savages,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, filmmaker Tamara Jenkins has returned with “Private Life,” a movie currently streamable on Netflix that ranks among the year’s very best. Read her conversation with Tomris Laffly here.
Street Angel (1928). Directed by Frank Borzage. Written by Philip Klein and Henry Roberts Symonds (based on the play by Monckton Hoffe). Starring Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Natalie Kingston. Synopsis: A woman on the run from the law finds her past catching up to her just as she is on the verge of true happiness.
Ladies in Love (1936). Directed by Edward H. Griffith. Written by Melville Baker (based on the play by Leslie Bush-Fekete). Starring Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young, Constance Bennett. Synopsis: Three working girls in Budapest pool their resources to get a better apartment and impress their dates.
A Star is Born (1937). Directed by William A. Wellman. Written by Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell and Robert Carson. Starring Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou. Synopsis: A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but achieves them only with the help of an alcoholic leading man whose best days are behind him.