Matt writes: In our first Ebert Club newsletter of 2019, I am joining my publisher Chaz Ebert, editors Brian Tallerico and Matt Zoller Seitz, and fellow assistant editors Nick Allen and Nell Minow in wishing you a Happy New Year! Click here to read Chaz’s “new years message,” which will reintroduce you to the faces and talents of various writers at our site. Below is Chaz’s introduction:
“I am so grateful to all of the editors, our regular contributors and all our other writers at RogerEbert.com, and I am happy to present their smiling faces during this Holiday Season. Please look them up individually when you want news and film reviews and you won’t be disappointed (click on each name, and you will be directed to their articles). Although I am grateful to ALL who have contributed to our website in 2018, the photos below consist primarily of those writers who have contributed five or more articles, essays, obituary or other commentaries, videos or broadcasts during the year. Thank you for visiting our website throughout the year. We all hope you have had a Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Hanukkah! and we wish you Peace and Joy in the New Year! HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
Us (2019). Written and directed by Jordan Peele. Starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Lupita Nyong’o, Elisabeth Moss. Synopsis: A mother and father take their kids to their beach house, expecting to enjoy time with friends, but their serenity turns to tension and chaos when some visitors arrive uninvited. Opens in US theaters on March 15th, 2019.
Communion (2019). Directed by Anna Zamecka. Synopsis: A documentary that reveals the beauty of the rejected, the strength of the weak and the need for change when change seems impossible. This crash course in growing up teaches us that no failure is final. Especially when love is in question. Now playing in US theaters.
Greta (2019). Directed by Neil Jordan. Written by Neil Jordan and Ray Wright. Starring Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe. Synopsis: A young woman befriends a lonely widow. Opens in US theaters on March 1st, 2019.
Close (2019). Directed by Vicky Jewson. Written by Vicky Jewson and Rupert Whitaker. Starring Noomi Rapace, Indira Varma, Sophie Nélisse. Synopsis: A bodyguard and counter-terrorism expert Sam takes a job protecting Zoe a rich young heiress. Neither party is keen on the arrangement until a violent kidnap forces them to go on the runt. Debuts on Netflix on January 18th, 2019.
Outlaws (2019). Directed by Stephen McCallum. Written by Matt Nable. Starring Ryan Corr, Abbey Lee, Simone Kessell. Synopsis: A film set within the primal underworld of outlaw motorcycle club gangs. It follows the heir to the throne of a motorcycle club who has to betray his president to save his brother’s life. US release date is TBA.
Men In Black: International (2019). Directed by F. Gary Gray. Written by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum. Starring Rebecca Ferguson, Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth. Synopsis: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. Opens in US theaters on June 14th, 2019.
Hellboy (2019). Directed by Neil Marshall. Written by Andrew Cosby (based on the comic book by Mike Mignola). Starring David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Sasha Lane. Synopsis: Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge. Opens in US theaters on April 12th, 2019.
The Last Laugh (2019). Written and directed by Greg Pritikin. Starring Chevy Chase, Andie MacDowell, Kate Micucci. Synopsis: When retired talent manager Al Hart is reunited with his first client, Buddy Green, a comic who quit show business 50 years ago, he convinces Buddy to escape their retirement community and hit the road for a cross-country comedy tour. Debuts on Netflix on January 11th, 2019.
St. Bernard Syndicate (2019). Directed by Mads Brügger. Written by Lærke Sanderhoff. Starring Frederik Cilius Jørgensen, Rasmus Bruun, Flemming Sørensen. Synopsis: An odd-couple comedy about the pitfalls of striking out into the economic frontier; it charts two hapless Danes’ scheme to sell Saint Bernards to China’s middle class. US release date is TBA.
The Kid Who Would Be King (2019). Written and directed by Joe Cornish. Starring Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Taylor, Patrick Stewart. Synopsis: A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace.. Opens in US theaters on January 25th, 2019.
I’m Not Here (2019). Directed by Michelle Schumacher. Written by Tony Cummings and Michelle Schumacher. Starring J.K. Simmons, Sebastian Stan, Maika Monroe. Synopsis: A man struggles with the tragic memories of his past to make sense of his present, but soon realizes that time isn’t the enemy he thinks it is. Opens in US theaters on March 8th, 2019.
Ruben Brandt, Collector (2019). Directed by Milorad Krstic. Written by Milorad Krstic and Radmila Roczkov. Starring Iván Kamarás, Gabriella Hámori, Zalán Makranczi. Synopsis: A psychotherapist suffers violent nightmares inspired by legendary works of art. Now playing in US theaters.
The Image Book (2019). Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Synopsis: Nothing but silence. Nothing but a revolutionary song. A story in five chapters like the five fingers of a hand. Opens in US theaters on January 25th, 2019.
Arctic (2019). Directed by Joe Penna. Written by Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison. Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir. Synopsis: A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive. Opens in US theaters on February 1st, 2019.
Buttons (2018). Directed by Tim Janis. Starring Angela Lansbury, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Redford. Synopsis: Two orphan children meet a pair of unexpected visitors who change their fortunes and lives forever. US release date (aside from its Fathom Events premiere last month) is TBA.
Destroyer (2018). Directed by Karyn Kusama. Written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Starring Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany. Synopsis: A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace. Now playing in US theaters.
Teen Spirit (2018). Written and directed by Max Minghella. Starring Elle Fanning, Millie Brady, Rebecca Hall. Synopsis: Violet is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Opens in US theaters on April 5th, 2019.
The Prodigy (2019). Directed by Nicholas McCarthy. Written by Jeff Buhler. Starring Taylor Schilling, Brittany Allen, Colm Feore. Synopsis: A mother concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him. Opens in US theaters on February 8th, 2019.
Who We Lost in 2018
Matt writes: Our compilation of tributes from 2018 features remembrances of such trailblazers as Stan Lee, Penny Marshall, Scott Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Steven Bochco and Burt Reynolds. Click here for the full index.
Who We Interviewed in 2018
Blondie (1938). Directed by Frank R. Strayer. Written by Richard Flournoy (based on the comic strip by Chic Young). Starring Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake, Larry Simms. Synopsis: Dagwood loses his job on the eve of his and Blondie’s fifth wedding anniversary.
Drop-Out Father (1982). Directed by Don Taylor. Written by Bob Shanks. Starring Dick Van Dyke, Mariette Hartley, George Coe. Synopsis: A middle-aged man’s decision to leave his high-pressure advertising job has a profound effect on his family.
The Morning After (1986). Directed by Sidney Lumet. Written by James Cresson. Starring Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges, Raul Julia. Synopsis: A washed up, alcoholic actress who is prone to blackouts wakes up next to a murdered man. Did she kill him and, if not, is she in danger?