Matt writes: Though the 2019 Sundance Film Festival wrapped this past Sunday, RogerEbert.com is still adding to its coverage of the various cinematic highlights, all of which can be found in our official Table of Contents. There you will find reviews and interviews penned by Brian Tallerico, Nick Allen, Tomris Laffly and Monica Castillo, as well as special dispatches from this year’s trio of Ebert Fellows: Niani Scott, Whitney A. Spencer and Tiffany Walden.
Knife + Heart (2019). Directed by Yann Gonzalez. Written by Yann Gonzalez and Cristiano Mangione. Starring Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moran, Nicolas Maury. Synopsis: Paris, summer 1979. Anne is a producer of gay porn at discount. When Loïs, her editor and companion, leaves her, she attempts to reclaim her by turning a film more ambitious with the flamboyant Archibald. Opens in US theaters on March 19th, 2019.
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2019). Directed by Xavier Dolan. Written by Xavier Dolan and Jacob Tierney. Starring Natalie Portman, Sarah Gadon, Emily Hampshire. Synopsis: A decade after the death of an American TV star, a young actor reminisces the written correspondence he shared with him, as well as the impact those letters had on both their lives. US release date is TBA.
Donnybrook (2019). Written and directed by Tim Sutton (based on the novel by Frank Bill). Starring Margaret Qualley, Frank Grillo, Jamie Bell. Synopsis: Two men prepare to compete in a legendary bare-knuckle fight where the winner gets a $100,000 prize. Opens in US theaters on February 15th, 2019.
The White Crow (2019). Directed by Ralph Fiennes. Written by David Hare. Starring Oleg Ivenko, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Ralph Fiennes. Synopsis: The story of Rudolf Nureyev’s defection to the West. US release date is TBA.
The Wedding Guest (2019). Written and directed by Michael Winterbottom. Starring Dev Patel, Radhika Apte, Jim Sarbh. Synopsis: A story centered on a mysterious British Muslim man on his journey across Pakistan and India. Opens in US theaters on March 1st, 2019.
Apollo 11 (2019). Directed by Todd Douglas Miller. Synopsis: A look at the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon led by commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin. US release date is TBA.
Wonder Park (2019). Directed by Robert Iscove, Clare Kilner and David Feiss. Written by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec. Starring Jennifer Garner, Kenan Thompson and John Oliver. Synopsis: The story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive. Opens in US theaters on March 15th, 2019.
The Breaker Upperers (2019). Written and directed by Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek. Starring Madeleine Sami, Jackie van Beek, James Rolleston. Synopsis: For the right price, BFFs Jen and Mel will ruthlessly end any romance. But when one grows a conscience, it threatens to derail their relationship. Debuts on Netflix on February 15th, 2019.
Hobbs & Shaw (2019). Directed by David Leitch. Written by Chris Morgan (based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson). Starring Dwayne Johnson, Idris Elba and Jason Statham. Synopsis: Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity. Opens in US theaters on August 2nd, 2019.
United Skates (2019). Directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler. Synopsis: When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture–one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent. Premieres on HBO on February 18th, 2019.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019). Directed by Joe Berlinger. Written by Michael Werwie. Starring Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Angela Sarafyan. Synopsis: A chronicle of the crimes of Ted Bundy, from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who refused to believe the truth about him for years. US release date is TBA.
Hotel by the River (2019). Written and directed by Sang-soo Hong. Starring Joo-Bong Ki, Min-hee Kim, Hae-hyo Kwon. Synopsis: It is the dead of winter and a poet invites his sons to join him at a hotel for a reunion. The hotel also hosts a newly single woman who has a friend keep her company and with whom she shares a room, strolls and conversations. The poet is drawn to the beautiful girls and cannot resist the temptation to discover more. Their lives intersect, connect and disconnect and potentially become a metaphor for modern life. Opens in US theaters on February 15th, 2019.
Pain & Gloria (2019). Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Raúl Arévalo. Synopsis: A film director reflects on the choices he’s made in life as past and present come crashing down around him. US release date is TBA.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019). Written and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor (based on the book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer). Starring Lily Banda, Noma Dumezweni, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Synopsis: A boy in Malawi helps his village by building a wind turbine after reading about them in a library book. Debuts on Netflix on March 1st, 2019.
Out of Blue (2019). Written and directed by Carol Morley (based on the novel by Martin Amis). Starring Patricia Clarkson, Jacki Weaver, Mamie Gummer. Synopsis: When Detective Mike Hoolihan is called to investigate the shooting of leading astrophysicist and black hole expert, Jennifer Rockwell, she is affected in ways she struggles to comprehend. Opens in US theaters on March 15th, 2019.
The Biggest Little Farm (2019). Directed by John Chester. Synopsis: Documentarian John Chester and his wife Molly work to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. Opens in US theaters on April 5th, 2019.
The Professor and the Madman (2019). Directed by Farhad Safinia. Written by John Boorman, Todd Komarnicki and Farhad Safinia (based on the book by Simon Winchester). Starring Natalie Dormer, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn. Synopsis: Professor James Murray begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid 19th century, and receives over 10,000 entries from a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Dr. William Minor. US release date is TBA.
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020). Directed by Cathy Yan. Written by Christina Hodson (based on the comics by Chuck Dixon, Jordan B. Gorfinkel and Greg Land). Starring Margot Robbie, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Synopsis: After splitting up with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins three female superheroes – Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya – to save the life of a little girl from an evil crime lord. Opens in US theaters on February 7th, 2020.
Richard Dreyfuss on “Jaws”
Matt writes: I recently had the honor of chatting with Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss about his extraordinary career prior to a Chicagoland screening of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic, “Jaws.” Deborah Kolar, the eldest daughter of Dreyfuss’ towering co-star, Robert Shaw, also shared with me memories about her father. Click here for the full article.
R.I.P. Dick Miller (1928-2019)
Matt writes: The beloved character actor, whose career spanned over six decades, is eulogized beautifully by one of his greatest champions, Peter Sobczynski. Click here for the full article as well as video footage of Sobczynski’s interview with Miller at the 2014 Chicago Critics’ Film Festival.
Three Ages (1923). Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton. Written by Clyde Bruckman, Joseph A. Mitchell and Jean C. Havez. Starring Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy, Wallace Beery. Synopsis: The misadventures of Buster in three separate historical periods.
Things to Come (1936). Directed by William Cameron Menzies. Starring Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson. Synopsis: The story of a century: a decades-long second World War leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and attempts space travel.
Storm in a Teacup (1937). Directed by Ian Dalrymple and Victor Saville. Written by Ian Dalrymple and Donald Bull (based on the play by Bruno Frank). Starring Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison, Cecil Parker. Synopsis: A local politician in Scotland tries to break the reporter who wrote a negative story about him, and who is also in love with his daughter.