Matt writes: Sometimes the job of a critic is to provide a platform for films not receiving their deserved attention from audiences. In light of its underwhelming box office numbers, I’d like to place a spotlight on one of the year’s most acclaimed movies, Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart,” a wonderful comedy about teenage friends encouraged to break the rules in their final hours as high schoolers. Our critic Monica Castillo awarded the film four stars, while our Assistant Editor Nell Minow interviewed its brilliant leading ladies, Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. Watch the first six minutes of the picture embedded below, then see the rest in theaters. It is entirely worth the ticket price.
The Goldfinch (2019). Directed by John Crowley. Written by Peter Straughan (based on the novel by Donna Tartt). Starring Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Ansel Elgort. Synopsis: A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Opens in US theaters on September 13th, 2019.
Luce (2019). Directed by Julius Onah. Written by J.C. Lee and Julius Onah. Starring Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth. Synopsis: A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student. Opens in US theaters on August 2nd, 2019.
Ad Astra (2019). Directed by James Gray. Written by James Gray and Ethan Gross. Starring Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler, Tommy Lee Jones. Synopsis: An astronaut travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. He uncovers secrets which challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos. Opens in US theaters on September 20th, 2019.
Mike Wallace is Here (2019). Directed by Avi Belkin. Synopsis: A look at the career of ’60 Minutes’ newsman, Mike Wallace. Opens in US theaters on July 26th, 2019.
Our Time (2019). Directed by Carlos Reygadas. Starring Natalia López, Phil Burgers, Carlos Reygadas. Synopsis: A family lives in the Mexican countryside raising fighting bulls. Esther is in charge of running the ranch, while her husband Juan, a world-renowned poet, raises and selects the beasts. When Esther becomes infatuated with a horse trainer named Phil, the couple struggles to stride through the emotional crisis. Opens in US theaters on June 21st, 2019.
After the Wedding (2019). Written and directed by Bart Freundlich (based on the film by Susanne Bier). Starring Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup. Synopsis: A manager of an orphanage in Kolkata travels to New York to meet a benefactor. Opens in US theaters on August 9th, 2019.
Sword of Trust (2019). Directed by Lynn Shelton. Written by Lynn Shelton and Michael Patrick O’Brien. Starring Marc Maron, Jon Bass, Michaela Watkins. Synopsis: Cynthia and Mary show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather, but the only item she’s received is an antique sword that was believed by her grandfather to be proof that the South won the Civil War. Opens in US theaters on July 12th, 2019.
Them That Follow (2019). Written and directed by Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage. Starring Kaitlyn Dever, Walton Goggins, Olivia Colman. Synopsis: Set deep in the wilds of Appalachia, where believers handle death-dealing snakes to prove themselves before God, Them That Follow tells the story of a pastor’s daughter who holds a secret that threatens to tear her community apart. Opens in US theaters on August 2nd, 2019.
Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019). Written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo. Starring Jillian Bell, Jennifer Dundas, Patch Darragh. Synopsis: A woman living in New York takes control of her life- one block at a time. Opens in US theaters on August 23rd, 2019.
Honeyland (2019). Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov. Synopsis: The last female beehunter in Europe must save the bees and return the natural balance when a family of nomadic beekeepers invade her land and threaten her livelihood. Opens in US theaters on July 26th, 2019.
The Edge of Democracy (2019). Directed by Petra Costa. Synopsis: The 2nd Brazilian’s Impeachment, starred by Dilma Rousseff, of Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). Debuts on Netflix on June 19th, 2019.
Animals (2019). Directed by Sophie Hyde. Written by Emma Jane Unsworth. Starring Holliday Grainger, Alia Shawkat, Fra Fee. Synopsis: After a decade of partying, Laura and Tyler’s friendship is strained when Laura falls in love. But what is really stopping her from fulfilling her dreams? US release date is TBA.
The Quiet One (2019). Directed by Oliver Murray. Synopsis: A unique, never before revealed and behind the- scenes look at the highs and lows of the life and career of Bill Wyman, former founding member of the Rolling Stones and renaissance man of rock and roll. Opens in US theaters on June 21st, 2019.
Rolling Thunder Revue (2019). Directed by Martin Scorsese. Synopsis: Part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream, capturing the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the joyous music that Dylan performed during the fall of that year. Debuts on Netflix on June 12th, 2019.
Ford V Ferrari (2019). Directed by James Mangold. Written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller and James Mangold. Starring Christian Bale, Caitriona Balfe, Matt Damon. Synopsis: American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Opens in US theaters on November 15th, 2019.
Three Peaks (2019). Written and directed by Jan Zabeil. Starring Alexander Fehling, Bérénice Bejo, Arian Montgomery. Synopsis: Aaron wants to become a family with his girlfriend and her 8-year-old son, but high up in the Italian Dolomites, his attempts to win the boy’s acceptance turn into a dangerous power game. US release date is TBA.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019). Directed by André Øvredal. Written by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman and Guillermo del Toro (based on the novel by Alvin Schwartz). Starring Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Austin Zajur. Synopsis: A group of teens face their fears in order to save their lives. Opens in US theaters on August 9th, 2019.
Onward (2020). Written and directed by Dan Scanlon. Starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Octavia Spencer. Synopsis: Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there. Opens in US theaters on March 6th, 2020.
Chaz Ebert applauds “Pavarotti”
Matt writes: RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert admired Ron Howard’s new documentary, “Pavarotti,” so much that she decided to pen her own essay on the film, in addition to our site’s official review written by Glenn Kenny. She also presents Amber Cullen’s article originally published in the Lyric Opera magazine detailing Chaz and Roger’s love of opera, and the special place it had in their relationship.
“Alien” at 40
Matt writes: Valerie Kalfrin revisits Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror masterpiece in honor of its fortieth anniversary, exploring how the film is both ahead of its time and squarely of its time. Click here to read the full article.
Scream Blacula Scream (1973). Directed by Bob Kelljan. Written by Joan Torres, Raymond Koenig and Maurice Jules. Starring William Marshall, Don Mitchell, Pam Grier. Synopsis: The vampire Mamuwalde (Blacula) is stirred by African voodoo, and is forced to kill again.
Friday Foster (1975). Directed by Arthur Marks. Written by Orville H. Hampton. Starring Pam Grier, Yaphet Kotto, Godfrey Cambridge. Synopsis: At Los Angeles airport, magazine photographer Friday Foster witnesses an assassination attempt against billionaire Blake Tarr and is drawn into a murky political conspiracy.
‘Sheba, Baby’ (1975). Written and directed by William Girdler. Starring Pam Grier, Austin Stoker, D’Urville Martin. Synopsis: A Chicago private detective returns back home to Louisville, Kentucky, to help her father fight mobsters.