Opening this week at a screen near you:
The Glorias (2020) R
The story of feminist icon and Ms magazine creator Gloria Steinem, as we follow her story from childhood to adult as she becomes a writer, activist, and organizer for women’s rights worldwide. The Glorias Website
What to Watch For: In the film, Steinem is portrayed by a number of actors, including Alicia Vikander, Julianne Moore, and Steinem herself.
Word on the Street: The movie was the closing night film for the 44th Annual Atlanta Film Festival.
My Take: The cast includes Bette Milder as Bella Abzug, Janelle Monáe as Dorothy Pitman Hughes, and Timothy Hutton as Gloria Steinem’s father, Leo.
On the Rocks (2020) R
Laura (Rashida Jones) is a wife and mother who feels like her life is stuck in a rut. Enter her larger-than-life playboy father, Felix (Bill Murray), who is convinced that Laura’s husband, Dean (Marlon Wayans), is cheating on her. Now Laura and her father are on a mission to find out if Dean is cheating or not. On the Rocks Website
What to Watch For: This is the third time that writer/director Sofia Coppola and Oscar-nominated Bill Murray have worked together, including the hit 2003 film Lost In Translation.
Word on the Street: When Sofia Coppola was writing the script for Lost in Translation, Rashida Jones was in an acting class that Coppola used to work-shop out ideas. Jones read in class the lead part that went to Scarlett Johansson when the film was made.
My Take: I’ll see any film that Bill Murray is appearing in.
The Boys in the Band (2020) R
At a birthday party in 1968 New York, seven gay friends come together to discover unspoken feelings and buried truths. The Boys in the Band Website
What to Watch For: The outstanding cast includes Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin De Jesus, Tuc Watkins, Michael Benjamin Washington, Brian Hutchison, and Scott Everett White.
Word on the Street: The film is a remake of the 1970 groundbreaking film of the same name directed by William Friedkin.
My Take: You can’t go wrong with a cast this good.
Dick Johnson is Dead (2020) PG-13
Filmmaker Kirsten Johnson is dealing with her dad’s declining health and eventual death. She decides to use her filmmaking skills to stage inventive and often fantastical ways to kill off her 86-year-old father, as she explores her relationship with him. Dick Johnson is Dead Website
What to Watch For: The film won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Word on the Street: Filmmaker Kirsten Johnson is an award-winning cinematographer and director best known for her 2016 documentary Cameraperson.
My Take: I have loved Johnson’s work and can’t wait to see this one.
A Call to Spy (2019) PG-13
When WWII starts, Britain looks to every means possible to combat the Nazis in Europe. Prime Minister Churchill orders a new spy agency, the Special Operations Executive, to recruit and train women in the art of espionage. SOE’s ‘spymistess,’ Vera Atkins (Stana Katic) recruits two unusual candidates, Virginia (Sarah Megan Thomas), an American, and Noor Inayat (Radhika Atpe), a Muslim pacifist, to go on a mission to undermine the Nazi regime in France. A Call to Spy Website
What to Watch For: Sarah Megan Thomas plays an American who has a wooden leg. During the shooting, she developed complications playing the character and had to have surgery/rehab to repair her Achilles Tendon.
Word on the Street: The film is based on real events and spies who worked for the allies in WWII.
My Take: I am always up for a good spy film.
Kingdom of Silence (2020)
An in-depth look at the life of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s life, work, and murder. The film features interviews and footage that explore his personal and professional relationships with Saudi rulers, Jihadists, and fellow journalists. Kingdom of Silence Website
What to Watch For: Filmmaker Rick Rowley was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2013 documentary Dirty Wars.
Word on the Street: The film will premiere on the 2nd anniversary of Khashoggi’s death.
My Take: The film’s executive producer is one of my favorite filmmakers, Oscar and Emmy award-winner Alex Gibney.
Save Yourselves! (2020) R
A young Brooklyn couple (Sunita Mani, John Reynolds) decide to turn off their computers and cell phones and spend a week in an upstate cabin to unplug and reconnect with each other. The couple, blissfully unaware, have picked the wrong time to disconnect with the world; a world that has fallen into chaos as aliens invade the planet. Save Yourselves! Website
What to Watch For: The film just played at the 44th Annual Atlanta Film Festival.
Word on the Street: Sunita Mani is coming off roles in the TV series Mr. Robot and GLOW.
My Take: I loved Sunita Mani as Trenton in Mr. Robot.
Spontaneous (2020) R
Mara (Katherine Langford) and Dylan (Charlie Plummer) are two high-school-students who meet during their senior year and fall in love. Just one problem, students in their school are exploding without any warning, and so, each moment may be their last. Spontaneous Website
What to Watch For: Katherine Langford became a star as Hannah Baker in the TV series 13 Reasons Why and Charlie Plummer got rave reviews for his portrayal of John Paul Getty III in the 2017 film All the Money in the World.
Word on the Street: The film is based on the novel of the same name by Aaron Starmer.
My Take: The film stars one of my favorite actors Piper Perabo, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as CIA agent Walker in the TV show Covert Affairs.
Possessor Uncut (2020)
Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is an agent who works for a corporation that specializes in using brain-implant technology, which allows her to inhabit other people’s bodies, driving them to commit assassinations. Her job has caused damage to her health and well-being, and she soon finds that she has lost control over her latest victim (Christopher Abbott). Possessor Uncut Website
What to Watch For: The film is written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg, son of the legendary filmmaker David Cronenberg (Crash (1996), Dead Ringers (1988), Videodrome (1983).)
Word on the Street: The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
My Take: One of the stars of the film, Jennifer Jason Leigh, was in David Cronenberg’s 1999 film eXistenZ.
American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020)
In 2018, 38-year-old pregnant Shanann Watts and her two young daughters disappeared without a trace from their suburban home in Colorado. Soon the whole world was watching, wanting to know what happened to Shannan and why. American Murder: The Family Next Door Website
Word on the Street: The film utilizes footage from Shanann’s Facebook and Instagram accounts along with text messages and both police and television station videos, to tell the story.
Word on the Street: Executive Producer on the film is James Marsh, who won an Academy Award for the 2008 documentary Man on Wire.
My Take: This should be a fascinating documentary.