Opening this week on a screen near you:
The Prom (2020) PG-13
Two down on their luck Broadway stars (Meryl Streep, Jame Corden) travel to a small Indiana town to support a high school girl (Jo Ellen Pellman) who, against the wishes of the townspeople, wants to take her girlfriend to the prom. The Prom Website
What to Watch For: The all-star cast includes Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Chamberlin, and Mary Kay Place.
Word on the Street: The film is directed by Ryan Murphy, six-time Emmy Award winner responsible for such hits as Glee, American Horror Story, and Pose.
My Take: Meryl Streep singing and dancing, count me in!
Songbird (2020) PG-13
In 2024, COVID-23 has overtaken the world and its cities. A lockdown has made people prisoners in their own homes. In the middle of hopelessness, two people (K.J. Apa, Sofia Carson) try to have a relationship in an environment where they may never meet or touch in person. Songbird Website
What to Watch For: The movie is the first feature film to be shot in Los Angeles during COVID-19.
Word on the Street: K.J. Apa is known for his role as Archie Andrews in the hit CW show Riverdale.
My Take: The film has a strong supporting cast, including Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Alexandra Daddario, Peter Stormare, Paul Walter Hauser, and Demi Moore.
Wild Mountain Thyme (2020) PG-13
Rosemary (Emily Blunt), against her family’s wishes, is head over heels in love with her neighbor Anthony (Jamie Dornan). The problem is Anthony is cursed, as madness runs in the family, and he remains oblivious to Rosemary and her advances. In walks, an American (Jon Hamm), who wants to buy Anthony’s family farm and also, just might take Rosemary away too. Wild Mountain Thyme Website
What to Watch For: The film is based on writer/director John Patrick Shanley’s play Outside Mullingar, which ran on Broadway in 2014.
Word on the Street: The film was shot on location in Ireland.
My Take: Hey, a comedic romance with Emily Blunt, Jon Hamm, and Christopher Walken? You had me at Emily Blunt.
Minding the Gap (2018)
Documentary on three young men who grew up together in the Rust-Belt, using their love for skateboarding as an escape from their volatile family life and the adult responsibilities they now have. Minding the Gap Website
What to Watch For: The film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2019 Academy Awards.
Word on the Street: The film has won over fifty awards from film critic groups such as the Indie wire Critics Poll in 2018 and film festivals worldwide, including the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in 2018.
My Take: The film was a nominee for the 2019 Best Documentary Film from a critics group I belong to, the Georgia Film Critics Association.
Wander Darkly (2020) R
New parents Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) are in a troubled relationship that gets harder when they are forced to reckon with trauma. They must revisit their past memories while trying to unravel the truth to face their uncertain future. Wander Darkly Website
What to Watch For: The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Word on the Street: Writer/director Tara Miele has directed CW programs Batwoman and Arrow.
My Take: I loved Tara Miele’s 2010 film The Lake Effect, starring Kay Panabaker, Tara Summers, and Ross Partridge.
The Dark Divide (2020)
Urged on by his wife’s (Debra Messing) last wish, renowned butterfly expert Robert Pyle (David Cross) barks on a trip he has long put off, to trek through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The problem is Robert has never hiked on his own for such a dangerous and lengthy journey, a trek full of beauty and challenges. The Dark Divide Website
What to Watch For: The film was shot on location in the park with a skeleton crew.
Word on the Street: The film is based on Robert Michael Pyle’s memoir Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide.
My Take: Having heard David Cross interviewed for the film on the Life is Short with Justin Long podcast, I can’t wait to see this film.