Opening this week at a screen near you:

Nomadland (2020) R 

Nomadland

Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

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After her company town is devastated by the economic recession; Fern (Frances McDormand) packs up her possessions in her van and sets off on the road to take a journey through the American West, living as a modern-day nomad.     Nomadland Website

What to Watch For: Frances McDormand is sure to be nominated for Best Actress in this year’s Academy Awards.

Word on the Street: The film won the 2020 Atlanta Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film, along with Best Director for Chloe Zhao and Best Cinematography for Joshua James Richards.

My Take: I am a big fan of the film’s director, Chloe Zhao, who gave us one of the best films of 2017, The Rider.

 

I Care A Lot  (2020)  R  

I Care a Lot

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Marla (Rosamund Pike) has a nice racket going; she becomes the legal guardian of the elderly and then drains their savings as she puts them in nursing homes. Marla has just picked the wrong woman (Dianne Wiest) to swindle.    I Care A Lot Website

What to Watch For:  The supporting cast includes Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, and Alicia Witt.

Word on the Street:  Rosamund Pike has just been nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the film.

My Take:  The trailer is so much fun to watch!  I can’t wait to see this film.

 

Blithe Spirit (2020) PG-13

Blithe Spirit

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

Charles (Dan Stevens) is a writer suffering horrible writer’s block. He decides to invite a spiritualist medium (Judi Dench) to hold a seance to get the writing juices flowing again. Unfortunately, for both Charles and his wife of five years, Ruth (Isla Fisher), the medium brings back Charles’s first wife, Elvira (Leslie Mann), and she won’t or can’t leave Charles’s side, even if only he can see her.    Blithe Spirit Website

What to Watch For: This is a remake of the 1945 classic film of the same name and is based on Noël Coward’s play.

Word on the Street: This is the feature-film directorial debut of Edward Hall, known for his work directing TV shows Downton Abby, MI-5, and The Durrells in Corfu.

My Take: I love Leslie Mann, who I think is one of the funniest actors out there.

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Flora & Ulysses (2021) PG

Flora & Ulysses

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Flora (Matilda Lawler), the daughter of George (Ben Schwartz), a comic book creator, and Phyllis (Alyson Hannigan), a romance writer, is upset about her parent’s separation. When Flora rescues a squirrel from a robot lawnmower, she discovers that the squirrel, she has named Ulysses, has developed magical superpowers. Now can Ulysses help bring Flora’s parents back together before the evil animal control officer (Danny Pudi) catches Ulysses?   Flora & Ulysses Info

What to Watch For: The supporting cast includes Kate Micucci, Bobby Moynihan, and Anna Deavere Smith.

Word on the Street: Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, Kate Micucci, and Bobby Moynihan all provide voices for the Disney animated series Ducktales.

My Take: Don’t we all need a superhero squirrel in our lives?

 

Test Pattern (2019)

Test Pattern

Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber

The film follows an interracial couple (Will Brill, Brittany S. Hall) whose relationship is put to the test after she is sexually assaulted, and her boyfriend drives her from hospital to hospital to get someone to administer a rape kit.     Test Pattern Website

What to Watch for: The film played at the 2020 Atlanta Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Best Narrative Feature.

Word on the Street: The film won the Best Narrative Feature at the 2019 New Orleans Film Festival.

My Take: This is the first feature film for writer/director Shatara Michelle Ford, but I suspect it won’t be the last after the film’s success on the film festival circuit.

 

Days of the Bagnold Summer (2019)

Days of the Bagnold Summer

Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber

Daniel (Earl Cave), a heavy-metal teenager, wanted to spend his summer with his dad in Florida, but instead, he is stuck, once again in England, with his mom, Sue (Monica Doland), a mild-mannered librarian.    Days of the Bagnold Summer Info

What to Watch For: The film is based on a 2012 graphic novel of the same name by Joff Winterhart.

Word on the Street: The film uses songs from the metal bands Pure Disgust, Fleshworks, Tannhauser Kreig, Boris, and Chepang.

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My Take: The soundtrack is by a favorite of mine, the Scottish band Belle and Sebastian.