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Opening this week on a screen near you:

Coming 2 America (2021)  PG-13

Coming 2 America

Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

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Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary, and he learns that he has a long-lost son (Jermaine Fowler) and has returned to the United States to meet him and possibly bring him back to Akeem’s homeland.    Coming 2 America Website

What to Watch For: Eddie Murphy is one of the credited writers on the film, coming from an idea he got after attempts to turn the first film into a play fell apart.

Word on the Street: The Royal Palace scenes were all shot in the Atlanta area, using the estate of hip-hop star and producer Rick Ross.

My Take: I love that a lot of the cast from the first film are making appearances in this one, including James Earl Jones, John Amos, Louie Anderson, and of course, Arsenio Hall.

 

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) PG

Raya and the Last Dragon

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios

In a world inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) is determined to find the last dragon.   Raya and the Last Dragon Website

What to Watch For: This is the 62nd Animated Feature Film from Walt Disney Animation and the first film of the 2020s.

Word on the Street: The team designing the film toured Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand to get ideas for the ancient world of Kumandra.

My Take: I love Disney animated films and already have this on my calendar to see.

 

Boogie (2021) 

Boogie

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is a basketball star in the making in Queens, New York, who dreams of playing in the NBA. Boogie has battle prejudices while navigating high school, on-court rivals, and his parent’s expectations.     Boogie Website

What to Watch For: The film is written and directed by Eddie Hung, whose own story was told each week on the hit TV show Fresh Off the Boat.

Word on the Street: This is the feature-film debut of lead actor Taylor Takahashi.

My Take: I am hearing great things about this film from fellow critics that have seen it.

 

My Salinger Year  (2020)  R 

My Salinger Year

Photo courtesy of IFC

Joanna (Margaret Qualiey) is a young woman who plans to be a writer and moves to New York to follow that dream. She takes a clerical job working for the literary agent (Sigourney Weaver) of the renowned, reclusive writer of Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger.    My Salinger Year Website

What to Watch For:  The film is based on the novel of the same name by Joanna Smith Rake-off.

Word on the Street:  Fans of Gilmore Girls character Michel will be happy to see Yanic Truesdale in the cast as a fellow literary agent.

My Take:  Philippe Falardeau, who directed this film, also directed the excellent 2014 film The Good Lie.

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Chaos Walking (2021) PG-13

Chaos Walking

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

In a world where a virus killed all the women, and living creatures have the ability to read each other’s minds; Todd (Tom Holland) encounters Viola (Daisy Ridley), a strange woman who others on the planet want to hunt her down. Todd vows to protect Viola and discovers that he has a hidden power that can help to unlock his planet’s dark secrets.    Chaos Walking Website

What to Watch For: The film is directed by Doug Liman, who directed the 2014 hit Edge of Tomorrow.

Word on the Street: The supporting cast includes Demián Bichir, David Oyelowo, Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, and Bethany Anne Lind.

My Take: I will see anything that Daisy Ridley is in, so count me in.

 

Moxie (2021) PG-13

Moxie

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Inspired by her mother’s (Amy Poehler) rebellious past and an outspoken friend (Alycia Pascual-Pena), Vivian (Hadley Robinson) decides to anonymously publish a zine that takes on the sexist and toxic culture of her high-school and it sparks a school-wide, ‘coming-of-rage’ revolution.    Moxie Website

What to Watch For: The film is directed by Amy Poehler, coming off her co-hosting gig of the Golden Globes.

Word on the Street: The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jennifer Mathieu.

My Take: I enjoyed Poehler’s directorial feature film debut, Wine Country (2019).

 

Boss Level  (2020)

Boss Level

Photo courtesy of Hulu

Roy (Frank Grillo), a special forces veteran, is stuck in a time loop, destined to repeat the same day over and over again while being hunted by dozens of deadly assassins. Each time he is killed, he returns to relive the same day as he struggles to climb out of his predicament.     Boss Level Info

What to Watch For: The film is directed by Joe Carnahan, who is known for his films Narc (2002), The A-Team (2010), and The Grey (2011).

Word on the Street: The outstanding cast includes Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts, Will Sasso, Michelle Yeoh, and Ken Jeong.

My Take: I am up for an action film with a bit of a sense of humor.

 

Stray (2020)

Stray

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

This documentary follows three dogs, Zeytin, Nazar, and Kartal, as they struggle for survival on the streets of Istanbul.    Stray Website

What to Watch For: The film has been a big hit on the film festival circuit, winning the Best International Documentary Award at the 2020 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Word on the Street: The film is currently at 100% on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

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My Take: I love documentaries and dogs, so I can’t pass this film up.