Opening this week at a screen near you:

 

The Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard   (2021) R

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The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

Just when Michael (Ryan Reynolds) thought his job was done, Darius’s (Samuel L.Jackson) wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek), is up to no good, and Michael is back trying to protect someone everyone wants dead.     The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Website

What to Watch For: The film was shot entirely on location in Europe, including Italy, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, and Croatia.

Word on the Street: The film brings back the director, Patrick Hughes, and the screenwriter, Tom O’Connor, return from the first film as well as cast members Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, and Richard E. Grant.

My Take: I am a huge fan of Salma Hayek, having followed her career since her appearance as Carolina in Robert Rodriguez’s 1995 film Desperado.

 

Luca   (2021) PG

Luca

Photo courtesy of Pixar

Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) is a sea monster who dreams of exploring the world, but his parents are worried that the humans living on the ground will hunt and kill Luca. One day Luca discovers that he can change into human form, and with help from his fellow sea monster friend Alberto (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer), Luca sets out to travel the world of the humans.   Luca Website

What to Watch For: This is the first feature film from director Enrico Casarosa. His Pixar short film La Luna was nominated for an Oscar in 2021.

Word on the Street: The voice cast includes Maya Rudolph, Giacomo Gianniotti, Jim Gaffigan, and Sandy Martin.

My Take: I always love the Pixar films, and they never fail to make me shed a tear.

 

12 Mighty Orphans   (2021) PG-13

12 Mighty Orphans

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Set in the Great Depression, a small group of orphans are put together by a football coach (Luke Wilson) and lead them to the state championship, inspiring a tired and broken nation along the way.     12 Mighty Orphans Website

What to Watch For: The outstanding cast includes Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Treat Williams, Wayne Knight, and Vinessa Shaw.

Word on the Street: The film is based on the 2007 Jim Dent book Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football.

My Take: The film was shot in my home state of Texas in the cities of Weatherford, Cleburne, and Fort Worth.

 

The Sparks Brothers   (2021) R

he Sparks Brothers

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

Documentary on the legendary band Sparks, made up of brothers Ron and Russell Mael, who made music for the past five decades, releasing an astounding 25 albums and inspiring generations of pop and rock stars.    The Sparks Brothers Website

What to Watch For: The film is directed by Edgar Wright, known for his award-winning films, including Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), and Baby Driver (2017).

Word on the Street: The film features interviews with Jane Wiedlin, Fred Armisen, Mike Myers, Nick Rhodes, Weird Al Yankovic, Beck, Flea, and Todd Rundgren.

My Take: The film is currently at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with over 50 critical reviews.

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Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It   (2021) 

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It

Photo courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Documentary about the legendary dancer/actress who, over a 70-year career, defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and beloved actor, one of the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award Winners of our time.   Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It Website

What to Watch For: The film just played at the 2021 Atlanta Film Festival and was a nominee for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Word on the Street: The film includes appearances by Lin=Manuel Miranda, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Justina Machado, Eva Longoria, Gloria Estefan, Norman Lear, and Hector Elizondo.

My Take: After winning the Oscar for her role as Anita in the 1961 film West Side Story, she is making an appearance in the Steven Spielberg remake of the film to be released this Christmas.

 

Gaia   (2021)  R

Gaia

Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street Media

On a survey mission in a remote forest, a park ranger (Monique Rockman) encounters two survivalists following a post-apocalyptic lifestyle. Disturbed by the boy and his father’s mysterious nature, the park ranger soon discovers that there is a greater threat in this emergent wilderness.   Gaia Website

What to Watch For: The film was shot in the Tsitsikamma forest in South Africa. At one point, the film crew had to fight off half a dozen vervet monkeys that took turns attacking the camera lens box.

Word on the Street: The film won the ZEISS Cinematography Award at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival.

My Take: I have heard from other critics that have seen this film, the look of the film is just breathtaking.

 

Enfant Terrible   (2020)

Enfant Terrible

Photo courtesy of Dark Star Pictures

This is a film based on the life of the award-winning, controversial German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who in a short span completed 40 feature films, two TV-series, and twenty-four plays.   Enfant Terrible Info

What to Watch For: The director Oskar Roehler won Best Director at the 2021 FEST International Film Festival for the film.

Word on the Street: Fassbinder was considered one of the leading forces behind the iconic German New Wave films of the 70s and early 80s.

My Take: My favorite Fassbinder film is his 1974 classic Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.

 

Fatherhood   (2021)  PG-13

Fatherhood

Photo courtesy of Netflix

After what was one of the happiest days of his life, the birth of his daughter, his wife dies, and a new father (Kevin Hart) is faced with raising a child on his own, something he was never ready for but must succeed because he is in it…together.    Fatherhood Website

What to Watch For: The supporting cast includes Lil Rel Howery, Alfre Woodard, Frankie R. Faison, Paul Reiser, DeWanda Wise, Deborah Ayorinde, and Teneisha Collins.

Word on the Street: The film is based on the memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Love & Loss by Matthew Logelin.

My Take: It will be nice to see what Kevin Hart can do in a drama.

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