Opening this week on a screen near you:

 

Jungle Cruise (2021) PG-13

Jungle Cruise

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

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Captain Frank Wolf (Dwayne Johnson) is used to taking some tourists on a typical jungle cruise aboard his boat. But Capt. Wolf has never met Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), a determined explorer on a research mission, who has other plans for her trip. She, along with her brother, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall), are looking for a magic cure that has been hid in the Amazon jungle for centuries. Captain Wolf, Lily and  are about to go on the adventure of a lifetime, one that on one has ever returned from.      Jungle Cruise Website

What to Watch For: The film is inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, one of the first rides in the park to become a classic. The film will contain several elements that are seen in the park ride.

Word on the Street: The film has been in development for years, with stars such as Tom Hanks and Tim Allen attached to the lead role that Johnson plays. The film was initially slated to be released in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic.

My Take: I can’t wait to see this film. I love Emily Blunt, and I know she can do action/adventure (Edge of Tomorrow, A Quiet Place).

 

Stillwater   (2021) R

Stillwater

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

An American oil-rig roughneck from Oklahoma, Bill (Matt Damon) travels to France to visit his daughter, Allison (Abigail Breslin), who is being held in jail for a murder that she claims she didn’t commit. With no help from her lawyer or the police, both of whom think she is guilty, Bill, in a foreign country, battling language barriers and a system set up to have him fail, is determined to find evidence to exonerate his daughter and bring her back home, to Stillwater.     Stillwater Website

What to Watch For: The film is from filmmaker Tom McCarthy, the Oscar-winning writer from the 2015 hit Spotlight.

Word on the Street: McCarthy and Damon went to Oklahoma to immerse themselves in the world and culture of the oil ‘roughnecks’ for the film.

My Take: The film received a five-minute standing ovation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

 

The Green Knight   (2021) R

The Green Knight

Photo courtesy of A24

The story of Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur’s nephew, who is determined to make his own legend as he takes on the Green Knight, a gigantic green-skinned stranger.     The Green Knight Website

What to Watch For: The film is written and directed by David Lowery, the award-winning filmmaker best known for his films Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013) and A Ghost Story (2017).

Word on the Street: Dev Patel has been on a hot streak since his performance in Slumdog Millionaire (2008), including his Oscar-nominated performance as Saroo Brierley in the 2016 film Lion.

My Take: I studied the classics in college, and I love the story of Sri Gawain and the Green Knight.

 

Twist   (2021) R

Twist

Photo courtesy of Saban Films

Twist (Raff Law) is a gifted graffiti artist trying to find his way after the loss of his mother. He meets Fagin (Michael Caine), the head of a street gang, and Twist is on his way to becoming an integral part of the gang when an art theft goes wrong, and Twist finds himself caught between Fagin, his love for Red (Sophie Simnett), the police, and a loose-cannon enforcer (Lena Headey).     Twist Info

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What to Watch For: The film is inspired by the classic Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist.

Word on the Street: This is two-time Academy Award winner Michael Caine’s one hundred seventy-second acting credit, a career that started in the 50s and became red-hot with his appearances in Zulu (1964) and his first Oscar nomination in the lead role of Alfie (1967).

My Take: I have always loved the Oliver Twist tale (both the book and all the movie adaptations), so I look forward to this re-telling.

 

Resort to Love   (2021) PG

Resort to Love

Photo courtesy of Netflix

It’s been a tough year for Erica (Christina Milian) after she broke up with her fiancé (Jay Pharaoh). Her fortunes look up when she accepts a job as an entertainer at a fabulous Island resort only to find out that she will be the highlighted entertainment at her ex-fiancee/s wedding.   Resort to Love Website

What to Watch For: The movie was shot in Port Louis, Mauritius.

Word on the Street: Sinqua Walls stars as Erica’s love interest, hot off his roles as Vernon in Teen Wolf, Sir Lancelot in Once Upon a Time, and Don Cornelius in American Soul.

My Take: I am always up for a good rom-com.

 

Ride the Eagle   (2021)

Ride the Eagle

Photo courtesy of Decal Releasing

Leif (Jake Johnson) is left a picturesque Yosemite cabin he inherits from his estranged mother. Her only condition is that he has to complete a to-do list that she has compiled to teach him some lessons about life.    Ride the Eagle Website

What to Watch For: The superb cast includes J.K. Simmons, Cleo King, Susan Sarandon, and D’Arcy Carden.

What to Watch For: Star of the film Jake Johnson co-wrote the movie with director Trent O’Donnell. The two worked together on the TV series New Girl.

My Take: I am a big fan of Jake Johnson, loving his roles on the TV series New Girl and Stumptown and in feature films such as Drinking Buddies (2013) and Safety Not Guaranteed (2012).

 

Enemies of the State    (2020)

Enemies of the State

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

Documentary about an American family that became entangled in a bizarre web of secrets and lies when the U.S. government targets their son for hacking. These days it is sometimes hard to tell where the lies start, and truth exists.      Enemies of the State Website

What to Watch For: The film was the talk of every film festival it played at and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.

Word on the Street: Filmmaker Sonia Kennebeck is best known for her 2016 film National Bird, a documentary on three whistleblowers who have shown light on the secret U.S. drone war.

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My Take: I can’t wait to see this film. Fellow film critics have been raving about this film for quite a while.