Opening this week on a screen near you:

 

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The Suicide Squad  (2021)  R 

The Suicide Squad

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

The squad of misfit criminals is back on another mission that is bound to get them killed. This time, they join the super-secret and possibly shady Task Force X as they are dropped off on the remote, enemy-filled island of Corto Maltese.     The Suicide Squad Website

What to Watch For: The cast includes Margot Robbie returning as Harley Quinn, John Cena, Taika Waititi, Idris Elba, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillon, Jai Courtney, and Viola Davis.

Word on the Street: The film is written and directed by James Gunn, the man behind the hugely successful Guardians of the Galaxy films.

My Take: I am a huge James Gunn fan from back from his first feature film Slither (2006), so I can’t wait to see this one.

 

Nine Days   (2020) R

Nine Days

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Will (Winston Duke) is an arbiter who judges souls before they inhabit the bodies in the living. He is interviewing over a span of nine days a group of candidates who have the opportunity to be born. If they are not selected, they will be given a parting memory before their existence is erased.    Nine Days Website

What to Watch For: The film has been a big hit on the film festival circuit,  winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Word on the Street: The outstanding cast includes Zazie Beetz, Tony Hale, Bill Skarsgard, Benedict Wong, Jeffrey Hanson, David Rysdahl, and Arianna Ortiz.

My Take: I am hearing great things about this film from other film critics who say that first-time feature film writer/director Edson Oda is someone to keep track of as he continues his career.

 

Vivo   (2021) PG

Vivo

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Vivo (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda), a one-of-a-kind kinkajou, goes on a quest, with the help of a little girl named Gabi (voiced by Ynairaly Simo), to deliver a letter from his owner Andres (voiced by Juan de Marcos Gonzalez) to Andres’s long-lost love, Marta (voiced by Gloria Estefan).    Vivo Website

What to Watch For: The songs for the film are written by Oscar-nominated Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Word on the Street: The voice cast for this animated film includes Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicole Byer, Leslie David Baker, and Olivia Trujillo.

My Take: Any film with original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda is a film that I want to see.

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Annette   (2021) R

Annette

Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

Henry (Adam Driver) is a stand-up comedian who falls in love with a renowned opera star, Ann (Marion Cotillard). They form a passionate couple that soon is blessed with a young child, Annette. Annette is a little girl who has an exceptional destiny in front of her and will change Henry and Ann’s lives forever.    Annette Website

What to Watch For: The film is from filmmaker Leos Carax who brought us the award-winning films Boy Meets Girl (1984) and Holy Motors (2012).

Word on the Street: The film won two awards at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d’Or.

My Take: I loved the wonderful Holy Motors, and I am a big fan of Marion Cotillard, so you know I will see this film.

 

Ailey   (2021)

Ailey

Photo courtesy of Neon

Documentary that paints an immersive portrait of an icon, the trailblazing dance pioneer Alvin Ailey, through his own words and a new dance inspired by his life.     Ailey Website

What to Watch For: The film is from Emmy-award-winning director Jamila Wignot, who also brought us the exceptional documentary Town Hall (2013).

Word on the Street: The film had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

My Take: I can’t believe that this is the first documentary ever done on the legendary Alvin Ailey.

 

John and the Hole    (2021) R

John and the Hole

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

John (Charlie Shotwell) is a kid growing up in a family of four, with a loving mother (Jennifer Ehle), and father (Michael C. Hall), and an older sister (Taissa Farmiga). So why would John drug his family and hold them captive in a hole in the ground?      John and the Hole Website

What to Watch For: The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and won the Directors to Watch award at the 2021 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Word on the Street: The is the first feature film by award-winning director Pascual Sisto.

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My Take: I have been a fan of Taissa Farmiga (younger sister of Vera Farmiga) since her role in the 2013 film At Middleton.