Opening this week at a screen near you:

 

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings   (2021) PG-13

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) was trained from childhood to be a master of Kung Fu until he ran away from his father (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), who wanted him to become a killer for his Ten Rings organization. Now living in America and going by the name of Shaun, he works as a valet with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). Shaun is about to confront his past and go on a journey with Katy and his long-lost sister (Fala Chen) to stop his father from taking over the world.    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RIngs Website

What to Watch For: Marvel comics boss Stan Lee wanted to create a film or TV series about Shang-Chi and had Brandon Lee, son of the martial arts master Bruce Lee, in mind for the lead role.

Word on the Street: The film is part of the Marvel Universe and is part of the setup for the subsequent Marvel films, so expect some Marvel characters from other movies to make an appearance.

My Take: Michelle Yeoh plays a significant part in the film. I have been a big fan of Michelle Yeoh, known for her roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2003), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), and the TV series Star Trek: Discovery.

 

Cinderella   (2021) PG

Cinderella

Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

Cinderella (Camila Cabello) lives in the basement of her evil stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) and her two daughters (Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer). Cinderella dreams of being a dressmaker and owning her own shop when she meets Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), and love fills the air.   Cinderella Website

What to Watch For: The film is a new musical take on the classic fairytale with hit songs, including Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Rhythm Nation, Somebody to Love, Material Girl, Seven Nation Army, Whatta Man, and Let’s Get Loud.

Word on the Street: The cast includes Billy Porter, Minnie Driver, Pierce Brosnan, James Corden, James Acaster, Romesh Ranganathan, and Doc Brown.

My Take: I have been a fan of Minnie Driver since her role as Benny in the 1995 romantic film Circle of Friends.

 

The Lost Leonardo   (2021) PG-13

The Lost Leonardo

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Documentary about the mystery surrounding the Salvator Mundi, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci that was the first painting in more than a century to be discovered and then mysteriously disappearing.   The Lost Leonardo Website

What to Watch For: The painting has a fascinating history; bought for 1,175 dollars at a New Orleans auction house, a restorer discovers Leonardo’s painting underneath the heavy varnish of a cheap restoration. The painting was sold for a record 450 million dollars and then disappeared.

Word on the Street: The film is from director Andreas Koefoed, the award-winning filmmaker of Ballroom Dancer (2011), and Albert’s Winter (2009).

My Take: I am always fascinated by films about the art world.

 

The Gateway   (2021) R

The Gateway

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

Parker (Shea Whigham) is a down on is luck social worker assigned to the care of the daughter of a single mother (Olivia Munn) when the dad returns from prison who is convinced the mother knows where his priceless stash is hidden.    The Gateway Website

What to Watch For: The cast includes Taryn Manning, Mark Boone Junior, Taegen Burns, Frank Grillo, and Bruce Dern.

Word on the Street: Shea Whigham is best known for his roles in American Hustle (2013), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), Take Shelter (2011), and the TV series Boardwalk Empire.

My Take: I love Taryn Manning as Pennsatucky in the TV series Orange Is the New Black.

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We Need to Do Something  (2021) R

We Need to Do Something

Photo courtesy of IFC Midnight

Melissa (Sierra McCormick) and her family, fleeing from a potential superstorm, find themselves trapped for days in a house with no signs of rescue and untold evils lurking just beyond the walls of the home they are trapped in.    We Need to Do Something Website

What to Watch For: Sierra McCormick is an award-winning actress known for her roles in The Vast of Night (2019), Some Kind of Hate (2015), and Spooky Buddies (2011).

Word on the Street: Director Sean King O’Grady is a long-time producer of documentaries. We Need to Do Something is his first narrative feature film.

My Take: I have heard some good things about this film from some fellow film critics.

 

Wild Indian   (2021)

Wild Indian

Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

Michael (Michael Greyeyes) has tried to leave his trouble behind and is living off the reservation. His life with his wife (Kate Bosworth) and his boss (Jesse Eisenberg) are being threatened by a man from his past.    Wild Indian Info

What to Watch For: The film had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Word on the Street: The film is currently at an outstanding 83% on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

My Take: I met Kate Bosworth a long time ago when she was starring in the 2002 surfing film Blue Crush.

 

Worth   (2020) 

Worth

Photo courtesy of Netflix

An attorney (Michael Keaton) is assigned the seemingly impossible task of determining how to compensate the families who lost loved ones in the attacks on 9/11.     Worth Website

What to Watch For: The outstanding cast includes Stanley Tucci, Amy Ryan, Tate Donovan, Victor Slezak, and Laura Benanti.

Word on the Street: The film is directed by Sara Colangelo, known for her award-winning films Little Accidents (2014) and The Kindergarten Teacher (2018).

My Take: I fell in love with Amy Ryan, as I think we all did, in her role as Holly Flax in the TV series The Office.

 

Yakuza Princess   (2021) R

Yakuza Princess

Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Set in the large Japanese community in San Paulo, Brazil, Akemi (Masumi) is an ordinary shop girl who trains at night in the martial arts. She is attacked by three hoodlums and is rescued by a stranger (Rhys Meyers) who doesn’t remember who he is. Little does Akemi realize that this is fate, with an ancient sword that has bonded them together and a past that she must confront.    Yakuza Princess Website

What to Watch For: The film is based on the graphic novel Samurai Shiro, created by Danilo Beyrouth.

Word on the Street: The film was shot on location in Brazil and invested in training their stuntmen for the film for over three months before shooting began.

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My Take: I am a big fan of Samurai films, so I will check this film out.