Opening this week on a screen near you:

 

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The Eyes of Tammy Faye   (2021) PG-13

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

The rise and fall of Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain), who went from very humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network (including a theme park) with her husband, televangelist Jim Bakker. Her downfall was trusting in her husband, who, through financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal, toppled their empire. Though hit with everything life could throw at her, Tammy Faye had a spirit that wouldn’t let all the hurt bring her down for long.     The Eyes of Tammy Faye Website

What to Watch For: Jessica Chastain does her own singing when performing Tammy Faye’s songs in the film.

Word on the Street: Chastain has said in interviews that the makeup in this film was so extreme that it may have permanently damaged her skin. Tammy Faye was known as someone who overindulged in her makeup.

My Take: I can’t wait to see this film. The PTL scandal and Tammy Faye herself have always fascinated me.

 

Cry Macho   (2021) PG-13

Cry Macho

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

A washed-up rodeo star, Mike (Clint Eastwood) takes a job transporting a former boss’s son, Rafa (Eduardo Minett) home, away from his alcoholic mother who doesn’t want to let him go. It will be a journey where the cowboy and the kid learn about each other and about what it takes to be a man.    Cry Macho Website

What to Watch For: The film has been in the pipeline since the early 90s. Both Roy Schneider and Arnold Schwarzenegger were attached to the movie at one time or another in the role that Eastwood plays.

Word on the Street: This is the 39th film that the four-time Oscar winner has directed. His directorial debut was with the thriller Play Misty for Me in 1971.

My Take: I am always interested in films that Eastwood directs, and it makes it even better when, as with this film, he also stars in the movie.

 

Copshop    (2021) R

Copshop

Photo courtesy of Open Road Pictures

Con artist Teddy (Frank Grillo) is on the run, and hitmen are hot on his trail. He figures out a way to avoid the hitman, Bob (Gerard Butler), who is just one step away, getting himself arrested. Teddy sucker punches local rookie officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder), and lands in jail. The problem is Bob schemes his way into the lockup himself and is biding his time in a nearby cell until he can complete his mission. Mayhem ensues when a competing assassin (Toby Huss) shows up, and now officer Young must deal with two killers who want to finish what they came for.      Copshop Website

What to Watch For: The film is doing well with film critics, currently sitting at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Word on the Street: Award-winning Filmmaker Joe Carnahan is best known for his film’s Narc (2002), Smokin’ Aces (2006), and The Grey (2011).

My Take: I have always enjoyed Frank Grillo’s work, including his stint on the TV series Prison Break when he played Nick Savrinn.

 

Blue Bayou    (2021) 

Blue Bayou

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

Antonio LeBlanc (Justin Cho) is married to the love of his life, Kathy (Alicia Vikander), and is a great step-dad to their daughter Jessie. When arrested on an incident with Kathy’s ex, a cop, Antonio is shocked when confronted by the ghosts of his past, discovering that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.     Blue Bayou Website

What to Watch For: The film was nominated for the Un Certain Regard Award at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Word on the Street: Writer/director/actor Justin Cho is best known for his award-winning 2017 film Gook that took the film festival circuit by storm.

My Take: I am a huge fan of Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, with whom I fell in love with her ground-breaking performance of the A.I. robot Ava in Ex Machina (2014).

 

The Starling   (2021) PG-13

The Starling

Photo courtesy of Netflix

After suffering a devastating loss, Lily (Melissa McCarthy) goes on a journey to expel a combative Starling bird that takes next besides her quiet home. The grief-stricken woman is about to find her will to live and capacity for love through a strange little bird.     The Starling Website

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What to Watch For: The film just made its World Premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.

What to Watch For: The film is directed by two-time Oscar-nominated Theodore Melfi, best known for St. Vincent (2014) and Hidden Figures (2016).

My Take: I hope that the McCarthy keeps challenging herself with drama roles like this film.

 

Prisoners of the Ghostland   (2021)  R

Prisoners of the Ghostland

Photo courtesy of RJLE Films

In the frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber (Nicolas Cage) is taken out of jail by a wealthy warlord called The Governor (Bill Moseley) and has been given a task. Find The Governor’s adopted granddaughter (Sofia Boutella) and bring her back, or the leather suit our ‘Hero’ has been outfitted with will blow up.     Prisoners of the Ghostland Info

What to Watch For: Nick Cage had the movie move from filming in Mexico to Japan after legendary Japanese director Sion Sono had a heart attack.

Word on the Street: This film is from the same producing team that gave us the crazy Nicolas Cage starring film Mandy (2018).

My Take: Hey, this film has samurai’s, gunfights, and a baseball bat welding Nicolas Cage. What more could you want from a movie?

 

My Name is Pauli Murray   (2021)

My Name is Pauli Murray

Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

Documentary that looks at the life and works of Pauli Murray, a non-binary Black lawyer who influenced both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall. Pauli Murray was more than a lawyer. Pauli was a force of nature that should be better known.     My Name is Pauli Murray Website

What to Watch For: The film is from the directorial team of Betsy West and Julie Cohen, who brought us the award-winning documentary RGB.

Word on the Street: Before her death, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave the filmmakers an interview about Pauli Murphy.

My Take: I can’t wait to see this film about a fascinating and vital figure in American history.

 

The Nowhere Inn    (2020) 

The Nowhere Inn

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

A metafictional account of two friends, one Grammy award-winning artist St. Vincent (real name Annie Clark), and actress/filmmaker Carrie Brownstein, who decide to make a documentary on St. Vincent’s tour. Carrie soon learns that their is a big difference between the woman she knows as Annie and the artist known as St. Vincent.     The Nowhere Inn Website

What to Watch For:  The film is directed by Bill Benz, who was nominated for an Emmy when he directed Carrie Brownstein on her hit TV series Portlandia.

Word on the Street: Carrie Brownstein and St. Vincent co-wrote the film.

My Take:  I am a big fan of Portlandia, so you know I will make sure to see this film.  Added bonus is the St. Vincent concert footage included in the film.

 

Best Sellers    (2021) 

Best Sellers

Screen Media Films

Lucy (Aubrey Plaza) has inherited her family’s failing boutique publishing house. In a last ditch effort to save the business Lucy goes on a book tour with the bitter, booze-addled author (Michael Caine) who put the publishing house on the map decades ago.     Bestsellers Website

What to Watch For:  The cast includes Scott Speedman, Cary Elwes, Ellen Wong and Veronica Ferres.

Word on the Street:  This is the first feature film for director Lina Roessler, whose short films Mustard Seed and Little Whispers: The Vow have won awards. Roessler is also an accomplished actress who is best known for her role as Clara O’Breen on the Sci-Fi series Lost Girl.

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My Take:  I am a huge fan of two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine, who keeps acting in films after over 175 pictures.