Opening this week on a screen near you:

 

Dune   (2021) PG-13

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Dune

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

A son of a noble family, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), is destined to become the leader of a planet that contains the most vital element in the galaxy, spice. Paul will face untold horrors, challenges, and sadness as he battles forces for control of a world and a people that have been waiting for their hero for centuries.    Dune Website

What to Watch For: The cast includes Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Oscar Isaac, and Zendaya.

Word on the Street: This is part one of a two-part film series, directed by Oscar nominee (Arrival) Denis Villeneuve.

My Take: I was horribly disappointed with the 1984 movie that is now mostly known for a couple of scenes with a bare-chested Sting and a madman flying around inhaling a drug.

 

Ron’s Gone Wrong   (2021) PG 

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Barney (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer) is an awkward middle-schooler who just wants to fit in. He is given a Bot, a new walking, talking, digitally connected device meant to be your best friend. The problem is right from the start, Barney’s Bot, named Ron (voiced Zack Galifianakis), is defective. Can Ron and Barney still be friends?   Ron’s Gone Wrong Website

What to Watch For: The voice cast includes Ed Helms, Olivia Colman, Kylie Cantrall, and Rob Delaney.

Word on the Street: The directors of the film, Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine, and Octavio E. Rodriguez, decided to cast most of the younger parts with little-known actors to keep the focus on the story and the characters, rather than drawing attention to the cast.

My Take: The trailer is a ton of fun to watch, so I can’t wait to see this animated movie.

 

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain   (2021) PG-13

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch) becomes famous for his paintings of cats, which transform the public’s perception of how we see and deal with our house pets. But Louis, an eccentric man responsible for the care of his five sisters, has bigger ideas brewing; unlocking the ‘electrical’ mysteries of the world.   The Electrical Life of Louis Wain Website

What to Watch For: Claire Foy, who plays Louis Wain’s wife and love of his life, is best known for her two-time Emmy-winning performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the TV series The Crown.

Word on the Street:  This is the 2nd feature film for director Will Sharpe. His first film, Black Pond (2011), was a massive hit on the film festival circuit and was nominated for a BAFTA Award.

My Take: I am a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch due to his role as Sherlock Holmes in the TV series Sherlock.

 

Becoming Cousteau   (2021) PG-13

Becoming Cousteau

Photo courtesy of Disney+

Documentary looking at the life of Jacques Cousteau, the explorer and environmentalist who because famous for his sailing vessel, Calypso, his invention of the diving apparatus, the Aqua-Lung, and for his documentaries and TV specials on marine conservation.    Becoming Cousteau Website

What to Watch For: The film is directed by Liz Garbus, the two-time Academy Award nominee for her documentaries What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) and The Farm: Angola, USA (1998).

Word on the Street: The film was nominated for the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Film at the 2021 London Film Festival.

My Take: I am excited to see this film as it contains newly restored footage of Cousteau and his adventures to save our oceans. The Cousteau specials on TV were always a favorite of mine growing up.

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Mass   (2021) PG-13 

Mass

Photo courtesy of Bleeker Street Media

Years after an unspeakable tragedy has occurred, two sets of parents (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney, and Ann Dowd) agree to meet to talk privately in an attempt to deal with what happened. The meeting will be a journey of grief, anger, denial, and finally acceptance by the ones left behind.    Mass Website

What to Watch For: The film won Best Us Narrative Directorial Debut Award at the 2021 Heartland International Film Festival.

Word on the Street: This is the feature film debut of director/writer Fran Kranz, who is also an award-winning actor (The Cabin in the Woods (2011), The Truth About Lies (2018)).

My Take: I always love Martha Plimpton’s performances. She was brilliant as the lawyer Patti Nyholm in the TV series The Good Wife, for which she won an Emmy.

 

Found   (2021) PG

Found

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Three American teenage girls, each adopted from China, discover that they are blood-related cousins through the 23andMe website. Their meeting inspires them to confront the burning questions of their shared past and lost history.     Found Website

What to Watch For: The film is from Amanda Lipitz, the filmmaker whose 2017 award-winning film Step won seven awards at film festivals around the world, including the Audience Award at the 2017 AFI Docs Festival.

Word on the Street: The director of the film, Amanda Lipitz, is the aunt of one of the girls in the movie and felt inspired to help share this remarkable story.

My Take: I can’t wait to see this amazing, inspiring story.

 

Ouija Japan   (2021)

Ouija Japan

Photo courtesy of Leomark Studios

Karen (Ariel Sekiya) is an American housewife living in Japan and desperate to fit in with her Japanese community. She joins other homemakers to play the Kokkuri-san (the Japanese Ouija board), and they unwittingly disrespect a local deity, which starts a game that will pits each housewife against each other in a battle that can only have one winner.   Ouija Japan Info

What to Watch For: The film combines two elements of Japanese horror films, the Ouija board, and the Battle Royal.

Word on the Street: This is writer/director Masaya Kato’s feature-film debut.

My Take: I am always ready for a good horror film from Japan.

 

Introducing, Selma Blair   (2021)

Introducing, Selma Blair

Photo courtesy of Discovery+

Selma Blair grew up in front of our eyes on TV and the silver screen, starring in films such as Cruel Intentions (1999), Legally Blonde (2001), Hellboy (2004). Then her career was taken off the rails by a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. The documentary is a deep, intimate, and sometimes raw look at the life of Selma Blair as she deals with the disease and the attempts to slow its progression.     Introducing, Selma Blair Info

What to Watch For: The film won the Special Jury Award at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival.

Word on the Street: The film’s director, Rachel Fleit, is best known for her documentary shorts Barbara & Stanley: A Modern Romance (2017) and Ava & Bianca (2020).

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My Take: I remember discovering Selma Blair when she starred as Zoe Bean in the TV series Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane.