Opening this week on a screen near you:

 

Spider-Man: No Way Home  (2021) PG-13 

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Spider-Man: No Way Home

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Spider-Man (Tom Holland) has been unmasked, and now everyone knows who he is, making it hard to separate his private life from being a superhero. He turns to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell that everyone will forget who he is, only that spell has lasting consequences, including bringing back an old enemy.   Spider-Man: No Way Home Website

What to Watch For: The film brings back past Spider-Man movie characters and the actors that played them, including J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe, and Jamie Foxx.

Word on the Street: The first trailer for the film set a record, becoming the most-watched trailer in a 24 hour-period, receiving 355.5 million views.

My Take: I love this current Spider-Man series, feeling that it best represents the feeling and look of the comic book.

 

Nightmare Alley   (2021)  R

Nightmare Alley

Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Stanton (Bradley Cooper) is a grifter, a man trying to hide from his past. After working at a traveling carnival and learning the tricks of the trade, Stanton and a fellow sideshow performer (Rooney Mara) run away and start a successful mentalist act. Using the skills he developed as a grifter, Stanton becomes involved with a psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) and sees her as a way to con some of the most powerful men in the city. It’s a dangerous game that Stanton is playing, and it may be his last.    Nightmare Alley Website

What to Watch For: The film is directed and co-written by two-time Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro, known for his movie’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and The Shape of Water (2017).

Word on the Street: The cast includes Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Richard Jenkins, Toni Collette, and Mary Steenburgen.

My Take: I love films about carnivals and can’t wait to see what world Guillermo del Toro has created for us.

 

The Lost Daughter  (2021) R

The Lost Daughter

Photo courtesy of Netlfix

Leda (Olivia Colman) is on a beach vacation where she wants to be left alone to write. But her past keeps coming back to haunt her as she becomes involved with a local (Ed Harris) and a young, troubled mother (Dakota Johnson) who is part of a loud and large family that is also on vacation.     The Lost Daughter Website

What to Watch For: The film written and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. It is based on the novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante.

Word on the Street: The film has been a hit on the film festival circuit, winning Best Screenplay at the 2021 Venice Film Festival.

My Take: Oscar winner Olivia Colman is on a hot streak with her appearances in The Father (2020), The Crown TV series, and her voice work on The Mitchells vs the Machines, and Ron’s Gone Wrong.

 

Swan Song   (2021) R

Swan Song

Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

Cameron’s (Mahershala Ali) life is filled with love as a father and as a husband, married to a wonderful woman (Naomie Harris). All that is about to end because Cameron has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. At his lowest point, Cameron is presented with an alternate solution by his doctor (Glenn Close), which could change his and his family’s fate. Cameron must confront just how much he is willing to sacrifice for love.    Swan Song Info

What to Watch For: Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris were both nominated for their performances in the 2016 film Moonlight, with Ali winning the Best Actor award. Glenn Close has been nominated for an Oscar eight times, with her last for her performance in the 2020 film Hillbilly Elegy.

Word on the Street: The writer/director of the film, Benjamin Cleary, won an Academy Award for his short film Stutterer in 2015.

My Take: One of my favorite new actors on the scene, Awkwafina, plays Ali’s best friend in the film.

 

Mother/Android   (2021)

Mother/Android

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Georgia (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Sam (Algee Smith) should be happy as they are about to have a baby. The problem is the world has changed overnight as the androids built to serve mankind have turned on the human population. Now Georgian and Sam must go on a treacherous journey through the No-Man’s Land, a stronghold of the android uprising, in order for their baby to be born in safety.    Mother/Android Info

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What to Watch For: Writer/director of the film, Mattson Tomlin, has also written the script for the upcoming 2022 release, The Batman, the highly anticipated film starring Robert Pattinson.

Word on the Street: Algee Smith is best known for his role as Larry in the 2017 award-winning film Detroit.

My Take:  I have been a fan of Chloë Grace Moretz since her role as Rachel in the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer.

 

Puff: Wonders of the Reef   (2021)

Puff: Wonders of the Reef

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Documentary that follows a baby pufferfish through his first year of life as we explore the world of a coral reef from the perspective of this tiny fish.    Puff: Wonders of the Reef Website

What to Watch For: Filmed in Australia on The Great Barrier Reef, using super macro techniques developed for the film to give the viewers an inside look at the incredibly small world of the reef and its inhabitants.

Word on the Street: The film is narrated by Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, Neighbors).

My Take: The trailer looks fantastic, so I can’t wait to see Puff on his adventures in his fascinating and beautiful world.

 

Fortress   (2021) R

Fortress

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate

Robert (Bruce Willis) is a retired CIA agent living at a secret resort in the woods. Robert’s estranged son, Paul (Jesse Metcalfe), has tracked down his father but little does either one of the men know that Paul has been followed by a criminal named Balzary (Chad Michael Murray), who is hell-bent on revenge. Now father and son must band together to defeat Balzary’s band of mercenaries as they defend Robert’s high-tech bunker called The Fortress.  Fortress Info

What to Watch For: Shannen Doherty (90210) stars in the film as a government agent trying to help Robert survive the siege.

Word on the Street: Chad Michael Murray is best known for his role as Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill and Edgar Evernever in the CW show Riverdale.

My Take: I’m always up for Bruce Willis to kick some bad guy’s butt.

 

The Novice   (2021) R

The Novice

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

Alex (Isabelle Fuhrman) has succeeded in everything on which she has set her mind. Now, as a college freshman, Alex is ready for a new challenge, something she has never tried before, rowing. She decides to join her university’s rowing team as a ‘novice,’ but she is determined to make it to the varsity boat, no matter the cost.    The Novice Website

What to Watch For: The film won three awards at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, including Best Actress for Isabelle Fuhrman.

Word on the Street: This is the first feature film for writer/director Lauren Hadaway, an award-winning sound editor (Whiplash, Unbroken).

My Take: Fuhrman started out in roles such as Esther in the 2009 film Orphan and as Cove in the 2012 film The Hunger Games.

 

Rumble   (2021) PG

Rumble

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

In a world where monster wrestling is a huge global sport, and its monsters are massive stars, a teenager named Winnie (voiced by Geraldine Viswanathan) decides to follow in her father’s footsteps and turn a lazy, mild-mannered oaf named Steve (voiced by Will Arnett), who loves sleeping and dancing, into a champion.    Rumble Website

What to Watch For: The voice cast includes Michael Buffer, Charles Barkley, Stephen A. Smith, Tony Danza, Ben Schwartz, and Terry Crews.

Word on the Street: The film is directed by Hamish Grieve, known for his work on Monsters vs. Aliens (2009), Rise of the Guardians (2012), and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017).

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My Take: I look forward to this film as I found the Captain Underpants movie delightful.