October Movie Releases

It is October ladies and gentleman!

This month looks pretty great and, yet again, some early Oscar nominations could come out. Of course, let’s not forget that it is the month of Halloween, however, unlike past years; it seems there is only one “big” pure horror movie coming out. But let’s stop talking about them and actually get to them!

Also, Happy Early Halloween!

 

4th

Limited Release – Pain and Glory

A film director reflects on the choices he’s made in life as past and present come crashing down around him. Pain and Glory stars Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Asier Etxeandia and Nora Navas.

 

Limited Release – Lucy in the Sky (Expansion/Wide Release Later in the Month)

Astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) returns to Earth after a transcendent experience during a mission to space, and begins to lose touch with reality in a world that now seems too small. Directed by Noah Hawley (creator/writer on TV series Legion and Fargo), Lucy in the Sky co-stars Jon Hamm, Dan Stevens, Zazie Beetz, Nick Offerman, Colman Domingo, Jeffrey Donovan and Ellen Burstyn.

 

Joker – Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Village Roadshow Pictures, BRON Studios

Synopsis: A standalone story around the origin story of Batman’s iconic arch nemesis never before seen on screen, Todd Phillips (The Hangover movies, War Dogs) directs the exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, and a broader cautionary tale. Joker co-stars Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Brian Tyree Henry, Shea Whigham and Robert De Niro.

Thoughts: Joker has been one of those movies that Film Twitter has been going crazy for since the second trailer, and even more so, after it had its premiere in the film festival circuit, and the word of mouth was great. While I’m still on the outside of the hype train, I do hope that the movie is good, mostly for the stake of not seeing people go at each other’s throats online.

 

 

11th

Limited Release – Parasite

Directed by Joon-ho Bong (The Host, Mother, Snowpiercer, Okja), all unemployed, Ki-taek’s (Kang-ho Song) family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they got entangled in an unexpected incident.

 

Jexi – CBS Films, Entertainment One

A comedy about what can happen when you love your phone more than anything else in your life. The cast includes Adam Devine, Alexandra Shipp, Wanda Sykes, Ron Funches, Justin Hartley and the voice of Rose Byrne.

 

The Addams Family – United Artists Releasing, MGM, BRON Creative,

Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, the directing duo behind Sausage Party, an animated version of Charles Addams’ series of cartoons about a peculiar, ghoulish family. The Addams Family voice cast includes Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Elsie Fisher, Pom Klementieff, Aimee Garcia, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney and Bette Midler.

 

Gemini Man – Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Alibaba Pictures

Synopsis: Directed by Ang Lee, an aging hitman (Will Smith) faces off against a younger clone of himself. Gemini Man co-stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Benedict Wong and Clive Owen.

Thoughts: Gemini Man has been in the works for quite some time now, seriously like decades. Finally, we’re getting it with Ang Lee behind the camera, and Will Smith fighting himself. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

16th

Jay & Silent Bob Reboot – Fathom

Once again written/directed by Kevin Smith, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith) return to Hollywood to stop a reboot of ‘Bluntman and Chronic’ movie from getting made. The sequel brings back familiar faces along with more celebrity cameos.

(Red Band Trailer)

 

18th

Limited Release – The Lighthouse

Directed by The Witch’s Robert Eggers; the story of two lighthouse keepers (Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe) on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. The Lighthouse co-stars Valerila Karaman.

 

Jojo Rabbit – Fox Searchlight Pictures, Defender Films, Piki Films

Based on the novel by Christine Leunens, and written and directed by Taika Waititi; a young boy (Roman Griffin Davis) in Hitler’s army finds out his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home. Jojo Rabbit co-stars Waititi as an imaginary Hitler, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, and Sam Rockwell.

Thoughts: Jojo Rabbit is in a very unique position. On one hand, fans are eagerly awaiting to see Taika Waititi’s newest film that looks funny and great. On the other, it was reported that Disney is every hesitant on how they are going to promote this because they’re basically scared of losing the general audience because of the subject.

 

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – Walt Disney Pictures, Roth Films

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and her goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) begins to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and dark new forces at play. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil co-stars Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson, Ed Skrein, Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Chiwetel Ejifor and Michelle Pfeiffer.

 

Zombieland 2: Double Tap – Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Pariah

Synopsis: Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahasse (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors (Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch and Luke Wilson) and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.

Thoughts: Ten years after the first film came out, the gang is all back and not just in front of the camera, but behind the camera too. Writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, along with director Ruben Fleischer are back to bring us back into this crazy zombie-filled world.

 

 

25th

Limited Release – Frankie

Three generations grappling with a life-changing experience during one day of a vacation in Sintra, Portugal, a historic town for its dense gardens and fairy-tale villas and palaces. Frankie stars Isabelle Huppert, Marisa Tomei, Greg Kinnear and Brendan Gleeson.

 

The Current War – 101 Studios

The dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world. The Current War co-stars Tom Holland, Nicholas Hoult, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton and Matthew Macfadyen.

 

Countdown – STX Entertainment

When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict the moment a person will die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With the clock ticking and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.

 

Black and Blue – Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures

A rookie cop (Naomie Harris) inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam by corrupt cops. She teams up with someone from a neighboring community (Tyrese Gibson) to get the footage to the right people, all while on the run from corrupt police officers and other criminals. Black and Blue co-stars Frank Grillo, Beau Knapp, Reid Scott and Mike Colter.

 

What are you looking forward to?

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‘It Chapter Two’ Review

Director: Andy Muschietti

Writer: Gary Dauberman

Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Bill Skarsgard, Jaden Martell, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Teach Grant, Andy Bean, Sophia Lillis and Finn Wolfhard

Synopsis: Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

It’s – no pun intended – finally here! The much anticipated ending to the horror hit based on the classic and acclaimed novel by Stephen King, It. While the 2017 split some fans of the original TV movie with Tim Curry playing the famed Pennywise, the dancing clown, director Andy Muschietti (Mama) had some more room to play with. For one, this was not a TV movie, and it was rated-R, so blood, gore and foul language was on the table. Plus, if you stop anyone on the street and ask them about Pennywise or It, they would most likely know what you’re talking about.

I, for one, really enjoyed and liked Chapter One. The young cast was amazing and Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise was frightening on every single level he had to be. So needless to the say, I was looking forward to Chapter Two, especially with its adult cast being pretty damn impressive, and the promise it was going to up the ante. So, does It Chapter Two live up to the hype? Or does it sink deep into the sewers?

It Chapter Two starts out pretty rough with a scene that is in the book, but still doesn’t make it easy to watch play out. It also shows us that Pennywise is still truly alive ready to rein terror again in Derry. Pennywise’s return sparks Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), who never left Derry, to call the Losers Club to return to Derry to defeat Pennywise for good, just like the promised at the end of the last film. Each of the Losers have gone on and made a good to great life for themselves. Bill (James McAvoy) is a well-known writer, whose last book is getting made into a movie, Richie (Bill Hader) is a famous stand-up comic, Ben (Jay Ryan) has become some successful businessman, and is now skinny, Eddie (James Ransone) is a risk analyst, Stanley (Andy Bean) is happily married and Beverly (Jessica Chastain) is a wealthy, but also still can’t escape an abusive man in her life.

When they finally get together, they catch up on their lives and the memories of their time in Derry start to come back, and then they all admit when they got the call from Mike, they felt fear. That fear is because they remember the man that gave them that fear, Pennywise. What starts is a series of horrifying events that target the Losers Club, and what leads to an epic final fight against Pennywise.

Of course, the big thing everyone is talking about is the runtime of It Chapter Two. The film runs at a lengthy two-hours and forty-nine minutes, and thankfully, for the most part you don’t really feel it too much, at least I didn’t. The beginning of the film is a little slow to start, but once the Losers get together, the movie moves to its epic finale, which admittedly, drags on just a bit, and is a bit too CG. Regardless of how you feel about the length, you have to give it to director Andy Muschietti and returning screenwriter Gary Dauberman (the Annabelle movies, The Nun) for stuffing the movie with more mythology on Pennywise, content and some ambitious moves. Unfortunately, the scope of It Chapter Two is just a bit too big and does lead to some unevenness throughout.

Given those problems, it’s made up through the cast. The adult cast are all great, and they really do feel like the adult versions of their younger counterparts. McAvoy’s Bill is still haunted by Georgie’s death, Chastain’s Beverly has a more nuanced and quieter performance, Mustafa’s Mike is a bit cagey since he’s never left Derry, Ryan’s Ben still pines over Beverly, and then you have the highlights of the cast in Hader and Ransone. Hader’s Richie is getting more of the love online, and it’s deserved, but for me Ransone deserves the same amount of praise, maybe even a little more.

Obviously, with Hader being attached, the humor/comedy was bound to be high, and that’s exactly what it was. Hader’s Richie is pretty much always on, which may or may not get a little tiring every now and then, but Ransone also gets his time to shine on the humor. After seeing the film, I honestly want to see Hader and Ransone reunite somewhere down the road. That said, Hader’s Richie has a subplot here that is nicely done and not heavy-handed.

Undoubtedly, the thing everyone probably wants to know is if It Chapter Two is scary. For the most part, I think so. It’s more or less of the same scares we got in It, with some jump scares and some well-time moments with Pennywise or other ghoulish beings. There also a pitch-perfect homage to another classic horror film that had me grinning from ear-to-ear while watching. That said, the movie is also pretty emotional. No seriously, I was at one point at the verge of tears, which is something I was not ready for watching a horror movie.

All in all, It Chapter Two is a worthy enough sequel, and while the sequel does get a bit too ambitious for its own good, the adult cast really holds the film together. The scares are upped, and Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise is certified to be a new horror staple. I can’t really say that It Chapter Two is better than It, but if you were a fan of the first film, you should enjoy or like Chapter Two.

Also, keep an eye out for some great Easter Eggs and cameos!

It Chapter Two

4 out of 5

Summer Movie Season 2019 Review

The 2019 Summer Movie Season is over!

Once again, many have said this year’s Summer Movie Season was a disappointment, lacked any real substance, or was filled with too many sequels, reboots/remakes and what-have-you. Whether you want to listen to all that or not is up to you. Personally, I don’t listen to the noise, but I did feel like the latter half of the Summer Movie Season lacked any real, “I need to see this movie NOW.” Regardless of that, this summer had some pretty descent movies, and some great enjoyable movies. So here’s my roundup of the Summer Movie Season 2019 (movies are not in a particular order).

 

The “I Have No Idea What to Think”

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Based on the acclaimed book series written by Alvin Schwartz, produced by Guillermo del Toro – who had always had plans on directing originally – and directed by Andre Ovredal (the fantastic The Autopsy of Jane Doe), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was bound to be a hit, or at the least halfway descent. I know I felt the movie was good, but it was always going to have an uphill battle trying to make the series of short stories into a feature-length film. Personally, I think they found a pretty descent way to bring these stories together – they ended up using one of the stories as a building block to create the Sarah Bellows character, and then have short stories be “nightmares” or stories the character have had/heard be the ones that come to life.

Again, I liked Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but there was something about it that I felt it need more.

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Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film was one of the most divisive films of the summer, and probably will be for the rest of the year. Tarantino’s fairy tale-esque story of the final years of the Golden Age of Hollywood followed Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, an aging star, trying to find his way in a changing Hollywood with his stunt-man and best friend Cliff Booth, played amazingly by Brad Pitt. The film also starred Margot Robbie as the late Sharon Tate, and also included the Mason family.

I won’t go into the massive think and opinion pieces that the film spawned, but the film definitely had us talking more than I thought it would. No matter where you fell in the spectrum, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood did its job of getting us to talk about it on more than one level – good or bad.

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Should Have Been Better (But I’d Still Recommend)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Its giant monsters fighting each other, so yeah, I enjoyed it. It was everything in-between that kind of slowed the movie down.

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Brightburn

Brightburn, basically the Superman story but if he’d had been evil the whole time, would also go under the frustrating category for me because the movie doesn’t really fully execute what it was trying to do, or at least didn’t fully go where it should have.

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Stuber

Stuber is one of those movies that isn’t completely original – story-wise – but the concept of a cop, played by the always reliable Dave Bautista, who can barely see, who basically kidnaps his Uber driver, Stu, played by the also always reliable Kumail Nanjiani, to help him take down a criminal who killed his partner works here. Genuine laughs and some great chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani made Stuber worthwhile.

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Real Surprises of the Summer

Aladdin

Say what you want about the Disney live-action adaptations, I’m personally in the whatever camp as long as they’re good. When it comes to Aladdin though, I was never personally a huge fan of the old cartoon, so my connection to it wasn’t as strong as others. I went in expecting a lukewarm movie, but instead I was drawn in by the big, bright musical numbers, and while the movie had some pitfalls, I was genuinely surprised I walked out of Aladdin as an enjoyable movie.

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Crawl

I completely counted out Crawl from the very beginning. The movie followed Haley (Kaya Scodelario), who during a hurricane, goes to check on her father (Barry Pepper) who turns out to be injured, and the two have to not only brave the hurricane, but also a group of alligators. Yeah, the concept is a little whacky, and the trailers didn’t sell it too well, but man did I enjoy the hell out of Crawl. The movie is a solid horror thriller that got me a couple times with some solid jump scares, and Scodelario and Pepper sell the hell out of it. Seriously, Crawl is going down as one of my biggest surprises of the year.

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Least-Liked/Disappointments

Dark Phoenix

20th Century Fox once again whiffed the famous Dark Phoenix comic story on the big screen, and it’s all the more frustrating again, because like the old X-Men movies, the build-up to this version of the story wasn’t all that bad. Apocalypse teased out story, but Dark Phoenix simply chose to ignore that tease in favor of just retelling the story all over again.

The movie also had some behind-the-scenes shenanigans, like a last-minute third act reshoot, Fox being bought by Disney, Jennifer Lawrence clearly not wanting to be there and, despite his best effort, long-time producer of the franchise Simon Kinberg making his directorial effort.

On top of all that, the movie feels just pretty bland. Speaking of bland…

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Men in Black: International

How do you not capitalize on the fantastic chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson from Thor: Ragnarok? I don’t know, but somehow they didn’t, and we suffered from it. Men in Black: International’s biggest problem is that’s really bland, and while things happen, it’s really not that all exciting. The movie also apparently had some behind-the-scenes troubles like the script constantly changing, an stars Hemsworth and Thompson rewriting their own lines. Never a good sign.

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Child’s Play

I was willing to give Child’s Play a chance, and while Brian Tyree Henry’s supporting cop character was probably the only real saving grace of the movie, and Mark Hamill voicing Chucky was a bold move, but the writing didn’t do him any favors, Child’s Play just didn’t do it for me. Some aspects of the movie were okay, but at the end of the day, Child’s Play is going to be remembered for being denounced by original creator Don Mancini.

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Shaft

Look, I love Samuel L. Jackson as much as the next person, but this new Shaft takes the wrong approach to old school/old mindset vs. new school. A lot of the jokes that Jackson’s Shaft comes off as a tad bit too misogynistic for their good, and despite the father-son dynamic between him and Jessie T. Usher’s Junior working near the end, Shaft had too many missteps and non-working parts to really have me rooting entirely for Jackson.

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Honorable Mention

Toy Story 4

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Spider-Man: Far from Home

The Peanut Butter Falcon

 

My Favorite Movies of the Summer

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Let’s face it, John Wick is the best American action series we’ve had for some time. The series has a great team behind it with former stuntman turned director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves getting us to root for people to get jacked up in the best way possible. Parabellum is more or less of the same from the previous films, but damn we I love seeing Reeves kick ass.

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Detective Pikachu

Growing up with Pokemon, I was always going to watch this. Granted, I was skeptical at first because I didn’t know how they would be able to pull it off without the CG looking goofy. Boy, was I wrong! The Pokemon looked great, and Ryan Reynolds brought Pikachu to life in a way I never thought was possible. Was it a little wonky, sure, but come on live-action Pokemon on the big screen!

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Booksmart

The directorial debut of Olivia Wilde sure made waves this summer, at least with the people that saw it in theaters. Booksmart told the coming-of-age story of best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein), who on the night before their graduation realized they haven’t partied enough – because they wanted to get into good colleges – and try to right the wrong, of course, comedic hijinks ensue. Booksmart might be one of those movies that people catch on streaming, and say “why didn’t I watch this in theaters!?”

Dever and Feldstein had tremendous chemistry together, and the movie gets pretty wild – no pun intended – and the movie could have gone the raunchy route, the movie took the innocent – well, somewhat innocent – route.

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Midsommar

Ari Aster did it again. Midsommar was on a lot of people highly anticipated list, mainly because we wanted to see what Aster had up his sleeve after Hereditary. We got our answer, and I don’t think we were entirely ready for it. The film followed a couple (Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor) who along with two more friends go to Sweden and visit a small village to see their summer festival. Of course, things go very, very wrong…and weird.

Whereas Hereditary was about what’s in that dark corner, Midsommar made all the horror hit you in broad daylight. It’s a vicious, slow-burn of a movie that makes you anxious and with an ending that left many questioning what the hell? Because yeah, Midsommar was probably one of the most “what the hell?” movies of the year.

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The Farewell

Based on an actual lie of Lulu Wang’s life, The Farwell follows Billi, played incredibly by Awkwafina, who finds out her grandmother in China has cancer. Her family, finding it better not to tell her, fake a wedding to get the whole family together to see one last time. I really loved this movie. Not only is it extremely touching, the performance by Awkwafina was, to me, extremely surprising. I think most of us know Awkwafina from her comedic work, so seeing her in a dramatic role like this was also welcoming. While the story is mostly around this Chinese family, I think we can all connect to the story in some form.

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Ready or Not

Ready or Not will probably go down as one of the movies of the summer that everyone missed out on. It follows Samara Weaving’s Grace, who gets married into the Le Domas family, but realizes that the family has a dangerous deal with a mysterious figure that requires a sacrifice in the form of a game – Hide and Seek. That’s basically the bare bones of the movie, but there is a lot more to unpack and watch to enjoy. Ready or Not knows what it is, so it doesn’t try to give you an dishonest movie or even try to make it more serious than it’s suppose to be.

Weaving, once again, is reliable as ever and the family is the perfect foil to her character who’s just trying to survive anyway possible. Ready or Not will definitely be popping up again at my end of the year list. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and go watch this in theaters with as little information that you possibly can.

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So that’s my list. I’m more interested in what your Summer Movie Season roundup is like. Let me know!

September Movie Releases

Hello everybody!

Another month has gone by and we’re on to another packed month full of great films. September seems like it’s going to be great by the end of the month, and may even have some early Academy Award nominees. I know, too early to think of that, but you know what? When you look at these films, you’ll be saying the same thing too. Let’s take a look at what’s coming out this month.

 

6th

It: Chapter 2 – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures

Synopsis: Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), the Losers Club have grown up (James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Isaiah Mustafa) and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back. Directed once again by Andy Muschietti, the film will co-star the original young cast of Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, and Chosen Jacobs.

Thoughts: I really liked the first It, so I was very eager to see what they would do with Chapter 2. So far, it looks DAMN good. Runtime aside – 2 hours and 49 minutes – which really doesn’t matter to me, so bring on the scary-ass clown!

 

 

13th

Hustlers – STX Entertainment

Based on the New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler – a crew of strip club employees band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. Directed by Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, The Meddler), Hustlers stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Madeline Brewer, Julia Stiles, Lizzo and Cardi B.

 

The Goldfinch – Warner Bros., Amazon Studios, Color Force

An adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Donna Tartt, a boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Goldfinch’s impressive cast stars Ansel Elgort, Jeffrey Wright, Ashleigh Cummings, Willa Fitzgerald, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson and Nicole Kidman.

 

 

20th

Downton Abbey – Focus Features, Perfect World Pictures, Carnival Film & Television

The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.

 

Rambo: Last Blood – Lionsgate, Millennium Films, Balboa Productions

Synopsis: Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission. Rambo co-stars Oscar Jaenada, Paz Vega, Yvette Monreal and Adriana Barraza.

Thoughts: Stallone’s last (maybe) time out as John Rambo has him fighting the cartel, and it looks like it’s going to be down-and-dirty. I’ll be honest; I don’t have quite the connection to the Rambo movies like I thought I did. I might have to do a quick re-watch of the movies before Last Blood to get a better feel. Either way, I enjoyed the last Rambo movie, which of course features Rambo mowing down an entire army with a truck-planted machine gun, and cutting people in half with a machete.

 

Ad Astra – 20th Century Fox, New Regency Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, Bona Film Group

Synopsis: Co-written and directed by James Gray (We Own the Night, The Immigrant, The Lost City of Z), an astronaut (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his father (Tommy Lee Jones) and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. He uncovers secrets which challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos. Ad Astra co-stars Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland.

Thoughts: Ad Astra seems like it’s going to be one of those movies that people are expecting one thing, and will get another, and hopefully it will be for the better. I mean you got Pitt, Jones and Sutherland in a sci-fi space movie! What more do you want!?

 

 

27th

Limited Release: Judy

Based on the stageplay “End of the Rainbow” by Peter Quilter, legendary performer Judy Garland (played by Renee Zellweger) arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts. Judy co-stars Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Bella Ramsey, Rufus Sewell and Michael Gambon.

 

Abominable – Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, Pearl Studio

A magical Yeti must return to his family. The voice cast includes Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Albert Tsai and Sarah Paulson.

 

So, what are you looking forward to?

August Movie Releases

Can you believe it’s already August? Seriously, where has the all the time gone, geez. Anyway, August is filled some movies that could have potential. It’s also the last month of the Summer Movie Season, also known to some as studios’ “dump month,” especially toward the latter half of the month because the kids are going back to school. Although, that seems to be less of the thing as the years have gone by. Let’s hope that it is not the true case.

 

2nd

Limited Release – Them That Follow

Set deep in the wilds of Appalachia, where believers handle death-dealing snakes to prove themselves before God, Them That Follow tells the story of a pastor’s daughter who holds a secret that threatens to tear her community apart. The film stars Alice Englert, Walton Goggins, Kaitlyn Dever, Lewis Pullman, Thomas Mann, Jim Gaffigan and Olivia Colman.

 

Limited Release – Luce

Based on a play by J.C. Lee, who also wrote the script; a married couple (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher (Octavia Spencer) threatens his status as an all-star student.

 

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – Universal Pictures

Synopsis: Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2), lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain (Idris Elba) threatens the future of humanity. Hobbs & Shaw co-stars Vanessa Kirby, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marsan, Cliff Curtis and Helen Mirren.

Thoughts: The first spinoff, surprisingly, of the Fast & Furious franchise, Hobbs & Shaw follows up on the great bro-chemistry of Johnson and Statham from The Fate of the Furious, and it looks as ridiculous as you would expect from a Fast & Furious spinoff. Add in Elba as “Black Superman” and Kirby as a new Shaw sibling.

 

 

9th

Limited Release – Brian Banks

An All-American football player’s (Aldis Hodge) dreams to play in the NFL are halted when he is falsely accused of rape and sent to prison. Years later, he fights to clear his name within an unjust system. Brian Banks co-stars Greg Kinnear, Sherri Sheperd, Melanie Liburd and Tiffany Dupont.

 

Limited Release – The Peanut Butter Falcon

Zak (played by Zack Gottsagen, who really does have Down Syndrome) runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true. The film co-stars Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal, Jake Roberts, Mick Foley, Thomas Haden Church and Bruce Dern.

 

The Art of Racing in the Rain – 20th Century Fox

Based on the novel by Garth Stein, through his bond with his owner, aspiring Formula One race car driver Denny (Milo Ventimiglia), golden retriever Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) learns that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life. The Art of Racing in the Rain co-stars Amanda Seyfried, Gary Cole, Martin Donovan and Kathy Baker.

 

The Kitchen – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, BRON Studios, DC Vertigo

Synopsis: Written and directed by Andrea Berloff (co-writer of Straight Outta Compton), who is making her directorial debut, and based off the comic series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle; The wives of New York gangsters (played by Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss and Tiffany Haddish) in Hell’s Kitchen in the 1970s continue to operate their husbands’ rackets after they’re locked up in prison. The Kitchen co-stars Domhnall Gleeson, Common, James Badge Dale, Bill Camp, and Margo Martindale.

Thoughts: When I read that McCarthy, Haddish and Moss were going to do a comic book movie adaptation I was pretty interested considering the subject matter. Granted, I had never heard of The Kitchen, but the trio itself is interesting enough to get me in the theater.

 

Dora and the Lost City of Gold – Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players, Nickelodeon Movies, Walden Media

Dora (Isabela Moner), a teenage explorer, leads her friends on an adventure to save her parents (Michael Pena and Eva Longoria) and solve the mystery behind a lost city of gold. Dora and the Lost City of Gold co-stars Eugenio Derbez, Jeff Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden, Temuera Morrison and the voices of Danny Trejo as Boots and Benicio Del Toro as Swiper.

 

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – Lionsgate, CBS Films, Double Dare You, Sean Daniel Company, Entertainment One

Synopsis: Based off the acclaimed novel by Alvin Schwartz, produced and co-written by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Andre Ovredal (Trollhunters, The Autopsy of Jane Doe) a group of teens face their fears in order to save their lives. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark stars Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Natalie Ganzhorn, Gil Bellows, Kathleen Pollard, Javier Botet and Dean Norris.

Thoughts: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has been in the works for a quite a while with del Toro having been attached for so long, but ended up handing over the directorial duties to Ovredal, who made the terrific The Autopsy of Jane Doe. The movie will be blend all the stories together with an interconnect story were the book is written by the mysterious Sarah Bellows. Overall, the thing looks damn impressive, and the fact that it’s a pretty much unknown cast, I think it works a hell of a lot better.

 

 

14th

The Angry Birds Movie 2 – Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Rovio Animation

The flightless birds and scheming green pigs take their beef to the next level. The voice cast includes Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Rachel Bloom, Maya Rudolph, Awkwafina, Dove Cameron, Tiffany Haddish and Sterling K. Brown.

 

 

16th

Blinded By the Light – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Ingenious Media, Levantine Films, Bend It Films, Rakija Films

In 1987, during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen.

 

47 Meters Down: Uncaged – Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, thefyzz

Four teen girls diving in a ruined underwater city quickly learn they’ve entered the territory of the deadliest shark species in the claustrophobic labyrinth of submerged caves.

 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Annapurna Pictures, United Artists Releasing, Color Force

Based on the novel by Maria Semple, and co-written and directed by Richard Linkalter; A loving mom (Cate Blanchett) becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Her leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.  Where’d You Go, Bernadette co-stars Kristen Wiig, Billy Crudup, Judy Greer, Emma Nelson, Zoe Chao, Troian Bellisario and Laurence Fishburne.

 

Good Boys – Universal Pictures, Good Universe, Point Grey Pictures

Three sixth grade boys (Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon) ditch school and embark on an epic journey while carrying accidentally stolen drugs, being hunted by teenage girls and trying to make their way home in time for a long-awaited party. Good Boys co-stars Molly Gordon, Lina Renna, Will Forte, Lil Rey Howery and Retta.

 

 

21st

Ready or Not – Fox Searchlight Pictures, Vinson Films, Mythology Entertainment

Synopsis: A bride’s (Samara Weaving) wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game. Ready or Not co-stars Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Elyse Levesque, Adam Brody and Andie MacDowell.

Thoughts: I didn’t really know too much about this one until I saw the trailer, but I was instantly hooked. The cast is filled with some pretty decently known names. Plus, the idea of a kid’s game turning into a full-blown survival thriller sounds great to me.

 

23rd

Limited Release – Brittany Runs a Marathon

A woman (Jillian Bell) living in New York takes control of her life – one block at a time. Brittany Runs a Marathon co-stars Lil Rey Howery, Micah Stock and Michaela Watkins

 

Overcomer – Affirm Films, Provident Films

The movie will unpack a pivotal issue in the life students and adults alike

 

Angel Has Fallen – Summit Entertainment, Millennium Films, G-BASE

Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is framed for the attempted assassination of the President (Morgan Freeman) and must evade his own agency and the FBI as he tries to uncover the real threat. Angel Has Fallen co-stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Piper Perabo, Nick Nolte, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson and Danny Huston.

 

30th

*Playmobil has been moved to December

 

Don’t Let Go – Blumhouse Productions, Briarcliff Entertainment, OTL Releasing

After a man’s (David Oyelowo) family dies in what appears to be a murder, he gets a phone call from one of the dead, his niece (Storm Reid). He’s not sure if she’s a ghost or if he’s going mad, but as it turns out, he’s not. Don’t Let Go co-stars Mykelti Williamson, Shinelle Azoroh and Byron Mann.

 

So, what are you looking forward to?

April Movie Releases

Well hello there!

It’s April, and to some studios apparently, it’s the unofficial start of the Summer Movie Season. That said, this year could really take the cake, as Marvel once again is putting their big cash cow at the end of the month. Let’s take a look shall we?

 

5th

Limited Release: Amazing Grace

A musical documentary presenting Aretha Franklin with choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.

 

Limited Release: High Life

A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation. Robert Pattinson, Andre Benjamin, Mia Goth and Juliette Binoche star.

 

Limited Release: Teen Spirit

Written and directed by actor Max Minghella (The Social Network, TV series The Mindy Project and The Handmaid’s Tale); Violet (played by Elle Fanning) is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With her help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Teen Spirit also stars Rebecca Hall.

 

The Best of Enemies

Based on the book by Osha Gray Davidson and true events; civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) faces off against C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration. The Best of Enemies co-stars Sope Aluko, John Gallagher Jr., Wes Bentley, Anne Heche, Nick Searcy and Bruce McGill.

 

Pet Sematary

Synopsis: Based on the novel by Stephen King, Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Thoughts: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Pet Sematary, so when I heard a remake was in the works, I was actually looking forward it. Then the trailer came out and I was interested. Then this last trailer came out, which upped everything from the first trailer and any sort of expectation I had about the movie. Hopefully, the movie turns out great.

 

Shazam!

Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! – this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). Directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation), Shazam! co-stars Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, Grace Fulton and Djimon Hounsou.

Thoughts: the DCEU has taken enough blows by now that it’s become commonplace, so it gets a little hard to get excited for any new movie, despite how good the trailers are. Shazam! unfortunately falls into that category. As much as the movie looks fun and different, I’m not holding my breath too much.

 

12th

Limited Release: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

A spinoff of the Ip Man films and directed by Woo-Ping Yeun; while keeping a low profile after his defeat from Ip Man, Cheung Tin Chi (Jin Zhang) gets into trouble after getting in a fight with a powerful foreigner (Dave Bautista). The film also stars Tony Jaa and Michelle Yeoh.

 

After

Based on the novel by Anna Todd – which came from a fan fiction site about Harry Styles – a young woman (Josephine Langford) falls for a guy (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) with a dark secret and the two embark on a rocky relationship. After is filled with newcomers or unknowns, expect big names like Jennifer Beals and Selma Blair.

 

Missing Link

Mr. Link (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) recruits explorer Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) to help find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight (voiced by Zoe Saldana), this trio of explorers travel the world to help their new friend. The rest of the voice cast includes Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas and Emma Thompson.

 

Little

What seems like a riff on the film Big, a woman (Regina Hall) is transformed into her younger self (Marsai Martin) at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear. Little co-stars Issa Rae, Justin Hartley and Tone Bell.

 

Hellboy

Synopsis: Based on the Dark Horse comic book by Mike Mignola, and directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, TV series Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Westworld); caught between the worlds of supernatural and human, Hellboy (David Harbour) battles an ancient sorceress (Milla Jovovich) bent on revenge. Hellboy co-stars Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Penelope Mitchell, Alistair Petrie, Brian Gleeson, Sophie Okonedo and Ian McShane.

Thoughts: Despite still wanting that last Guillermo del Toro-directed Hellboy movie, this reboot has me pretty damn excited! David Harbour looks like a great new Hellboy, Ian McShane as Professor Broom and Milla Jovovich as a villain are nice touches.

 

17th

Penguins

The story of Steve, an Adelie penguin, on a quest to find a life partner and start a family when Steven meets with Wuzzo the emperor penguin they become friends. But nothing comes easy in the icy Antarctic.

 

Breakthrough

Based on the true story; when her 14-year-old John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) drowns in a lake, a faithful mother (Chrissy Metz) prays for him to come back from the brink of death and be healed. The film co-stars Josh Lucas, Mike Colter, Topher Grace and Dennis Haysbert.

 

 

19th

Limited Release: Little Woods

A modern Western that follows two sisters, Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and Deb (Lily James), who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives. For years Ollie has illicitly helped the struggling residents of her North Dakota oil boomtown access Canadian health care and medication. When the authorities catch on, she plans to abandon her crusade, only to be dragged in even deeper after a desperate plea for help from her sister. Little Woods co-stars James Badge Dale, Luke Kirby and Lance Reddick.

 

Limited Release: Under the Silver Lake

Sam (Andrew Garfield), intelligent but without purpose, finds a mysterious woman (Riley Keough) swimming in his apartment’s pool one night. The next morning, she disappears. Sam sets off across LA to find her, and along the way he uncovers a conspiracy far more bizarre. Directed by David Robert Mitchell (It Follows), the film co-stars Jimmi Simpson, Sydney Sweeney, Grace Van Patten, Riki Lindhome, Callie Hernandez and Topher Grace.

 

The Curse of La Llorona

Synopsis: Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker (Linda Cardellini) and her own children are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. The Curse of La Llorona co-stars Tony Amendola, Raymond Cruz, Sean Patrick Thomas and Patricia Velasquez.

Thoughts: I grew up knowing the folktale of La Llorona. This isn’t the first movie about her, but it is the first big budget studio movie and from everything so far, I’m looking forward to it.

 

26th

Avengers: Endgame

Synopsis: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

Thoughts: I mean, do I really need to put anything here? Do I?

 

What are you looking forward to?

February Movie Releases

So how are those New Years Resolutions coming along? Kidding!

How’s the cold treating you? Because it sure as hell SUCKED here in the Chicago-land area!

Anyway, we’re here for movies! February is looking like a legit month with some huge films coming out. It’s also the month that is bringing the end to a beloved franchise. So, let’s get to it!

 

1st

Limited Release: Arctic

A man (Mads Mikkelsen) stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive. The film is the feature film debut of Joe Penna aka Mystery Guitar Man from Youtube fame.

 

Miss Bala

Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness and strength. The movie is, unbeknownst to me for some time, a remake of a Spanish film of the same name and directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Red Riding Hood). Honestly, I don’t have a lot of interest in watching this. The trailer does nothing for me, and why I hear Gina Rodriguez is great on her show Jane the Virgin, that may not mean she’s good to lead a movie. Hey, I could be wrong, and part of me hope I am, but another thing the movie has against it is its coming out on Super Bowl weekend, and movies coming out this weekend don’t tend to do too well. Miss Bala co-stars Ismael Cruz Cordova, Matt Lauria, Thomas Dekker and Anthony Mackie.

 

8th

Limited Release: Everybody Knows

Laura (Penelope Cruz), a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister’s wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open. Everybody Knows co-stars Javier Bardem.

 

What Men Want

A gender-swap of the 2000 Mel Gibson-led movie What Women Want, this movie has Ali (Taraji P. Henson) is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession. However, she gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear their thoughts. The gender-swapping trend continues this year, and why I’m sure this movie will find its audience, What Men Wants may be one of those movies that gets lost in the shuffle for me. What Men Want co-stars Josh Brener, Max Greenfield, Aldis Hodge, Kellan Lutz, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Tracy Morgan.

 

The Prodigy

A mother (Taylor Schilling) concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him. This one pretty much came out of nowhere, mainly because of its test screening stories. According to multiple reports, and confirmed by its director Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact), The Prodigy had to be re-edited because the movie was TOO SCARY. Apparently, test audiences missed parts of the movie because they were recovering from the scares. Reading that, and then watching the trailer, I can believe that, because I never heard of the movie until I saw the trailer – in theaters – and that last bit scared the crap out of the whole audience, including me. Needless to say, this is one to put on the Must-Watch List.

 

Cold Pursuit

Based on the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance, a snowplow driver (Liam Neeson) seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Leaving the cheesy feeling of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” playing in the trailer, Cold Pursuit looks like it’s playing with the notion of Neeson playing the badass hero. I actually loved his delivery of the reading a lot of crime novels, so of course he’s ready to kill people. There’s also the feeling that this is a payoff of the joke in Daddy’s Home 2, but hey, seeing Neeson on the big screen beating the crap out of people? I’m in. Cold Pursuit co-stars Emmy Rossum, Tom Bateman, Laura Dern and William Forsythe.  

 

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild. I loved the first LEGO movie, and still do. That said, the trailers for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part are just okay, but I want to say part of that is to hide the story of the movie, and maybe even some of the jokes. I’m still going to be sitting in a packed theater opening weekend, so yeah. The voice cast from the first returns, but new additions include Stephanie Beatriz and Tiffany Haddish.

 

13th

Isn’t It Romantic

Natalie (Rebel Wilson) disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy. I kind of like the concept of this, but the trailer just doesn’t make me actually buy it.  Isn’t It Romantic co-stars Adam Devine, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra and Jennifer Saunders.

 

Happy Death Day 2U

Tree (Jessica Rothe) discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead. Listen, I was onboard the hate wagon for Happy Death Day, but then I watched it and damn I ended up actually liking it. It knew was it was and didn’t take itself too seriously. That said, when I heard about the sequel, I wasn’t too surprised, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to this just a bit. Happy Death Day 2U co-stars Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Suraj Sharma, Rachel Matthews, Sarah Yarkin and Phi Vu.

 

14th

Fighting with My Family

Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, and inspired by the life of WWE superstar Paige, a former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment. I’m actually a huge wrestling fan – and not just WWE – and knowing some of Paige’s actual story, part of me isn’t surprised it got turned into a movie. The movie itself does look pretty great, although just by seeing the trailer, it looks like they are taking some liberties already. Fighting With My Family co-stars Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn and Dwayne Johnson.

 

Alita: Battle Angel

Co-written by James Cameron, directed by Robert Rodriguez and based on the anime of the same name; the movie is set in the future where Alita (Rosa Salazar) tries to discover the truth of what she really is, and fight to change the world. This one could easily been written off, but the recent word of mouth for the movie is pretty, and slightly surprisingly, positive. It was also suppose to come out last year, but the push back could have helped the movie. I’m also really looking forward to it. Alita: Battle Angel co-stars Christoph Waltz, Keean Johnson, Ed Skrein, Eiza Gonzalez, Lana Condor, Casper Van Dien, Mahershala Ali, Jackie Earle Haley and Jennifer Connelly.

 

22nd

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

When Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) finds it first. I hate myself for saying it, but I yet to watch a How to Train Your Dragon movie, despite my best efforts to watch them. So I’m a bit bummed to think I’m going to miss seeing at least one of these movies in theaters.

 

What are you looking forward to?