Matt writes: Ebertfest 2018 was a resounding success this year, featuring unforgettable conversations with Ava DuVernay, Julie Dash, Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, Kogonada, Andy Davis, Gregory Nava and many other extraordinary talents. Among the essential films screened this year were “American Splendor,” “Rambling Rose,” “Belle” and “13th,” which earned one of the festival’s biggest ovations. Click here for our table of contents rounding up daily dispatches penned by Brian Tallerico, Nick Allen, Matt Fagerholm and Peter Sobczynski. You’ll also find articles by our three Ebert Fellows, Niani Scott, Madeline Galassi and Tyler Panlilio.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), 50th anniversary restoration. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke. Starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, Douglas Rain. Synopsis: Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest. Opens in US theaters on May 18th, 2018.
Filmworker (2018). Directed by Tony Zierra. Synopsis: It’s a rare person who would give up fame and fortune to toil in obscurity for someone else’s creative vision. Yet, that’s exactly what Leon Vitali did for Stanley Kubrick. Opens in US theaters on May 11th, 2018.
Venom (2018). Directed by Ruben Fleischer. Written by Kelly Marcel, Will Beall, Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner (based on the comics by Todd McFarlane and David Michelinie). Starring Tom Hardy, Tom Holland, Michelle Williams. Synopsis: The Marvel comic character gets his own movie. Opens in US theaters on July 27th, 2018.
The Equalizer 2 (2018). Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Written by Richard Wenk. Starring Denzel Washington, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo. Synopsis: Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves? Opens in US theaters on July 20th, 2018.
Angel Face (2018). Directed by Vanessa Filho. Written by Vanessa Filho and Diastème. Starring Marion Cotillard, Alban Lenoir, Amélie Daure. Synopsis: One day, Marlene suddenly chooses to abandon her daughter for a man she has just met during yet another night of excess. Elli must confront her mother’s demons to get her back. US release date is TBA.
Woman Walks Ahead (2018). Directed by Susanna White. Written by Steven Knight. Starring Jessica Chastain, Ciarán Hinds, Sam Rockwell. Synopsis: Catherine Weldon, a portrait painter from 1890s Brooklyn, travels to Dakota to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull and becomes embroiled in the Lakota peoples’ struggle over the rights to their land. Opens in US theaters on June 29th, 2018.
The Tale (2018). Written and directed by Jennifer Fox. Starring Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Debicki. Synopsis: An investigation into one woman’s memory as she is forced to re-examine her first sexual relationship and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Premieres on HBO on May 26th, 2018.
211 (2018). Written and directed by York Alec Shackleton. Starring Nicolas Cage, Sophie Skelton, Michael Rainey Jr.. Synopsis: Bank heist movie in the vein of “End of Watch” meets “Black Hawk Down.” US release date is TBA.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018). Directed by Jon M. Chu. Written by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim (based on the novel by Kevin Kwan). Starring Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding. Synopsis: Three wealthy Chinese families prepare for the wedding of the year.. Opens in US theaters on August 17th, 2018.
Night School (2018). Directed by Malcolm D. Lee. Written by Kevin Hart, John Hamburg, Nicholas Stoller, Joey Wells, Abraham Mayne, Matthew Kellard and Harry Ratchford. Starring Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Keith David. Synopsis: A group of troublemakers are forced to attend night school in hope that they’ll pass the GED exam to finish high school. Opens in US theaters on September 28th, 2018.
Shoplifters (2018). Written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. Starring Kirin Kiki, Lily Franky, Sôsuke Ikematsu. Synopsis: A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find on the street. US release date is TBA.
Anon (2018). Written and directed by Andrew Niccol. Starring Clive Owen, Amanda Seyfried, Colm Feore. Synopsis: In a world without anonymity or crime, a detective meets a woman who threatens their security. Debuts on Netflix on May 4th, 2018.
Candy Jar (2018). Directed by Ben Shelton. Written by Chad Klitzman. Starring Uzo Aduba, Tom Bergeron, Tracey Bonner. Synopsis: Dueling high school debate champs who are at odds on just about everything forge ahead with ambitious plans to get into the colleges of their dreams. Now available on Netflix.
Puzzle (2018). Directed by Marc Turtletaub. Written by Oren Moverman. Starring Kelly Macdonald, Austin Abrams, Mandela Bellamy. Synopsis: Agnes, taken for granted as a suburban mother, discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles which unexpectedly draws her into a new world – where her life unfolds in ways she could never have imagined. Opens in US theaters on July 13th, 2018.
The House That Jack Built (2018). Written and directed by Lars von Trier. Starring Riley Keough, Uma Thurman, Matt Dillon. Synopsis: The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer over the course of 12 years and depicts the murders that truly develop Jack as a serial killer. US release date is TBA.
Sollers Point (2018). Written and directed by Matthew Porterfield. Starring McCaul Lombardi, Jim Belushi, Tom Guiry. Synopsis: Keith, a small-time drug dealer under house arrest at the home of his father in Baltimore, re-enters a community scarred by unemployment, neglect and deeply entrenched segregation. There, he pushes back against his surrounding limitations as he tries to find a way out of his own internal prison. Opens is US theaters on May 18th, 2018.
The Misandrists (2018). Written and directed by Bruce La Bruce. Starring Susanne Sachße, Viva Ruiz, Kembra Pfahler. Synopsis: When the beautiful young Isolde realizes that a handsome young man is in trouble with the law, she convinces Hilde to help her hide him in the basement of a house, which happens to be a school for wayward girls. Opens in US theaters on May 25th, 2018.
Blindspotting (2018). Directed by Carlos López Estrada. Written by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs. Starring Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar. Synopsis: A timely and wildly entertaining story about the intersection of race and class, set against the backdrop of a rapidly gentrifying Oakland. Opens in US theaters on July 20th, 2018.
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season Two
Matt writes: After the phenomenal success of its first season, “The Handmaid's Tale” debuted the first two episodes of its second season on Hulu last week. I got the chance to review the first six episodes, and absolutely loved them. Click here for the full article.
Milos Forman (1932-2018)
Matt writes: Milos Forman, the two-time Oscar-winning director of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” “Amadeus” and “Hair” (which opened last year’s Ebertfest) died last month at age 86. Click here to read an obituary penned by Peter Sobczynski.
The Gin Game (1981). Directed by Terry Hughes. Written by D.L. Coburn. Starring Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn. Synopsis: Weller Martin challenges his new friend Fonsia Dorsey to a game of Gin. But is suddenly in for more than he wagers.
One Special Night (1999). Directed by Roger Young. Written by Nancey Silvers (based on the play by Jan Hartman). Starring James Garner, Julie Andrews, Patricia Charbonneau. Synopsis: Robert, a general contractor, is visiting his ailing wife in a nursing home. When it’s time for him to leave, he has problems getting a taxi home, because of an intense snow storm. Catherine, one of the doctors, offers him a ride. However, because of the snow, their car gets stuck, requiring them to overnight in an empty cabin nearby.
The Gin Game (2003). Directed by Arvin Brown. Written by D.L. Coburn. Starring Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Annie Abbott. Synopsis: In a retirement home, a surly man and a withdrawn woman come to terms over a game of cards.