#390 September 29, 2020

Matt writes: On September 18th, the world was shaken by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), whose extraordinary life was chronicled in Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s Oscar-nominated documentary, “RBG.” Be sure to read Nell Minow’s tribute to Ginsburg as well as my interview with West and Cohen. Here is an excerpt from Nell’s article, along with the trailer for “RBG”…

Shakespeare could have been describing Justice Ginsburg when he wrote “though she be but little, she is fierce.” Certainly, the contrast between her tiny frame and powerful intellect was part of what made Justice Ginsburg an icon, reflected in the teasing nickname, “Notorious RBG,” inspired by rapper “Notorious BIG.” This month’s documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy” has a devastating depiction of the impact of the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Voting Rights Act. The voter suppression restrictions adopted within hours of the decision’s announcement proved the accuracy of Justice Ginsburg’s dissent. As with so many of her careful, meticulous opinions on the Court—omitting “respectfully” from one dissent was her version of what Kate McKinnon called a “Gins-burn”—she was ahead of her time. We will honor her memory in the years ahead by letting her example guide us, and by trying to catch up. 


The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020). Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. Starring Eddie RedmayneAlex SharpSacha Baron Cohen. Synopsis: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Debuts on Netflix on October 16th, 2020.

Save Yourselves! (2020). Written and directed by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson. Starring Sunita ManiJohn ReynoldsBen Sinclair. Synopsis: A young Brooklyn couple heads to an upstate cabin to unplug from their phones and reconnect with each other. Blissfully unaware of their surroundings, they are left to their own devices as the planet falls under attack. Debuts in the US on October 2nd, 2020.

David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020). Directed by Spike Lee. Synopsis: Spike Lee documents the former Talking Heads frontman’s brilliant, timely 2019 Broadway show, based on his recent album and tour of the same name.. Debuts on HBO on October 17th, 2020.

Once Upon a River (2020). Written and directed by Haroula Rose (based on the book by Bonnie Jo Campbell). Starring Kenadi DelaCernaJohn AshtonTatanka Means. Synopsis: Margo Crane’s odyssey on the Stark River introduces her to a world filled with wonders and dangers. Debuts in the US on October 2nd, 2020.

Sound of Metal (2020). Directed by Darius Marder. Written by Darius Marder and Abraham Marder. Starring Olivia CookeRiz AhmedMathieu Amalric. Synopsis: A heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing. Debuts on Prime Video on December 4th, 2020.

Supernova (2020). Written and directed by Harry Macqueen. Starring Colin FirthStanley TucciLori Campbell. Synopsis: Sam and Tusker partners of 20 years, who are traveling across England in their old RV visiting friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have. US release date is TBA.

Synchronic (2020). Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Written by Justin Benson. Starring Jamie DornanAnthony MackieKatie Aselton. Synopsis: Two New Orleans paramedics’ lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects. Debuts in the US on October 23rd, 2020.

American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020). Directed by Jenny Popplewell. Synopsis: In 2018, 38-year-old Shanan Watts and her two youngest daughters disappeared in Colorado. With the heartbreaking details emerging, the family’s story made headlines around the world. Debuts on Netflix on September 30th, 2020.

The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020). Written and directed by Jim Cummings. Starring Jim CummingsRiki LindhomeRobert Forster. Synopsis: Terror grips a small mountain town as bodies are discovered after each full moon. Losing sleep, raising a teenage daughter, and caring for his ailing father, officer Marshall struggles to remind himself there’s no such thing as werewolves. Debuts in the US on October 9th, 2020.

The Last Shift (2020). Written and directed by Andrew Cohn. Starring Richard JenkinsShane Paul McGhieEd O’Neill. Synopsis: Stanley’s last shift at his fast food job takes an unexpected turn. Now playing in theaters.

The Place of No Words (2020). Written and directed by Mark Webber. Starring Nicole Elizabeth BergerEric Christian OlsenBodhi Palmer. Synopsis: A young boy battles the complexities of a grown-up world with his father. US release date is TBA.

Martin Eden (2020). Directed by Pietro Marcello. Written by Pietro Marcello and Maurizio Braucci (based on the novel by Jack London). Starring Luca MarinelliJessica CressyVincenzo Nemolato. Synopsis: Martin Eden struggles to rise above his destitute, proletarian circumstances through an intense and passionate pursuit of self-education, hoping to achieve a place among the literary elite. Debuts in the US on October 16th, 2020.

Books of Blood (2020). Directed by Brannon Braga. Written by Brannon Braga and Adam Simon (based on the book by Clive Barker). Starring Britt RobertsonAnna FrielRafi Gavron. Synopsis: A journey into uncharted and forbidden territory through three tales tangled in space and time. Debuts on Hulu on October 7th, 2020.

Over the Moon (2020). Directed by Glen Keane and John Kahrs. Written by Audrey Wells. Starring Phillipa SooKimiko GlennKen Jeong. Synopsis: In this animated musical, a girl builds a rocket ship and blasts off, hoping to meet a mythical moon goddess. Debuts on Netflix on October 23rd, 2020.

Herself (2020). Directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Written by Malcolm Campbell and Clare Dunne. Starring Harriet WalterConleth HillClare Dunne. Synopsis: This is the story of young mother Sandra who escapes her abusive husband and fights back against a broken housing system. She sets out to build her own home and in the process rebuilds her life and re-discovers herself. US release date is TBA.

Love and Monsters (2020). Directed by Michael Matthews. Written by Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson. Starring Dylan O’BrienJessica HenwickMichael Rooker. Synopsis: After a Monsterpocalypse forces humans into underground colonies, a young man decides against all logic to brave the surface and face the monsters standing between him and his lost love. Debuts in the US on October 16th, 2020.

The Croods: A New Age (2020). Directed by Joel Crawford. Written by Kevin Hageman, Dan Hageman, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan. Starring Ryan ReynoldsNicolas CageEmma Stone. Synopsis: The prehistoric family the Croods are challenged by a rival family the Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved. Debuts in the US on November 25th, 2020.

The Glorias (2020). Directed by Julie Taymor. Written by Julie Taymor and Sarah Ruhl (based on the book by Gloria Steinem). Starring Julianne Moore, Alicia VikanderJanelle Monáe. Synopsis: The story of feminist icon Gloria Steinem‘s itinerant childhood’s influence on her life as a writer, activist and organizer for women’s rights worldwide. Debuts on Amazon Prime on September 30th, 2020.

Made Men: The Story of “Goodfellas

Matt writes: Our critic Glenn Kenny recently published an essential book for all Scorsese devotees: Made Men: The Story of “Goodfellas.” Read Kenny’s conversation with our Editor at Large Matt Zoller Seitz here and an excerpt from the book here. You can also watch Kenny’s interview on “CBS This Morning” in the video embedded above.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Matt writes: One of my very favorite films of 2020 is Charlie Kaufman’s brilliant Netflix mind-bender, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” which was praised by our Managing Editor Brian Tallerico. You just might gain a whole new level of appreciation for the film after reading Mary Beth McAndrews’ insightful essay on the picture, but only read it AFTER you’ve seen the movie.

Free Movies

Summer (2008). Directed by Kenneth Glenaan. Written by Hugh Ellis. Starring Robert CarlyleSteve EvetsRachael Blake. Synopsis: While caring for a dying friend, a man reflects back on their youth together.

Watch “Summer

Almost Kings (2010). Directed by Philip G. Flores. Written by  Max Doty and Philip G. Flores. Starring Billy CampbellPortia DoubledayTessa Auberjonois. Synopsis: Wanting a closer connection with his older brother, freshman Ted Wheeler seeks initiation into a group called “The Kings”. But, as the corruption of The Kings is revealed, Ted must expose the ugly truth about the brother he once idolized.

Watch “Almost Kings”

I Am Slave (2010). Directed by Gabriel Range. Written by Jeremy Brock. Starring Wunmi MosakuIsaach De BankoléLubna Azabal. Synopsis: A thriller set in London’s slave trade and centered on a woman’s fight for freedom.

Watch “I Am Slave”

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