#393 November 10, 2020

Matt writes: The third and final panel of the 2020 Ebert Symposium Series premiered last Thursday on the YouTube and Facebook pages of Ebertfest. Entitled “Representation in Media,” the panel explored inclusion and equity in film and media, and was moderated by media scholar Angharad Valdivia, a professor of Media and Cinema studies in the University of Illinois’ Institute of Communications Research. Among the panelists were Christine Simmons, the chief operating officer of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with other esteemed members of the industry: Keri Carpenter, Samantha Chatman and Troy Pryor. 

You can watch their hour-long conversation in the video embedded below (for a full list of their bios, click here). You can also watch the first panel, “The Movie Industry in a Time of Change” here, and the second panel, “Documentary Film and Social Change,” here.


The Midnight Sky (2020). Directed by George Clooney. Written by Mark L. Smith (based on the book by Lily Brooks-Dalton). Starring George ClooneySophie RundleFelicity Jones. Synopsis: This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe. Debuts on Netflix on December 23rd, 2020.

The Twentieth Century (2020). Written and directed by Matthew Rankin. Starring Dan BeirneSarianne CormierCatherine St-Laurent. Synopsis: Determined to become the leader of the Dominion of Canada, a young W.L. Mackenzie King rises to power. Debuts in the US on November 20th, 2020.

The Stand In (2020). Directed by Jamie Babbit. Written by Sam Bain. Starring Drew BarrymoreEllie KemperHolland Taylor. Synopsis: The story of a disaffected comedy actress and her ambitious stand-in trading places. Debuts in the US on December 11th, 2020.

Songbird (2020). Directed by Adam Mason. Written by Adam Mason and Simon Boyes. Starring K.J. ApaSofia CarsonCraig Robinson. Synopsis: In 2022 a pandemic ravages the world and its cities. Centering on a handful of people as they navigate the obstacles currently hindering society: disease, martial law, quarantine, and vigilantes. US release date is TBA.

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters (2020). Written and directed by Dennis Dugan. Starring Maggie GraceDiane KeatonJeremy Irons. Synopsis: It is a multi-story romantic comedy about the people who work on weddings to create the perfect day for a loving couple – while their own relationships are outlandish, odd, crazy and far from perfect. Debuts in the US on December 4th, 2020.

My Psychedelic Love Story (2020). Directed by Errol Morris. Synopsis: A portrait of the polarizing psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary. Debuts on Showtime on November 29th, 2020.

My Darling Vivian (2020). Directed by Matt Riddlehoover. Synopsis: The story of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters. Debuts in the US on December 8th, 2020.

The White Tiger (2021). Written and directed by Ramin Bahrani (based on the book by Aravind Adiga). Starring Priyanka ChopraAdarsh GouravRajkummar Rao. Synopsis: The epic journey of a poor Indian driver who must use his wit and cunning to break free from servitude to his rich masters and rise to the top of the heap. Debuts on Netflix on January 22nd, 2021.

Freaky (2020). Directed by Christopher Landon. Written by Christopher Landon and Michael Kennedy. Starring Kathryn NewtonVince VaughnAlan Ruck. Synopsis: After swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer, a young girl in high school discovers she has less than 24 hours before the change becomes permanent. Debuts in the US on November 13th, 2020.

Vanguard (2020). Written and directed by Stanley Tong. Starring Jackie ChanYang YangMiya Muqi. Synopsis: Covert security company Vanguard is the last hope of survival for an accountant after he is targeted by the world’s deadliest mercenary organization. Debuts in the US on November 20th, 2020.

Stardust (2020). Directed by Gabriel Range. Written by Christopher Bell and Gabriel Range. Starring Johnny FlynnJena MaloneMarc Maron. Synopsis: A chronicle of the young David Bowie’s first visit to the US in 1971 – a trip that inspired the invention of his iconic alter ego Ziggy Stardust. US release date is TBA.

Francisca (1981), 4K restoration. Written and directed by Manoel de Oliveira (based on the novel by Agustina Bessa-Luís). Starring Teresa MenezesDiogo DóriaMário Barroso. Synopsis: The life of a young man, son of an English officer who lets himself become a prisoner of love resulting in fatalism and disgrace. US release date is TBA.

Girl (2020). Written and directed by Chad Faust. Starring Bella ThorneMickey RourkeChad Faust. Synopsis: A young woman returns to her small hometown intent on killing her abusive father only to discover someone murdered him the day before. As the girl searches for answers, she uncovers a family legacy more dangerous than she’d imagined. US release date is TBA.

Us Kids (2020). Directed by Kim A. Snyder. Synopsis: Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida speak out against the national gun-violence epidemic after a mass shooting at their school kills 17 people. Now available online.

The Bee-Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020). Directed by Frank Marshall. Synopsis: A profile of the beloved band. Debuts in the US on December 12th, 2020.

Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020). Written and directed by Julien Temple. Synopsis: A celebration of Irish punk poet Shane MacGowan, composer and lead singer with The Pogues, combining unpublished archive footage and family footage with animation. US release date is TBA.

Zappa (2020). Directed by Alex Winter. Synopsis: An in-depth look into the life and work of musician Frank ZappaDebuts in the US on November 27th, 2020.

The Killing of Two Lovers (2021). Written and directed by Robert Machoian. Starring Chris CoyClayne CrawfordArri Graham. Synopsis: David desperately tries to keep his family of six together during a separation from his wife. They both agree to see other people but David struggles to grapple with his wife’s new relationship). Debuts in the US on February 23rd, 2021.

R.I.P. Sean Connery (1930-2020)

Matt writes: Sean Connery, the first and greatest James Bond of the silver screen who won an Oscar for his unforgettable performance in Brian De Palma’s 1987 thriller, “The Untouchables” (excerpted above), died on Halloween at age 90. He was given a beautiful tribute by our Editor at Large Matt Zoller Seitz (read it here). Also be sure to read Roger Ebert’s classic interview with Connery here.

Kevin Costner on “Let Him Go

Matt writes: Oscar-winner Kevin Costner recently spoke with our Managing Editor Brian Tallerico about his latest role in Thomas Bezucha’s western, “Let Him Go,” where he stars opposite Diane Lane. You can read their full conversation here.

Free Movies

Sacred Hearts (1984). Written and directed by Barbara Rennie. Starring Anna MasseyKatrin CartlidgeOona Kirsch. Synopsis: Life in a repressive convent school during the Second World War.

Watch “Sacred Hearts”

Ladder of Swords (1989). Directed by Norman Hull. Written by Neil Clarke. Starring Martin ShawEleanor DavidBob Peck. Synopsis: Don, his alcoholic wife Denise and Daley ‘The Dancing Bear’ are waiting on the moors to hear about a job. However, a fight, a disappearance and a death leads to unwanted attention from the police but a budding romance with a local widow.

Watch “Ladder of Swords”

The Disappearance of Finbar (1996). Directed by Sue Clayton. Written by Sue Clayton and Dermot Bolger (based on the novel by Carl Lombard). Starring Luke GriffinJonathan Rhys MeyersSean Lawlor. Synopsis: Finbar, a recently disgraced would-be soccer player, jumps from a bridge in his depressing hometown and mysteriously disappears. His best friend, desperate for answers, searches for him.

Watch “The Disappearance of Finbar”

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