#394 November 24, 2020

Matt writes: In the sixth edition of publisher Chaz Ebert’s “My Happy Place” series, she shares various ways we can each find joy during the 2020 holiday season when under lockdown. You can find her full article here, and read her intro excerpted below…

As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, we are finding new ways for families to gather around cooking and enjoying food together. We are pleased to highlight JoAnn Seagren’s virtual meals, complete with enticing recipes, and Giò Crisafullis philosophical musings on a proper mealtime. To ease the stress of not being together physically, Chris Lautenslager suggests a way to enjoy nature and gaining peace of mind while bicycling. Jamilah Dorsey poignantly reminds us of the loss of family members in 2020, and how our good memories of them provide comfort. 

As coronavirus numbers spike again all over the country, we are including by popular demand Tara Sheahan’s yoga breathing technique to help you de-stress. And in the spirit of the season we encourage you to give generously to the Greater Chicago Food Depository to help feed those most in need. Here’s wishing you the opportunity to find your Happy Place during this most unusual holiday season. When it comes to making sacrifices in order to ensure each other’s safety, just remember that we are all in this together! To Gratitude! Happy Thanksgiving!”


Gunda (2020). Directed by Viktor Kosakovskiy. Synopsis: Documentary looks at the daily life of a pig and its farm animal companions: two cows and a one-legged chicken. US release date is TBA.

Let Them All Talk (2020). Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Written by Deborah Eisenberg. Starring Meryl StreepGemma ChanLucas Hedges. Synopsis: A famous author goes on a cruise trip with her friends and nephew in an effort to find fun and happiness while she comes to terms with her troubled past. Debuts on HBO Max on December 10th, 2020.

One Night in Miami… (2020). Directed by Regina King. Written by Kemp Powers. Starring Kingsley Ben-AdirEli GoreeAldis Hodge. Synopsis: A fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s. Debuts in the US on December 25th, 2020.

Small Axe: Lovers Rock (2020). Written and directed by Steve McQueen. Starring Amarah-Jae St. AubynMicheal WardShaniqua Okwok. Synopsis: A single evening at a house party in 1980s West London sets the scene, developing intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance and music. Debuts on Amazon Prime on November 27th, 2020.

Small Axe: Red, White and Blue (2020). Directed by Steve McQueen. Written by Steve McQueen and Courttia Newland. Starring John BoyegaSteve ToussaintJoy Richardson. Synopsis: Spotlights the true story of Leroy Logan, who at a young age saw his father assaulted by two policemen, motivating him to join the Metropolitan Police and change their racist attitudes from within. Debuts on Amazon Prime on December 4th, 2020.

Tom & Jerry (2021). Directed by Errol Morris. Written by Tim Story (based on the characters created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera). Starring Chloë Grace MoretzMichael PeñaRob Delaney.Synopsis: Adaption of the classic Hanna-Barbera property, which reveals how Tom and Jerry first meet and form their rivalry. Debuts in the US on March 5th, 2021.

MLK/FBI (2021). Directed by Sam Pollard. Synopsis: Based on newly declassified files, Sam Pollard‘s resonant film explores the US government’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Debuts in the US on January 15th, 2021.

To the Ends of the Earth (2020). Written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Starring Atsuko MaedaShôta SometaniTokio Emoto. Synopsis: A young Japanese woman finds her cautious and insular nature tested when she travels to Uzbekistan to shoot the latest episode of her travel variety show. Debuts in the US on December 11th, 2020.

Music (2020). Directed by Sia. Written by Sia and Dallas Clayton. Starring Maddie Ziegler, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. Synopsis: Zu is newly sober when she receives news that she is to become the sole guardian of her half-sister named Music, a young girl on the autism spectrum. US release date is TBA.

Pieces of a Woman (2021). Directed by Kornél Mundruczó. Written by Kata Wéber. Starring Vanessa KirbyShia LaBeoufEllen Burstyn. Synopsis: A grieving woman embarks on an emotional journey after the loss of her baby. Debuts on Netflix on January 7th, 2020.

Black Beauty (2020). Written and directed by Ashley Avis (based on the novel by Anna Sewell). Starring Mackenzie FoyKate WinsletClaire Forlani. Synopsis: A wild horse and a teenage girl forge an unbreakable bond which keeps them connected for a lifetime. Debuts on Disney+ on November 27th, 2020.

Hunter Hunter (2020). Written and directed by Shawn Linden. Starring Camille SullivanSummer H. HowellDevon Sawa. Synopsis: Joseph and his family live in the remote wilderness as fur trappers, but their tranquility is threatened when they think they are being hunted by the return of a rogue wolf, and Joseph leaves them behind to track it. Debuts in the US on December 18th, 2020.

Some Kind of Heaven (2020). Directed by Lance Oppenheim. Synopsis: Behind the gates of a palm tree-lined fantasyland, four residents of America’s largest retirement community, The Villages, FL, strive to find solace and meaning. US release date is TBA.

’69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez (2020). Directed by Vikram Gandhi. Synopsis: Part investigative documentary, part real-life gangster movie, ’69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez’ unpacks the life of polarizing rap sensation and internet troll Tekashi69. Now available on Hulu.

Alabama Snake (2020). Directed by Theo Love. Synopsis: Alabama Snake explores the story of Oct. 4, 1991, when a violent crime was reported in the town of Scottsboro, Alabama. Glenn Summerford, a Pentecostal minister, was accused of attempting to murder his wife with a rattlesnake. Debuts on HBO Max on December 9th, 2020.

Chaos Walking (2021). Directed by Doug Liman. Written by Patrick Ness and Christopher Ford. Starring Tom HollandDaisy RidleyMads Mikkelsen. Synopsis: A dystopian world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each others’ thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise. Debuts in the US on January 22nd, 2021.

We Can Be Heroes (2021). Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Starring Pedro PascalTaylor DooleyBoyd Holbrook.Synopsis: When alien invaders kidnap Earth’s superheroes, their children must team up and learn to work together if they want to save their parents and the world. Debuts in the US on January 1st, 2021.

The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (1990), re-edited version. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Starring Al PacinoDiane KeatonAndy Garcia. Synopsis: Michael Corleone, now in his 60s, seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire. Debuts in the US on December 4th, 2020.

Black Harvest Film Festival

Matt writes: Streaming online through the end of November is the excellent Black Harvest Film Festival, providing numerous entertainment options for Thanksgiving weekend. Read Brian Tallerico’s sneak peek here.

R.I.P. Dave Zoller (1941-2020)

Matt writes: Our Editor at Large, Matt Zoller Seitz, penned a beautiful obituary to his father, the extraordinary pianist, composer and arranger Dave Zoller, who passed away earlier this month. You can read his full tribute here.

Free Movies

Wild West (1992). Directed by David Attwood. Written by Harwant Bains. Starring Naveen AndrewsSarita ChoudhuryRonny Jhutti. Synopsis: A young Pakistani, living in England thinks that he is a cowboy and dreams of leading his country music band to success in Nashville.

Watch “Wild West

Food of Love (1997). Written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. Starring Richard E. GrantNathalie BayeJoe McGann. Synopsis: A group of ex-university students reunite to perform a Shakespeare play in a quaint English village.

Watch “Food of Love”

The Debt Collector (1999). Written and directed by Anthony Neilson. Starring Billy ConnollyKen StottFrancesca Annis. Synopsis: Mean, gritty, dirty, and low – and that’s just Policeman Gary Keltie out for retribution for the horrendous crimes against the helpless people of Edinburgh, Scotland during the 1970s by notorious, torturous, and killer debt collector Nickie Dryden.

Watch “The Debt Collector”

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