#401 March 2, 2021

Matt writes: “The first time I saw ‘The Straight Story,’ I focused on the foreground and liked it. The second time I focused on the background, too, and loved it. The movie isn’t just about the old Alvin Straight’s odyssey through the sleepy towns and rural districts of the Midwest, but about the people he finds to listen and care for him. You’d think it was a fantasy, this kindness of strangers, if the movie weren’t based on a true story.” These are the opening lines of Roger Ebert’s four-star review of David Lynch’s 1999 masterpiece, “The Straight Story,” which was recently given a moving new analysis from our contributor Abby Olcese. Read the full essay here and view footage from the film’s premiere below, which contains a special appearance by rising directorial talent Sofia Coppola.


Tina (2021). Directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin. Synopsis: A documentary granting exclusive access to the Grammy Award-winning artist in celebration of her career. Debuts on HBO on March 27th, 2021.

Shiva Baby (2021). Written and directed by Emma Seligman. Starring Rachel SennottMolly GordonPolly Draper. Synopsis: At a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student runs into her sugar daddy. Debuts in the US on April 2nd, 2021.

Sophie Jones (2021). Written and directed by Jessica Barr. Starring Jessica BarrChase OfferleSam Kamerman. Synopsis: After her mother’s death sixteen-year-old Sophie Jones is trying everything she can to feel something again and make it through high school. Now available in the US.

Come True (2021). Written and directed by Anthony Scott Burns. Starring Julia Sarah StoneSkylar RadzionLandon Liboiron. Synopsis: A teenage runaway takes part in a sleep study that becomes a nightmarish descent into the depths of her mind and a frightening examination of the power of dreams. Debuts in the US on March 12th, 2021.

kid 90 (2021). Directed by Soleil Moon Frye. Synopsis: An intimate look at young Hollywood starlets growing up in the 1990s, using hundreds of hours of footage captured by Soleil Moon Frye. Debuts on Hulu on March 12th, 2021.

Natural Light (2021). Written and directed by Dénes Nagy (based on the novel by Pál Závada). Starring Ferenc SzabóLászló BajkóTamás Garbacz. Synopsis: World War II, occupied Soviet Union. István Semetka is a simple Hungarian farmer who serves as a Caporal in a special unit scouting for partisan groups. On their way to a remote village, his company falls under enemy fire. As the commander is killed, Semetka has to overcome his fears and take command of the unit as he is dragged into a chaos that he cannot control. US release date is TBA.

Funny Face (2021). Written and directed by Tim Sutton. Starring Cosmo JarvisDela MeskienyarBarzin Akhavan. Synopsis: The destruction of his grandparents’ home leads a young man to take revenge under a masked persona. Debuts in the US on March 30th, 2021.

Army of the Dead (2021). Directed by Zack Snyder. Written by Zack Snyder and Shay Hatten. Starring Hiroyuki SanadaDave BautistaElla Purnell. Synopsis: Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted. Debuts on Netflix on May 21st, 2021.

A Week Away (2021). Directed by Roman White. Written by Kali Bailey and Alan Powell. Starring Bailee MadisonDavid KoechnerSherri Shepherd. Synopsis: Nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart. Most of all, he finally finds a home. Debuts on Netflix on March 26th, 2021.

SAS: Red Notice (2021). Directed by Magnus Martens. Written by Laurence Malkin and Chad Thumann (based on the novel by Andy McNab). Starring Sam HeughanHannah John-KamenRuby Rose. Synopsis: A small army of well trained criminals led by Laszlo Antonov have hijacked the Eurostar deep beneath the English Channel. Debuts in the US on March 16th, 2021.

Enforcement (2021). Written and directed by Frederik Louis Hviid and Anders Ølholm. Starring Jacob LohmannSimon SearsTarek Zayat. Synopsis: Jens and Mike, two police officers on routine patrol, find themselves trapped in a maze of buildings when unrest spreads. Debuts in the US on March 19th, 2021.

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil (2021). Directed by Michael D. Ratner. Synopsis: A documentary series exploring aspects that led to Demi Lovato’s nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and her awakenings in the aftermath. Debuts in the US on March 16th, 2021.

Six Minutes to Midnight (2021). Directed by Andy Goddard. Written by Andy Goddard, Eddie Izzard and Celyn Jones. Starring James D’ArcyJudi DenchJim Broadbent. Synopsis: UK, Aug. 15, 1939: 17 days before WWII, an English teacher and his camera disappear on a coastal boarding school with 20 German teen girls. Miller gets the job 6 days later, secretly trying to find out what happened. US release date is TBA.

Mortal Kormat (2021), red-band trailer. Directed by Simon McQuoid. Written by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham (based on the video game created by Ed Boon and John Tobias). Starring Jessica McNameeHiroyuki SanadaJosh Lawson. Synopsis: MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth’s greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe. Debuts in the US on April 16th, 2021.

Mare of Easttown (2021). Directed by Craig Zobel. Starring Evan PetersKate WinsletGuy Pearce. Synopsis: A detective in a small Pennsylvania town investigates a local murder while trying to keep her life from falling apart. Debuts on HBO on April 18th, 2021.

The Mauritanian (2021). Directed by Kevin Macdonald. Written by Michael Bronner, Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani. Starring Tahar RahimJodie FosterBenedict Cumberbatch. Synopsis: Mohamedou Ould Salahi fights for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the U.S. Government for years. Now available in the US.

Cruella (2021). Directed by Craig Gillespie. Written by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara (based on the novel by Dodie Smith). Starring Emma StoneEmma ThompsonMark Strong. Synopsis: A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil. Debuts on Disney+ on May 28th, 2021.

Luca (2021). Directed by Enrico Casarosa. Written by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones. Starring Jacob TremblayMaya RudolphJack Dylan Grazer. Synopsis: On the Italian Riviera, an unlikely but strong friendship grows between a human being and a sea monster disguised as a human. Debuts in the US on June 18, 2021.

R.I.P. Giuseppe Rotunno

Matt writes: On February 7th, Giuseppe Rotunno, the legendary Oscar-nominated cinematographer of “Amarcord,” “All That Jazz” and “Popeye,” passed away at age 97. Read our contributor Scout Tafoya’s tribute here.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Matt writes: The “Bridesmaids” duo of Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo have returned with a new screwball comedy, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” that aims to brighten our still-quarantined days. Read Nell Minow’s interview with the film’s director, Josh Greenbaum, here, and Sheila O’Malley’s three-and-a-half star review here.

Free Movies

Ladies in Retirement (1941). Directed by Charles Vidor. Written by Garrett Fort and Reginald Denham. Starring Ida LupinoLouis HaywardEvelyn Keyes. Synopsis: The housekeeper to a retired actress tries at the same time to look after her own two emotionally disturbed sisters, with dramatic results.

Watch “Ladies in Retirement”

Deep Valley (1947). Directed by Jean Negulesco. Written by Salka Viertel and Stephen Morehouse Avery (based on the novel by Dan Totheroh). Starring Ida LupinoDane ClarkWayne Morris. Synopsis: A farm girl falls in-love with a chain-gang convict working at a nearby highway construction site and sets-out to help him when he escapes.

Watch “Deep Valley”

The Alligator People (1959). Directed by Roy Del Ruth. Written by Orville H. Hampton. Starring Beverly GarlandBruce BennettLon Chaney Jr. Synopsis: A woman in a hypnotic state recounts to two doctors the details of a horrific experience from her past life that began with the mysterious and sudden disappearance of her husband.

Watch “The Alligator People”

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