Matt writes: With the numbers of vaccinated Americans on the rise, theaters are starting to see their highest attendance since the beginning of the pandemic. Despite being released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, Adam Wingard’s giddy popcorn blockbuster, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” has managed to gross well over $350 million thus far worldwide, quickly topping the domestic gross of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” Our Editor at Large Matt Zoller Seitz gave the film four stars, while our Assistant Editor Nick Allen interviewed Wingard. Also be sure to check out Jessica Ritchey’s insightful essay on the history of Kong.
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (2021). Directed by Marilyn Agrelo. Synopsis: A look inside the minds and hearts of the “Sesame Street” creators, artists, writers, and educators who, together established one of the most influential programs in television history. Debuts in the US on April 23rd, 2021.
Mainstream (2021). Directed by Gia Coppola. Written by Gia Coppola and Tom Stuart. Starring Maya Hawke, Andrew Garfield, Kalena Yiaueki. Synopsis: In this cautionary tale, three people struggle to preserve their identities as they form an eccentric love triangle within the fast-moving internet age. Debuts in the US on May 7th, 2021.
One-Tenth of a Millimeter Apart (2021). Synopsis: A new documentary short examining the deleted scenes from films directed by the acclaimed, world-renowned auteur, Wong Kar-wai. US release date is TBA.
Monster (2021). Directed by Anthony Mandler. Written by Janece Shaffer and Colen C. Wiley (based on the novel by Walter Dean Myers). Starring John David Washington, Jharrel Jerome, Jennifer Ehle. Synopsis: A smart, likable 17-year-old film student from Harlem sees his world turned upside down when he’s charged with a murder. We follow his dramatic journey through a complex legal battle. Now available on Neflix.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (2021). Directed by Caroline Link. Written by Caroline Link and Anna Brüggemann (based on the novel by Judith Kerr). Starring Riva Krymalowski, Marinus Hohmann, Carla Juri. Synopsis: A Jewish family had to flee from the Nazis from Berlin. First, they flee to Zurich. From there it goes to Paris and finally to London. Debuts in the US on May 21st, 2021.
The Perfect Candidate (2021). Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour. Written by Haifaa Al-Mansour and Brad Niemann. Starring Mila Al Zahrani, Dae Al Hilali, Nora Al Awad. Synopsis: A determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate. Debuts in the US on May 14th, 2021.
Without Remorse (2021). Directed by Stefano Sollima. Written by Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples (based on the novel by Tom Clancy). Starring Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell. Synopsis: Seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife, an elite Navy SEAL uncovers a covert plot that threatens to engulf the United States and Russia in an all-out war. Debuts on Prime Video on April 30th, 2021.
Above Suspicion (2021). Directed by Phillip Noyce. Written by Chris Gerolmo (based on the book by Joe Sharkey). Starring Emilia Clarke, Jack Huston, Sophie Lowe. Synopsis: The story that led to the first conviction for murder of an FBI agent. Debuts in the US on May 14th, 2021.
Profile (2021). Directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Written by Timur Bekmambetov, Britt Poulton and Olga Kharina (based on the novel by Anna Érelle). Starring Valene Kane, Shazad Latif, Christine Adams. Synopsis: An undercover British journalist infiltrates the online propaganda channels of the so-called Islamic State, only to be sucked in by her recruiter. Debuts in the US on May 14th, 2021.
Final Account (2021). Directed by Luke Holland. Synopsis: Filmmaker Luke Holland interviews nearly 300 elderly perpetrators and witnesses of the Holocaust from the Nazi side. Debuts in the US on May 21st, 2021.
Together Together (2021). Written and directed by Nikole Beckwith. Starring Patti Harrison, Ed Helms, Rosalind Chao. Synopsis: When a young loner becomes the gestational surrogate for a single man in his 40s, the two strangers come to realize this unexpected relationship will challenge their perceptions of connection, boundaries and the particulars of love. Debuts in the US on May 11th, 2021.
The Woman in the Window (2021). Directed by Joe Wright. Written by Tracy Letts (based on the novel by A.J. Finn). Starring Amy Adams, Donat Balaj, Anthony Mackie. Synopsis: An agoraphobic woman living alone in New York begins spying on her new neighbors, only to witness a disturbing act of violence. Debuts on Netflix on May 14th, 2021.
The Djinn (2021). Written and directed by David Charbonier and Justin Powell. Starring Ezra Dewey, Rob Brownstein, Tevy Poe. Synopsis: A mute boy is trapped in his apartment with a sinister monster when he makes a wish to fulfill his heart’s greatest desire. Now available in the US.
Things Heard & Seen (2021). Written and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (based on the novel by Elizabeth Brundage). Starring Amanda Seyfried, Natalia Dyer, James Norton. Synopsis: An artist relocates to the Hudson Valley and begins to suspect that her marriage has a sinister darkness, one that rivals her new home’s history. Debuts on Netflix on April 29th, 2021.
The Crime of the Century (2021). Directed by Alex Gibney. Synopsis: A searing indictment of Big Pharma and the political operatives and government regulations that enable over-production, reckless distribution and abuse of synthetic opiates. Debuts on HBO on May 10th, 2021.
Percy Vs. Goliath (2021). Directed by Clark Johnson. Written by Garfield Lindsay Miller and Hilary Pryor. Starring Christopher Walken, Roberta Maxwell, Pathy Aiyar. Synopsis: A Canadian farmer takes on a giant corporation after their GMOs interfere with his crops. Debuts in the US on April 30th, 2021.
Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021). Directed by Taylor Sheridan. Written by Taylor Sheridan, Michael Koryta and Charles Leavitt (based on the book by Michael Koryta). Starring Angelina Jolie, Jon Bernthal, Nicholas Hoult. Synopsis: A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all. Debuts in the US on May 14th, 2021.
Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021). Directed by Malcolm D. Lee. Written by Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler and Terence Nance. Starring LeBron James, Zendaya, Sonequa Martin-Green. Synopsis: NBA superstar LeBron James teams up with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes for this long-awaited sequel. Debuts in the US on July 16th, 2021.
Oscar-Nominated Short Films
Matt writes: All fifteen of the live-action, animated and documentary short subjects nominated for an Oscar at the 2021 Academy Awards are reviewed here by Collin Souter. Embedded above is the trailer for one of the nominees, Elvira Lind’s masterful “The Letter Room,” starring her husband, Oscar Isaac.
Victoria Labalme on Risk Forward
Matt writes: I had the great pleasure of chatting with author Victoria Labalme about her wonderful new cinematic book, Risk Forward, which is now available for purchase. It is a singular achievement that prompts us to view the world and our place within it in a wholly new light. You can read our full conversation here.
Great Guy (1936). Directed by John G. Blystone. Written by Henry McCarty and Henry Johnson (based on the story by James Edward Grant. Starring James Cagney, Mae Clarke, James Burke. Synopsis: The adventures of an investigator for the Bureau of Weights and Measures.
Behave Yourself! (1951). Written and directed by George Beck. Starring Farley Granger, Shelley Winters, William Demarest. Synopsis: When a cute Welsh terrier follows Bill Denny home, little does he know that all gangland has its eye on that dog. Who will be bumbling Bill’s undoing – the gangsters, the cops, or his suspicious mother-in-law?
Please Murder Me! (1956). Directed by Peter Godfrey. Written by Al C. Ward and Donald Hyde. Starring Angela Lansbury, Raymond Burr, Dick Foran. Synopsis: When household tensions and a sense of worthlessness overcome Evan, he finds escape when he clings with the orphans of a throw-away society.