#405 April 27, 2021

Matt writes: History was made during last night’s Oscar telecast when “Nomadland” filmmaker Chloé Zhao became the first Asian woman, the first woman of color and the second woman ever to win the Academy Award for Best Director. The film also won Best Picture and a third Best Actress Oscar for Frances McDormand, who became the second woman in history to achieve that feat following Katharine Hepburn. “This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold out to the goodness in themselves and to hold out to the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that,” said Zhao in her acceptance speech. “You inspire me to keep going.” Read our awards expert Susan Wloszczyna’s complete coverage of the 2021 ceremony here.


Annette (2021). Directed by Leos Carax. Written by Ron Mael and Russell Mael. Starring Adam DriverMarion CotillardSimon Helberg. Synopsis: A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift. US release date is TBA.

Summer of Soul (2021). Directed by Questlove. Synopsis: A feature documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity. Debuts in the US on July 2nd, 2021.

Edge of the World (2021). Directed by Michael Haussman. Written by Rob Allyn. Starring Jonathan Rhys MeyersDominic MonaghanRalph Ineson. Synopsis: The adventures of Sir James Brooke, who defied the British Empire to rule a jungle kingdom in 1840s Borneo, embarked on a lifelong crusade to end piracy, slavery and head-hunting, and inspired “Lord Jim” and “The Man Who Would Be King.” US release date is TBA.

Siberia (2021). Directed by Abel Ferrara. Written by Abel Ferrara and Christ Zois. Starring Willem DafoeDounia SichovSimon McBurney. Synopsis: An exploration into the language of dreams. Debuts in the US on June 18th, 2021.

Here Today (2021). Directed by Billy Crystal. Written by Billy Crystal and Alan Zweibel. Starring Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish, Laura Benanti. Synopsis: When veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz meets New York street singer Emma Payge, they form an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of love and trust. Debuts in the US on May 7th, 2021.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021). Directed by Michael Chaves. Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick. Starring Vera FarmigaPatrick WilsonJulian Hilliard. Synopsis: A chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Debuts in the US on June 4th, 2021.

Oxygen (2021). Directed by Alexandre Aja. Written by Christie LeBlanc. Starring Mélanie LaurentMathieu AmalricMalik Zidi. Synopsis: A woman wakes in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of how she got there, and must find a way out before running out of air. Debuts on Netflix on May 12th, 2021.

Werewolves Within (2021). Directed by Josh Ruben. Written by Mishna Wolff. Starring Sam RichardsonMilana VayntrubGeorge Basil. Synopsis: Feature adaptation of the video game where werewolves attack a small town. Debuts in the US on July 2nd, 2021.

The Space Between (2021). Directed by Rachel Winter. Written by William Porter. Starring Kelsey GrammerJulia Goldani TellesJohn Patrick Amedori. Synopsis: Micky Adams, an eccentric has-been rock musician, loses his grip on reality all while his record label is looking to drop him. A young Charlie Porter is tasked with traveling to the musician’s bizarre home and forcing Micky Adams out of his contract. Debuts in the US on June 15th, 2021.

Sisters with Transistors (2021). Directed by Lisa Rovner. Synopsis: Follows the story of electronic music’s female pioneers, composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today. Now available in the US.

12 Mighty Orphans (2021). Directed by Ty Roberts. Written by Ty Roberts, Lane Garrison and Kevin Meyer (based on the novel by Jim Dent). Starring Robert DuvallMartin SheenLuke Wilson. Synopsis: Haunted by his mysterious past, a devoted high school football coach leads a scrawny team of orphans to the state championship during the Great Depression and inspires a broken nation along the wayDebuts in the US on June 18th, 2021.

The Man in the Hat (2021). Written and directed by John-Paul Davidson and Stephen Warbeck. Starring Ciarán HindsStephen DillaneSasha Hails. Synopsis: A man in a hat journeys through France in a Fiat 500 accompanied by a framed photograph of an unknown woman. He is pursued by five angry men in a Citroën Dyane. Why are they chasing him? And how can he shake them off?. Debuts in the US on May 14th, 2021.

Riders of Justice (2021). Written and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen. Starring Mads MikkelsenNikolaj Lie KaasAndrea Heick Gadeberg. Synopsis: Markus, who has to go home to his teenage daughter, Mathilde, when his wife dies in a tragic train accident. It seems like an accident until a mathematics geek, who was also a fellow passenger on the train, and his two colleagues show up. Debuts in the US on May 21st, 2021.

The Dry (2021). Directed by Robert Connolly. Written by Robert ConnollyHarry Cripps and Samantha Strauss (based on the novel by Jane Harper). Starring Eric BanaGenevieve O’ReillyKeir O’Donnell. Synopsis: Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown to attend a tragic funeral. But his return opens a decades-old wound – the unsolved death of a teenage girl. Debuts in the US on May 21st, 2021.

Flashback (2021). Written and directed by Christopher MacBride. Starring Dylan O’BrienMaika MonroeHannah Gross. Synopsis: After a chance encounter with a man forgotten from his youth, Fred literally and metaphorically journeys into his past. Debuts in the US on June 4th, 2021.

Cliff Walkers (2021). Directed by Yimou Zhang. Written by Yongxian Quan. Starring Hailu QinHewei YuYi Zhang. Synopsis: In the puppet state of Manchukuo in the 1930s, four Communist party special agents, after returning to China, embark on a secret mission. Sold out by a traitor, the team find themselves surrounded by threats on all sides. Debuts in the US on April 30th, 2021.

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It (2021). Directed by Mariem Pérez Riera. Starring Angelina JolieJon BernthalNicholas Hoult. Synopsis: A look at the life and work of Rita Moreno from her humble beginnings in Puerto Rico to her success on Broadway and in Hollywood. Debuts in the US on June 18th, 2021.

West Side Story (2021). Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Tony Kushner (based on the play by Arthur Laurents). Starring Ansel ElgortRachel ZeglerAriana DeBose. Synopsis: An adaptation of the 1957 musical exploring forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. Debuts in the US on December 10th, 2021.

In Memory of Selena

Matt writes: To honor the 50th anniversary of the late trailblazing singer-songwriter Selena’s birth on April 16th, we provided special coverage of the celebrated 1997 biopic about her life directed by Gregory Nava. Read Aaron Aradillas’ interview with Nava here, Elaine Aradillas’ essay on growing to love Selena here and our special edition of Thumbnails here. You can also view the original “Siskel & Ebert” review of “Selena” in the video embedded above.

Barbara Crampton on “Jakob's Wife

Matt writes: Horror icon Barbara Crampton spoke with our Managing Editor Brian Tallerico about her role in the acclaimed new film, “Jakob’s Wife,” which was praised by our critic Sheila O’Malley. You can read their full conversation here.

Free Movies

The Animal Kingdom (1932). Directed by Edward H. Griffith. Written by Horace Jackson (based on the play by Philip Barry). Starring Ann HardingLeslie HowardMyrna Loy. Synopsis: This sophisticated comedy is about a man trying to justify his love for both his wife and his mistress.

Watch “The Animal Kingdom”

Of Human Bondage (1934). Directed by John Cromwell. Written by Lester Cohen (based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham). Starring Bette DavisLeslie HowardFrances Dee. Synopsis: A young man finds himself attracted to a cold and unfeeling waitress who may ultimately destroy them both.

Watch “Of Human Bondage”

Blood on the Sun (1945). Directed by Frank Lloyd. Written by Lester Cole. Starring James CagneySylvia SidneyPorter Hall. Synopsis: A dedicated American reporter in 1930s Japan is determined to expose that government’s plan for world domination.

Watch “Blood on the Sun”

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