Summer still has five days. But summer movies have already erupted, leaving us with a few blind tweens and stragglers and horror films to fill in the “spooky season” that ends on Halloween. After that, buddy, the floodgates open.
I’m not going to make any predictions on box office numbers in the last quarter of the year, but I will observe that there is a pent-up offer about to rush into local theaters. And maybe, like Disney, a bit of a fallback on the day and date releases that we’ve taken advantage of throughout the pandemic. (Which has not yet disappeared.)
This week sees the latest Clint Eastwood movie to drop, “Cry Macho”. According to all the publicists we’ve tracked down, Warner Bros. didn’t make the film accessible to critics in advance, which is usually a bad sign, but Eastwood’s films are notoriously hard to prejudge.
It is based on the book of the same name by N. Richard Nash in 1975, which began as a screenplay and was converted into a novel when the author was unable to sell it. After the novel became a success, Nash resubmitted the screenplay, allegedly without changing a word, and it was picked up by 20th Century Fox in 2000. Originally, Arnold Schwarzenegger was supposed to star in it. .
As it turns out, nothing happened with the script until Eastwood grabbed it two decades later. He hired screenwriter Nick Schenk, with whom he had worked on “Gran Torino” (2008) and “The Mule” (2018), to work on the screenplay, which is about a broken down old rodeo cowboy (Eastwood). who goes to Mexico to save the son of his former boss (Dwight Yoakam). It’s a neo-western set in 1979. I’m going to watch it.
At 91, Eastwood is possibly the oldest person to ever direct and star in a big movie. (Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira, who died in 2015, directed several short films after turning 100; Lillian Gish starred in “August Whales” when she was 93.)
Also opening this week, “Blue Bayou,” which stars 40-year-old writer-director Justin Chon alongside Oscar winner Alicia Vikander. Chon plays a Korean living in Louisiana and threatened with deportation.
Next week, we should have “Tammy Faye’s Eyes” in local theaters. It stars Jessica Chastain as televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, with Andrew Garfield as her husband Jim.
“Dear Evan Hansen” – Ben Platt reprise his Tony Award-winning role as the main character in this adaptation of the acclaimed musical. Also stars Kaitlyn Dever, Julianne Moore and Amy Adams.
“The Many Saints of Newark” – Michael Gandolfini, son of “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini, steps in to play young Tony in this prequel to the hit HBO series written by original “Sopranos” creator David Chase. Directed by Alan Taylor, it also stars Ray Liotta, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll and Leslie Odom Jr.
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” – Andy Serkis directs this comic book sequel that returns Tom Hardy as the main character, with Woody Harrelson playing the antagonistic Carnage symbiote. Also with Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Stehphen Graham and Reid Scott.
“The Jesus Music” – This study of the history of contemporary Christian music is neither as dynamic nor as ambitious as its well-edited trailer.
“No Time to Die” – Finally, James Bond is back. Daniel Craig is playing for the fifth time; Cary Joji Fukunaga is directing and Ana de Armas, Rami Malek, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Naomie Harris and Ralph Fiennes also appear.
“Lamb” – A supernatural drama starring Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason as an Icelandic couple who find a strange newborn abandoned on their farm. Directed by Valdimar Johannsson.
“Halloween Kills” – Yet another film by Michael Myers. David Gordon Green, who made the ‘Halloween’ reboot of 2018, is back, along with Jamie Lee Curtis. Judy Greer, Andi Matichak and Will Patton are also on the bill.
“The Last Duel” – Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote the screenplay and starred in this animated historical drama about a duel between a knight and the man his wife accused of raping her. Directed by Ridley Scott, it also stars Jodie Comer and Adam Driver.
“Dune” (theaters, HBO Max) – Another highly anticipated film. Denis Villeneuve directs a cast that includes Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista and others in an expensive remake of Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel from 1965.
“Ron’s Gone Wrong” – An animated adventure about a clumsy middle school boy who establishes a connection with Ron, his digitally connected B-bot. The voice cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Kylie Cantrall and Ed Helms.
“The French Dispatch” – Wes Anderson returns with an anthology based on stories from the fictional publication “The French Dispatch”. The set includes Timothee Chalamet, Benicio Del Toro, Willem Dafoe, Lea Seydoux, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Jeffrey Wright, Elisabeth Moss, Christoph Waltz, Bill Murray, Rupert Friend, Liev Schreiber, Anjelica Huston and Frances McDormand.
“Last Night in Soho” – Director Edgar Wright co-wrote this film about an aspiring fashion designer mysteriously transported to the 1960s. It stars Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Rita Tushingham and Diana Rigg.
“Antlers” – A teacher (Keri Russell) and her sheriff brother (Jesse Plemons) living in a small town in Oregon come to believe that a student is secretly harboring a supernatural creature. Directed by Scott Cooper.
“Eternals” – Chloe Zhao (“The Rider,” https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/sep/17/fall-features/ “Nomadland”) directs Marvel superhero movie about a race alien immortal beings defending the earth against the forces of evil. With Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Kit Harrington and Gemma Chan.
‘Belfast’ – Kenneth Branagh’s film about the trials and tribulations of a young boy and his working-class family in the 1960s in Belfast is being touted as a likely Oscar winner. It stars Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds.
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” – Another sequel to “Ghostbusters”; This one stars Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Bokeem Woodbine and Paul Rudd. Directed by Jason Reitman.
“King Richard” (theaters, HBO Max) – Will Smith plays Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in this word-of-mouth bio-photo. With Jon Bernthal, Dylan McDermott, Tony Goldwyn, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green.
“House of Gucci”: Ridley Scott’s second film of the season is based on Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 novel “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamor, and Greed” . Adam Driver, Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Jack Huston and Jeremy Irons are the stars.
“Encanto” – An animated musical featuring songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda about the only child of a magical Colombian family who does not have superpowers. Stephanie Beatriz, Diane Guerrero and Wilmer Valderrama are part of the voice cast. Directed by Jared Bush, Byron Howard and Charise Castro Smith.
“National Champions” – College quarterback (Stephan James) calls for a strike by players to call attention to concerns of equality and fair compensation for student-athletes. Directed by Ric Roman Waugh. Starring JK Simmons, Timothy Olyphant, Jeffrey Donovan, Tim Blake Nelson, Kristin Chenoweth, Lil Rel Howery and Alexander Ludwig.
“Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” – A reboot of the “Resident Evil” movie franchise. Directed by Johannes Roberts and starring Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell, Neal McDonough and Donal Logue.
“Nightmare Alley” – Guillermo del Toro directed and co-wrote this thriller remake about a manipulative carny and a dangerous psychiatrist. The cast includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Toni Collette, Mary Steenburgen, David Strathairn, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Beaver and Richard Jenkins.
“Wolf” – Writer-director Nathalie Biancheri describes her film as “the story of a boy, Jacob, who takes himself for a wolf and takes place in a clinic that treats people with this disease, which is in has a real illness called species dysphoria. They believe they are an animal trapped in a human body. Fresh. Lily-Rose Depp, Paddy Considine and George MacKay are the stars.
“West Side Story” – A lot of people are holding their breath as they wait for Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the 1957 musical. Starring Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose and Rita Moreno.
“Action Violence” – An action thriller about an ex-Marine who joins a paramilitary organization to continue supporting his family. With Chris Pine, Gillian Jacobs, Ben Foster, Eddie Marsan, Florian Munteanu. Tarik Saleh directs.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” – Everyone knows Spidey’s secret identity in this third installment of Marvel’s new “Spider-Man” franchise. Jon Watts returns to directing. Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker / Spider-Man. With Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Benedict Cumberbatch, Willem Dafoe, JK Simmons, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Jamie Foxx, Martin Starr and Alfred Molina.
“Sing 2” – Anthropomorphic animals sing in this lively sequel. The voice cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Nick Kroll, Pharrell Williams, Bobby Cannavale, Halsey and Bono. Directed by Garth Jennings.
“The Matrix Resurrections” – Director and co-writer Lana Wachowski and stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss return for this addendum to the “Matrix” trilogy. The cast also includes Christina Ricci, Jada Pinkett Smith, Priyanka Chopra, Jonathan Groff, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Neil Patrick Harris.
“The King’s Man” – A prequel to the two previous “Kingsman” films which explores the origins of the agency. Directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Djimon Hounsou, Stanley Tucci and Matthew Goode.
“A Diary for Jordan” – Denzel Washington directs a drama about a soldier who keeps a diary for his son in case the worst happens. With Michael B. Jordan and Chante Adams.
“Liquorice Pizza” – Paul Thomas Anderson’s sequel to 2017’s “Phantom Thread” is set in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles in the 1970s. It is about a high school student (the unknown Cooper Hoffman) who works as a movie actor. Also starring Bradley Cooper, Ben Stiller, Maya Rudolph, Tom Waits, Benny Safdie and Alana Haim.
“American Underdog” – Zachary Levi plays former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner in this bio-photo that traces his progress from supermarket clerk to Super Bowl MVP. Directed by brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin, it also stars Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid and Adam Baldwin.
In Justin Chon’s New Orleans drama “Blue Bayou”, which hits theaters today, Chon plays Antonio LeBlanc, a Korean adopted as a baby by an American family who now faces deportation because of he was never naturalized. Alicia Vikander plays his wife.