Matt writes: On October 7th, the world lost one of its greatest filmmakers when Terence Davies passed away at age 77. He left us with numerous masterworks released over the past half-century including “Distant Voices, Still Lives,” “The Long Day Closes,” “The House of Mirth” and “The Deep Blue Sea.” When I interviewed him about 2017’s “A Quiet Passion,” he said, “The big mistake is thinking that pretty pictures actually mean something. Well, they don’t. They’re just pretty pictures, and they are dead easy to create. You can make anything look pretty. What we should all aspire to do is to only create images that have meaning. It can be a shot of a knife and fork that is out-of-focus and shot in crummy black-and-white, but if it has meaning, it becomes beautiful.”
In addition to reading Brian Tallerico’s moving tribute to Davies, be sure to revisit Tallerico’s own interview with him about 2015’s “Sunset Song” and Marya E. Gates’ interview with the director about his last film, 2021’s “Benediction.” Roger Ebert was also an admirer of Davies’ work, and had this to say about his great 2008 documentary, “Of Time and the City“: “The way Davies and cinematographer Tim Pollard regard heritage buildings and churches, their domes and turrets worthy of an empire, suggests that he, like me, prefers buildings that express a human fantasy and not an abstract idea. What is it that makes the Hancock magnificent and Trump Tower appalling? Not just the Trump’s bright shiny tin appearance, the busy proportions of its facade or its see-through parking levels, but a lack of modesty and confidence. It insists too much. However, there is nothing modest about the grandiloquent civic structures of Liverpool, but their ornate cheekiness is sort of touching. They had no idea that they were monuments to the end of an era.”
American Fiction (2023). Written and directed by (based on the novel by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: Author Thelonious “Monk” Ellison is peeved because his latest offering hasn’t caught fire with publishers, while a tome called We’s Lives in Da Ghetto by Sintara Golden hits the bestseller lists, leaving Monk seething. Debuts in the US on December 22nd, 2023.
Fallen Leaves (2023). Written and directed by. Starring , , . Synopsis: Two lonely people who meet each other by chance in the Helsinki night and try to find the first love of their lives. US release date is TBA.
Youth (Spring) (2023). Directed by . Synopsis: Liming is a worker district close to Shanghai – the richest city in China. Every year, many young people leave their villages and move there. They are between 17 and 20, all from rural Yunnan province, 2,500 km west, where the Yangtze River has its source. These young Yunnaneses often live at their place of work, in dormitories, unsanitary rooms, or sometimes in small studios. Time and space to meet is missing them. So, they communicate through QQ, MSN China. They live as adults but they are teenagers. US release date is TBA.
How to Have Sex (2023). Written and directed by. Starring , , . Synopsis: Three British teenage girls go on a rites-of-passage holiday – drinking, clubbing and hooking up, in what should be the best summer of their lives. US release date is TBA.
The Iron Claw (2023). Written and directed by . Starring , , . Synopsis: The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s. Debuts in the US on December 22nd, 2023.
Ghosts of the Void (2023). Written and directed by . Starring , , . Synopsis: Spending the night in her car, a newly-homeless woman wrestles with exhaustion, her crumbling marriage, and the threat of mysterious, masked strangers. Debuts in the US on November 7th, 2023.
Orlando, My Political Biography (2023). Directed by. Synopsis: Academic virtuoso turned filmmaker Paul B. Preciado’s Berlin Film Festival award-winning doc tells his and others’ stories of transition through unique reenactments and visual interpretations of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography. US release date is TBA.
The Insurrectionist Next Door (2023). Directed by Alexandra Pelosi turns her camera on some of the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021. Through a series of candid interviews, Pelosi talks to several individuals charged with crimes for their participation. US release date is TBA.. Synopsis:
Pain Hustlers (2023). Directed by. Written by (based on the novel by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: Liza dreams of a better life for her and her daughter. She gets a job at a bankrupt pharmacy, and Liza’s guts catapult the company and her into the high life, putting her in the middle of a criminal conspiracy. Debuts on Netflix on October 27th, 2023.
Society of the Snow (2024). Directed by. Written by , , and (based on the book by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: The flight of a rugby team crashes on a glacier in the Andes. The few passengers who survive the crash find themselves in one of the world’s toughest environments to survive. Debuts on Netflix on January 4th, 2024.
The Stones & Brian Jones (2023). Directed by . Synopsis: This documentary examines the musical creativity of Jones, the secret to the band’s success, through candid interviews with all the essential performers and previously unreleased archive. US release date is TBA.
Robbie Williams (2023). Directed by. Synopsis: After 25 years of his record-breaking solo career, Robbie looks back on his younger self and reflects on a lifetime spent in the spotlight. Debuts on Netflix on November 8th, 2023.
Candy Cane Lane (2023). Directed by. Written by . Starring , and . Synopsis: A man is determined to win the neighborhood’s annual Christmas decorating contest. He makes a pact with an elf to help him win–and the elf casts a spell that brings the 12 days of Christmas to life, which brings unexpected chaos to town. Debuts on Prime Video on December 1st, 2023.
Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain (2023). Directed by. Written by , and . Starring , and . Synopsis: It follows three friends who live together. When they realize that they don’t like their life trajectory, they set off to find a gold treasure that is rumored to be buried in the nearby mountain. Debuts on Peacock on November 17th, 2023.
Leo (2023). Directed by, and . Written by , and . Starring , , . Synopsis: A 74-year-old lizard named Leo and his turtle friend decide to escape from the terrarium of a Florida school classroom where they have been living for decades. Debuts on Netflix on November 21st, 2023.
Migration (2023). Directed byand . Written by and . Starring , , . Synopsis: A family of ducks try to convince their overprotective father to go on the vacation of a lifetime. Debuts in the US on December 22nd, 2023.
Wonka (2023). Directed by. Written by and (based on characters created by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: The story will focus specifically on a young Willy Wonka and how he met the Oompa-Loompas on one of his earliest adventures. Debuts in the US on December 15th, 2023.
The Color Purple (2023). Directed by Alice Walker‘s novel about the life-long struggles of an African American woman living in the south during the early 1900s. Debuts in the US on December 25th, 2023.. Written by (based on the novel by and the musical book by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: Musical adaptation of
Sofia Coppola‘s “Archive“
Matt writes: With her latest highly anticipated film, “Priscilla,” set to debut in theaters on November 3rd, Oscar-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola has released a 488-page retrospective of her career thus far entitled “Archive.” Read Peter Sobczynski’s article on the epic book as well as Glenn Kenny’s review of “Priscilla.”
R.I.P. Piper Laurie (1932-2023)
Matt writes: One of my very favorite actors and interview subjects, Piper Laurie, died on October 14th at age 91. Her performances in such classics as “The Hustler,” “Carrie,” “Twin Peaks” and the Playhouse 90 production of “Days of Wine and Roses” are pure brilliance. Be sure to read Dan Callahan’s tribute to her here.
The Bat (1959). Written and directed by(based on the play by and ). Starring , , . Synopsis: A crazed killer known as “The Bat” is on the loose in a mansion full of people.
Dementia 13 (1963). Directed by. Written by , and . Starring , , . Synopsis: Shocked by the death of her spouse, a scheming widow hatches a bold plan to get her hands on the inheritance, unaware that she is targeted by an axe-wielding murderer who lurks in the family’s estate. What mystery shrouds the noble house?
Night of the Living Dead (1968). Directed by. Written by and . Starring , , . Synopsis: A ragtag group of survivors barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a horde of flesh-eating ghouls that are ravaging the Northeast portion of the United States.