Matt writes: With the awards season in full swing, there are plentiful enticing films arriving both on streaming platforms and in theaters, including Raven Jackson’s acclaimed debut feature, “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt.” You can read Monica Castillo’s glowing review of the film here, as well as Marya E. Gates’ interview with the filmmaker (which is excerpted below) here.
“I knew the script wouldn’t be the final film. I knew that going into production, going into the edit. So it was really having to see, okay, what is here to work with, and then, in the same way, that with the script, it was a lot of writing and then taking away and trusting the process of that, it was a lot of exploring and then trying things in different places. We shot more than is in the final film. A lot of beautiful things worked in the script, but the final film didn’t need it or want it. Listening to that and trusting the process of the exploration, taking days off, and then coming back to it. So it was a lot of that. Knowing the emotional journey that I’m aiming to build and then really being intentional about how it’s building. What does it need here? Do I need to split up this portrait I thought was actually going to be in one chunk? Does it actually want to be split into three moments that are placed at different points in the film? Things like that. A lot of questions like that to build that emotional journey.”
Perfect Days (2023). Directed by . Written by and . Starring , , . Synopsis: A janitor in Japan drives between jobs listening to rock music. US release date is TBA.
The Sweet East (2023). Directed by. Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: A picaresque journey through the cities and woods of the Eastern seaboard of the U.S undertaken by Lillian, a high school senior from South Carolina. She gets her first glimpse of the wider world on a class trip to Washington, D.C. US release date is TBA.
The Fall Guy (2024). Directed by. Written by (based on the television series created by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: Colt Seavers is a stuntman who left the business a year earlier to focus on both his physical and mental health. He’s drafted back into service when the star of a mega-budget studio movie, which is being directed by his ex, goes missing. Debuts in the US on March 1st, 2024.
Omen (2023). Directed by. Written by and . Starring , , . Synopsis: After spending years in Belgium, a young Congolese man returns to his birthplace of Kinshasa to confront the intricacies of his family and culture. Debuts in the US on November 15th, 2023.
Lift (2024). Directed by . Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: Follows a master thief and her ex-boyfriend who team up to steal $100 million in gold bullion being transported on a 777 passenger flight. Debuts on Netflix on January 12th, 2023.
Genie (2023). Directed by . Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: The film is a fairy-tale comedy about a workaholic man who enlists the help of a magical genie to help win his family back before Christmas. Debuts on Peacock on November 22nd, 2023.
Candy Cane Lane (2023). Directed by. Written by . Starring , , . 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.
The Family Plan (2023). Directed by. Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: A former top assassin living incognito as a suburban dad must take his unsuspecting family on the run when his past catches up to him. Debuts on Apple TV+ on December 15th, 2023.
Family Switch (2023). Directed by. Written by and (based on the book by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: When a chance encounter with an astrological reader causes the Walkers to wake up to a full body switch, can they unite to land a promotion, college interview, record deal, and soccer tryout? Debuts on Netflix on November 30th, 2023.
Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie (2023). Directed by. Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: It follows Monk, a brilliant detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder. He returns to solve one last case involving his stepdaughter Molly, a journalist preparing for her wedding. Debuts on Peacock on December 8th, 2023.
Masters of the Air (2024). Directed by, , , and . Written by (based on the book by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: Five miles above the ground and behind enemy lines, eleven men inside a bomber known as a “Flying Fortress” battle flocks of German fighters. Debuts on Apple TV+ on January 26th, 2024.
The Artful Dodger (2023). Created by, and . Starring , , . Synopsis: Set in 1850s Australia the series follows adult double life of Charles Dickens’ famous prince of thieves Dodger now a surgeon, but who can’t shake his predilection for crime. Debuts on Hulu on November 29th, 2023.
Godzilla Minus One (2023). Written and directed by. Starring , , . Synopsis: Post war Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb. Debuts in the US on December 1st, 2023.
Mean Girls (2024). Directed byand Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: Cady Heron is a hit with the Plastics, an A-list girl clique at her new school when she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George. Debuts in the US on January 12th, 2024.
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024). Directed by. Written by and (based on the film directed by and written by and ). Starring , , . Synopsis: When the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second ice age. Debuts in the US on March 29th, 2024.
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024). Directed by. Written by , , and (based on characters created by ). Starring , , . Synopsis: Many years after the reign of Caesar, a young ape goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he’s been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. Debuts in the US on May 24th, 2024.
Indiana Jones: Timeless Heroes (2023). Directed by. Synopsis: A documentary about Harrison Ford’s portrayal of the iconic character, Indiana Jones. Debuts on Disney+ on December 1st, 2023.
Inside Out 2 (2024). Directed by. Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: Follow Riley, in her teenage years encountering new emotions. Debuts in the US on June 14th, 2024.
Matt writes: In the latest installment of her Female Filmmakers in Focus column, Marya E. Gates interviews screen icon Meg Ryan about her new directorial effort, “What Happens Later.” You can read their conversation here.
R.I.P. Matthew Perry (1969-2023)
Matt writes: Matthew Perry, the beloved star of the hit sitcom “Friends,” passed away at age 54 on October 28th. Read Brian Tallerico’s moving tribute to the late actor here.
Lady Gangster (1942). Directed by. Written by (based on the play by and ). Starring , , . Synopsis: Dot Burton has acted as a decoy in a bank robbery and fails to get away. Her arrest attracts the attention of Ken Phillips, a former childhood sweetheart who believes her innocent until she confesses. But before going to jail she manages to steal the bank’s $40,000 from her accomplices and leaves it with her landlady.
I Shot Billy the Kid (1950). Directed by. Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: Although the Lincoln County War has come to a conclusion, Billy the Kid turns his back on a gubernatorial pardon and continues his lawless career.
Blonde in Bondage (1957). Directed by. Written by . Starring , , . Synopsis: American reporter doing a story on Swedish nightlife gets involved with a drug-addicted nightclub singer.