Opening this week on a screen near you:
The Little Things (2021) R
Former L.A. Sheriff Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) comes back to Los Angeles for what should be a quick evidence gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes involved in a hunt for a serial killer led by L.A. Sheriff Jim Baxter (Remi Malek). All roads lead to a man (Jared Leto) who may be involved with Deacon's shadowy past. The Little Things Website
What to Watch For: The film stars three Academy Award winners; Denzel Washington (Training Day, Glory), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).
Word on the Street: The film was written by the writer/director of the film John Lee Hancock over thirty years ago and had at separate times Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, and Danny De Vito attached to the film to direct it.
My Take: One of the film's supporting cast, Natalie Morales, is one of my favorite actors; I have loved her work since seeing her in the little-seen but much-loved Sci-Fi series The Middleman.
Palmer (2021) R
Palmer (Justin Timberlake) is back in his small hometown after serving twelve long years in prison. Palmer moves in with his grandmother (June Squibb) and becomes involved in the life of a young boy, Sam (Ryder Allen), who lives next door with his drug-addicted mother (Juno Temple). Palmer Website
What to Watch For: The film is directed by Fisher Stevens, Oscar-winning director of the documentary The Cove (2009) and best known for his roles in the TV series The Blacklist and Lost.
Word on the Street: Ryder Allen, who plays Sam, the next-door neighbor boy Palmer takes under his wing, makes his feature-film debut.
My Take: It will be interesting to see if Timberlake continues to take on challenging acting roles like Palmer in the future.
Supernova (2020) R
Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), partners of twenty years, are going on one last road trip to visit friends and family before Tusker's dementia gets the better of him. Supernova Website
What to Watch For: The film won at the 2021 Heartland Film Festival and was nominated for two awards at the 2020 San Sebastian International Film Festival.
Word on the Street: The film is written and directed by Harry Macqueen, whose first film, Hinterland (2014), starred Lori Campbell and Bryan Lawrence.
My Take: Who doesn't love a film starring Colin Firth?
Malcolm and Marie (2021) R
After a night where Malcolm (John David Washington), a director, has had his big movie premiere, he returns home with his girlfriend, Marie (Zendaya), where their relationship is tested and explored. Malcolm & Marie Website
What to Watch For: The film was shot in Black and White.
Word on the Street: The film was one of the first movies to be written, shot, and completed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
My Take: The film is written and directed by Sam Levinson, whose film Another Happy Day (2011) won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Penguin Bloom (2020)
Sam (Naomi Watts) is a young mother who is left unable to walk after a near-fatal accident. She and her family must adapt and learn to deal with her new life and the struggles it brings. In walks a bird named Penguin, who gives Sam hope in an unlikely hero. Penguin Bloom Website
What to Watch For: The film is based on a true story, told in the book of the same name by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive.
Word on the Street: The film was shot in Australia and made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
My Take: Andrew Lincoln stars as Cameron Bloom, the husband of Sam. Lincoln is best known in Atlanta for his role as Rick Grimes on the Tv series The Walking Dead.
Dear Comrades (2020)
When the communist government raises food prices again in 1962, the workers in a small industrial town, Novocherkassk, go on strike. The massacre, which then ensues, is seen through the eyes of the rebellious workers. Dear Comrades! Website
What to Watch For: The film has been a big winner on the film festival circuit, including winning the Special Jury Prize at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.
Word on the Street: The film is directed by Andrey Konchalovskiy, the Emmy-award-winning director of The Odyssey (1997).
My Take: The film is the official submission of Russia for the 'Best International Feature Film' at this year's Academy Awards.
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