Matt writes: Screen icon Raquel Welch passed away on February 15th at age 82. She will be forever etched in our collective cinematic memory for many reasons, not the least of which being her uproarious duet with Miss Piggy on “The Muppet Show” where they belted out “I’m a Woman.” You can find the clip embedded below, along with an excerpt from Roger Ebert‘s enthusiastic review of Herbert Ross’ 1973 cult classic, “The Last of Sheila,” which Rian Johnson has cited as a key inspiration for his Oscar-nominated comedy, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Also be sure to read Dan Callahan’s beautiful tribute to Welch.
The movie was written by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins, and they exhibit a very fine eye for showbiz behavior and dialog. They’ve also played a sort of Jacqueline Susann guessing game for us; we can have fun wondering who the bitchy agent (Dyan Cannon) was inspired by, or the down-at-his luck director (James Mason), or the sexpot (Raquel Welch, who may very well have been inspired by herself).
Tetris (2023). Directed by Jon S. Baird. Written by Noah Pink. Starring Taron Egerton, Toby Jones, Sofya Lebedeva. Synopsis: An American and Russian computer geek form an unlikely friendship as they try to evade the KGB and smuggle the world’s most famous video game out of the Soviet Union. Debuts on Apple TV+ on March 31st, 2023.
Afire (2023). Written and directed by Christian Petzold. Starring Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer, Enno Trebs. Synopsis: A group of friends in a holiday home by the Baltic Sea where emotions run high as the parched forest around them catches fire. Debuts in the US on February 22nd, 2023.
Stonewalling (2023). Directed by Ji Huang and Ryûji Otsuka. Starring Honggui Yao, Zilong Xiao, Xiaoxiong Huang. Synopsis: When Lynn discovers that she is pregnant, finishing her studies as a flight attendant are in doubt, not wanting to have an abortion and hide her pregnancy from her absent boyfriend, Lynn hopes to give the child away at birth. US release date is TBA.
Unseen (2023). Directed by Yoko Okumura. Written by Salvatore Cardoni and Brian Rawlins. Starring Missi Pyle, Midori Francis, Jolene Purdy. Synopsis: Sam, receives a call from Emily a nearly blind woman who is running from her murderous ex in the woods. She must survive the ordeal with Sam being her eyes using video call. Debuts in the US on March 7th, 2023.
Rodeo (2023). Directed by Lola Quivoron. Written by Lola Quivoron and Antonia Buresi. Starring Julie Ledru, Yannis Lafki, Antonia Buresi. Synopsis: Julia, a young misfit who is passionate about riding, meets a crew of dirt riders who fly along at full speed and perform stunts. She sets about infiltrating their male-dominated world, but an accident jeopardizes her ability to fit in. US release date is TBA.
Sweetwater (2023). Written and directed by Martin Guigui. Starring Everett Osborne, Cary Elwes, Richard Dreyfuss. Synopsis: In the fall of 1950, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton forever changed the game of basketball when he became the first African American contracted to play in the NBA. Debuts in the US on April 14th, 2023.
Kandahar (2023). Directed by Ric Roman Waugh. Written by Mitchell LaFortune. Starring Gerard Butler, Bahador Foladi, Olivia-Mai Barrett. Synopsis: A CIA operative and his translator flee from special forces in Afghanistan after exposing a covert mission. Debuts in the US on May 26th, 2023.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (2023). Directed by Guy Ritchie. Written by Guy Ritchie, Marn Davies and Ivan Atkinson. Starring Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes. Synopsis: Special agent Orson Fortune and his team of operatives recruit one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars to help them on an undercover mission when the sale of a deadly new weapons technology threatens to disrupt the world orde.. Debuts in the US on March 3rd, 2023.
Space Oddity (2023). Directed by Kyra Sedgwick. Written by Rebecca Banner. Starring Kevin Bacon, Simon Helberg, Carrie Preston. Synopsis: A man seeks the help from an insurance company to plan a one-way trip to Mars. US release date is TBA.
All the World is Sleeping (2023). Written and directed by Ryan Lacen. Starring Melissa Barrera, Jackie Cruz, Kristen Gutoskie. Synopsis: Fighting for her own life and the ones she loves, a Mother in New Mexico sinks deeper in her addiction while struggling to surface for her daughter. US release date is TBA.
One True Loves (2023). Directed by Andy Fickman. Written by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Alex J. Reid (based on the novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid). Starring Oceana Matsumoto, Phillipa Soo, Luke Bracey. Synopsis: A woman is unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiance who has finally brought her back to life. Debuts on Apple TV+ on April 13th, 2023.
Love Again (2023). Written and directed by Jim Strouse (based on the novel by Sofie Cramer and the film by Andrea Willson, Malte Welding, Karoline Herfurth, Sophie Kluge and Anika Decker). Starring Sam Heughan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Céline Dion. Synopsis: A young woman tries to ease the pain of her fiancé’s death by sending romantic texts to his old cell phone number, and forms a connection with the man the number has been reassigned to. Debuts in the US on May 12th, 2023.
Children of the Corn (2023), red-band trailer. Written and directed by Kurt Wimmer. Starring Elena Kampouris, Kate Moyer, Callan Mulvey. Synopsis: The film describes the events leading up to, and including, the massacre of the adults of a small town in Nebraska by their children, after the adults’ irresponsibility ruins the crop and the children’s future. Debuts in the US on March 21st, 2023.
Great Expectations (2023). Directed by Brady Hood and Samira Radsi. Written by Steven Knight. Starring Olivia Colman, Fionn Whitehead, Shalom Brune-Franklin. Synopsis: Follows orphan Pip, who spent his childhood as a blacksmith’s apprentice and suddenly receives a windfall from an unknown benefactor that allows him to travel to London and enter high society. Debuts on Hulu on March 26th, 2023.
Fast X (2023). Directed by Louis Leterrier. Written by Justin Lin and Dan Mazeau (based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson). Starring Vin Diesel, Jason Momoa, Rita Moreno. Synopsis: Dom Toretto and his family are targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes. Debuts in the US on May 19th, 2023.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023). Written and directed by James Gunn (based on the comic book by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning). Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista. Synopsis: Still reeling from the loss of Gamora, Peter Quill rallies his team to defend the universe and one of their own – a mission that could mean the end of the Guardians if not successful. Debuts in the US on May 5th, 2023.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023). Directed by Steven Caple Jr.. Written by Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber. Starring Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Michelle Yeoh. Synopsis: Reportedly based on the ‘Transformers’ spinoff ‘Beast Wars’ which feature robots that transform into robotic animals. Debuts in the US on June 9th, 2023.
The Flash (2023). Directed by Andy Muschietti. Written by Christina Hodson. Starring Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck. Synopsis: Barry Allen uses his super speed to change the past, but his attempt to save his family creates a world without super heroes, forcing him to race for his life in order to save the future. Debuts in the US on June 16th, 2023.
Oscar-nominated Short Films
Matt writes: Collin Souter has reviewed all of this year’s Oscar-nominated shorts, including my personal favorite, Sara Gunnarsdóttir’s “My Year of Dicks,” the title of which received an adolescent guffaw from those in attendance for the official nominee announcement. You can read the full article here.
Rebecca Harrell Tickell on “Prancer”
Matt writes: Rebecca Harrell Tickell delivered one of the best child performances in all of cinema in John D. Hancock’s 1989 Christmas classic, “Prancer.” Now an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Tickell recently had a delightful chat with Donald Liebenson about her career and the encouraging words she received from Roger Ebert (both he and Gene Siskel praised her performance, as evidenced in the video embedded above). Read their conversation here.
Gunman in the Streets (1950). Directed by Frank Tuttle. Written by Jacques Companéez, Maximilien Ilyin, Henry Kane, Victor Pahlen, André Tabet and Jack Palmer White. Starring Dane Clark, Simone Signoret, Fernand Gravey. Synopsis: American army deserter turned criminal-on-the-run Eddy Roback must evade the French authorities in a nation-wide manhunt as he attempts to cross the border into Belgium.
Watch “Gunman in the Streets”
One-Eyed Jacks (1961). Directed by Marlon Brando. Written by Guy Trosper, Calder Willingham, Sam Peckinpah and Rod Serling (based on the novel by Charles Neider). Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Katy Jurado. Synopsis: After robbing a Mexican bank, Dad Longworth takes the loot and leaves his partner Rio to be captured, but Rio escapes and searches for Dad in California.
Watch “One-Eyed Jacks”
The Most Beautiful Wife (1970). Directed by Damiano Damiani. Written by Damiano Damiani, Enrico Ribulsi and Sofia Scandurra. Starring Alessio Orano, Ornella Muti, Tano Cimarosa. Synopsis: A young poor girl receives a marriage proposal from a mafia novice. She’s going to refuse, but he’s going to insist – at all cost.