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#353 April 30, 2019

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    By Entertainer

    Matt writes: Considering that the movie of the moment is inarguably "Avengers: Endgame," the Russo Brothers' culmination of the 22-film Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008 with Jon Favreau's "Iron Man," we've decided to open this edition of the Ebert Club newsletter with our coverage of the record-breaking mega-blockbuster. You can read Brian Tallerico's three-star review of the film, as well as Matt Zoller Seitz's analysis of "Endgame" in relation to the final season of "Game of Thrones." Though we'll never know how Roger Ebert would've reviewed "Endgame," there's no question he was a fan of the franchise from the very beginning, as evidenced by his four-star review of "Iron Man," which you can find here


    Skin (2019). Written and directed by Guy Nattiv. Starring Jamie BellDanielle MacdonaldDaniel Henshall. Synopsis: A destitute young man, raised by racist skinheads and notorious among white supremacists, turns his back on hatred and violence to transform his life, with the help of a black activist and the woman he loves. Opens in US theaters on July 26th, 2019.

    Shadow (2019). Directed by Yimou Zhang. Written by Yimou Zhang and Wei Li. Starring Chao DengLi SunRyan Zheng. Synopsis: Life and intrigue in an ancient Chinese court. US release date is TBA.

    Knock Down the House (2019). Directed by Rachel Lears. Synopsis: A look at the people involved with various political campaigns during the 2018 U.S. congressional election. Debuts on Netflix on May 1st, 2019.

    We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2019). Directed by Stacie Passon. Written by Mark Kruger (based on the novel by Shirley Jackson). Starring Alexandra Daddario, Taissa Farmiga, Crispin Glover. Synopsis: Merricat, Constance and their Uncle Julian live in isolation after experiencing a family tragedy six years earlier. When cousin Charles arrives to steal the family fortune, he also threatens a dark secret they've been hiding. Opens in US theaters on May 17th, 2019.

    Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation (2019). Directed by Barak Goodman and Jamila Ephron. Synopsis: In August 1969, 500,000 people gathered at a farm in upstate New York. What happened there was far more than just a concert. Woodstock tells the story of a legendary event that defined a generation through the voices of those who were there. Premieres on PBS on May 24th, 2019.

    21 Bridges (2019). Directed by Brian Kirk. Written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan. Starring Chadwick BosemanSienna MillerTaylor Kitsch. Synopsis: A disgraced detective in the NYPD is given a shot at redemption. Opens in US theaters on July 12th, 2019.

    Grass Is Greener (2019). Directed by Fab 5 Freddy. Synopsis: A look at America's complicated relationship with cannabis. Now available on Netflix.

    Hobbs & Shaw (2019). Directed by David Leitch. Written by Chris Morgan (based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson). Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Helen Mirren. Synopsis: Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity. Opens in US theaters on August 2nd, 2019.

    Brian Banks (2019). Directed by Tom Shadyac. Written by Doug Atchison. Starring Aldis HodgeGreg KinnearMelanie Liburd. Synopsis: A football player's dreams to play in the NFL are halted when he is wrongly convicted and sent to prison. Years later, he fights to clear his name within an unjust system. Opens in US theaters on August 9th, 2019.

    Young Ahmed (2019). Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne. Synopsis: A Belgian teenager hatches a plot to kill his teacher after embracing an extremist interpretation of the Quran. US release date is TBA.

    Halston (2019). Directed by Frédéric Tcheng. Synopsis: Prodigiously talented, Halston reigned over fashion in the 1970s and became a household name. But everything changed in the Wall Street era. With his empire under threat, Halston took the biggest gamble of his life. US release date is TBA.

    Happy New Year, Colin Burstead (2019). Written and directed by Ben Wheatley. Starring Neil MaskellSura DohnkeMarvin Maskell. Synopsis: Colin hires a lavish country manor for his extended family to celebrate New Year. Unfortunately for Colin his position of power in the family is under serious threat from the arrival of his estranged brother David. US release date is TBA.

    Murder Mystery (2019). Directed by Kyle Newacheck. Written by James Vanderbilt. Starring Adam SandlerJennifer AnistonGemma Arterton. Synopsis: A New York cop and his wife go on a European vacation to reinvigorate the spark in their marriage, but end up getting framed and on the run for the death of an elderly billionaire. US release date is TBA.

    Dark Phoenix (2019). Written and directed by Simon Kinberg (based on the comic book by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee). Starring Sophie TurnerJames McAvoyJennifer Lawrence. Synopsis: Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world. Opens in US theaters on June 7th, 2019.

    Child's Play (2019). Directed by Lars Klevberg. Written by Tyler Burton Smith (based on characters created by Don Mancini). Starring Aubrey PlazaMark HamillGabriel Bateman. Synopsis: A mother gives her son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature. Opens in US theaters on June 21st, 2019.

    Godzilla: King of Monsters (2019). Directed by Michael Dougherty. Written by Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields. Starring Millie Bobby BrownCharles DanceVera Farmiga. Synopsis: The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. Opens in US theaters on May 31st, 2019.

    Men In Black: International (2019). Directed by F. Gary Gray. Written by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum. Starring Tessa ThompsonChris HemsworthRebecca Ferguson. Synopsis: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. Opens in US theaters on June 14th, 2019.

    Gemini Man (2019). Directed by Ang Lee. Written by Billy RayDarren Lemke, Andrew Niccol, Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson and David Benioff. Starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen. Synopsis: An over-the-hill hitman faces off against a younger clone of himself. Opens in US theaters on October 4th, 2019.

    Ebertfest 2019 Photo Journal 

    Matt writes: For those of you who didn't get the chance to attend the 21st Ebertfest held this month in Champaign, Illinois, or for those who wish to relive the memories, make sure to check out our annual photo journal featuring all the highlights. You can also click here to skim through our complete coverage of the festival at


    Penny Lane on "Hail Satan?"

    Matt writes: My favorite film released so far in 2019 is easily "Hail Satan?", Penny Lane's eye-opening documentary about The Satanic Temple and its legacy of satirical yet serious activism (believe me, it's not at all what you'd expect). Make sure to check out my rave review of the film, contained in my coverage of this year's splendid DOC10 Film Festival, as well as Nell Minow's conversation with Lane.

    Free Movies

    And Then There Were None (1945). Directed by René Clair. Written by Dudley Nichols (based on the novel by Agatha Christie). Starring Barry FitzgeraldWalter HustonLouis Hayward. Synopsis: Seven guests, a newly hired personal secretary and two staff are gathered on an isolated island by an absent host and someone begins killing them off one by one. They work together to determine who is the killer?

    Watch "And Then There Were None"

    John and Mary (1969). Directed by Peter Yates. Written by John Mortimer (based on the novel by Mervyn Jones). Starring Dustin HoffmanMia FarrowMichael Tolan. Synopsis: John and Mary meet in a singles bar, sleep together, and spend the next day getting to know each other.

    Watch "John and Mary"

    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969). Directed by Ronald Neame. Written by Jay Presson Allen (based on the novel by Muriel Spark). Starring Maggie SmithGordon JacksonRobert Stephens. Synopsis: A headstrong young teacher in a private school in 1930s Edinburgh ignores the curriculum and influences her impressionable 12 year old charges with her over-romanticized world view.

    Watch "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"

    By: Matt Fagerholm
    Posted: April 30, 2019, 5:01 am


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