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#420 November 23, 2021

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    By Entertainer

    Matt writes: As an executive producer of Rebecca Hall's directorial debut, "Passing," publisher Chaz Ebert penned a personal essay entitled "The Freedom to Pass," in which she details how the film connects with her own first-hand observations. Be sure to read the full article here, as well as a special edition of Thumbnails featuring other insightful analyses of Hall's film, which is now streaming on Netflix. You can read the first three paragraphs of Chaz's essay pasted below...

    There was always an aura of mystery surrounding the “two white ladies” who lived down the block from us on the Near West Side of Chicago. First, our neighborhood, except for them, was all African American. Second, we could not figure out the advantages they were seeking by passing for Black in the 1960s. Third, we heard they lived on income from a trust fund established by a relative who was a cofounder of Sears, Roebuck and Company. In fact the daughter, who was tall and frail and looked to be about seventy, was called Miss Roebuck. Her mother, an older, definitely whiter-looking woman of about ninety, was called simply Adele. 

    Miss Roebuck and Adele befriended my parents, and seemed to live quite happily in the neighborhood, calling upon us children to earn money by running errands for them. Sometimes it was a trip to the corner store; at other times it was being on the lookout for the mailman when they were expecting a special delivery. But the times that heightened my imagination were when I was called upon to help Miss Roebuck carry packages delivered by a driver in a limousine. A long black car would pull up to the curb in front of their house, and a formally dressed driver would alight. On one occasion I spied a person sitting in the back seat, face hidden from my view. I think it was a man and he stared silently at Miss Roebuck through the darkened, partially lowered window, but I don’t remember them exchanging any words. She stared back, a slight smile lifting the corners of her mouth. Then the window was rolled shut.

    After the driver loaded our arms with boxes, we walked back to her house. For weeks afterward, she would offer us fancy candies or show us some trinkets from other parts of the world, or talk about places she either had visited or hoped to visit before she was too old. Who were these women? Where did they come from? Why were they living here? And who was the mysterious man in the back seat who was delivering all these goodies? 


    Adrienne (2021). Directed by Andy Ostroy. Synopsis: As the muse of Hal Hartley's indie classics and as writer/director of the critically acclaimed "Waitress," Adrienne Shelly was a shining star in the indie film firmament. Debuts on HBO Max on December 1st, 2021.

    Silent Night (2021). Written and directed by Camille Griffin. Starring Keira Knightley, Roman Griffin Davis, Davida McKenzie. Synopsis: Nell, Simon, and their son Art are ready to welcome friends and family for what promises to be a perfect Christmas gathering. Perfect except for one thing: everyone is going to die. Debuts in the US on December 3rd, 2021.

    Voir (2021). Directed by David Prior, Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou. Synopsis: A documentary series celebrating cinema, executive produced by David FincherDebuts on Netflix on December 6th, 2021.

    Jockey (2021). Directed by Clint Bentley. Written by Clint Bentley and Greg Kwedar. Starring Clifton Collins Jr., Moises Arias, Molly Parker. Synopsis: An aging jockey aims for a final championship, when a rookie rider arrives claiming to be his son. Debuts in the US on December 29th, 2021.

    Dog (2022). Directed by Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum. Written by Reid Carolin and Brett Rodriguez. Starring Channing Tatum, Q'orianka Kilcher, Jane Adams. Synopsis: Briggs who, alongside his companion Lulu, a Belgian Malinois haul ass down the Pacific Coast in time to catch their best friend's and handler's funeral. One of them has a week to live, the other lives like every day is his last. Debuts in the US on February 18th, 2022.

    Mothering Sunday (2022). Directed by Eva Husson. Written by Alice Birch (based on the novel by Graham Swift). Starring Odessa Young, Josh O'Connor, Olivia Colman. Synopsis: A maid living in post-World War I England secretly plans to meet with the man she loves before he leaves to marry another woman. Debuts in the US on February 25th, 2022.

    The Hand of God (2021). Written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Starring Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo. Synopsis: The story of a boy in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. Sorrentino's most personal film yet is a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss. Debuts on Netflix on December 15th, 2021.

    The Outfit (2022). Directed by Graham Moore. Written by Graham Moore and Johnathan McClain. Starring Mark Rylance, Zoey Deutch, Dylan O'Brien. Synopsis: The film follows Leonard, an English tailor who used to craft suits on London's world-famous Savile Row. But after a personal tragedy, he's ended up in Chicago, operating a small tailor shop in a rough part of town where he makes beautiful clothes for the only people around who can afford them: a family of vicious gangsters. Debuts in the US on February 25th, 2022.

    Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022). Directed by Simon Curtis. Written by Julian Fellowes. Starring Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Imelda Staunton. Synopsis: Follow-up to the 2019 feature film in which the Crawley family and Downton staff received a royal visit from the King and Queen of Great Britain. Debuts in the US on March 18th, 2022.

    American Underdog (2021). Directed by Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin. Written by Jon Erwin, David Aaron Cohen and Jon Gunn. Starring Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid. Synopsis: The story of NFL MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback, Kurt Warner, who went from stocking shelves at a supermarket to becoming an American Football star.. Debuts in the US on December 25th, 2021.

    Marry Me (2022). Directed by Kat Coiro. Written by Harper DillJohn Rogers and Tami Sagher (based on the graphic novel by Bobby Crosby). Starring Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Sarah Silverman. Synopsis: Music superstars Kat Valdez and Bastian are getting married before a global audience of fans. But when Kat learns, seconds before her vows, that Bastian has been unfaithful, she decides to marry Charlie, a stranger in the crowd, instead. Debuts in the US on February 11th, 2022.

    Mother/Android (2021). Written and directed by Mattson Tomlin. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Algee Smith, Raúl Castillo. Synopsis: Young couple Georgia and Sam go on a treacherous journey to escape their country, which is caught in an unexpected war with artificial intelligence. Debuts on Hulu on December 17th, 2021.

    National Champions (2021). Directed by Ric Roman Waugh. Written by Adam Mervis. Starring Stephan James, J.K. Simmons, Uzo Aduba. Synopsis: Follows star quarterback who ignites a players strike hours before the biggest game of the year in order to fight for fair compensation, equality and respect for the student-athletes. Debuts in the US on December 10th, 2021.

    Being the Ricardos (2021). Written by directed by Aaron Sorkin. Starring Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons. Synopsis: Follows Lucy and Desi as they face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage. Debuts in the US on December 10th, 2021.

    Don't Look Up (2021). Written and directed by Adam McKay. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep. Synopsis: Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth. Debuts in the US on December 24th, 2021.

    Nightmare Alley (2021). Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Written by Guillermo del Toro and Kim Morgan (based on the novel by William Lindsay). Starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe. Synopsis: An ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is. Debuts in the US on December 17th, 2021.

    Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Directed by Jon Watts. Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko). Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, J.K. Simmons. Synopsis: With Spider-Man's identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man. Debuts in the US on December 17th, 2021.

    Turning Red (2022). Directed by Domee Shi. Written by Domee Shi and Julia Cho. Starring Rosalie ChiangSandra Oh, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. Synopsis: A 13-year-old girl named Mei Lee turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited. Debuts in the US on March 11th, 2022.

    Breakthrough Stars of "King Richard"

    Matt writes: I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the remarkably talented young actors Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, who play future tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams respectively in Reinaldo Marcus Green's rousing biopic, "King Richard," now available in theaters and on HBO Max. You can read our full conversation here, as well as Nell Minow's interview with the great Aunjanue Ellis (who plays the girls' mother) here and critic Odie Henderson's praise for their performances here.

    Dean Stockwell (1936-2021)

    Matt writes: Screen legend Dean Stockwell, the star of such classics as "Long Day's Journey Into Night," "Paris, Texas" and "Blue Velvet" (in which he famously lip-synched to Roy Orbison's "In Dreams"), passed away on November 7th at age 85. Don't miss our critic Sheila O'Malley's deeply moving eulogy, which you can read in full here.

    Free Movies

    The Inspector General (1949). Directed by Henry Koster. Written by Philip Rapp and Harry Kurnitz (based on the play by Nikolay Gogol). Starring Danny Kaye, Elsa Lanchester, Gene Lockhart. Synopsis: A town's corrupt officials think a fool is actually an investigator in disguise.

    Watch "The Inspector General"

    Tulsa (1949). Directed by Stuart Heisler. Written by Frank S. Nugent and Curtis Kenyon. Starring Susan Hayward, Robert Preston, Ed Begley. Synopsis: In Tulsa, after a rancher dies during a feud with a major oil company, his daughter, driven by revenge, starts digging for oil herself.

    Watch "Tulsa"

    Prehistoric Women (1950). Directed by Gregg G. Tallas. Written by Sam X. Abarbanel and Gregg G. Tallas. Starring Laurette Luez, Allan Nixon, Joan Shawlee. Synopsis: Tigri and her stone-age girl friends hate all men, but realizing they are a necessary evil, capture some for potential (strictly business, no recreation allowed) husbands.

    Watch "Prehistoric Women"

    By: Matt Fagerholm
    Posted: November 23, 2021, 6:01 am


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