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#421 December 7, 2021

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    By Entertainer

    Matt writes: The greatest composer/lyricist of all time, Stephen Sondheim, died on November 26th at age 91. He was eulogized beautifully by our Editor at Large, Matt Zoller Seitz, who wrote that his "art was rooted in truth. More than the melodies, more than the arrangements, more than the choice of subject matter, more than his puzzle-maker's sense of structure, it was his commitment to truth that made the work great." 

    Below you'll find Dean Jones' astonishing performance of the classic song, "Being Alive," from the original cast recording of Sondheim's groundbreaking 1970 musical, "Company," which the late genius got to see in a new production on Broadway a mere week prior to his passing. This footage was memorably featured in James Lapine's 2013 documentary on HBO, "Six by Sondheim," which our critic Odie Henderson hailed as "sensational." I couldn't agree more.


    Last and First Men (2021). Directed by Jóhann Jóhannsson. Written by Jóhann Jóhannsson and José Enrique Macián (based on the novel by Olaf Stapledon). Starring Tilda Swinton. Synopsis: Two billion years ahead of us, a future race of humans finds itself on the verge of extinction. Almost all that is left in the world are lone and surreal monuments, beaming their message into the wilderness. US release date is TBA.

    Listening to Kenny G (2021). Directed by Penny Lane. Synopsis: An examination of the most popular instrumentalist of all time, Kenny G, and why he is polarizing to so many. Now available on HBO Max.

    DC League of Super-Pets (2022). Directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine. Written by Jared Stern and John Whittington. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, John Krasinski. Synopsis: When the Justice League are captured by Lex Luthor, Superman's dog, Krypto, forms a team of shelter-pets who were given super-powers: A hound named Ace, who becomes super-strong, a pig named PB, who can grow to giant-size, a turtle named Merton, who becomes super-fast, and a squirrel named Chip, who gains electric-powers. Debuts in the US on May 20th, 2022.

    DMX: Don't Try to Understand (2021). Directed by Christopher Frierson and Clark Slater. Synopsis: A no-holds-barred portrait of hip-hop's most tortured superstar. A deeply personal exploration of Faith, Addiction, Loyalty and Family, the film chronicles a year in the life of a man with a burning desire to reconcile decisions of the past. Now available on HBO Max.

    See for Me (2022). Directed by Randall Okita. Written by Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue. Starring Skyler Davenport, Kim Coates, Jessica Parker Kennedy. Synopsis: When blind former skier Sophie cat-sits in a secluded mansion, three thieves invade for the hidden safe. Sophie's only defense is army veteran Kelly. Kelly helps Sophie defend herself against the invaders and survive. Debuts in the US on January 7th, 2022.

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022). Directed by David Blue Garcia. Written by Chris Thomas Devlin. Starring Alice Krige, Elsie Fisher, Nell Hudson. Synopsis: After nearly 50 years of hiding, Leatherface returns to terrorize a group of idealistic young friends who accidentally disrupt his carefully shielded world in a remote Texas town. Debuts in the US on February 18th, 2022.

    Santa Inc. (2021). Produced by Alexandra Rushfield. Starring Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Gabourey Sidibe. Synopsis: An elf working in Santa's Workshop in the North Pole dreams of becoming Santa Claus someday. Now available on HBO Max.

    Bel-Air (2022). Created by T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson. Starring Jabari Banks, Adrian Holmes, Tyler Barnhardt. Synopsis: A dramatic retelling of the story of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." US release date is TBA.

    Close to Me (2022). Produced by Alison Sterling. Starring Connie Nielsen, Leanne Best, Christopher Eccleston. Synopsis: Jo Harding is a woman who has a perfect life with her partner until a fall erases an entire year from her memory. As she struggles to piece events together, Jo discovers that her life was in fact far from perfect. Debuts in the US on December 16th, 2022.

    Somebody Somewhere (2022). Produced by Shuli Harel. Starring Mike Hagerty, Jeff Hiller, Murray Hill. Synopsis: Sam is a true Kansan on the surface, but, beneath it all, struggles to fit the hometown mold. Debuts on HBO Max on January 16th, 2022.

    Peacemaker (2022). Created by James Gunn. Starring John Cena, Robert Patrick, Jennifer Holland. Synopsis: The origin of the DC superhero so dedicated to world peace that he is prepared to use force of arms to achieve it. Debuts on HBO Max on January 13th, 2022.

    1883 (2021). Created by Taylor Sheridan. Starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, Billy Bob Thornton. Synopsis: Follows the Dutton family on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. Debuts on Paramount+ on December 19th, 2021.

    Reacher (2022). Executive produced by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring Alan Ritchson, Malcolm Goodwin, Bruce McGill. Synopsis: Jack Reacher was arrested for murder and now the police need his help. Based on the books by Lee Child. Debuts on Prime Video on February 4th, 2022.

    Euphoria (2022). Created by Sam Levinson. Starring Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney. Synopsis: The anticipated second season of the hit show focusing on a group of high school students as they grapple with issues of drugs, sex, and violence. Debuts on HBO Max on January 9th, 2022.

    Death to 2021 (2021). Directed by Jack Clough and Josh Ruben. Written by Ben Caudell. Starring Stockard Channing, Hugh Grant, Lucy Liu. Synopsis: This comedic retrospective mixes archival footage and scripted sketches as it revisits all the dread and occasional delight that 2021 had to offer. Debuts on Netflix on December 27th, 2021.

    Sing 2 (2021). Written and directed by Garth Jennings. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon. Synopsis: Buster Moon and his friends must persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show. Debuts in the US on December 22nd, 2021.

    The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021). Written and directed by Joel Coen (based on the play by William Shakespeare). Starring Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Kathryn Hunter. Synopsis: A Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power. Debuts in the US on December 25th, 2021.

    Jurassic World Dominion (2022). Directed by Colin Trevorrow. Written by Colin Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael (based on the characters created by Michael Crichton). Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum. Synopsis: The third installment in the "Jurassic World" trilogy. Debuts in the US on June 10th, 2022.

    Ryūsuke Hamaguchi on "Drive My Car"

    Matt writes: Ryūsuke Hamaguchi has released not one but two acclaimed films this year, "Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy" and "Drive My Car," the latter of which was just named the Best Picture of 2021 by the New York Film Critics Circle. Read Hamaguchi's conversation with Isaac Feldberg here and Carlos Aguilar's four-star review of "Drive My Car" here.

    Extreme Empathy of "The Rescue"

    Matt writes: The "extreme empathy" of Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, the directors of "Meru," the Oscar-winning "Free Solo," and the new documentary, "The Rescue," are celebrated by our far-flung climber, Michael Mirasol, in a new essay. You can read it in full here.

    Free Movies

    Mr. District Attorney (1941). Directed by William Morgan. Written by Karl Brown and Malcolm Stuart Boylan (based on the radio program by Phillips Lord). Starring Dennis O'Keefe, Florence Rice, Peter Lorre. Synopsis: First screen version of the popular radio series, followed by two sequels.

    Watch "Mr. District Attorney"

    Fangs of the Wild (1954). Directed by William F. Claxton. Written by Orville H. Hampton. Starring Charles Chaplin Jr., Onslow Stevens, Margia Dean. Synopsis: Tad Summers, son of mountain lodge owner Jim Summers, sees Roger Wharton kill his supposed best friend. Tad tells his father, who doesn't believe him, but Linda Wharton, Roger's wife, does and taunts him into a confession. Roger sets out to get rid of the boy.

    Watch "Fangs of the Wild"

    Omicron (1963). Written and directed by Ugo Gregoretti. Starring Renato Salvatori, Rosemary Dexter, Franco Luzzi. Synopsis: An alien takes over the body of an Earthman in order to learn about the planet so his race can take it over.

    Watch "Omicron"

    By: Matt Fagerholm
    Posted: December 7, 2021, 6:01 am


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