Saturday, January 1, 2022

Top 9 Best New Movies of 2021

According to: Selina

NOTE: These are the best new movies of the year that we’ve reviewed on Trust the Dice. If it wasn't reviewed on the site, it's not eligible.
9 Godzilla vs.Kong 

Reviewed on: April 16, 2021
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 113 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 4
Cat’s Rating: 4
IMDb Blurb: The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another - the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong - with humanity caught in the balance.
Godzilla vs. Kong was gorgeous. The settings from scene to scene were as close to flawless as a film can get.
I’m, personally, not a fan of either of the kaiju starring in this flick and yet… I still found myself truly enjoying the watch-through. The fights were well-done and there was just enough actual plot to keep me from getting bored.
This movie took both series to a new level. It raised expectations.
8 The Queen of Black Magic 

Reviewed on: January 25, 2021
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 99 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 4
IMDb Blurb: Families were terrorized at the orphanage. Someone wants them dead, apparently with black magic that is very deadly. She has a grudge and she was also born because of the sins of the orphans who formed her into the Queen of Black Magic.
Back in January, when we first saw this film, I was absolutely convinced this was going to wind up being the best horror movie of the year. It wasn’t, but it was up there.
After a slow start, The Queen of Black Magic picked itself up and never slowed down again. Some of the scares were things I had never seen before, while some utilized tropes in ways that other flicks never have.
Granted, this was a remake, and I wasn’t aware of that when I first saw it. I have never seen the original, but this one makes me want to.
The Queen of Black Magic really got my hopes up for the state of horror films in 2021, and I wasn’t disappointed.
7My Little Pony: The Next Generation 

Reviewed on: September 29, 2021
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Animation
Rated: PG
Length: 90 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: After the time of the Mane 6, Sunny--a young Earth Pony--and her new Unicorn friend Izzy explore their world and strive to restore Harmony to Equestria.
The My Little Pony series is actually pretty good. Although it’s for kids, there’s enough in it to keep adults entertained for days. It’s still goofy while being genuinely funny and heartwarming on a higher level than most kids shows. (Bluey not included. Bluey is forever the GOAT.)
I was a bit worried when I saw they were already moving on to the next generation with this film. I was worried they’d remove everything that made the series so good and turn it back into a kids-only production.
My worries were unfounded. If anything, My Little Pony: The Next Generation took everything up another level. It was everything the series was and then some. I laughed, I cried. It had no damn business being as good as it was.
Even if you have no kids, My Little Pony: The Next Generation should still be on your watch list.
6 Slaxx

Reviewed on: March 17, 2021
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 77 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 4
IMDb Blurb: When a possessed pair of jeans begins to kill the staff of a trendy clothing store, it is up to Libby, an idealistic young salesclerk, to stop its bloody rampage.
This movie was about a pair of pants that murders people. If you had asked me a year ago if it would make our Best New Movies of 2021 article, I would have scoffed.
To be fair, no one could have possibly seen this coming. We watch plenty of sentient object horrors, but most of them are ridiculous and awful.
Slaxx was a real movie. It had a message. It wasn’t overly obnoxious; the script didn’t make me cringe. I had to watch it three times just to get passed the shock of it not sucking. It wasn’t until the fourth watch-through that I realized just how good it was.
There would have been no way for me to write a Best New Movie article without mentioning this one. It just wouldn’t be complete.
tick, tick… Boom!

Reviewed on: November 19, 2021
Genre: Biography, Drama, Musical
Rated: PG-13
Length: 115 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 4.5
Cat’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theater composer navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.
Tick, tick… Boom! had that raw Rent (2005) feel that I’m sure Lin Manuel Miranda (Moana, In the Heights, Hamilton) was going for. That was to be expected. What I wasn’t expecting was how much it also felt like A Chorus Line (1985).
Learning about Jonathan Larson is a big deal for any fan of Broadway – and using the inspiration of some of the best Broadway shows was a stroke of genius. Allowing Lin Manuel Miranda to direct the whole thing, as the writer of one of the newest giants of live musicals, was also an amazing choice.
Tick, tick… Boom! is full of earworms and feels. Long before it dropped, it was bound to be on this list.

Reviewed on: June 18, 2021
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 87 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 3.5
IMDb Blurb: A new comedy special shot and performed by Bo Burnham, alone, over the course of the past year.
Bo Burnham’s Inside didn’t speak to everyone, but those of us that did relate to it, found it to be unforgettable.
As the COVID-19 pandemic raged on, a lot of us were feeling various levels of cabin fever and hopelessness. We were watching our kids grow up in a world without playdates and with terror in schools. We were stuck in our homes with no escape from situations that might not be the best. We were trapped.
Bo Burnham (Promising Young Woman, The Big Sick, Eighth Grade) brought that spiral into depression into a comedy special in a way that no one could have expected. For those of us it applied to, it felt like someone was finally listening.
As good as Inside was, it was so much more than that. It was important.

Reviewed on: November 10, 2021
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 155 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
This may not be the first adaptation of Dune, but it was the best by far.
Everything about this film was gorgeous. Not a single scene went by that wasn’t crafted to perfection. From the sands of the desert, to the light mist of spice that swirled just atop the surface, was evidence of significant talent behind the scenes.
Those in front of the camera did not let anyone down, either.
As adaptations in general go, Dune is one of the best out there.
2 In the Heights 
Reviewed on: June 11, 2021
Genre: Drama, Musical
Rated: PG-13
Length: 143 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: A film version of the Broadway musical in which Usnavi, a sympathetic New York bodega owner, saves every penny every day as he imagines and sings about a better life.
Another Lin Manuel masterpiece falls on our list. In the Heights was an outstanding film. It had all the flavor you’d expect to hear in the music, with the strength of an honest New York setting. The characters were realistic, and the story was entrancing.
As amazing as the songs were, though, the cinematography rose above even that.
There were visuals used in some scenes that were completely fresh. I’ve dreamt about some of the camera angles and imagery.
Every choice made for In the Heights during production, was the right one.
1The Suicide Squad
Reviewed on: August 6, 2021
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 132 minutes
Selina’s Rating: 5
Cat’s Rating: 5
IMDb Blurb: Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.
I’m aware that The Suicide Squad flopped in theaters, but I think that was because of marketing.
Right up until the movie started, I don’t think anyone had a handle on whether it was some level of reboot or a sequel. There were signs leading to both. It wound up being a soft sequel, which the production companies should have been more forthcoming about.
As a movie, though, The Suicide Squad did everything right.
It took all the bullshit from the first, sucked out the good parts, and threw the rest in the trash. With The Suicide Squad we got what we should have had the first time. It was absolutely hilarious and unexpected. It carried the feel of the comics, while offering a whole new view of the story.
I honestly don’t think you even need to be a fan of comics or comic book movies to enjoy this one.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In January (2022)

 According to Cat

20 - Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (1/14)

Production/Distribution: Columbia Pictures, Media Rights Capital, Sony Pictures Animation, HKC Entertainment, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Directors: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska          
Writers: Amos Vernon, Nunzio Randazzo, Genndy Tartakovsky, Todd Durham
Actors: Andy Samberg, Asher Bishop, Asher Blinkoff, Brad Abrell, Brian Hull, David Spade, Fran Drescher, Jim Gaffigan, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Zoe Berri
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 94 minutes
IMDb Blurb: When Van Helsing's mysterious invention, the "Monsterfication Ray", goes haywire, Drac and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny becomes a monster. In their new mismatched bodies, Drac, stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure before it's too late, and before they drive each other crazy. With help from Mavis and the hilariously human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent.
My reaction when I heard that the first two movies I’m talking about on this list were coming out in January was quite literally: “Another one? Really? Why?!”
The answer is simply that studio execs think that popular IPs will continue to reap profit in some form or fashion. It’s been done before, right? The prime example is The Land Before Time (1988). That wildly popular tear-jerker animated movie had 13 sequels. I’m not kidding. I looked it up. (I knew it had a lot of them but holy hell… 13!) If you’re of the generation that grew up with the original movie, how many of the sequels did you actually see? My own answer is none. I only ever saw the original. I digress.
Just when you thought that the story had covered the bases and it might just be time to move on…we have a 4th installment to the Hotel Transylvania (2012) franchise.
Umpteen sequels aside, normally a movie in this franchise would have landed far higher on my list. Under normal circumstances, it should have been top 10 with a bullet. While I’m an optimist at heart, I have some concerns for Hotel Transylvania: Transformania that give me pause.
At the same time, all hope is not lost – thus, it still remains on my list in general. I’ll explain.
This is the first film of the franchise that Genndy Tartakovsky (Star Wars: Clone Wars, Samurai Jack, Primal) is NOT directing. The co-directors stepping up to fill the void have had long careers, though usually wearing different hats in the production process. This will be their full-length feature debut as directors.
My internal optimistic voice points out, however, that Tartakovsky didn’t completely divorce himself from the movie. He must have some belief in this sequel, even if he wasn’t steering the proverbial ship. Tartakovsky collaborated on writing the screenplay and further contributed as an Executive Producer. If he didn’t believe in the project, he wouldn’t have forked up the funding, so there’s that at least.
Another stumbling block has to do with the cast. Most of the cast are reprising their roles as the fun and freaky residents and guests of the titular monster hotel. There are 2 big exceptions. Adam Sandler (The Week Of, Uncut Gems, Hubie Halloween) and Kevin James (Pixels, Becky, The Crew) will not be returning to their roles of Dracula and Frankenstein, respectively. In fact, all Sandlers involved with the cast of the prior movies are not appearing in this 4th installment.
The new voice of Drac is Brian Hull (Pup Star: World Tour, Tangled: The Series, Marmaduke), who turned viral YouTube success into a voice-acting career. He has a real knack for voices. If I didn’t know ahead of time that Sandler wasn’t involved with the movie, I would not have realized that the voice had been replaced when I watched the trailer. This isn’t his first foray into the world of Hotel Transylvania, also. Hull previously voiced Dracula in Monster Pets: A Hotel Transylvania Short Film (2021).  The co-directors of Transformania were also the directors of that short.
Brad Abrell (Searching, Green Eggs and Ham, The Guilty) is lending his voice to Frank for this 4th installment. Looking at his history of voice work, I don’t see this as being a problem as long as the story gives us the same feel for the character. Sandler and James aren’t just actors you can replace easily, however. My take on what I saw in the trailer was that the new voice actors are paying a respectful homage to the work the original voices already put into the characters.
Let’s strip all that away for a second, though. The story actually seems interesting. After everything the characters have already been through, this is the next logical step that their collective story could take. What if roles could be reversed and monsters could become human, and a monster-loving human could become a monster? The premise feels like it could still be a lot of fun.
My verdict is that Hotel Transylvania: Transformania might just surprise us with a good time, and with its release directly to Amazon Prime video, it’ll be easy to stream right away.
19 - Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild (1/28)

Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, Bardel Entertainment, Blue Sky Studios, Twentieth Century Animation, 20th Century Studios, Disney+, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Director: John C. Donkin
Writers: Ray DeLaurentis, Jim Hecht, William Schifrin
Actors: Utkarsh Ambudkar, Simon Pegg, Vincent Tong, Aaron Harris
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 110 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Possum brothers Crash and Eddie set out to find a place of their own, but find themselves trapped in the Lost World. They are rescued by weasel Buck Wild, and together embark on a mission to save the Lost World from dinosaur domination.
As I mentioned before, we have another sequel hitting screens in January. The Ice Age franchise has done rather well with its 5 prior movies. I won’t lie, I watch these for Scrat. I want to see how the prehistoric squirrel is faring in his endless quest for the out-of-reach acorns. My trepidation for this 6th installment is pretty much only tempered with my desire to see what shenanigans they’re going to blame on the poor fuzzball this time.
Like our prior entry, there have been some fairly large shake-ups with The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild. Some are likely due to the fact that the project was originally planned as a series. However, with Disney’s shuttering of Blue Sky Studios, somewhere along the line they opted to release this story as a single direct to Disney+ movie, instead. This could account for the lack of returning original cast members on some level.
That’s really one of the big-ticket items on my list of concerns. IMDb doesn’t list most of the cast representing the original core characters such as Manny, Diego, and Sid. The trailer gave me the impression that the voices were the same, but we don’t know if it’s a really good impression of the original actors’ voices or if we’ve got the bonafide real deal reprising their roles.
The titular character, Buck Wild, does have the fortune of a returning voice actor. The fact that Simon Pegg (Ready Player One, Mission: Impossible - Fallout, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance) has returned to the role is a giant positive in favor of this new Ice Age tale. This new installment revolves around Buck and the possum brothers so it’s crucial at the very least those roles are solid.
Here’s where we have a little more shaky ground, though. The original voices for Crash and Eddie, Seann William Scott (American Reunion, Goon: Last of the Enforcers, Lethal Weapon) and Josh Peck (Gnome Alone, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lego Star Wars: All Stars), will not be returning to their roles. Again, this may be because of the flip-flop between series and movie concepts – that’s not clear. What we do know is that the new voices bringing the daredevil possums to life are Vincent Tong (Ratchet & Clank, Kong: King of the Apes, Ninjago) and newcomer Aaron Harris. This production will be Harris’ official acting debut.
The writers are alums from animated series such as Fairly OddParents (2001-2017). With that in mind, it’s safe to say that this Ice Age installment has the potential to be quirky fun. This isn’t their first rodeo. It is, however, the directorial debut for John C. Donkin (Robots, Rio, Invincible). He has worked with prior Ice Age stories before –as a Blue Sky producer. We know, at least, that he’s intimately familiar with the franchise. It gives me hope.
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild will release directly to Disney+ for general subscription holders, so at least we won’t have to pay premium to partake of this sequel. I’m crossing my fingers it delivers on the fun.
18 - Redeeming Love (1/21)

Production/Distribution: Mission Pictures International, Nthibah Pictures, Advantage Entertainment, Pinnacle Peak Pictures, Pure Flix Entertainment, Universal Pictures
Director: D.J. Caruso
Writers: Francine Rivers, D.J. Caruso
Actors: Abigail Cowen, Amy Louise Wilson, Andrew Dennison, Anja Taljaard, Arsema Thomas, Brandon Auret, Brett Williams, Clyde Berning, Conrad Kemp, Daniah De Villiers, Daniel Kühne, Eric Dane, Famke Janssen, Francesca Michel, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Josh Taylor, Ke-Xi Wu, Lauren McGregor, Livi Birch, Logan Marshall-Green, Milton Schorr, Nancy Sekhokoane, Nicholas Pauling, Nina Dobrev, Paul Snodgrass, Sean Coltman, Stephen Jennings, Tanya van Graan, Tayah Ronen Abels, Terri Lane, Tom Lewis, Willie Watson
Genre: Romance, Drama, History
Rated: PG-13
Length: 134 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Sold into prostitution as a child, Angel knows nothing but betrayal. Can her heart ever be mended? Based upon the novel by Francine Rivers.
I really love a good period piece now and again. I also grew up watching westerns with my grandparents, so they tend to have a warm fuzzy place in my heart on occasion. I’m not sure what I identify with more – the chaos of the Wild West with outlaws and gunplay, or the simplicity of life in those times. The frontier has always been appealing to me on many levels.
Redeeming Love brings in a tale of romance into the gritty and grim reality of life in the Old West – but in a way, I haven’t entirely seen before. The old-school Western movies dealt with more taboos that modern cinema isn’t restricted by (with the proper rating label). That opens the door for Redeeming Love to explore in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in older movies and bring something, hopefully, fresh and slightly different to the genre.
Either way, the setting looks well done, the cast is on point, and I enjoyed the trailer.
17 - The King's Daughter (1/21)

Production/Distribution: Lightstream Pictures Australia, TKD Film Rights, Bliss Media, Brookwell-McNamara Entertainment, Kylin Pictures, Lightstream Entertainment, Picturehouse, Esen Entertainment, Gravitas Ventures, Youplanet Pictures
Director: Sean McNamara
Writers: Ronald Bass, Barry Berman, Laura Harrington, Vonda N. McIntyre, James Schamus
Actors: Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Benjamin Walker, Bingbing Fan, Crystal Clarke, Jessica Clarke, Jorja j Lindsay, Julie Andrews, Kasia Kaczmarek, Kaya Scodelario, Pablo Schreiber, Paul Ireland, Pierce Brosnan, Rachel Griffiths, Virginia Bowers, William Hurt
Genre: Action, Adventure, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 90 minutes
IMDb Blurb: King Louis XIV's quest for immortality leads him to capture and steal a mermaid's life force, a move that is further complicated by his illegitimate daughter's discovery of the creature.
It’s hard to believe that The King’s Daughter has been waiting for release since 2015. It was shot during 2014 in Australia and France and was pulled from Paramount’s schedule mere weeks from its original release date. The official word is that some of the effects for the movie’s mermaid didn’t sit well with test audiences so they were going to retool the effects. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that had been going on as well that likely added to the wait time.
Hopefully, they’ve had sufficient time to work out the kinks. Now that Gravitas Ventures has the distribution rights, we’re assured that this adaptation of a Nebula Award-winning 1997 novel The Moon and the Sun will finally hit the screens in January 2022. I certainly hope so.
I absolutely adore Pierce Brosnan (The Foreigner, The Son, Cinderella), and for more than being a former 007 and his Irish roots. I’m excited to see him portray France’s King Louis XIV. Check out that fabulously luscious long wig in the trailer. I think I giggled a little. I digress.
The stellar cast also includes Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner, Crawl, Spinning Out), William Hurt (The Miracle Season, The Last Full Measure, Goliath), and Bingbing Fan (Skiptrace, Sky Hunter, Air Strike). There’s a lot of talent bringing this period piece to life.
I expect some stunning cinematography here – especially since the production was allowed unprecedented access to the Palace of Versailles for filming. I can’t wait to see the ball scene that was filmed in the Hall of Mirrors. If nothing else, this movie will be gorgeous to watch.
Well, that is, until you see the mermaid scenes. There may still be something slightly off with the mermaid effects. Selina and I were of differing opinions on the matter as we were watching the trailer. I’ve since re-watched with a bigger screen and it’s started to bug me a little bit, too. Unfortunately, the iffy potential of those graphics that are central to the mermaid element of the fantasy plot is why this has landed so low on my Top 20 list. I’m crossing my fingers, though.
At this time, The King’s Daughter appears to be releasing in theaters only. The digital release date is unclear at this time. I imagine, considering Paramount’s original involvement with the movie, that it might be a good bet to keep your eyes peeled on Paramount+ for this one eventually. That would be my best guess, at least.
16 – Confession (1/21)

Production/Distribution: Picture Perfect, Uncork'd Entertainment, Signature Entertainment
Director: David Beton
Writer: David Beton
Actors: Colm Meaney, Stephen Moyer, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Kris Johnson, Sadie Jean Shirley
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 100 minutes
IMDb Blurb: One church, one priest, a wounded man and his loaded gun. An intense thriller played out in real time during one night where a vengeful confession must take place.
The trailer for Confession promised quite the intense thrill ride with an armed stand-off within a church. It’s one of the last places you’d expect something violent to happen. Churches are supposed to be places of refuge and quite literally sanctuary. So when you have a story that strips that away, it gets your attention and ups the tension level.
Of course, the cast was a large draw for me to Confession, as well. Colm Meaney (Hell on Wheels, Seberg, Gangs of London) is one of my favorite Irish actors. The projects he takes on are quite the varied and eclectic mix. One thing is certain, however – they’re sure to be entertaining. I was buying what he was selling in the trailer as the priest trying to maintain the sanctity of the house of worship under his care.
It’s rather trippy for me to see Stephen Moyer (The Gifted, After We Fell, Last Survivors) outside of his role in True Blood (2008-2014). I keep expecting the silly southern accent and for him to say “Sookeh” every so often. It might not be fair to pigeon-hole him into that single role, but I can’t help it. His role in Confession is of the type that he has played before and excelled at. The question is now simply if he’s the good guy or the bad guy in this particular production.
Also, with such a small cast in a limited or confined setting, everyone will need to have their A-Game going. I might have ranked this a bit higher if not for the wild card of the writer/director. I’m entirely unfamiliar with his work, though I’m always willing to give someone new a chance. Here’s to hoping.
Confession is releasing initially in theaters, followed by an On Demand release date of January 25th.
15 - Shattered (1/14)

Production/Distribution: Construction Film, Silver Reel, Lionsgate, Grindstone Entertainment Group, Signature Films
Director: Luis Prieto
Writer: David Loughery
Actors: Ashley Santos, Cameron Monaghan, Dat Phan, David Madison, Frank Grillo, James C. Burns, John Malkovich, Lilly Krug, Ridely Asha Bateman, Sasha Luss
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 92 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A rich divorcee Chris falls in love with a mysterious woman Sky where Chris, ex-wife and his child eventually gets trapped and a desperate fight for survival will most likely ensue.
If you haven’t already seen the trailer for Shattered, pause for a moment and ask yourself whether or not you like spoilers. If you don’t care that some major twists of the plot are given up in the teaser for this movie, by all means, watch away. If you want the surprises to remain a mystery, perhaps skip the preview. This is one of the trailers that pisses me off for giving away too much upfront. I sincerely hope that there are more unexpected elements in store for audiences. It would make for one seriously convoluted plot, but one would hope that the studio didn’t completely tip their hand.
One of the first aspects of Shattered that caught my attention was the casting of John Malkovich (Space Force, Rogue Hostage, The Survivalist). All of his roles are so quirky, and you can generally count on him to steal most of the scenes that he’s participating in. I get an idea of how he fits into this story from the trailer, but I still wonder how deep his part really runs.
The impression I got from the trailer was that Shattered seems to be what you might get if you put Misery (1990), Identity Thief (2013), and Rear Window (1954) in a blender and then polish it up with a really attractive core cast.
I’ll be honest, I might not attempt to see this in a theater, but I’ll certainly be looking for it as a digital rental. Shattered is set to release in theaters and On Demand initially and will drop on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 22nd.
14 - The Free Fall (1/14)

Production/Distribution: Crossroad Productions, Execution Style Entertainment, Hlbrk Ent, Gravitas Ventures
Director: Adam Stilwell
Writer: Kent Harper
Actors: Andrea Londo, Shawn Ashmore, Jane Badler, Michael Berry Jr., Elizabeth Cappuccino, Dominic Hoffman, Lorenzo Antonucci, Marc Senter, Nathaniel Peterson, Madeleine Coghlan, Diane Ayala Goldner, Jackie Dallas, Samuel Davis
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 82 minutes
IMDb Blurb: After attempting to take her own life, a young woman must wrestle with an overbearing husband.
I’m going to be honest. There are a hell of a lot of variables with The Free Fall. I’m not sure if it will turn out alright or if it will be a hot mess.
That being said, my curiosity is piqued after watching the trailer.
Is the lady possessed? Is it all in her head? Is her husband the bad guy? Is he really helping her? I can keep going. There are so many questions. I’m going to need to watch just to get the answers, one way or another.
Aside from that, I’m afraid I don’t have that much more to add. I don’t recognize the majority of the production team, including the cast. I am, however, familiar with Shawn Ashmore (The Following, Darkness Falls, The Rookie). His involvement does give me some hope for the project. The snippets of his performance in the trailer gave me chills.
The Free Fall will release to theaters and On Demand.  
13 – Borrego (1/14)

Production/Distribution: Abcde Pictures, Black Magic, CRE84U Entertainment, Tucci & Company, Saban Films
Director: Jesse Harris
Writer: Jesse Harris
Actors: Lucy Hale, Nicholas Gonzalez, Olivia Trujillo, Jorge A. Jimenez, Leynar Gomez, Jaime Aymerich, Edward J. Bentley, Brendan McNamee
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 102 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Borrego follows a young botanist who relocates to a small desert town to study an invasive plant species. She must fight for her survival when she's kidnapped by an inexperienced drug mule after his ultralight plane crashes in the desert.
I’ve got one word to describe the feeling after watching the trailer for Borrego: intense.
Borrego promises to be a nail-biter full of suspense set in an unforgiving landscape that’s going to make everyone thirsty just watching this thriller play out in the desert.  
Of course, then add Lucy Hale (Truth or Dare, Fantasy Island, The Hating Game) into the mix and there’s an excellent recipe for entertainment there.
Borrego is set to release to theaters and On Demand, though keep your eyes peeled to Paramount+. Since this is a Paramount movie, expect to see it drop on their streaming service after 45 days.
12 - The Requin (1/28)

Production/Distribution: Film Bridge International, Paper Street Pictures, Saban Entertainment,Saban Films, Youplanet Pictures
Director: Le-Van Kiet
Writer: Le-Van Kiet
Actors: Alicia Silverstone, Danny Chung, Deirdre O'Connell, James Tupper, Jennifer Mudge, Kameron Hood, Kha Mai
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 89 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A couple on a romantic getaway find themselves stranded at sea when a tropical storm sweeps away their villa. In order to survive, they are forced to fight the elements, while sharks circle below.
It’s no secret that I absolutely love a good shark movie. I also adore Alicia Silverstone (Book Club, Sister of the Groom, Masters of the Universe: Revelation). What more could you ask for in a movie to pick you up from the post-holiday doldrums? But wait, there’s more!
Fans of the adventure & survival game Raft are going to be outright giddy over The Requin. When Selina and I watched the trailer, we both noticed some striking similarities to the game – namely being adrift at sea on a bit of floating debris and fending off sharks who try to eat what you’re floating on to get to you. I don’t think that the parallel was intentional on Universal’s part, however. The movie will obviously be missing quite a few elements that remain unique to the game such as raft construction, island hopping, and general plot differences.
Here’s my last fun fact about this amusing coincidence in similarity. The Requin was filmed at Universal Studios Orlando. This, of course, is the location of the very theme park that used to feature a Jaws (1975) boat ride where the massive animatronic shark came out of the water at you. Sadly, the ride with the animatronic of “Bruce” the shark from the movie no longer exists at the Orlando Park, as it was closed to make way for the Wizarding World attraction. (The ride is still available at the Hollywood and Japan parks.) Where am I going with this? A lot of people that play the Raft game affectionately refer to the mischievous shark that’s out to get you as Bruce as an homage to the shark movie that started it all.
OK, OK … that was a big digression, but I couldn’t help it!
I’m 100% down to watch Silverstone and her on-screen husband fight a school of great white sharks for survival on the high seas after a romantic vacation goes horribly wrong. I am also loving that The Requin didn’t default to the old trope of the woman getting hurt so the guy has to save her. This movie flips that on its head and lets Silverstone shine as the badass that does everything she can to save her wounded spouse.
The Requin is set to have a limited theater release and will also be available for On Demand rental.
11 - Home Team (1/28)

Production/Distribution: Happy Madison Productions, Hey Eddie, Netflix
Directors: Charles Francis Kinnane, Daniel Kinnane
Writers: Keith Blum, Chris Titone
Actors: Allen Covert, Gary Valentine, Isaiah Mustafa, Jackie Sandler, Jared Sandler, Kevin James, Lavell Crawford, Maxwell Simkins, Rob Schneider, Taylor Lautner, Jacob Perez, Tait Blum, Chris Titone, Anthony L. Fernandez, Christopher Farrar, Ashley D. Kelley, Bryant Tardy, Liam Kyle, Merek Mastrov, Manny Magnus, Scott Green
Genre: Sports, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 95 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The story about New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton coaching his son's 6th grade football team, when Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season as a result of his role in the Saints' Bountygate scandal.
Home Team looks like a lot of fun – for a sports movie. I say that because I’m not the biggest fan of sports in general, but that’s just my personal preference. I can watch sports – and in this case, football – without slipping into a coma from boredom. I just don’t seek it out. Figure skating is where my heart lies. I digress…
Normally, a movie about football probably wouldn’t make it this high on my Top 20 list. In the case of Home Team, I feel this film warrants an exception. Why you ask? There are several reasons that set this production apart.
First, this isn’t just a movie about football players. Home Team is a comedy helmed by the Happy Madison crew. That gives me a certain level of expectation for the amusement and entertainment factor. Further, this new addition to the Happy Madison playbook is headlined by Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Here Comes the Boom, True Memoirs of an International Assassin). He’s generally a sure bet when it comes to comedy – especially physical comedy. Taylor Lautner (Abduction, Tracers, Scream Queens) is also not someone to dismiss. He’s done a remarkable job balancing his work between action and comedic projects since his stint in those twinkly vampire movies.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Happy Madison flick if Rob Schneider (Grown Ups, Norm of the North, Pups Alone) wasn’t somewhere in a crowd and calling out his famous catchphrase. It’s almost like a mini-game within each movie akin to Where’s Waldo. Can you spot him before the movie focuses in, in order for him to deliver his iconic one-liner?
Another factor that draws me to Home Team – it is quite literally a story adjacent to my actual ‘home team’ of the New Orleans Saints. This production’s story takes place in 2012, when the Saints head coach, Sean Payton, was suspended because of the Bountygate controversy. I’m not going to get into that mess. I have no idea whether or not this is pure fiction, or if he actually spent the time coaching his kids’ football team. The concept is fun to imagine, however.
All I know is that growing up in Louisiana, I was mostly ashamed of our NFL team. The Saints used to be horrible, and my family tended to actually root for the Dallas Cowboys instead. Sean Payton is the best thing that’s ever happened to Louisiana’s NFL team (ok, maybe aside from Drew Brees). Once he became head coach, the team whipped into shape and started winning. It’s a running joke in my state that the Saints won the Superbowl and caused Hell to freeze over – because we woke up to snow the next day. (We’re talking enough to build real snowmen, too.) Real snow in Louisiana is ultra-rare.
In any case, I think that James is an excellent fit for this role – especially considering his own background in football. This is one movie that the whole family will be able to enjoy since my husband is generally a sports fan and likes to watch all the sports movies. I’m actually looking forward to watching Home Team on Netflix.

10 - Save the Cinema (1/14)

Production/Distribution: Future Artists Entertainment, Head Gear Films, Kreo Films FZ, Metrol Technology, Sky Cinema
Director: Sara Sugarman
Writers: Piers Ashworth, Lorraine King
Actors: Tom Felton, Samantha Morton, Jonathan Pryce, Erin Richards, Adeel Akhtar, Owain Yeoman, Owen Teale, Susan Wokoma, Jason Hughes, Dora Davis, Rhod Gilbert, Joe Hurst, Matthew Lee, Thaer Al-Shayei, Wynne Evans, Leanne Holder, Fflyn Edwards, Mathew Guerin, Reegan Davies, Harry Luke, Mark Evans, Maya Millard, Mitchell Zhangazha, Peter A Rogers, Huw Morgan
Genre: Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 109 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The story of Liz Evans, who lives in Carmarthen South West Wales, who starts a campaign in the 90s to save the Lyric Cinema.
I love that Save the Cinema is based on a touching and true story. Jurassic Park (1993) is already one of my favorite movies of all time. This is another factor that just endears it to me even more – to think that its premiere helped literally save a beleaguered small-town theater from being destroyed by commercial development.
In addition to the great story that Save the Cinema has to tell, there’s a pretty spectacular cast involved, as well. I love to see Tom Felton (Message from the King, Megan Leavey, The Forgotten Battle) in ‘good guy’ roles to balance out all those years of playing everyone’s favorite character to hate. He’s joined by powerhouses Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones, The Man Who Invented Christmas, The Crown) and Samantha Morton (John Carter, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Walking Dead) as well. Morton is well-deserved of the primary lead here – and it’s such a joy to see her outside of the scary zombie-infested universe again. (Her stint as Alpha on the flagship AMC zombie show was horrifyingly awesome.)
I could also swear that I saw Colm Meaney (The Last Rite, The Singapore Grip, There's Always Hope) in the trailer. IMDb doesn’t list him, but we’ll have to see what the credits roll at the end of the movie says. I really think it’s him.
Save the Cinema will be showing on the Sky Cinema streaming service for its members, as well as releasing in theaters.
9 - Clean (1/28)

Production/Distribution: Fable House, IFC Films, VMI Worldwide
Director: Paul Solet
Writers: Adrien Brody, Paul Solet
Actors: Aaron Callahan, Adrien Brody, Chandler DuPont, Dinora Walcott, Glenn Fleshler, John Bianco, Michael Callahan, Michelle Wilson, Pat Buck, Richie Merritt, Gerard Cordero, Alex Corrado, David Fierro, David Hadasz, Frankie Montero, RZA
Genre: Crime, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 94 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Tormented by his past, a garbage man named Clean attempts a quiet life of redemption. But, soon finds himself forced to reconcile with the violence of his past.
I have a great deal of respect for Adrien Brody (Midnight in Paris, Peaky Blinders, The French Dispatch). He has a significant range as an actor and has excelled in all the genres he’s worked with. Of course, that being said, he’s no stranger to action. He’s worked with director Paul Solet (Dark Summer, Tales of Halloween: The Weak and the Wicked, Tread) before on the action/thriller Bullet Head (2017). That was a rather intense and well-executed movie, so that gives me more hope for this new one.
This is quite likely a passion project for Brody, as well. Not only does he star in the film as the titular character, Clean, he also co-wrote the story with Solet and helped produce.  I want to have faith in something that he has put so much work into.
The trailer for Clean promises quite an intense and explosively violent experience. I was immediately reminded of The Equalizer (2014). This seems to fall somewhere along those lines. I’m curious to learn where Clean’s violent background he’s trying to atone for comes from. Is he a former hitman? Was he formerly in a branch of the military and scarred by wartime experiences? It’s not clear in the trailer. I’m going to enjoy watching to find out.
Clean will have a limited theater release and will also be available On Demand.
8 - Gold (1/13)

Production/Distribution: Rogue Star Productions, Deeper Water, Ingenious Media, Pump Metal Films, SunJive Studios, Madman Entertainment, Screen Media Films, Gravel Road Distribution Group, Stan Australia, Stan, Youplanet Pictures
Director: Anthony Hayes
Writers: Anthony Hayes, Polly Smyth
Actors: Zac Efron, Susie Porter, Anthony Hayes
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 97 minutes
IMDb Blurb: When two men discover the biggest gold nugget ever found they must find a way to excavate it.
After watching the trailer for Gold, I am certain that we are going to see sides of Zac Efron (Baywatch, The Greatest Showman, Human Discoveries) that we have never experienced before.
The concept is simple and the setting is minimalist and austere – the majority of Gold will clearly be pitting man against the harsh and deadly elements of the Australian Outback, as well as his own mind.
I’m curious if the woman actually exists or if she’s a figment created by the breakdown of Efron’s character’s mind. Gold looks to be giving us a whole new definition of the term ‘gritty’ and I am here for it.
So many just don’t take Efron seriously as an actor because of how he got his start – in fact, quite a few members of those early musical movies experience the same issue. Efron, however, is most certainly an underrated powerhouse and I think we’re going to get to see that clearly here.
Currently, Gold is set to release to theaters in Australia. There’s little to no information about the US release dates at this time, much less digital or streaming availability. Just keep your eyes peeled for this one in 2022 because it looks to be well worth it. I know I will be waiting to watch with bated breath…and a bottle of water.
7 - Munich: The Edge of War (1/21)

Production/Distribution: Turbine Studios, Netflix
Director: Christian Schwochow
Writer: Robert Harris, Ben Power
Actors: Alex Jennings, Anjli Mohindra, August Diehl, George MacKay, Jannis Niewöhner, Jeremy Irons, Jessica Brown Findlay, Liv Lisa Fries, Ludwig Simon, Mark Lewis Jones, Nick Wymer, Raphael Sowole, Robert Bathurst, Sandra Hüller
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Rated: PG-13
Length: 123 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A British diplomat travels to Munich in the run-up to World War II, where a former classmate of his from Oxford is also en route, but is working for the German government.
While Munich: The Edge of War is a tale woven with fictional characters, it was inspired by actual events in the time leading up to World War II.
While war movies aren’t generally my cup of tea, I tend to make an exception when it comes to the World Wars. I feel particularly connected with World War II because of my grandfathers’ service. I know nothing about my paternal grandfather’s service, aside from his purple heart status. On the other hand, I know quite a bit about my maternal grandfather’s time overseas that culminated in an unfortunate encounter with a landmine. (He got lucky and not only lived but his legs were saved. You wouldn’t have known he’d stepped on a mine unless you saw his bare feet and his ‘funny toes,’ as I called them.) I digress.
These movies are important. Continuing to explore what happened leading up to World War II remains crucial. We must not allow such things to happen again. Period.
Stepping off my soapbox, let’s focus on the movie at hand.
Munich: The Edge of War looks like a slick spy thriller that will be full of tension and twists. You couldn’t ask for a better cast than Jeremy Irons (Assassin's Creed, Better Start Running, Watchmen) and George Mackay (True History of the Kelly Gang, 1917, Wolf) for these roles. I am in awe of the fact that Mackay learned German in order to portray his role more accurately. I tip my hat to him sincerely.
Munich: The Edge of War is set for a wide release via Netflix later in January, though I have learned that it has already dropped into a limited theater run as of today, December 31st.
6 - See For Me (1/7)

Production/Distribution: Wildling Pictures, Dutch FilmWorks, IFC Midnight, Inopia Films, levelFILM
Director: Randall Okita
Writers: Adam Yorke, Tommy Gushue
Actors: Skyler Davenport, Kim Coates, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Laura Vandervoort
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 93 minutes
IMDb Blurb: 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.
I have so many reasons to be excited for See for Me.
First, I love the angle that takes this story of surviving a home invasion to the next level. The fact that this plot integrates technology, instead of shying away from it as so many films do, is amazing. We see the heavy use of a phone app as the crux of the movie. I think that’s bloody brilliant.
Aside from the fact it’s a cool premise, this might just raise some awareness that apps like this are legit and actually exist. Selina has attested to this as a volunteer for one such service. I’m actually considering signing up, myself. Though, I certainly hope no one has to use such a service for the reason the girl in this movie does. Yikes. (Here I thought getting calls from 911 as an electric utility customer service phone operator was stressful. Nope. This takes the cake.)
I am also really jazzed about the cast of See for Me as well. Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy, Officer Downe, Bad Blood) always plays such interesting characters. I’m curious what this new one will bring to the proverbial party. I absolutely adore Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle, Black Sails, The Flash) as well. I am more familiar with her TV series work, so I am excited to see her get to stretch herself a bit with this full-length feature. I am sad, however, that Laura Vandervoort (Bitten, Jigsaw, Trigger Point) doesn’t have a bigger part to play here, however, as the homeowner, her role is necessary – even if it does seriously under-utilize her skills.
I think I am most excited for Skyler Davenport (One Piece, Kakegurui, Welcome to Demon-School Iruma-kun) playing Sophie in See for Me. They have done extensive voice acting work for both anime and video games. I am glad that we get to see a new facet of their range with live-action acting.
See for Me looks like it will be an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that isn’t going to let up once it gets rolling. The film will be released into theaters and On Demand and should definitely be worth the price of a ticket or rental.
5 - Cyrano (1/21)

Production/Distribution: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Working Title Films, BRON Studios, Universal Pictures, United Artists Releasing, Forum Hungary, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International
Director: Joe Wright
Writers: Edmond Rostand, Erica Schmidt
Actors: Peter Dinklage, Bashir Salahuddin, Ben Mendelsohn, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Scott Folan, Monica Dolan, Joshua James, Anjana Vasan, Ruth Sheen, Mark Benton, Peter Wight, Tim McMullan
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 124 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Too self-conscious to woo Roxanne himself, wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac helps young Christian nab her heart through love letters.
Cyrano promises to be an absolutely gorgeous period piece musical retelling of the classic tale of Cyrano de Bergerac.
The story is timeless and yet relevant even to today. So many in the world are affected by low self-esteem because the public eye via social media and the like seems to only zoom in on the superficially beautiful and holds people to impossible standards. People will be able to easily relate to the main character’s reluctance to be himself for fear of outright dismissal by the object of his affections.
Honestly, everything else is window dressing. Peter Dinklage (Three Christs, Game of Thrones, The Croods: A New Age) is playing the titular character. He is The Man. End of story. I will always be down to watch one of his movies. There are plenty of talented actors among the cast here, but I’m seeing this for him. (Sorry, not sorry.)
Cyrano has been released in an extremely limited number of screens as of December 31st, though will be expanding its release wider to more theaters across the country starting in January. It is unclear at this time if and when it will be available for digital rental or streaming.
4 - Belle (1/14)

Production/Distribution: Studio Chizu, BookWalker, Dentsu, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners, Kadokawa, Nippon Television Network, Toho Company, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation, Toho, Golden Village Pictures, Purple Plan, GKIDS, Koch Films, BfParis, Wild Bunch Distribution
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Writer: Mamoru Hosoda
Actors: Kaho Nakamura, Kenjirô Tsuda, Kôji Yakusho, Mami Koyama, Mamoru Miyano, Michiko Shimizu, Rina Izuta, Ryô Narita, Shôta Sometani, Tina Tamashiro, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Ikura, Ryôko Moriyama, Fuyumi Sakamoto, Yoshimi Iwasaki, Sachiyo Nakao, Sumi Shimamoto, Ken Ishiguro, Ermhoi, Hana, Takeru Satoh, Taichi Masu, Asami Miura, John Eric Bentley, Tom Bromhead, Tiana Camacho, Paul Castro Jr., David Chen, SungWon Cho, Courtney Chu, Victoria Dean, Jessica DiCicco, Brandon Engman, Larissa Gallagher, Jessica Gee-George, Heather Gonzalez, Barbara Goodson, Bentley Griffin, Martha Harms, Xanthe Huynh, Andrew Kishino, Anjali Kunapaneni, Wendee Lee, Ben Lepley, Lilypichu, Kyle McCarley, Noelle McGrath, Kylie McNeill, Julie Nathanson, Aaron Phillips, Zeno Robinson, Stephanie Sheh, Michael Sinterniklaas, Rachel Slotky, Laura Megan Stahl, Ellyn Stern, Frank Todaro, Cristina Valenzuela, Kiff VandenHeuvel, Aoi Yûki
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG
Length: 121 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Suzu is a shy high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters "U", a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a globally-beloved singer.
I am super excited to see Belle. It’s already been a smash hit in Japan, and now we’re only days away from its theater release in the US with an English dub.
Belle is absolutely gorgeous, from what I’ve seen in the trailer. I love the classic anime style of animation, and the story looks amazing.
From what I’ve gathered, it seems if you put Ready Player One (2018) and Sword Art Online (2012-) in a blender with the classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast, you’d come out with a general impression of where to start with Belle’s plot. It’s a tale of growing up and coming of age in the era of social media and the ever-expanding virtual universe. There are messages regarding bullying and other social hurdles that shy and introverted people face on a daily basis.
In addition to being the brainchild of acclaimed anime master Mamoru Hosoda (Samurai Champloo, Wolf Children, Mirai) for the 10th anniversary of his Studio Chizu, Belle also features the music of the Japanese group Millennium Parade. If you’re a fan of this band, keep your eyes peeled for many little Easter Egg homages to the group within the movie.
I simply can’t wait. I’ll be looking to view this On Demand as soon as it’s available if I can’t get to a theater in person to view it. At this time I haven’t found any release information regarding streaming services. Belle is one to keep your eye on, though.
3 - The 355 (1/7)

Production/Distribution: Universal Pictures, CAA Media Finance, FilmNation Entertainment, Freckle Films, Genre Films, Huayi Brothers Media, Perfect World Pictures, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Belga Films, Blue Lantern Entertainment International, Chantier Films, China Film Group Corporation, Cinemundo, Diamond Films, Entertainment One, Forum Film Slovakia, Golden Screen Cinemas, HKC Entertainment, Independent Films, Italia Film, Italia Films, Joyncontents Group, Kino Films, Leone Film Group, Leonine Distribution, Lev Cinemas, Nordisk Film Distribution, Nordisk Film, Norsk Filmdistribusjon, PT. Prima Cinema Multimedia, PVR Pictures, Pioneer Films, Roadshow Film Distributors, Roadshow Films, SND Films, Shaw Organisation, Spentzos Films, Ster-Kinekor Pictures, Sun Distribution, Universal Pictures International, Vertical Entertainment, Starz!
Director: Simon Kinberg
Writers: Theresa Rebeck, Simon Kinberg, Bek Smith
Actors: Atul Sharma, Bingbing Fan, David Olawale Ayinde, Diane Kruger, Édgar Ramírez, Evie Wray, Francisco Labbe, Hiten Patel, Jason Wong, Jessica Chastain, Leo Staar, Lupita Nyong'o, Marta Svetek, Maud Druine, Nick Owenford, Oleg Kricunova, Penélope Cruz, Raphael Acloque, Sebastian Stan, Toby Sauerback, William El Gardi
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 124 minutes
IMDb Blurb: When a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, a wild card CIA agent joins forces with three international agents on a lethal mission to retrieve it, while staying a step ahead of a mysterious woman who's tracking their every move.
I have been looking forward to this female-led action spy-thriller for some time now. We can thank (hopefully) Jessica Chastain (Woman Walks Ahead, Molly's Game, The Eyes of Tammy Faye) for the inspiration that led to The 355. The idea came to her while filming a different movie with this director.
I am a big fan of taking the trivia nugget dating back to the Revolutionary War regarding the origins of Agent 355, and how it’s taken to the next level with this ensemble cast story.
Seriously, though – The 355 is stacked with some kickass ladies such as Chastain, Diane Kruger (National Treasure, The Bridge, Welcome to Marwen), Lupita Nyong'o (Queen of Katwe, Little Monsters, Us), Penélope Cruz (The Counselor, The Brothers Grimsby, Murder on the Orient Express), and Bingbing Fan (League of Gods, I am Not Madame Bovary, Sky Hunter). Of course, there are many more great cast members supporting these amazing ladies with the likes of Edgar Ramírez (Joy, The Undoing, Yes Day) and Sebastian Stan (The Martian, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Devil All the Time) among others.
Normally you get big action movies in the summertime, but I actually like them in the winter. It’s easy to get swept away with the fast pacing and forget that it’s likely miserable weather outside.
The 355 will be seeing a wide theater release, and 45 days later will become available on the Peacock streaming service. On Demand details weren’t available at the time of this article. Just keep a lookout for The 355 via your usual On Demand methods.
2 - Scream (1/14)

Production/Distribution: Lantern Entertainment, Outerbanks Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Project X Entertainment, Radio Silence Productions, Spyglass Media Group, B&H Film Distribution, Forum Hungary, NOS Audiovisuais, Paramount Pictures Germany, Paramount Pictures International, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Writers: James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick, Kevin Williamson
Actors: Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Dylan Minnette, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Jenna Ortega, Kyle Gallner, Marley Shelton, Melissa Barrera, Mikey Madison, Neve Campbell, Sonia Ammar, Mason Gooding, Reggie Conquest, Chester Tam, Sara Elizabeth Ezzell, Clayton Frank
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Rated: R
Length: 120 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Twenty-five years after the original series of murders in Woodsboro, a new killer emerges, and Sidney Prescott must return to uncover the truth.
At first blush, Scream might look like some kind of reboot or remake of the iconic 90s movie that marked a shift in modern slasher films. I can assure you that this 2022 Scream is no such thing. This is, in fact, Scream 5 – a 4th sequel continuing the franchise and set 25 years after the events in the last movie.
All of the key character actors are returning to reprise their roles, which is a relief. A Scream movie without Neve Campbell (Titanic: Blood and Steel, House of Cards, Skyscraper), Courteney Cox (Bedtime Stories, Cougar Town, Charity Case), and David Arquette (Captain Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets, Ghosts of the Ozarks) just wouldn’t be Scream. That was one of the disconnects I had with the short-lived Scream TV series. I liked it in general – but it just wasn’t up to par for lack of real connection to the movies.
This new installment of Scream introduces us to a whole new generation of teens being stalked by a Ghostface killer. I can’t wait to follow the twists and turns to figure out who it is this time, and how they tie into the stories that have come before.
A lot of the new blood comes from a few recognizable places such as the likes of Jenna Ortega (You, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous), Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps, Don't Breathe, 13 Reasons Why), and Jack Quaid (Smallfoot, The Boys, Star Trek: Lower Decks). I felt I recognized some of the other young actors from the trailer vaguely but, sufficed to say, I’m crossing my fingers that they are up to the task of pulling off a new tale within this self-aware franchise.
I have hope, though, considering original writer Kevin Williamson (Stalker, The Following, The Vampire Diaries) has been on board with this new project. Aside from the returning actors, he provides a firm anchor to the original vision that was brought to life by the late, great, Wes Craven (The Serpent and the Rainbow, Scream, My Soul to Take) whom we lost to cancer back in 2015.
The trailer left me excited and giddy to find out what comes next for the beleaguered former and current residents of Woodsboro. I love the fact that they’re incorporating modern technology in, as well.
I just found out via a news article a couple days ago that my home city has a connection to the Scream movies that I wasn’t aware of. It’s not as simple as filming anything, though. While Shreveport has formerly been dubbed a “Hollywood of the South” before the state’s movie industry tax incentives dried up, this has to do with actual events that inspired the Scream story. You can find out more about that here if you’re interested. My mind is blown. I digress.
This new Scream installment will be released directly to theaters. Digital and streaming information aren’t known at this time, however, considering Paramount’s involvement with the movie, chances are good that it will eventually hit Paramount+ when it’s ready for streaming service access.
1 - Morbius (1/28)

Production/Distribution: Columbia Pictures, Marvel Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, B&H Film Distribution, HKC Entertainment, Sony Pictures Releasing Argentina, Sony Pictures Releasing International, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International, Disney+
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Roy Thomas, Gil Kane
Actors: Abraham Popoola, Adria Arjona, Al Madrigal, Amanda Perez, Archie Renaux, Barry Aird, Charlie Shotwell, Colin Blyth, Corey Johnson, Dave Simon, Gloria Garcia, J.K. Simmons, Jared Harris, Jared Leto, Kadrolsha Ona Carole, Manoj Anand, Matt Smith, Michael Keaton, Ria Fend, Ruth Horrocks, Tom Forbes, Tyrese Gibson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated:  PG-13
Length: 108 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Biochemist Michael Morbius tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but he inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism instead.
I could be really cheesy and tell you that you should watch Morbius because it’s a Marvel movie and “duh.” I won’t, though.
While that still applies, there’s a lot to be said here.
I have been dying to see Morbius since it was announced. I also feel that Jared Leto (Mr. Nobody, Dallas Buyers Club, House of Gucci) was the perfect choice for the titular character. Some might have issues with him because of, oh, that recent DC movie that came out within the last decade. I honestly don’t care. Leto dives into each project he’s involved with head first and lives, breathes, and embodies his role method-style throughout the duration of shooting. Sure, he goes for the edge too, but his performances are always intense and nuanced – even when he’s not in the primary spotlight. I can’t help it. I am absolutely and unabashedly a fangirl of his work – TV series, music, and movies. He can do it all – and he hails from the city just next door to where I live. I’ve gotta root for the hometown guy that’s made good, right? Right. It helps that he’s massively talented.
Of course, Leto isn’t the only one on the screen. I’m also excited about seeing Michael Keaton (Spotlight, American Assassin, The Protege), Jared Harris (The Expanse, Chernobyl, Carnival Row), Tyrese Gibson (The Fate of the Furious, Black and Blue, Rogue Hostage), and Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown, Last Night in Soho), to name a few.
The pandemic took a little of the wind out of our sails as it caused a delay from the original release date for Morbius; but in spite of surging variants, it’s looking good that it will hit theaters on time in January.
There’s currently no mention of when Morbius will land on Disney+, but as a Marvel movie, one can expect that to happen within the next few months after it’s had ample time at the box office. I am hoping I can see Morbius in person if at all possible. Cross your fingers for me!

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

Brazen .20
Aline .19
Birds Like Us .18
The Requin .17
Redeeming Love .16
Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild .15
Borrego .14
See For Me .13
Shattered .12
Save the Cinema .11
Prithviraj .10
Home Team .9
The 355 .8
Belle .7
Munich: The Edge of War .6
Clean .5
Morbius .4
Gold .3
Cyrano .1