Friday, November 4, 2022

The 2nd (2020)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The 2nd (2020)
Genre: Action, Drama
Length: 1h 33min
Rating: Unrated
Production/DistributionDaniel Grodnik Productions, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Fury Film Franchise, GEM Entertainment, Leonine Distribution, Lucid Film, Momentum Pictures, Première TV Distribution, Source 1 Media, The Movie Partnership, Turbo Panda Productions, Voltage Pictures, Wonderfilm Media, WOWOW Cinema
Director: Brian Skiba
Writer: Eric Bromberg, James Bromberg, Paul Taegel
Actors: Ryan Phillippe, Casper Van Dien, Jack Griffo, Lexi Simonsen
Blurb from IMDb: An Army Delta Force officer is late picking up his son at college. His son and a Supreme Court Justice's daughter are the last there. A gang of terrorists are there to abduct her and force her dad's hand on a Second Amendment vote.

Selina’s Point of View:
The 2nd definitely had an agenda. There was nothing subtle about it. In fact, it bordered on propaganda at times.
This isn’t the first time we’ve mistakenly scheduled a flick that wound up having a propaganda feel to it. Usually, we just opt to skip the day and not platform it at all. By the end of The 2nd, though, I decided it was just preachy and distasteful instead of full-on propaganda. So, here we go.
One of my big actor-related hot takes, is that I really like Casper Van Dien (Mad Heidi, Daughter, A Tale of Two Guns). I think he is capable of much better roles than he gets. I fell for him in Starship Troopers (1997) and my opinion has never changed. The problem is, where I like him, I very rarely like the movies he’s in. The 2nd was not an exception. I just don’t understand why he can’t seem to land parts in flicks that are actually good.

Aside from Van Dien, The 2nd had absolutely nothing going for it. The acting was obnoxious, you could hear the microphone rubbing against something sometimes, and I cannot believe anyone approved the script. Nothing about the dialogue was natural.
I think they might have had a ten-year-old watch Die Hard (1988) a few times and then had him write something as close to it as he could remember. Then they took out all the good parts and released it.
I would not sit through The 2nd again for any reason. It was absolutely awful.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 0%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 11%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – 4.0
IMDB Score –3.8/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 1/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Lou (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Lou (2022)
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Length: 1h 47min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Bad Robot, Netflix
Director: Anna Foerster
Writer: Maggie Cohn, Jack Stanley
Actors: Allison Janney, Jurnee Smollett, Logan Marshall-Green, Ridley Asha Bateman, Matt Craven, Greyston Holt, Daniel Bernhardt, Ozzie & Jersey
Blurb from IMDb: A storm rages. A young girl is kidnapped. Her mother teams up with the mysterious woman next door to pursue the kidnapper, a journey that tests their limits and exposes shocking secrets from their pasts.

Selina’s Point of View:
I tend to enjoy thrillers like this one that have quick action, but a slow-burn story. It gives me something to feast my eyes on while waiting for every twist and turn.
Now, when I say ‘quick action’ I’m not trying to say it’s got any kind of John Wick-ness about it. If anything, the fight choreography in flicks like that lean toward fantasy. In the case of Lou, the combat felt extremely realistic. Where the titular character was always shown as great at what she does, she never seems invulnerable. Not only do they play up her arthritis, but she gets hurt.
There’s a real sense of danger in all the action. Not just the fights.
The characters battle against the environment as well, and at no point does there seem to be a ‘convenient’ answer to a problem. Every victory is hard won.

It’s a very gritty, bloody story, that is exceptionally written and well-acted.
Allison Janney (The Help, Lazy Susan, Bad Education) and Jurnee Smollett (Spiderhead, Birds of Prey, Sofia the First) have a tense, forced-cooperation, chemistry. Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation, Upgrade, Spider-Man Homecoming) has a creepy-calm demeanor that really sells that final twist. Even 10-year-old Ridley Asha Bateman (Shattered, Shelter in Place) brought something to the screen that I think any other child actor would have been hard-pressed to accomplish.
I thought Lou was going to be an alright film. I underestimated it. There was a lot to enjoy about this flick. I highly recommend it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 70%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 62%
Metascore – 51%
Metacritic User Score – 3.9
IMDB Score –X/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 5/5
P.S. If you go through reviews on Lou, be careful where you get them from. It got review-bombed upon release.
Movie Trailer: 

Monday, October 31, 2022

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

 by Cat

20 - She Said (11/18)

Production/Distribution: Universal Pictures, Annapurna Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures Germany, Universal Pictures International
Director: Maria Schrader
Writers: Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, Rebecca Corbett
Actors: Adam Shapiro, Anastasia Barzee, Andre Braugher, Anita Sabherwal, Carey Mulligan, Dalya Knapp, Elle Graham, George Walsh, Hilary Greer, Jennifer Ehle, Maren Lord, Patricia Clarkson, Samantha Morton, Seán Cullen, Tom Pelphrey, Zoe Kazan
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 2h 8min
IMDb Blurb: New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor break one of the most important stories in a generation — a story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood.
We’ve finally hit the home stretch to “The Holiday Season” now that Halloween is behind us. It’s usually a time for Thanksgiving – both the holiday and the sentiment – and warm fuzzy feelings to be shared with friends and family.
With the amount of crazy going on in the world, I’ve been shying away from heavy subjects lately when it comes to movies and shows I watch. There’s enough drama on the news and my anxiety levels just don’t need extra ammunition. If I’m watching movies or a TV show, I am looking for escapism and to be entertained. For that reason, I really don’t have many of the more heavy titles releasing in November on this list – save two.
She Said is one of these. I placed it at this end of the list not because I don’t have much faith in the movie, I’m simply making sure that this one is addressed first. The story in She Said is important and bears repeating.
The #MeToo movement has been crucial to manifest change in our society – we just need to remember that it applies to everyone. Abuse is not reserved for a singular gender or ethnicity – it could happen to anyone. Hopefully, the message of productions like She Said might help current victims find their voice to speak out and find justice, or at least begin the road to healing.
She Said will release exclusively to theaters. On-Demand and streaming information are not known at this time.
19 - Devotion (11/23)

Production/Distribution: Black Label Media, STX Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Stage 6 Films, STX Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Searchers
Director: J.D. Dillard
Writers: Jake Crane, Adam Makos, Jonathan Stewart
Actors: Aleks Alifirenko Jr., Boone Platt, Christina Jackson, Daren Kagasoff, Emily Brinks, Glen Powell, Joe Jonas, Jonathan Majors, Joseph Cross, Logan Macrae, Matt Riedy, Nick Hargrove, Serinda Swan, Spencer Neville, Thomas Sadoski
Genre: Action, Drama, War
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 18min
IMDb Blurb: A pair of U.S. Navy fighter pilots risk their lives during the Korean War and become some of the Navy's most celebrated wingmen.
Devotion is the second of the heavier dramas to make it to this month’s list. Though, admittedly, I do seem to have a thing for aerial combat movies; so this fits right in anyway.
Lt. Jesse L. Brown was the first African-American pilot for the US Navy. He was a trailblazer that kicked down the gate of racial bias in naval air.
This is the sort of story I don’t remember learning in my history classes but absolutely deserves to be told.
Devotion’s production team was on point when they made their casting decisions. Jonathan Majors (Captive State, Lovecraft Country, The Harder They Fall) was an excellent choice to portray Lt. Brown,.  Glen Powell (The Expendables 3, Hidden Figures, Top Gun: Maverick) is also a great actor who has even had recent extensive training in the cockpit while filming the Top Gun (1986) sequel.
The trailer for Devotion was gripping and I can’t wait to see the action unfold.
Devotion is set to for a wide theater release. It is not clear at this time when it will be available for On Demand rental or streaming services.
18 - Blood Relatives (11/22)

Production/Distribution: Paper Street Pictures, Nocturnal Kid, Shudder
Director: Noah Segan
Writer: Noah Segan
Actors: Akasha Villalobos, Ammie Leonards, Brian Villalobos, C.L. Simpson, Doug Benson, Jon Proudstar, Josh Ruben, Noah Segan, Tracie Thoms, Victoria Moroles
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 28min
IMDb Blurb: A vampire's loner lifestyle is thrown into disarray when a teenager shows up claiming to be his daughter, and she's got the fangs to prove it. On a road trip across America's blacktops, they decide how to sink their teeth into family life.
I found the trailer for Blood Relatives pretty hilarious.
This full-length feature directorial debut by Noah Segan (War Pigs, Knives Out, The Pale Door) looks like it’s really sinking its teeth into the horror-comedy sub-genre, and I love it. Not only is Segan at the helm of this production, but he also wrote and is starring in it.
The concept of a getting-to-know-you road trip with a parent you’ve just met is already something a little dicey. When you factor in the teenage angst and the whole vampire situation, that’s a volatile situation ripe with the possibility of hilarity and shenanigans.
If done right, I adore it when everyday problems are presented with a bit of a supernatural twist.
Blood Relatives is releasing as a Shudder Original movie, so I’m also excited I’ll be able to watch this one right away.
17 - Deborah (11/1)

Production/Distribution: Chicago Media Angels, Divide/Conquer, The Straits, 1091 Pictures
Director: Noga Pnueli
Writer: Noga Pnueli
Actors: Sophia Bush, Deborah Ann Woll, Scott Michael Foster, Ciara Renée, Kevin Bigley, Arjun Gupta, Michael Waller
Genre: Sci-Fi, Comedy, Drama
Rated: TV-MA
Length: 1h 26min
IMDb Blurb: A group of old friends discovers a seemingly harmless device that allows them to rewind time, but not without consequences.
My inner sci-fi geek is bouncing happily, following a watch-through of the trailer for Deborah. I am such a klutz that the ability to rewind time a few seconds to prevent knocking something over, or the like, would be phenomenal. Though, as any other fan of time-travel stories will tell you; there are consequences to playing with time. It never works out the way you want it to, and often is disastrous.
When you pair that concept with an AI virtual assistant, the resulting story has the potential to be absolutely terrifying – or comedy gold. Here’s to hoping there’s a little bit of both. When you stick a group of coupled-up friends in a remote cabin and toss a revealed (and exploitable) secret into the mix, it is automatically a recipe for shenanigans and drama.
Deborah is writer and director Noga Pnueli (The Last Days of TJ Staggs, Meet Cute, Deb) feature-length film directorial debut. I’m excited to get a chance to take a peek at her storytelling style. You also can’t go wrong with the cast lineup here. I’ve been a die-hard fan of Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill, Chicago P.D., Incredibles 2) since her Tree Hill days. Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood, Daredevil, Ida Red) is definitely a talented ginger to remember. Among the guys cast in Deborah, Scott Michael Foster (Greek, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 5 Years Apart) is a stand-out for me.
It appears that Deborah is releasing straight-to-digital and On-Demand services. Information for any potential theater release or possible streaming services was not available at the time of this article.
16 - Tom and Jerry: Snowman’s Land (11/15)

Production/Distribution: Warner Bros. Animation
Director: Darrell Van Citters
Writers: Will Finn, Jase Ricci
Actors: Carlos Alazraqui, Kimberly Brooks, Joey D'Auria, Regi Davis, Laraine Newman, Kevin Michael Richardson, Kath Soucie, Stephen Stanton, Rick Zieff
Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Animation
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 16min
Rotten Tomatoes Blurb: Jerry and his nephew, Tuffy, make a snow mouse that miraculously comes to life. To keep their new friend from melting, they must bring him to the fabled Snowman's Village, but Tom and the devious Dr. Doubleday have their own plans.
The last Tom and Jerry (2021) movie, which mixed live-action and animation, had mixed reviews. Critics panned the production, but audiences generally seemed to enjoy it. (We all know it’s the audience that matters, though, right?) For those that didn’t appreciate the new flashy style, this new Tom and Jerry: Snowman’s Land is a return to form for the iconic animated duo.
I felt that the trailer showed a really cute story and had all of the elements of cartoon catastrophes and literal cat-and-mouse games that we’ve come to expect from Tom and Jerry over the years.
Director Darrell Van Citters (Tom and Jerry: Santa's Little Helpers, The Tom and Jerry Show, Tom and Jerry in New York) has overseen nearly 150 episodes of this furry odd couple, so I think it’s safe to say this new iteration is in safe hands.
Tom and Jerry: Snowman’s Land is set to release directly to digital and DVD. It is unclear when it will become available on a streaming service. Considering Warner Brothers is tied to HBO Max, however, it would be a good bet to check there occasionally.
15 - My Father’s Dragon (11/11)

Production/Distribution: Aniventure, Cartoon Saloon, HB Wink Animation, Higher Ground Productions, Laughing Wild, Mockingbird Pictures, Netflix Animation, Parallel Films, Superprod Animation, Netflix
Director: Nora Twomey
Writers: Ruth Stiles Gannett, Meg LeFauveN
Actors: Judy Greer, Leighton Meester, Jackie Earle Haley, Jacob Tremblay, Dianne Wiest, Gaten Matarazzo, Ian McShane, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Brody, Alan Cumming, Chris O'Dowd, Rita Moreno, Golshifteh Farahani, Charlyne Yi, Mary Kay Place, Spence Moore II, Yara Shahidi, Eric Tiede, Maggie Lincoln, Jack S.A. Smith
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Animation
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 39min
IMDb Blurb: Elmer Elevator searches for a captive Dragon on Wild Island and finds much more than he could ever have anticipated.
At first blush, My Father’s Dragon seems to be another kid’s movie with simplistic animation. Sure, it looks cute. Then it flashes through that this movie is brought to us by the same studio responsible for WolfWalkers (2020) and The Secret of Kells (2009). Now it’s really snagged my attention. That same studio is also responsible for Song of the Sea (2014) and some of the background art in Belle (2021).
The awesome doesn’t stop there, though.
This cast is unreal, really. The dragon is voiced by none other than Gaten Matarazzo (The Angry Birds Movie 2, Honor Society, Stranger Things) and Elmer by Jacob Tremblay (The Book of Henry, Good Boys, Luca). Ian McShane (John Wick, Hellboy, American Gods) has loaned his voice to the gorilla character, and Iris is voiced by one of the best movie mom’s ever, Dianne Wiest (The Big Year, I Care a Lot, Mayor of Kingstown). We’re talking about the mom from some of the best movies of my childhood, such as the original Footloose (1984), The Lost Boys (1987), and Edward Scissorhands (1990). That’s really just scratching the surface. There are so many other excellent actors attached to this production, I could ramble on and on.
Moving past all those puzzle pieces that put this film together, let’s talk about one of the most important of all - the story.
The tale looks touching; full of adventure as well as lessons in friendship and courage.
If you’re looking for a wholesome movie for the kids this Thanksgiving season, this might just be among your go-to choices. Gather the family with some hot cocoa or popcorn and catch My Father’s Dragon on Netflix from the comfort of home.
14 - The Menu (11/18)

Production/Distribution: Alienworx Productions, Hyperobject Industries, Forum Hungary, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Italia
Director: Mark Mylod
Writers: Seth Reiss, Will Tracy
Actors: Aimee Carrero, Anya Taylor-Joy, Arturo Castro, Christina Brucato, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, John Leguizamo, Judith Light, Nicholas Hoult, Paul Adelstein, Ralph Fiennes, Rob Yang
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 1h 46min
IMDb Blurb: A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.
I’ll confess, I’m slightly a foodie. I love cooking, even though I rarely have much energy for it these days. I also love watching cooking-related shows on Food Network and the like. I think the idea of molecular gastronomy is cool – though, I couldn’t see myself eating at one of the high-end restaurants that feature that as a theme. It’s just not enough food for the price tag. Though, in the case of places such as those featured in The Menu, it’s all about the prestige of going to such an establishment rather than what you actually eat there. In that regard, it’s not something that would be my thing anyway.
The Menu, however, is a movie that plays with the premise of one such restaurant. I got the impression from the trailer it’s poking fun at the concept a little. I’m down for that. I’m also curious as to what the overall culinary experience is going to be for these upper-crust patrons. The head chef of The Menu seems to take the food as an art form to an entirely new level with an immersive experience… that quite likely will prove deadly to many of the guests.
Talk about a meal to die for. (I couldn’t resist.)
Aside from the intriguing concept, it’s the cast that really sells The Menu for me. At the center of everything, we find Ralph Fiennes (The Dig, No Time to Die, The King's Man) as the head chef. Among the patrons are John Leguizamo (The Night Clerk, Critical Thinking, Encanto) and Judith Light (Digging for Fire, Transparent, tick tick...BOOM!). The trailer seems to focus on a particular couple attending the restaurant on a date. Those two actors are none other than Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen's Gambit, Last Night in Soho, The Northman) and Nicholas Hoult (Rebel in the Rye, Tolkien, Those Who Wish Me Dead). I’d watch just about anything with any of the cast I mentioned involved.
The Menu has intrigued me and looks like it will be a fun watch for fans of horror comedy. It will be released exclusively to theaters. It is unclear at this time when it will become available On Demand or via a streaming service.
13 - On the Line (11/17)

Production/Distribution: BondIt Media Capital, CaliWood Pictures, R-Lines Productions, Three Point Capital, Global Film, Icon Film Distribution, Fortitude International, Gravel Road Distribution Group, Saban Films, Second Gen Pictures, Signature Entertainment
Director: Romuald Boulanger
Writers: Romuald Boulanger
Actors: Mel Gibson, William Moseley, Kevin Dillon, John Robinson, Nadia Farès, Enrique Arce, Carole Weyers, Alia Seror-O'Neill, Yoli Fuller, Paul Spera, Avant Strangel, Yann Bean
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 1h 44min
IMDb Blurb: A host takes a call, where an unknown person threatens to kill the showman's entire family on air. To save loved ones, the radio host will have to play a survival game and the only way to win is to find out the identity of the criminal.
Mel Gibson (Fatman, Father Stu, Bandit) is making a comeback and I’m absolutely here for it.
On the Line promises to be quite the suspenseful thriller as Gibson’s character faces his worst fear – his family in danger because of him. The crazy caller seems to allude to some big secret that Gibson’s Elvis needs to confess to. I’m very curious as to what that might be, though it might be small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.
There’s likely more than meets the eye going on with this story, as the caller is evidently not working alone – given the fact that he’s calling from Elvis’ house and the trailer showed evidence of mischief at the radio station building.
This is the 2nd movie Gibson has worked with Kevin Dillon (Dirt, Buddy Games, Hot Seat) on this year. I’m intrigued as to how Dillon fits into the framework of the narrative since the snippet given in the trailer seemed to paint him as not a fan.
I’m also excited to see William Moseley (Friend Request, Raven's Hollow, Medieval) involved with this production as well, apparently playing the studio sound engineer working the board for the radio show – and thus sucked into the events unfolding.
I’m really curious as to how it all plays out.
On the Line is scheduled for a limited theater release. Further details regarding digital and On Demand release, as well as future streaming plans, are unclear at this time.
12 – Slash/Back (11/13)

Production/Distribution: Good Question Media, Mixtape VR, Red Marrow Media, Scythia Films, Stellar Citizens, RLJE Films, Mongrel Media, Shudder
Director: Nyla Innuksuk
Writers: Ryan Cavan, Nyla Innuksuk
Actors: Kristian Bruun, Shaun Benson, Tasiana Shirley, Nalajoss Ellsworth, Amélie Albert-LeBlanc, Natar Ungalaaq, Chelsea Prusky, Alexis Wolfe, Melissa Hood, Frankie Vincent-Wolfe, Rory Anawak, Christopher Metuq, Paulette Metuq, Lucy Qavavauq-Burke, Donald Mearns, Nikita Burke, Iris Sowdluapik, Janice Alivaktuk, Lorna Lawson, Madeleine Qumuatuq, Joanasie Qappik, Hannah Flanagan, Linda Uvilluk, Scottie Kilabuk, Jackie Maniapik, Jenna Papatsie, Niviaq Mike, Evan Innuksuk
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 27min
IMDb Blurb: When Maika and her ragtag friends discover an alien invasion in their tiny arctic hamlet, it's up to them to save the day. Utilizing their makeshift weapons and horror movie knowledge, the aliens realize you don't mess with girls from Pang.
It’s hard to imagine living in a place where the sun doesn’t set – or rise, for that matter – for months at a time. Up at the Arctic Circle, that’s just a simple fact of life for those that call the region home.
Landscapes dotted with rugged mountains and so much snow are the stuff of dreams and fantasy for me, as well; considering that I live in Northwest Louisiana. I’m almost as South as you can get in the continental US. Snow is something that just doesn’t happen here – until it does. Those instances are few and far between – and are practically apocalyptic events for those who can’t drive in the stuff or who have structures not designed with snow accumulation in mind. My carport was one such structure during the last “snowmageddon” about a year or so ago. I digress…
What I was taking the long road to get to is that settings such as in Slash/Back are already fantastical to me, so it makes it easier to suspend disbelief regarding any other element of the story. Aliens? Check. A group of kids are up to the task of hunting the body-snatching monsters down? Check.
Count me in. It sounds like a hell of a good time.
Further, this is the feature film debut for writer and director Nyla Innuksuk (Stories from Our Land Vol. 2: Finding Home, Breaths, Future History). The girls starring in Slash/Back as the alien hunters were cast from the local area where the movie was filmed, as well. It’s not surprising, however, considering that Innuksuk’s prior work has largely been in documentary work featuring her home region.
Slash/Back is set to release on Shudder, and you can bet I’ll be watching it right away – in fact, you can bet we’ll be offering a review here later.
11 - The Magic Flute (11/17)

Production/Distribution: Flute Film, TOBIS Film, Quinta Media, Centropolis Entertainment, Sola Media, AGC Studios, Pixomondo, Constantin-Film, Shout! Studios, TOBIS Film
Director: Florian Sigl
Writers: Andrew Lowery, Florian Sigl, Jason Young, Christopher Zwickler           
Actors: Jeanne Goursaud, Iwan Rheon, F. Murray Abraham, Amir Wilson, Stéfi Celma, Noureddine Farihi, Jack Wolfe, Ryan Hadaller, Wilson Gonzalez, Larissa Sirah Herden, Asha Banks, Niamh McCormack, Luyanda Unati Lewis-Nyawo, Waldemar Kobus, Steffen Mennekes, Stefan Konarske, Tedros Teclebrhan, Jasmin Shakeri, Rolando Villazón, Steffen Jung, Elliot Courtiour, Cosima Henman, Sabine Devieilhe, Morris Robinson, Robert Porter Templeton, Ayna
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Musical
Rated: Unrated
Length: 2 hours
IMDb Blurb: 17-year-old Tim Walker as he travels from London to the Austrian Alps to attend the legendary Mozart boarding school. There, he discovers a centuries-old forgotten passageway into the fantastic world of Mozart's "The Magic Flute."
The Magic Flute is exactly the sort of movie that I enjoy the most during the Holiday Season. I long to be swept away on flights of fancy with tales of magic and mystery. This particular movie hits quite a few notes to make it all the more endearing for me.
I’ve always been enamored with stories set at boarding schools. It’s not an experience I’ve ever had – outside of books and film – and it feels exotic and romantic in concept. Then, you factor in that the main character is a boy who is a singer, and he’s attending a prestigious music school. Singing has long been ‘my thing’ and I attended college to become a choir teacher, back in the day.
This young man is ‘the new kid’ and apparently has a hard time fitting in with his peers. I relate to that deeply in my bones. I’ve been that ‘new kid at school’ several times in my life, and it was generally uncomfortable.
Of course, we can’t forget the magic clock that transports the boy into the world of the story in Mozart's opera of "The Magic Flute." Ordinary household objects transporting people to fantastical places have long been a literary device that has brought me joy, ever since I first read about the wardrobe to Narnia.
The Magic Flute looks like it will be a fun adventure full of music and madcap, and I can’t wait to watch it. This film is getting a theater release in Germany, though should also be available digitally via the Pluto TV channel or on Roku devices.

10 - Blue’s Big City Adventure (11/18)

Production/Distribution: Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, 9 Story Media Group, Nickelodeon Network, Paramount+
Director: Matt Stawski
Writers: Liz Maccie, Angela Santomero
Actors: BD Wong, Alex Winter, Steve Burns, Ali Stroker, Steven Pasquale, Joshua Dela Cruz, Donovan Patton, Taboo, Jacob Soley, Ava Augustin, Amanda Dela Cruz, Brianna Bryan, Traci Paige Johnson
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Family
Rated: TV-Y
Length: 1h 22min
IMDb Blurb: Josh and Blue head to New York City to audition for a big Broadway musical.
The original Blue's Clues (1996-2020) hit the small screen the same year I graduated from high school. I wasn’t exactly in the demographic to watch on a regular basis. Though, through relatives and friends with little ones, I was vaguely aware of its existence. Fast forward several years and Blues Clue’s was still running when my daughter was born in 2003. She enjoyed it, for the most part, when she was a toddler.
It was such a wholesome and fun show, while at the same time reinforcing critical thinking and problem-solving for young kids. There were even episodes about working through feelings and things of that nature.
Sufficed to say, even though Blue’s Clues wasn’t a part of my childhood, I get it why the show is so special to so many. I couldn’t help but feel touched when the former host, Steve, played by Steve Burns (Netherbeast Incorporated, Christmas on Mars, Blue's Clues & You) left a heartfelt message to fans on Twitter regarding his departure from the show.
Well, fans of all ages get ready for a treat! (Okay, to be fair this movie is geared toward the regular age demographic of the shows.) It seems all of the prior hosts (minus, from what I can tell, the UK guy) have reunited for a special Blue’s Clues movie! That’s right, Steve is back along with his “brother” Joe, played by Donovan Patton (Team Umizoomi, Super PupZ, Gabby's Dollhouse), and the new host, Josh, played by Joshua Dela Cruz (Point Man, Adam Bloom, The Tiny Chef Show). The one and only voice of Blue, Traci Paige Johnson (Blue's Biggest Stories, Super PupZ, Blue's Clues & You) herself, is helming her iconic blue pupper for the movie, as well.
This film looks like a lot of fun, and a great watch for little kids. We don’t generally find ourselves listing very many productions geared to this particular age range, so I was also really jazzed to have this chance to do so.
Blue’s Big City Adventure will be releasing directly to Paramount+.
9 - Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (11/4)

Production/Distribution: Funny or Die, Tango Entertainment, The Roku Channel
Director: Eric Appel
Writers: Eric Appel, 'Weird Al' Yankovic        
Actors: Andrew Steven Hernandez, Daniel Radcliffe, David Bloom, Dot Jones, Evan Rachel Wood, James Preston Rogers, Jimmy Walker Jr., Julianne Nicholson, Paloma Rabinov, Quinta Brunson, Rainn Wilson, Spencer Treat Clark, Thomas Lennon, Toby Huss, Will Forte
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Music
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 48min
IMDb Blurb: Explores every facet of Yankovic's life, from his meteoric rise to fame with early hits like 'Eat It' and 'Like a Surgeon' to his torrid celebrity love affairs and famously depraved lifestyle.
Where to I even begin with this one? 'Weird Al' Yankovic (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Milo Murphy's Law, Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation) is practically a pop culture staple. It’s been said that you really know you’ve made it in the music industry if Weird Al turns one of your songs into one of his signature parodies. I’ve grown up with Yankovic’s quirky sense of humor blasting over the airwaves, and his work has brought me and countless others many laughs and fun memories. I still adore and occasionally listen to the first song I remember hearing from Yankovic - "Dare to be Stupid" from The Transformers: The Movie (1986).
If anyone has any questions as to whether or not Weird Al, himself, has approved of this movie, fear not. Yankovic was heavily involved with this production from writing to even casting. Daniel Radcliffe (Guns Akimbo, Miracle Workers, The Lost City), who is playing Yankovic in the film, explained in an interview that Weird Al had called him directly to pitch the role after seeing an appearance of Radcliffe on the UK’s Graham Norton Show (2007-). After watching the trailer, I get it why he was chosen for the part. Though, Radcliffe’s vocals won’t be who you’re hearing when his Weird Al sings on screen. Yankovic is even singing his own music to be dubbed onto Radcliffe’s performance.
Radcliffe isn’t the only big name joining the Weird: The Al Yankovic Story cast. Jack Black (The Polka King, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight) is playing DJ and Radio Hall of Fame member Wolfman Jack (1938–1995). Rainn Wilson (The Office, Shimmer Lake, The Meg) is taking on the role of the quirky Dr. Demento, and Evan Rachel Wood (Into the Forest, Kajillionaire, Westwood) is playing a young Madonna (Swept Away, Die Another Day, Arthur and the Invisibles). That’s really just scratching the surface.
Weird Al’s fame has come from taking popular songs and turning them on their head with absolutely ridiculous parodies. He turned Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” into “Amish Paradise” and Chamillionaire's "Ridin'" into “White and Nerdy.” This movie is no different. Yankovic has made a parody of his own life, blowing everything out of proportion to play up to every rock n’ roll cliché and trope in the book – from bad behavior to salacious affairs.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story just looks like a lot of fun. It will be releasing directly to the Roku channel. It is unclear at this time what other platforms will have this film available.
8 - Disenchanted (11/18)

Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures, Josephson Entertainment, Right Coast Productions, Andalasia Productions, Metropolitan Films International, Disney+, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director: Adam Shankman
Writers: Brigitte Hales, J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Richard LaGravenese, Bill Kelly
Actors: Amy Adams, Ann Harada, Gabriella Baldacchino, Griffin Newman, Idina Menzel, James Marsden, James Monroe Iglehart, Jayma Mays, Karen Sampford, Kolton Stewart, Maya Rudolph, Oscar Nuñez, Patrick Dempsey, Rachel Covey, Yvette Nicole Brown
Genre: Family, Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 2 hours
IMDb Blurb: Ten years after her happily ever after, Giselle questions her happiness, inadvertently turning the lives of those in the real world and Andalasia upside down in the process.
It’s about time, right? Disenchanted is the direct sequel to Enchanted (2007), and has been in various stages of development since 2010.
Worry not. Amy Adams (Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, The Woman in the Window), James Marsden (Into the Grizzly Maze, Dead to Me, Sonic the Hedgehog 2), Patrick Dempsey (Made of Honor, Bridget Jones's Baby, Grey's Anatomy), and Idina Menzel (Ralph Breaks the Internet, Uncut Gems, American Murderer) are reprising their roles.
We are going to see some new villains in the mix, and I’m interested in seeing how it will all play out! A couple names I recognized out of the malevolent trio of baddies featured in Disenchanted were Maya Rudolph (Luca, Bless the Harts, Big Mouth) and Yvette Nicole Brown (The Loud House, DC League of Super Pets, Big Shot).
I really like the premise that things aren’t always ‘happily ever after’ and life happens, and can be tiring a lot of the time. It’s easy to see how someone from a fairy tale land could feel the grind of everyday life and lose a good bit of their shine. I’m curious how things turn around again once Giselle gets a reality check.
Disenchanted will be releasing directly to Disney+.
7 - Slumberland (11/18)

Production/Distribution: Chernin Entertainment, Netflix
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Michael Handelman, Winsor McCay, David Guion
Actors: Ava Cheung, Chris O'Dowd, Humberly González, India de Beaufort, Jason Momoa, Kyle Chandler, Marlow Barkley, Mercedes Blanche, Michael Blake, Tonya Cornelisse, Weruche Opia
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 57min
IMDb Blurb: A young girl discovers a secret map to the dreamworld of Slumberland, and with the help of an eccentric outlaw, she traverses dreams and flees nightmares, with the hope that she will be able to see her late father again.
There are many good reasons to watch Slumberland this month. My main reason? I can unabashedly say it is Jason Momoa (Frontier, Dune, See). He brings good energy to all of his roles, he’s a genuinely cool guy and is also an advocate for taking care of our planet. I’m not cheering because of the eye candy he usually provides for his projects. His character in Slumberland, Flip, actually has a bit of a dad-bod. It’s all good – that’s not what this story is about, after all.
I’m also jazzed about the director. I’ve generally really enjoyed the films of Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). He was, of course, the director for Constantine (2005) and most of The Hunger Games movies. He will be, in fact, directing the next one with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is currently filming; and he is slated to direct Constantine 2 at some point in the near future.
The story of Slumberland is based somewhat on the comic strip series Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay (1871–1934). He was one of America’s first well-known animators, and while he didn’t invent the animated cartoon, he was the first to bring the medium to wide audiences. There have been some notable changes to some of the characters. Considering, however, that the comic strip came out in the very early 1900s, it’s unlikely that most audiences today would be familiar enough to mind. For others that do, well, please take it with a grain of salt.
I think this looks like a wonderful flight of fantasy into the world of dreams and nightmares and I can’t wait to watch it with my family.
Slumberland is releasing as a Netflix exclusive.
6 - Strange World (11/23)

Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Forum Hungary, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany, Disney+
Directors: Don Hall, Qui Nguyen
Writer: Qui Nguyen
Actors: Alan Tudyk, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union, Jaboukie Young-White, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lucy Liu
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation
Rated: PG
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: The legendary Clades are a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest and most crucial mission.
I’m a sucker for Disney animated movies. That’s really the primary reason Strange World would have always made it onto my list. There is a matter of the story piquing my interest with its sci-fi and fantasy elements, as well.
Okay, so Strange World has a lot going on for it – especially the cast. Dennis Quaid (Midway, Blue Miracle, American Underdog) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Southpaw, Everest, Spider-Man: Far from Home) are once more playing on-screen father and son, respectively. Gabrielle Union (The Lion Guard, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Inspection) and Lucy Liu (Future World, Elementary, Why Women Kill) are also kick-ass and amazing.
Then there’s Alan Tudyk (M.O.D.O.K., Resident Alien, Harley Quinn). He’s one of my absolute favorites of all time. IMDb doesn’t list exactly what part he’s playing; however, my money is on the odd little blue alien blob-creature from the trailer. (It’s either that or the family dog – or both!) You never know what you’re going to get with him, and it’s always spectacular and hilarious – even when he’s playing a crazy chicken.
Strange World will be released exclusively to theaters, initially. It is unclear at this time when it will become available on digital or On Demand. Look for it to take 40 days or more for it to reach Disney+. Of course, they could surprise us with early drops for the Holiday Season, however, that is unlikely.
5 - Enola Holmes 2 (11/4)

Production/Distribution: Legendary Entertainment, Netflix, PCMA Productions, Warner Bros.
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Writers: Jack Thorne, Nancy Springer, Harry Bradbeer
Actors: Adeel Akhtar, David Thewlis, David Westhead, Hannah Dodd, Helena Bonham Carter, Henry Cavill, Louis Partridge, Millie Bobby Brown, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Susan Wokoma
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Crime
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 9min
IMDb Blurb: Now a detective-for-hire, Enola Holmes takes on her first official case to find a missing girl as the sparks of a dangerous conspiracy ignite a mystery that requires the help of friends - and Sherlock himself - to unravel.
I am eagerly counting down the hours until the release of Enola Holmes 2. I absolutely adored the first movie and was ecstatic when they announced the sequel.
The trio of Millie Bobby Brown (Intruders, Stranger Things, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Helena Bonham Carter (Ocean's Eight, Dragonheart Vengeance, The Crown), and Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, Night Hunter, The Witcher) have great chemistry together. I’d also watch them in just about anything.
I’ve always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes and mysteries. I really appreciate how these stories featuring his little sister, Enola, put a new spin on things but also keep Mr. Holmes in the peripheral just in case. In this sequel, it seems that Sherlock and Enola might just be teaming up to solve their respective cases. I’m excited to see how that turns out.
There’s far more to love about these movies, but I could ramble on forever. The important thing to know is that Enola Holmes 2 is also a Netflix original and will be releasing directly to the streaming service.
4 - Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (11/23)

Production/Distribution: Lionsgate, T-Street, Cineworld Group, Netflix
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Actors: Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Ethan Hawke, Janelle Monáe, Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Madelyn Cline
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Crime
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 19min
IMDb Blurb: Famed Southern detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece for his latest case.
Director Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: Episode VIII- The Last Jedi, Poker Face) returns along with lead Daniel Craig (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Logan Lucky, No Time to Die) to this new Knives Out tale. Craig will be reprising his role as detective Benoit Blanc, though this time he’ll be traveling to Greece for his latest case.
The cast is star-studded, and I can’t wait to see what they all bring to the table. I loved the original movie and was super jazzed to learn that there will be another sequel following Knives Out 2, which Johnson and Craig will also return for.
Another reason Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a must-watch for me is that it features the final performances of both legendary Oscar-winning composer Stephen Sondheim (1930–2021) and the phenomenal Angela Lansbury (Nanny McPhee, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Mary Poppins Returns).
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will have a single-week limited theater run before it is pulled from screens. It will return to Netflix on December 23rd after that. If you have an AMC, Regal, or Cinemark theater near you, check your local listings to see if your city has one of the 600 or so screens that Knives Out 2 will appear on briefly.
3 - A Christmas Story Christmas (11/17)

Production/Distribution: Legendary Entertainment, Rotten Eggs Productions, Toberoff Productions, Warner Bros., Wild West Picture Show Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, HBO Max
Director: Clay Kaytis
Writer: Nick Schenk, Clay Kaytis, Peter Billingsley
Actors: Peter Billingsley, Erinn Hayes, Gracen Newton, Ian Petrella, J.R. Esposito, Julianna Layne, Mark Arnold, R.D. Robb, River Drosche, Sam Parks, Scott Schwartz, Zack Ward
Genre: Comedy, Family, Drama
Rated: PG
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: Follows Ralphie, now adult, who returns to the house on Cleveland street to give his kids a magical Christmas like the one he had as a child, reconnecting with childhood friends, and reconciling the passing of his Old Man.
The moment that I saw A Christmas Story Christmas was going to be a thing, I was giddily excited to the point I was fairly bouncing in my chair. I absolutely love A Christmas Story (1983) and have watched it so many times, I’ve lost count. It’s one of my go-to holiday movies. I think I’ve made my daughter sick of it (which is blasphemy, I tell you) – but to each, their own, right?
The concept doesn’t work, however, if it didn’t call back to the original. Worry not, though, because none other than Peter Billingsley (Elf, A Case of You, Spider-Man: Far from Home) helped write the script and is starring in this long-awaited sequel.
Sadly, not all of the original cast could return. This film was made partially as a tribute to the late Darren McGavin (1922–2006), who played Ralphie’s dad in the original movie.
Ralphie’s school friends and at least one of his school yard bullies will be returning to reprise their roles in A Christmas Story Christmas, though.
This movie is on a countdown for me, too. I can’t wait for it to release. A Christmas Story Christmas will be available on HBO Max.
2 - Spirited (11/11)

Production/Distribution: Gloria Sanchez Productions, Maximum Effort, Mosaic, Apple TV+
Directors: Sean Anders, John Morris
Writers: Sean Anders, Charles Dickens, John Morris
Actors: Aimee Carrero, Anastasia Sanidopoulos Mousis, Heidi Garza, Jen Tullock, Joe Tippett, Marlow Barkley, Octavia Spencer, P.J. Byrne, Ryan Reynolds, Sunita Mani, Will Ferrell
Genre: Comedy, Family, Musical
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 7min
IMDb Blurb: A musical version of Charles Dickens's story of a miserly misanthrope who is taken on a magical journey.
The answer to why Spirited is on my list is, honestly, ‘shut up and take my money’ – as the saying goes.
Ryan Reynolds (Free Guy, Red Notice, The Adam Project) is playing a version of Scrooge and Will Ferrell (Zeroville, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, The Shrink Next Door) is playing the spirit of Christmas Present in this latest Dickins adaptation.
It is, indeed, a Christmas present for us all. I know what I’m asking my husband for, for our anniversary this year – a night at the movies for the whole family, watching Spirited.
Spirited will have a theater run initially, and will then transition to AppleTV+.
1 - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (11/11)

Production/Distribution: Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Forum Hungary, HKC Entertainment, Kinomania, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writers: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole
Actors: Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Thorne, Dorothy Steel, Florence Kasumba, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Marlon Hayes, Martin Freeman, Michaela Coel, Richard Schiff, Tenoch Huerta, Winston Duke
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 41min
IMDb Blurb: The nation of Wakanda is pitted against intervening world powers as they mourn the loss of their king T'Challa.
Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther, 21 Bridges, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) will never be forgotten. From what I can tell from the trailer, a good deal of this new Black Panther movie will be in tribute to his contribution to Wakanda and the MCU.
There’s really no need to further explain. We carry on with the stories because he’d want us to, and Marvel is synonymous with a fun time at the movies.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will have an initial theater run before releasing on Disney+.  

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina
Mad Heidi .20
The Area 51 Incident .19
One Piece Film: Red .18
The Friendship Game .17
The Inspection .16
I'm Totally Fine .15
Enola Holmes 2 .14
Blue’s Big City Adventure .13
Slash/Back .12
She Said .11
The Fabelmans .10
Spirited .9
Slumberland .8
The Magic Flute .7
The Wonder .6
The Menu .5
Strange World .4
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story .3
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery .2
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever .1
 What makes a movie eligible for Trust the Dice’s Top 20?