“My plan was to die before the money ran out” has become the anthem and tagline of the Sony Pictures Classics’ French Exit starring Michelle Pfeiffer as a 60-year-old penniless Manhattan socialite – a role that has been earning her plenty of awards season buzz.
Opening in theaters today before expanding nationwide April 2, French Exit is directed by Azazel Jacobs and written by Patrick deWitt, who wrote the bestselling novel on which the movie is based. In it, Pfeiffer plays Frances Price whose life hasn’t gone exactly as planned after her dead husband’s (Tracy Letts) inheritance is gone. She cashes in the last of her possessions and decides to live out her twilight days anonymously in a borrowed apartment in Paris with her directionless son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) and a cat named Small Frank — who may or may not embody the spirit of her husband.
French Exit made its world premiere as the closing Night feature at the 2020 New York Film Festival. It also stars Danielle Macdonald, Daniel di Tomasso, Susan Coyne, Imogen Poots, Isaach de Bankolé and Valerie Mahaffey, who recently received an Indie Spirit Award nomination for a supporting role.
In his review of the film, Pete Hammond said of Pfeiffer’s performance in his review: “She tops an aces cast that is sublime in every way in an absurdist comedy that is surreal, dark, witty, quirky, humane, and oddly touching.”
“Stylistically it recalls everything from Wes Anderson to Harold And Maude but it sways to its own distinct rhythms,” he continues. “All that said, French Exit likely is not for everyone, but those who embrace its considerable pleasures are in for a special treat.”
Watch the trailer below.
Robin Wright makes her feature directorial debut with Land, which opens in theaters today.
The Focus Features film recently made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and follows Edee (Wright) who finds herself disconnected from the world she once knew after an unfathomable event. In the face of that uncertainty she retreats to the wilds of the Rockies. After a local hunter (Demián Bichir) brings her back from the brink of death, she must find a way to live again.
The film was written by Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam and also features Kim Dickens. This may mark the feature directorial debut, but she is no stranger to sitting in the director’s chair as she has directed 10 episodes of House of Cards. In his review, Hammond said: “…for her feature directorial debut she really has upped the stakes and taken on a challenging project, both logistically and in terms of a starring role that is emotionally draining. She succeeds impressively on both counts.”
He adds, “She says she was inspired to take on those challenges by what she felt was a need for a movie that emphasized our own goodness and humanity in a time rocked by mass shootings and ugliness brought about in the Trump era. We can use it.”
Watch the trailer below.
Bridesmaids duo Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo bring the funny once again with the Lionsgate pic Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar, which will be released on premium on demand today.
Written by and starring Wiig and Mumolo, the Josh Greenbaum-directed comedy follows best friends Barb and Star as they leave their small Midwestern town — for the first time in their lives. As they go on their adventurous vacation they celebrate their friendship, experience romance and, in a wild turn of events, a villain’s evil plot.
Barb & Star Go To Vista also stars Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr., Fortune Feimster, Wendi McLeandon-Covey, Rose Abdoo, Vanessa Bayer, Phyllis Smith and Kwame Patterson.
Directed by Anna Kerrigan, Cowboys made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and 2020 before going on to play at Outfest Film Festival and San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival Frameline. The film from Samuel Goldwyn certainly tells a story that is relevant today.
Opening in virtual cinemas and dropping on VOD the film stars Steve Zahn as Troy, a troubled but well-intentioned father who has recently separated from his wife Sally (Jillian Bell). Sally is not letting their trans son Joe (Sasha Knight) live as his authentic self. Troy reacts and runs off with Joe into the Montana wilderness. Meanwhile, a police detective (Ann Dowd) pursues them, but her resolve about the case is tested the more she learns about Joe’s family. The drama also stars Gary Farmer, Bob Stephenson, Chris Coy and John Reynolds.
Bleecker Street’s The World to Come will have a limited theatrical debut starting today before hitting VOD on March 2.
Mona Fastvold directs a script written by Jim Shepard and Ron Hansen. The film made its world premiere at last year’s Venice International Film Festival where it won the Queer Lion award.
Set in the 19th century in the American Northeast, the romantic drama stars Katherine Waterson as Abigail, a farmer’s wife, and Vanessa Kirby as her new neighbor Tallie. The two find themselves drawn to each other. Abigail tends to her withdrawn husband Dyer (Casey Affleck) and Tallie is under jealous control of her husband Finney (Christopher Abbott). The two begin to fill an intimate void in each other’s lives they never knew existed.
Tate Taylor’s Breaking News In Yuba County is the epitome of an ensemble feature. The comedy has a robust cast that includes Allison Janney, Mila Kunis, Regina Hall, Awkwafina, Wanda Sykes, Jimmi Simpson, Juliette Lewis, Matthew Modine, Ellen Barkin, Samira Wiley, Bridget Everett, Clifton Collins, Jr. and Keong Sim.
Written by Amanda Idoko, the film follows underappreciated suburban wife Sue Buttons (Janney) who gets a taste of local stardom after she embarks on a city-wide search in Yuba County to find her missing husband. In an effort to prolong her newfound fame, she stumbles into hilarious hijinks as her world turns upside down, dodging a wanna-be mobster (Awkwafina), a relentless local policewoman (Hall), her half-sister (Kunis) a local news reporter desperate for a story, and her husband’s dead-beat brother (Simpson), who all set out to uncover the truth behind the disappearance.
Breaking News In Yuba County premieres on digital and in select theaters today.
In the vein of Groundhog’s Day, the Ian Samuels-directed The Map of Tiny Perfect Things tells the story of quick-witted teen Mark (Kyle Allen) as he lives the same day in an endless loop. He’s content with this life until things are turned upside-down when he meets mysterious Margaret (Kathryn Newton) who happens to be stuck in the time loop.
As a result, the two form a magnetic partnership, setting out to find all the tiny things that make that one day perfect. As expected, the two fall in love as they try to figure if they can escape the never-ending day.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is based on the short story by Lev Grossman, who also wrote the script. Jermaine Harris, Anna Mikami, Josh Hamilton and Cleo Fraser also star. The romantic comedy launches today on Prime Video.
The legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg lives on in the documentary Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words, which premieres in virtual cinemas today before debuting on Starz on March 1. It will be available on TVOD on March 9 and will air on Starz again on March 15 in what would have been Justice Ginsburg’s 88th birthday.
Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock, the docu chronicles Justice Ginsburg rice to the U.S. Supreme Court. The docu features Justice Goodwin Liu, Delegate Jennfier Carroll Foy, Lilly Ledbetter, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik, M.E. Freeman, Kathleen Peratis and, of course, the trailblazing icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Nicolas Cage continues his streak of offbeat and very novel genre pics with Willy’s Wonderland directed by Kevin Lewis and written by G.O. Parsons.
Cage stars as a loner who finds himself stranded in a remote town after his car breaks down. He isn’t able to pay for the repairs so he agrees to spend the night cleaning the abandoned family fun center Willy’s Wonderland — as one would do.
He thinks Willy’s Wonderland is a normal abandoned park, but soon discovers that it has a very dark secret. He finds himself trapped inside the park and locked in an epic battle with the possessed animatronic mascots that roam the halls. To survive, he must fight his way through each of them. This is very much a Nic Cage movie.
Willy’s Wonderland also stars Emily Tosta, Beth Grant, Ric Reitz, and Chris Warner. Screen Media release the film on demand today.
Before Cathy Yan directed Birds of Prey, the filmmaker received critical acclaim for her film Dead Pigs, which debuts on Mubi today.
The film marks the feature directorial debut of Yan and stars Zazie Beetz, Vivian Wu, Mason Lee, Meng Li, David Rysdahl and Haoyu Yang. Dead Pigs made its world premiere in 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival where it won a Special Award Prize for Ensemble Acting
Based on remarkable true events, Dead Pigs is a social satire about the trials and tribulations connecting a disparate group of characters as thousands of dead pigs (hence the title) mysteriously float down river towards a rapidly modernizing Shanghai, China.
Also opening in select theaters and debuting on VOD is Sarah and Zachary Ray Sherman’s Young Hearts. The film, which made its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2020, follows the lives of Tilly (Quinn Liebling) and Harper (Anjini Taneja Azhar) who have lived across the street from each other since they were small children. Harper’s older brother (Alex Jarmon) is Tilly’s best friend… I think we can all see where this is going. When Harper enters high school, she and Tilly find themselves in an unexpected relationship that challenges social expectations.
Other films making their debut on demand and in theaters this weekend include the Castille Landon-directed thriller Fear of Rain starring Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr as well as Wallace Horvat’s I Blame Society which is a satirical take on the pitfalls of post-#MeToo culture in Los Angeles.
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