Neon will bring some passionate romance in Ammonite this weekend. The period pic starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan opened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September where it immediately garnered buzz as an Oscar favorite.
Written and directed by Francis Lee, Ammonite is set in the 1840s and follows once-acclaimed paleontologist Mary Anning (Winslet), who works alone on the Southern English coastline of Lyme Regis. With the days of her fame behind her, she’s stern and doesn’t exactly like the company of others. She spends her time digging up common fossils to sell to rich tourists to support herself and her ailing widowed mother (Gemma Jones).
Enter geologist James McArdle (Roderick Murchison) who arrives in Lyme with his wife Charlotte (Ronan). He asks Mary to keep his wife company who is recuperating from a personal tragedy. The two are from totally different worlds Mary struggles while living on the poverty line while Charlotte comes from privilege — but opposites attract. Realizing their bond, the two eventually enter a passionate — and forbidden love affair.
Pete Hammond said in his review on Deadline: “James Ivory might be proud and even jealous of the way writer-director Francis Lee takes the Anglo art house tradition of quality to an uncustomary level of sexual frankness, an aspect that will remind many viewers of last year’s similarly themed French favorite Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”
Winslet was honored with two prestigious acting tributes from the Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. The film went on to play at the Hamptons Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival and was opening night at NewFest where Francis Lee was awarded the Queer Visionary Award.
Despite cases of COVID spiking across the country, Ammonite is slated to open in 280 theaters in North America today before dropping on PVOD on December 4. The theatrical opening and subsequent run is the first step in what Neon considers a re-engineered platform release tailored for navigating a limited theatrical footprint amidst a growing number of theater closings due to the pandemic.
Watch the trailer below.
Also entering the theatrical fray this weekend is the Sony Pictures Classics alt bromantic comedy The Climb starring the film’s director Michael Angelo Covino as well as his co-writer Kyle Marvin.
The Climb introduces us to two best friends Kyle (Marvin) and Mike (Covino) until one day Mike confesses to Kyle that he slept with his fiancée. From there, the film lives up to its title bringing us on a tumultuous — and oftentimes funny journey as these two real-life best friends put their brotherly bond to the test.
The Climb seems to be resonating with audiences as it currently sits at a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. It premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard, where it won the Jury Coup de Couer Prize. It also won the Jury Prize at the Deauville Film Festival and showed at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The film also stars Gayle Rankin, Judith Godréche, George Wendt and Talia Balsam.
Watch the trailer below.
Crazy Rich Asians actor Henry Golding takes a dramatic turn in Strand Releasing’s Monsoon which opens in Film Forum’s Virtual Cinema starting today.
Directed and written by Hong Khaou, the story follows Golding’s Kit who returns home to Ho Chi Minh City for the first time since his family fled the aftermath of the Vietnam-American War when he was six years old. As he looks for a meaningful place to scatter his parents’ ashes, he finds himself struggling to make sense of himself in a city he’s no longer familiar with.
As he is on his homecoming journey, he develops a romance with an American ex-pat (Parker Sawyers) whose father fought in the war and a friendship with a vibrant young local student (Molly Harris). Through these relationships, he rekindles a connection with his estranged family and homeland.
Watch the trailer below.
In Relativity’s Come Away, director Brenda Chapman brings a very imaginative take on the origin story of two beloved literary characters: Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.
Written by Marissa Kate Goodhill, the story follows eight-year-old Alice (Keira Chansa), her mischievous brother Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and their older sibling David (Reece Yates) as they spend their summer in the English countryside, letting their imaginations run wild. Encouraged by their parents Jack and Rose (David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie), the kids participate in make-believe tea parties, sword fights and pirate ship adventures — but all comes to an abrupt end when tragedy strikes. Peter looks to prove himself as a hero to his struggling parents so he and Alice go on a journey to London where they try to sell a treasured heirloom to the sinister pawnshop owner known as C.J. (David Gyasi). Returning home, Alice seeks temporary refuge in a wondrous rabbit hole while Peter permanently escapes reality by entering a magical realm as leader of the “Lost Boys.”
Come Away debuts in theaters and on-demand starting today. It marks the live-action directorial debut of animation vet Chapman, who won an Oscar for Pixar’s Brave. The film also features Anna Chancellor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, with Derek Jacobi and Michael Caine.
Keeping in the spirit of magical fantasy, Almost Christmas and El Camino Christmas director David E. Talbert brings his third serving of cinematic yuletide fare with Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey to Netflix this weekend.
Just in time to get audiences in the holiday spirit, the family-friendly musical is set in the vibrant town of Cobbleton where we find legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. However, when his apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) steals his most prized creation, it’s up to Jeronicus’ inventive granddaughter (newcomer Madalen Mills) — and a long-forgotten invention — to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within.
Hammond said of the movie in his review: “The production values are first-rate, and Whitaker anchors the whole enterprise with real authority and heart. What else could you possibly ask for under the tree this year? It fits the family bill just fine.”
The movie calls back to traditional Hollywood holiday musicals with modern flair provided by original songs from John Legend, Philip Lawrence, and Davy Nathan. The musical is stacked with even more top-notch talent including Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Hugh Bonneville and Ricky Martin. For more insight into this Christmas fantasy, listen to Talbert talk about Jingle Jangle on the latest episode of the New Hollywood Podcast.
Greta Thunberg has quickly become icon with her outspokenness about climate change — and her trolling of Trump. Hulu spotlights the teenage activist in the docu I Am Greta which drops on the streamer today.
Helmed by Swedish director Nathan Grossman, I Am Greta debuted at the Venice Film Festival before hitting the Toronto International Film Festival among others. The film tells the story of climate activist Thunberg through compelling and never-before-seen footage. Starting with her one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish Parliament, Grossman follows Thunberg — a shy student with Asperger’s — in her rise to prominence and her galvanizing global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world. The film culminates with her extraordinary wind-powered voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.
The Roadside Attractions drama The Ride attempts to bridge a racial divide in a story based on the life of sports legend John Buultjens. The movie drops on Amazon Prime Video today.
The Ride follows John McCord (Shane Graham), an athletically gifted youth who manages to overcome a troubled upbringing. However, after a violent, racially-charged incident lands him in juvenile detention, he is eventually placed with an unlikely set of foster parents, Eldridge (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Marianna Buultjens (Sasha Alexander), an interracial couple who want to provide a fresh start for the tormented youth. Eldridge makes it his mission to overcome the challenges of John’s white supremacist upbringing and slowly begins to forge a bond with him through extreme sports.
Directed by Alex Ranarivelo and written by J.R. Reher & Jean Marie Sobeck, Hadeel Reda and Alex Ranarivelo, The Ride debuts at a time when the country is struggling to navigate a racial reckoning — specifically with the Black community. That said, it will be very interesting to see what conversation this film sparks.
Other movies debuting this weekend are writer-director Sacha Polak’s Dirty God. The film follows follows Jade, a young mother in the prime of her life who suffers an acid attack which leaves her severely burned. Descending a self-destructive path with relationships crumbling, she must take drastic action to reclaim her life. Dark Star Pictures will release Dirty God in virtual cinemas starting today. It will be available via digital release on December 15.
Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms’s action comedy Fat Man starring Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins and Marianne Jean-Baptiste will open in select theaters this weekend before hitting digital November 17. On the digital and on demand front, the NFL Philly Eagles documentary, Maybe Next Year debuted earlier this week while Saban Films brings Seth Savoy’s action thriller Echo Boomers starring Michael Shannon and Patrick Schwarzenegger and Samuel Goldwyn releases David Freyne’s LGTBQ romantic dramedy Dating Amber.