Directors: Kantemir Balagov
Cast: Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Vasilisa Perelygina, and Andrey Bykov
Synopsis: Two Russian soldiers return to their hometown in the months following World War II, each struggling to adjust to their post-war lives of motherhood and work.
Why You Should See It: For many Eastern European filmmakers, the post-war years were spent attempting to make some sense of the death and destruction visited on their cities. “Beanpole,” the much-lauded 2019 Cannes Film Festival premiere, follows in these same footsteps. Our own Jordan Ruimy praised the work of sophomore filmmaker Balagov as a “damn-near radical” feature, albeit one entirely disinterested in “mainstream movie audiences taste and rhythms.”
Our Review: B+ (Cannes Film Festival)
Release Information: “Beanpole” will receive a theatrical release on January 29, 2020.
“Blow the Man Down”
Directors: Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole
Cast: Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor, and Margo Martindale
Synopsis: After the sudden death of their mother, the Connolly sisters must learn to fend for themselves when an act of self-defense puts them on the wrong side of the law in a coastal Maine town.
Why You Should See It: If you make a black comedy that combines hapless criminals with small town absurdity, you’d better be sure you know where the Coen Brothers filmography ends and your film begins. Thankfully, Krudy and Savage Cole power their feature with what our own Ally Johnson could only call a “feminist fury.” Just when you think you have “Blow the Man Down” figured out, Johnson wrote, the film “twists and turns to say things about unturning a blind eye, small-town dynamics, family, and something warmer about the legacy of wise women who have seen much more than you know.”
Our Review: B+ (Tribeca Film Festival)
Release Information: “Blow the Man Down” will premiere on Amazon Prime sometime in 2020.
.@AmazonStudios Acquires Worldwide Rights To Dark Comedy Coen-Esque Thriller BLOW THE MAN DOWN starring Morgan Saylor ("White Girl") and Sophie Lowe ("Beautiful Kate"). Our review from the #TribecaFilmFestival earlier this year. https://t.co/pq45QQwlrk pic.twitter.com/UfmuPiOMyN
— The Playlist ???? (@ThePlaylist) August 15, 2019
Directors: Michael Angelo Covino
Cast: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin, and Gayle Rankin
Synopsis: The friendship of two men ebbs and flowers over the years after the revelation that one of them slept with the other’s fiancée.
Why You Should See It: American comedies are very good at making us think all of the important relationships in life will sort themselves out in three seasons or less. Then there are films like “The Climb,” which posit our most enduring relationships – the friendships and romances that we will carry with us long into adulthood – spill out over the span of years. Covino’s debut feature earned praise as a comedy standout at the oh-so-serious Cannes Film Festival, where our Caroline Tsai described it as a “relentlessly funny, affecting comedy.”
Our Review: A- (Cannes Film Festival)
Release Information: “The Climb” will receive a theatrical release on March 20, 2020.
Director: Alexander Nanau
Synopsis: This Romanian documentary follows the staff of the local newspaper Sports Gazette as they chase down a medical conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of public office.
Why You Should See It: The best documentaries, like the 2019 standout “Honeyland,” avoid the temptation to underline obvious parallels to broader socioeconomic concerns. With a narrative structured around journalistic integrity and political corruption, “Collective” will undoubtedly resonate with moviegoers in the United States, but our own Christian Gallichio argues that its emphasis on locality makes for a stronger feature. “The story at the heart of ‘Collective’ is one of the most fascinating cover-ups in recent memory,” Gallichio wrote, “and the film is nothing short of a nail-biting thriller.”
Our Review: A (Toronto International Film Festival)
Release Information: “Collective” will receive a theatrical release sometime in spring 2020.
— The Playlist ???? (@ThePlaylist) September 6, 2019
“Color Out of Space”
Director: Richard Stanley
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Q’orianka Kilcher, and Tommy Chong
Synopsis: When a meteorite crashes in the back yard of an uptight New England family, its presence and unearthly glow begins to untether everything it touches from the rational world.
Why You Should See It: Richard Stanley has pretty good word-of-mouth for someone who has been out of the Hollywood game for three decades. Here the director of the cult-classic “Hardware” has found the perfect outlet for his one-of-a-kind aesthetic: an H.P. Lovecraft story that allows, nay, demands the most psychedelic storytelling Stanley and his merry band of collaborators can muster. Throw in Cage offering his standard half-brilliant, half-mad performance, and you have what our Charles Bramesco could only describe as a “headlong leap into lunatic grotesquerie.”
Our Review: B (Toronto International Film Festival)
Release Information: “Color Out of Space” will receive a theatrical release on January 24, 2020.