Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Cast: Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, and Denis O’Hare
Synopsis: When an affluent housewife gets pregnant, her escalating urge to swallow inedible objects threatens to blow up her idyllic home life.
Why You Should See It: Bennett, who often has the misfortune of being cast in films that looked better on paper, might finally have her breakout performance in Mirabella-Davis’s twisted melodrama. In her review of the film, our Lena Wilson suggested that “Swallow” would feel right at home with the other exaggerated dystopias found in the “Black Mirror” universe. The film, she wrote, is a “salient reminder that female oppression, like a good A-line skirt, is timeless.” If lines like that don’t sell you on the feature, nothing well.
Our Review: A (Tribeca Film Festival)
Release Information: “Swallow” will receive a theatrical release on March 6, 2020.
“The True History of the Kelly Gang”
Directors: Justin Kurzel
Cast: George MacKay, Essie Davis, and Nicholas Hoult
Synopsis: The details of outlaw Ned Kelly’s life are explored in this kinetic retelling of his rise to power against British colonial forces.
Why You Should See It: In 2000, Peter Carey wrote “True History of the Kelly Gang,” a not-so-factual biography of the infamous outlaw. Despite the book’s author and subject both hailing from Australia, the publisher quickly positioned Carey’s work as the “great American novel” to ensure a domestic splash. It should come as no surprise, then, that Kurzel’s own adaptation leans into the mythmaking elements of both source and source material. The film, according to Charles Bramesco, views the past as a “fluctuating thing that changes along with our understanding of it.” This makes ‘Kelly Gang’ the perfect history lesson for our post-fact era.
Our Review: B+ (Toronto International Film Festival)
Release Information: ‘Kelly Gang’ will receive a theatrical release sometime in 2020.
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke
Synopsis: An aging but still formidable French star publishes her memoirs, and her daughter—along with her husband and their young daughter— return to Paris for the book’s launch.
Why You Should See It: Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda often makes deeply humanist, empathetic films about lost or found families. His latest certainly doesn’t forget the idea of familial complication, but with a lot of fresh twists. “The Truth” is his first non-Japanese language film, some of it in French, some in English, and its his first film with major stars. A playful affair, Kore-eda’s film sidesteps his usual emotional wallops with “gentler pleasures of comedy and conviviality,” and “Deneuve’s stratospheric charisma are the focus instead, wrote Jessica Kiang from Venice last year? After winning the Palme for the masterpiece of “Shoplifters,” we’re of the wisdom that Kore-eda can do whatever he damn pleases.
Our Review: B+ (Venice Film Festival)
Release Information: IFC Films is releasing the film on March 20. – RP
“Waiting For The Barbarians”
Director: Ciro Guerra
Cast: Johnny Depp, Mark Rylance, Robert Pattinson, Gana Bayarsaikhan, Greta Scacchi.
Synopsis: A Magistrate working in a distant outpost begins to question his loyalty to the empire.
Why You Should See It: While Chilean and Argentinan films largely dominate the conversation, Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra is quickly becoming one of the most revered directors in South America. “Embrace Of The Serpent” was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards and while 2019’s “Birds Of Passage” didn’t make the Best Foreign Oscar cut, it was easily one of the best films of the year, bar none. His latest, “Waiting For the Barbarians” is the first English-language feature and first to feature stars and celebrities, Pattinson and Depp is quite the one-two punch. Our Venice review comfirms, Guerra hasn’t lost a step and says the “engrossing synchronicity of every aspect of the film a testament to his visionary mind.”
Our Review: B+ (Venice Film Festival)
Release Date: VOD In August. – RP
Directors: Corneliu Porumboiu
Cast: Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, and Rodica Lazar
Synopsis: To free his crooked benefactor, a corrupt police officer and his accomplices must first learn a traditional form of indigenous whistling.
Why You Should See It: In October, Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros made national headlines when they were accused of stealing and sharing signs from the opposing team via – believe it or not – whistles. Life imitates art once more, it seems. “The Whistlers” is a unique twist on film noir tropes, one that manages to be wildly entertaining without, as our own Bradley Warren writes, “selling out on the Romanian reputation of thoughtful, challenging work.” The impressive landscapes mean it’s worth seeing on the biggest screen possible as well.
Our Review: A- (Cannes Film Festival)
Release Information: “The Whistlers” will receive a theatrical released on February 28, 2020.
Director: Bertrand Bonello
Cast: Louise Labeque, Wislanda Louimat, and Katiana Milfort
Synopsis: A young woman uses her family’s complex history with voodoo to ingratiate herself to the campus sorority at an elite Parisian boarding school.
Why You Should See It: Even the most high-concept zombie movies could rarely be described as a filmic essay on the horrors of colonialism, but with “Zombi Child,” renowned French filmmaker Bonello has crafted a film that uses the trappings of the horror genre as a springboard to much, much more. This is “the rare film that’s both rich in ideas and fun,” wrote our own Joe Blessing, “a reckoning with forces colonial powers would like buried, but that won’t stay dead.” Braaaaaaains, indeed.
Our Review: B+ (New York Film Festival)
Release Information: “Zombie Child” will receive a theatrical release on January 24, 2020.