This Week at the Movies (Dec. 18, 2020)

Here are some reviews of films coming out at the theater this week as well as others that may be in theaters or newly on home video.

Opening: Dec. 18, 2020

Wide (United States)

Monster Hunter

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Hunter Hunter

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: In lesser hands, this horror thriller could have turned out to be a rote piece of exploitation, but writer/director Shawn Linden’s command of his material results in a smart and surprising shocker, a film that will haunt.

Hunter Hunter

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: Hunter Hunter is a perfectly solid thriller with a memorable ending, but it ultimately ends up feeling hollow.

The Last Sermon

Nell Minow @ rogerebert.com

  • Excerpt: Even before the opening credits, I learned a terrifying new term in “The Last Sermon”—”organic shrapnel.” Director Jack Baxter points to a place on his arm where pieces of a suicide bomber’s body are still embedded.

Skylines

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: It earnestly embraces its unabashedly dorky B-movie identity, and it makes for a fun time. It’s hard not to admire Liam O’Donnell’s affection for the genre.

Skylines

Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See

  • Excerpt: Wild, ambitious, and free-wheeling.

Skylines

Dan Tabor @ Cinapse

  • Excerpt: Like all great genre, what makes Skylin3s more than the sum of its pop culture sensibilities and deep-cut references, is it’s got something its sincerely trying to say. It’s just absurdly entertaining in the process.

2020 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Anything for Jackson

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Croods: A New Age

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Da 5 Bloods

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Driveways

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Irresistible

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

John Lewis: Good Trouble

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The King of Staten Island

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Martin Eden

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Night Clerk

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Nomadland

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Prom

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Promising Young Woman

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Spaceship Earth

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Summerland

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Tenet

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Trip to Greece

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Twentieth Century

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Wild Mountain Thyme

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

76 Days

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: The filmmakers focus on a handful of characters throughout to capture a sense [of what was happening]. It’s a lot to take in, [but] we must bear witness.

A La Calle

Bev Questad @ It’s Just Movies

  • Excerpt: “A La Calle” is the story of a brewing insurgency as a once-trusted leader transitions into a ruthless, totalitarian dictator. It is instructive and a forewarning as a resource-rich country needlessly becomes a failed state.

Alabama Snake

Andrea Chase @ KillerMovieReviews.com

  • Excerpt: Love He uses a light touch with tropes of horror and grand guignol that ground the story in its time and place while setting a mood of uncertainty that lends plausibility to mutually exclusive scenarios.

Alex Wheatle

Lee Jutton @ Film Inquiry

  • Excerpt: Alex Wheatle is yet another strong showing from Steve McQueen and company, and one that feels more personal than the rest thanks to its focus on the journey of its titular character.

All That I Am

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An emotionally touching documentary on the toxic damages of child abuse on the victim and those closest to them.

Another Round

Andrew Wyatt @ The Lens

Archenemy

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: Its limitations and often puzzling worldbuilding can sometimes get in the way, but Adam Egypt Mortimer’s stylistic flourishes keeps everything engaging.

The Artist’s Wife

Andrea Chase @ EatDrinkFilms.com

  • Excerpt: Dolby with his co-writers Nicole Brending and Abdi Nazemian spare us none of the savagery of a family for whom mere dysfunction would be aspirational.

Asia

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Touching drama about the unusual directions love takes in a mother-daughter relationship.

Beasts Clawing at Straws

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: Kim Yong-hoon takes a familiar formula and makes enough smart choices to keep it interesting. Its darkly comic impulses gives the film a lot of personality.

Belushi

Andrea Chase @ KillerMovieReviews.com

  • Excerpt: Startlingly intimate

Black Beauty

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A splendid remake of the classic story about the value of truly partnering with a horse.

Blame

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: High school drama revealing the toxic impact of jealousy and competition.

Born to Bev

Bev Questad @ It’s Just Movies

  • Excerpt: “Born to Be” has deepened my understanding and compassion for the trans community. Hayashi and Ting have been awarded the The Museum of Chinese in America 2019 Legacy Award for this phenomenally well-sequenced, respectful, ground-breaking documentary.

The Boys Who Said No!

Andrea Chase @ EatDrinkFilms.com

  • Excerpt: too important a film to be missed.

Chhalaang

Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

City Hall

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A detailed documentary showing the many things a city government does for its citizens.

Collective

Chris Barsanti @ The Playlist

  • Excerpt: presented as a crisp reportorial procedural, one of the best, in fact, that has hit screens since “Spotlight.”

Crock of Gold

Chris Barsanti @ Slant Magazine

  • Excerpt: affectingly poignant in its frequently uncomfortable presentation of MacGowan’s physical ruination.

Dads

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A light-hearted and breezy documentary celebrating stay-at-home fathers.

Dear Santa

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Reviews

  • Excerpt: Wholesome and heartwarming film.

Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A look at the lively life of the world’s leading expert on Mexican food.

The Disciple

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Touching portrait of an aspiring singer of Indian classical music and his journey to master his art.

The Dog Doc

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An information-rich documentary about a compassionate and holistic approach to dog care.

Duty Free

Bev Questad @ It’s Just Movies

  • Excerpt: “Duty Free” is a fun though pointedly insightful take on agism and purpose.

Farewell Amor

Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat

  • Excerpt: A terrific little indie with something to say not just about immigrants coming to America, but also about what happens when being in your own family feels as foreign as being in another country.

The Father

Chris Barsanti @ Slant Magazine

  • Excerpt: …approximates the dislocation of its main character’s mind with a frighteningly slippery ease.

First Vote

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An engaging hour-long documentary about the political activism of four colorful Asian-Americans.

First Vote

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A documentary about white boys playing politics and trashing the values of citizenship.

Flannery

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A polished, erudite, and spiritually edifying documentary about the life and work of the Southern Catholic writer.

French Exit

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An impeccable comedy of manners full of quirky performances.

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A music-packed documentary revealing all the reasons to love the songs of the legendary Canadian musician.

Greenland

Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie

  • Excerpt: An incoming comet transforms your neighbors into desperate housewives and propels another Gerard Butler low-grade action flick. Disaster porn aficionados delight; everyone else, leave Greenland where it is – remote and inaccessible.

The Grizzlies

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Inspiring true story of an Inuit lacrosse team who transform themselves and their community.

Hope Gap

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An old-fashioned drama about love and divorce that touches the heart.

House of Hummingbird

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A coming-of-age story filled with small moments of spiritual wisdom, including a practice for times of sadness.

How to Deter a Robber

Kyle Anderson @

Human Capital

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A morality play about economic inequality.

I Carry You with Me

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A love story about two gay immigrants that is full of surprises.

The Infinite Race

Sarah Boslaugh @ The Arts STL

  • Excerpt: Director Bernando Ruiz focuses more on the Rarámuri culture, and individual members of the community, than he does on the annual race, so this is an unusual entry in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. Not that I’m complaining—the film is fascinating and you can’t help but admire the traditional way of life the Rarámuri are endeavoring to preserve.

Jimmy Carter Rock n’ Roll President

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A rollicking documentary about the former president’s love of music and hospitality to musicians.

Laughter

Kyle Anderson @

The Letter

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A potent and scary parable about the harm spread by those who see the world as an evil and demonic place.

The Longest War

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A sobering, sad, and horrific overview of the United States war in Afghanistan.

Lupin III: The First

Kyle Anderson @

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: Wolfe retains a lot of Wilson’s play’s theatricality in this cinematic rendition and it’s all to its immense strength. Davis and especially Boseman are on a whole other level.

Max Cloud

Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See

  • Excerpt: Fun until it isn’t. The intentionally absurd plot can’t maintain momentum for an entire film, and worst of all, it squanders Scott Adkins.

Mayor

Chris Barsanti @ The Playlist

  • Excerpt: …a purposeful push-back against the cliches of Israel-Palestinian conflict coverage.

Mayor

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: The conversation has been lethally skewed [to] inherently position Arabs as stubborn aggressors. It’s Mayor is crucially important as an irrefutable document to the contrary.

The Midnight Sky

Chris Barsanti @ The Playlist

  • Excerpt: …trips up on its own earnestness.

The Midnight Sky

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: We know when danger is coming and we know the tough choices necessary to overcome it, but the emotions are authentically devastating just the same.

The Midnight Sky

Shelagh Rowan-Legg @ ScreenAnarchy

Military Wives

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: True story that proves that music is the best medicine.

Minari

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: I was charmed by its characters, enamored by its filmmaking, and touched by its empathy. Few films in 2020 have warmed my heart as much as this has.

Minor Premise

Jared Mobarak @ The Film Stage

  • Excerpt: The [film’s] true intrigue [is the] central performance’s distillation of a single complex identity. [Our] painful emotions often save us from the monsters within.

Mr. Jones

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A serious and sobering film about genocide in the Ukraine.

My Darling Vivian

Bev Questad @ It’s Just Movies

  • Excerpt: “My Darling Vivian” is a loving portrait of a mother who had her own challenges and darkness,

My Summer As a Goth

Andrea Chase @ KillerMovieReviews.com

  • Excerpt: ticks all the right boxes for a YA story designed to offer the comfort of the familiar in a framework that sets up a gaggle of paper tigers for the heroine (and her audience) to confront.

No Small Matter

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An eye-opening documentary about the great benefits of early childhood education for children and the society at large.

One Night in Miami…

Jared Mobarak @ The Film Stage

  • Excerpt: They collectively breathe life into a moment that very well could have helped shape where the civil rights movement went next.

Our Mothers (Nuestras Madres)

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A moving story about a compassionate young man investigating the impact of genocide in his country.

Parkland Rising

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An inspiring portrait of young activists for gun control reform.

The Pollinators

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Laments and hopeful signs about the fate of honey bees and the food supply.

Queer Japan

Sarah Boslaugh @ The Arts STL

  • Excerpt: There’s a whole lot of fabulousness on display in Queer Japan, and not all of it involves costumes or art.

Rebuilding Paradise

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Poignant documentary about how the California community nearly destroyed by fire bands together.

Resistance

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: True story of the beloved mime Marcel Marceau’s activism to save Jewish children during World War II.

Robert the Bruce

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Melancholy drama about a Scottish king’s period of discernment.

Runner

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A stirring documentary about an African refugee who becomes an Olympic marathoner.

Safety

Jared Mobarak @ The Film Stage

  • Excerpt: It’s highly effective [at being a tearjerker, against all odds crowd-pleaser]. Just don’t ignore that it’s also highly manipulated.

The Salt of Tears

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Chronicle of a man and three different women who discover the disappointments, heartbreaks, and surprises in romantic relationships.

Sing Me a Song

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An exploration of the emotional undercurrents of the digital revolution in, of all places, a Buddhist monastery.

Sometimes Always Never

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A father-son drama that reveals the small pleasures of ordinary days, including playing Scrabble.

Songbird

Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat

  • Excerpt: Without a doubt, sections of the story hit a nerve. At the same time, the real pandemic is obviously more anxiety-producing than a film could ever be.

The Stand In

Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat

  • Excerpt: An uneven tone and a flat romantic subplot hold the picture back somewhat, although it is fun in its best moments.

Street Fighting Men

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Portraits of three working class African-American men trying to keep their souls alive in crisis-ridden Detroit.

The Sunlit Night

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An exquisitely rendered tale of an artist’s loneliness and starting over again.

The Surrogate

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An ethically rich drama about the complicated choices involved in pregnancy and parenting.

To the Ends of the Earth

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: This lovely character study of a young woman finding herself while lost in a foreign land was commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Uzbekistan and Kurosawa’s found a beautiful way to do it.

A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An enlightening and inspiring 60-year history of the Peace Corps.

The Truffle Hunters

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An absolutely charming cinematic romp with elders and their dogs hunting for a rare delicacy.

Truth Is the Only Client

Andrea Chase @ KillerMovieReviews.com

  • Excerpt: this is a welcome scholarly approach to an emotional subject.

Vampires vs. The Bronx

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Reviews

  • Excerpt: Who would have thought with a title like that this would be a decent film!

Waiting for Barbarians

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A powerful drama about the toxins spread by rumors of war.

Wander

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: Wander doesn’t totally come together. It does manage to be entertaining enough to overcome its politically muddled theming and strange storytelling instincts.

Wander Darkly

Andrea Chase @ KillerMovieReviews.com

  • Excerpt: WANDER DARKLY is the antidote to the generic rom-com.

Wander Darkly

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: The fluid editing and story structure provides [an] undeniable aesthetic potency, but it’s Miller and Luna who turn that surface beauty into something universally resonant.

Welcome to Chechnya

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A gripping documentary about LGBTQ genocide and a brave band of human rights activists trying to rescue those affected.

The Woman Who Ran

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: The uses of conversation revealed in three visits to old friends.

Working Man

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An insightful drama about the roles work plays in two men’s lives.

Zappa

Josh Taylor @ The Forgetful Film Critic

  • Excerpt: The documentary Zappa shows us the artist’s genius and some of the contradictions of the man who incorporated it into his work. Winter’s movie doesn’t challenge its subject where it really counts, but it does succeed in giving us a view into Zappa’s rich artistic life.

2019 Films

Transit

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Cyrano, My Love

Andrea Chase @ KillerMovieReviews.com

  • Excerpt: an ebullient comedy of errors that recounts the fraught confluence of art, commerce, and egos

The Old Man Movie

Kyle Anderson @

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