Now that Biden is in office and there is an actual plan in place to tackle the pandemic, it feels like we can finally look forward to things again. I’m hoping we’ll be back in the theaters by this fall, and maybe we can see some of these upcoming movies on the big screen. But in the meantime there are plenty of small-screen debuts to enjoy . . .
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar – Available for rental at a premium price Feb 12
Director: Josh Greenbaum
Writers: Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
Kristin Wiig is one of those people who can make me laugh with just a facial expression, so I’m in for this no matter what. As a bonus, it’s written by Wiig and her co-star, Annie Mumolo, who play middle-aged besties, Barb & Star. The two gals decide to leave their Midwest town for the first time to take a vacation in Florida. Hilarity ensues and there’s also an evil villain somehow? Whatever! It looks fun.
My Zoe — Coming to virtual cinemas February 26
Writer & Director: Julie Delpy
I’ve been waiting for this movie since 2018. It first came on my radar in 2017, when I read an article about how Delpy had lost funding because an investor pulled out at the last minute for sexist reasons, saying that “women are too emotional” to direct movies. Her shoot was delayed but she got it done in time to premiere at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival. I thought for sure it would come out in 2020 — and maybe it would have if not for the pandemic — but now it finally has a distributor. Originally I thought this was a naturalistic drama about a mother raising her daughter after a divorce, but it turns out there is a sci-fi twist about cloning? Or something? I don’t know but the speculative element makes it even more intriguing to me.
Moxie – Netflix: March 3
Director: Amy Poehler
Writers: Tamara Chestna and Jennifer Mathieu
Here’s another comedy with an SNL-alum that I’m looking forward to — this time Amy Poehler directing a teen comedy about a Texas girl who organizes a feminist revolution in her high school. This will be Poehler’s second time directing after Wine Country, which was a perfectly enjoyable hang-out movie, and an ideal Netflix release. Moxie premieres on Netflix on a Wednesday and it seems like the perfect weeknight watch.
The Souvenir Part II – release date TBD
Writer & Director: Joanna Hogg
This could also be called: Bad Boyfriend: Part II. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I saw the first installment, an autobiographical retelling of a love affair that director Joanna Hogg had in her early twenties, when she was in film school. The first part of The Souvenir focused on the unfolding of the relationship — meeting, falling in love, and then realizing the guy is bad news. The second part will focus on the emotional fallout. I’m hoping the distributor holds it for a theatrical release in the fall, because I want to see it on the big screen.
Bergman Island – release date TBD
Writer & Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, I guess because I like Bergman movies and although I’ve only seen a couple of Mia Hansen-Løve’s films, they have stuck with me. This one is supposedly one of her most autobiographical, about a screenwriting couple who travel to the place that inspired Bergman in order to write their upcoming screenplays. Fiction and reality start to blur, and the couple lose their grip. Starring Vicky Krieps (who was so good in Phantom Thread) and Tim Roth.
The Lost Daughter – release date TBD
Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal based on the novel by Elena Ferrante
I couldn’t find an image for this movie, which leads me to believe it’s more likely to be a 2021 release, but you never know. It’s Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, an adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter. Look, Ferrante and Gyllenhaal is enough for me, but it’s also staring Olivia Colman. What else can we hope for in this life?
Here’s another literary adaptation that I can’t find anything but paparazzi shots for, but it’s premiering at Sundance at the end of this month (!) so there’s a good chance it will get a fall release. Based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel of the same title, Passing tells the story of two Black women, childhood friends who reunite unexpectedly after one of the women has chosen to adopt a white identity in adulthood, effectively cutting ties with her past. Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga star, with actor Rebecca Hall directing for the first time.