Matt writes: Proud to be part of the RogerEbert.com Publishers Chaz Evert And my fellow editors supporting the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA membership strikes. An excerpt of our joint statement can be read in full here and is pasted below…
“Importantly, while very few actors earn a lot of money, most of the 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members don’t. Even considering the astronomical salaries of big stars, the average is about $40,000. The key threshold for qualifying for medical insurance is $26,470, and many fall short of that minimum. WGA members earn an average of $250,000 when they’re working, but that’s often long between jobs.” It takes time, but the viewing fees of movies and series that I have already written are the driving force for my next project.
Studio heads, on the other hand, earn even more than big movie stars, with many receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and stock. It has been suggested that if they accept pay cuts of 5% or 10% respectively, they will end up paying more than the SAG and WGA are demanding.
These negotiations are about money and control. Writers and performers are entitled to compensation for the value they create for the studio. But they are more than that. We are critics. We watch more movies than anyone else. We know how difficult and how much talent it takes to create the magic we’re looking for every time we sit in a theater with the lights down, or even launch a streaming service. “
Mighty Afrin: Time of the Flood(2023).directed byAngelos Laris. Synopsis: In the desolate wilderness of the vanished islands along the Brahmaputra River, 12-year-old orphan Afrin comes of age. Heavy rains and floods hit Afrin’s island, but she refused to bow to the terrible tide. US release date TBA.
holdovers(2023).directed by Alexander Payne.written by David Heminson.starringPaul Giamatti, Davine Joy Randolph, Tate Donovan. Synopsis: Nobody likes teacher Paul Hunnam. His students, his fellow teachers, and the principal are all offended by his arrogance and austerity. With his family and nowhere to go during the 1970 Christmas holidays, Paul remained at school to supervise the homeless students. U.S. debut on November 10, 2023.
king call(2023).directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon. Synopsis: Even as Appalachia’s economic power wanes, coal’s cultural roots continue to permeate the rituals of everyday Appalachia life. A coal miner’s daughter explores the dreams and myths of the region, unraveling the pain and beauty.No US release date has been announced.
last summer(2023).directed by Catherine Blair.written by Catherine BlairandPascal Bonitzer(based on script)Maren Louise KoehneandMay El Tukey).starringRare Drucker, Olivier Labourdin, Clotilde Coulour. Synopsis: We follow Anne, a brilliant lawyer who lives with her husband Pierre and her daughters. Anne gradually develops a passionate relationship with Pierre’s son from a previous marriage, Theo, jeopardizing her career and her home life. No US release date has been announced.
tokyo pop(1988), re-released.directed byFran Rubel Kuzui.written by Fran Rubel KuzuiandLynn Grossman.starringCarrie Hamilton, Diamond Yukai, Taiji Tonoyama. Synopsis: A young rock singer is disrespected by his band and receives a postcard from Japan saying “I wish you were here”. She heads to Tokyo with little money for her ex-boyfriend’s rent.US release date TBA.
creator (2023).directed by Gareth Edwards.written by Gareth EdwardsandChris Weitz.starringJohn David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ralph Ineson. What it is: Described as an apocalyptic thriller about a future affected by a war between humans and AI. Debuts in the US on September 29, 2023.
mat(2023).Scriptwriter and director Vuk Lungroff-Klotz.starringRio Mechiel, cole doman, Mimi Rider. Synopsis: Within 24 hours, Feña is engulfed by the heights of human emotion as the people who seemed to disappear during the transfer suddenly return. No US release date has been announced.
Perpetrator(2023).Scriptwriter and directorJennifer Reader.starring Alicia Silverstone, Kia McKernan, Greta Stolte. Synopsis: Johnny Batiste is a reckless teenage girl who ends up living with her estranged Aunt Hildy. In the events of her 18th birthday, she undergoes a radical transformation. It is her family’s spell that redefines her called Eternity. Several teenage girls go missing at a new school, and the mythical wild Johnny hunts down the culprits. Debuts on Shudder on September 14, 2023.
immigration(2023).directed by Benjamin Rennerand Gailo Homsi.written by Benjamin RennerandMike White.starringKumail Nanjiani, Awkwafina, Carol Kane. Synopsis: A family of ducks try to convince their overprotective father to go on the trip of a lifetime.US debut on December 22, 2023.
monkey king (2023).directed by Anthony Stucchi.written by Steve BencicandRon J. Friedman.starringJimmy O. Yang, Stephanie Sue, BD Won. Synopsis: Inspired by an epic Chinese tale and translated into action-packed comedy, monkeys and magic fighting sticks battle demons, dragons, gods and, most importantly, the monkey’s ego. Debuts on Netflix on August 18, 2023.
Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose(2023).Scriptwriter and director Adam Sigal.starringSimon Pegg, Christopher Lloyd, minnie driver. Synopsis: In 1935, Hungarian-American parapsychologist Nandor Fodor begins investigating strange events on the Isle of Man. An average British family, the Irvings, claimed to have been contacted by a mysterious entity on their farm. Talking mongoose. Named Jeff (pronounced “Jeff”).US debut on September 1, 2023.
Bobi Wine: People’s President(2023).directed by Moses BwayoandChristopher Sharp. Synopsis: Follows Ugandan opposition leader, activist and musical star Bobi Wein. He used music to fight the regime led by Yoweri Museveni, who has led the country for 35 years.US release date TBA.
pod generation(2023).Scriptwriter and director Sophie Balto.starring Emilia Clarke, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Vignette Robinson. Synopsis: A New York couple struggles to raise their children with a new tool from tech giant Pegasus. US debut on August 24, 2023.
do one’s best in business(2023).directed by Sasha Jenkins. Description: Biz Markie’s collage of interviews, rare films, re-enactments and playful animations of some of hip-hop’s most iconic celebrities.No US release date has been announced.
Gran Turismo(2023).directed byNeil Blomkamp.written by Jason HallandZach Balin.starringorlando bloom, David Harbor, Djimon Hounsou. Synopsis: Based on the incredibly moving true story of a struggling working-class gamer, a failed ex-racer driver, and an idealistic motorsports executive, a team of underdogs stakes everything to take on the world’s most elite sport.Debuts in the US on August 11, 2023.
ghosts of venice(2023).directed by Kenneth Branagh.written by Michael Green(The original is the author’s novel)Agatha Christie).starringKenneth Branagh, Michelle Yeoh, Tina Fey. Synopsis: Poirot, now retired and living in exile in post-World War II Venice, reluctantly attends a seance. However, when one of the customers is murdered, it becomes a former detective’s job to figure out the culprit again.US debut on September 15, 2023.
Haunted house(2023).directed byJustin Simien.written by Katie Dipold.starring Rosario Dawson, Winona Ryder, Jamie Lee Curtis. Synopsis: A single mother named Gabby discovers that her newly purchased mansion is inhabited by a ghost and hires tour guides, psychics, priests and historians to help exorcise it.Debuts in the US on July 28, 2023.
marvels(2023).directed byNia Dacosta.written by Nia Dacosta, Elissa Karasik, Megan McDonnellandZeb Wells(Based on the character you created)Gene ColanandRoy Thomas).starringBrie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Teyonah Parris. Synopsis: Carol Danvers is forced to intertwine her own powers with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau and work together to save her universe.U.S. debut on November 10, 2023.
RIP Tony Bennett (1926-2023)
Matt writes:Legendary singer and civil rights leader Tony Bennett died last week at the age of 96. His life is celebrated in an obituary by Brian Talerico, containing a personal story shared exclusively here by Matt Zoller-Seitz.
Babenheimer dominates the box office
Matt writes: It turns out that having two original films released on the same day by acclaimed directors wasn’t so bad after all. Both are Greta Gerwig’s “barbie“And Christopher Nolan’s”oppenheimerbroke the weekend box office record, and many moviegoers turned to double billing for Barbenheimer. Christy Lemire’s review of Barbie is here, and Matt Zoller Seitz’s review of Oppenheimer is here (also enjoy the Barbenheimer trailer mashup embedded above from Silver Screen Edits’ YouTube page).
Viennese Waltz(1934).directed by Alfred Hitchcock.written byGuy Bolton, Alma Revil, Claude AllanandAndré Duget(based on a play by)Heinz Reichert, Ernst MarishkaandAM Willner).starring Jesse Matthews, Edmund Gwen, Faye Compton. Synopsis: The story of Johann Strauss and his younger brother.
King Solomon’s Mine(1937).directed byRobert StevensonandJeffrey Barkus.written by Michael HoganandRoland Pertwee(The original is the author’s novel)H. Ryder Haggard).starring Paul Robson, Cedric Hardwick, Roland Young. Synopsis: White hunter Alan Quartermaine and a mysterious guide help a young Irish woman find her missing father in unexplored dark Africa.
werewolf of washington(1973).Scriptwriter and directorMilton Moses Ginsburg.starringDean Stockwell, Katalin Curry, Henry Ferentino. Synopsis: A reporter is sent to Hungary after having an affair with the daughter of the President of the United States. There he is bitten by a werewolf and then transferred to Washington, where he takes the job of press secretary to the president.