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Wormwood (dir. Errol Morris)
Master documentarian Errol Morris returns to long-form storytelling with a binge-worthy tale clocking in at four hours in six parts. Ideal for Netflix, right? In 1953 army scientist Frank Olson was requested by the CIA to gather in New York City for several meetings. Less than a week later, he plunged to his death from the 13th floor of the Hotel Pennsylvania. Was it a pre-meditated suicide or a sloppy murder covered up by government officials? Told from the perspective of Olson's son, determined to get satisfactory answers that would reveal the injustices his father suffered, Wormwood is part documentary, part dramatization (lead by actor Peter Sarsgaard), and all compelling drama. Viewing parties will be essential next weekend. Release Date: December 15, 2017, via Netflix
Please Stand By (dir. Ben Lewin)
With news of Quentin Tarantino receiving the greenlight to helm a new, most likely R-rated entry in the Star Trek franchise, you needn't be a Klingon to get excited for what's to come in Gene Roddenberry's ever-expanded storyverse. As fictionalized in Please Stand By, the latest film from The Sessions director Ben Lewin, Trekkies come in all shapes and sizes. Dakota Fanning plays a fan wishing to try her hand at entering a Star Trek screenwriting competition in Los Angeles, but when confronted with the challenge of a long journey, mental health complications, and a cute dog with a weak bladder, the young woman faces physical and emotional roadblocks at every turn. With an excellent supporting cast including Toni Collette, Alice Eve, Patton Oswalt, and Tony Revolori, the film appears to earn those heartstring tugs. Release Date: January 26, 2018, via Magnolia Pictures
7 Days in Entebbe (dir. José Padilha)
Films featuring real-life hijackings can prove tough to pull off. How do you balance the action movie clichés that provide thrills and excitement for the moviegoer while also being respectful of the true events that transpired? The small details matter, and 7 Days in Entebbe, recounting the 1976 politically-charged takeover of a flight heading from Tel Aviv to Paris, appears to get those right. If you know your geography, you're aware that Entebbe is located in neither of those destinations: it's a town located in Uganda. What caused the plane to make a sudden landing is the subject of José Padilha's drama, and with Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl top-billed, rest assured that it will be as much about the human conflict as it is the tumultuous one between Israel and Palestine. Release Date: March 16, 2018, via Focus features
Lean on Pete (dir. Andrew Haigh)
After directing Charlotte Rampling to a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for his previous feature, 45 Years, British filmmaker Andrew Haigh turns his sights toward the Pacific Northwest with Lean on Pete, a relationship drama of a slightly different kind. The film's titular character is a racing horse on its last hooves who befriends Charley (Charlie Plummer, next seen as the grandson of Christopher Plummer in Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World), a teenage boy from a broken home with broken dreams. As the trailer shows, the boy goes on to develop a Bressonian-like bond with Lean on Pete, providing an emotionally intense struggle for them both. Having premiered to critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival last September, Lean on Pete feels like a tearjerker for wounded lovers and equestrians alike. Release Date: March 30, 2018, via A24.
You Were Never Really Here (dir. Lynne Ramsay)
Appropriately disturbing and unsettling, Lynne Ramsay's latest feature, You Were Never Really Here, depicts a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Or, to be more clear: a hit man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. As played by Joaquin Phoenix (who won Best Actor at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, an event where the film also tied for Best Screenplay with The Killing of A Sacred Deer), the character appears chillingly despondent and emotionally removed until the young daughter of a vengeful client comes into the picture. Described as a "21st century Taxi Driver," the film is sure to unsettle arthouse audiences looking to pursue a thrill, and a score by Johnny Greenwood will help to compliment that request. The film's official hashtag is #BRINGTHEHAMMER, which incites as many delectably squirmy feelings as its trailer. Release Date: April 6, 2018, via Amazon Studios
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (dir. J. A. Bayona)
"Life cannot be contained. Life breaks free. Life finds a way." Those lines, spoken ever so ominously by Jeff Goldblum reprising the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm for a third time, close out the trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the fifth installment in the hugely popular film series based on the science-fiction novels by Michael Crichton. After the previous 2015 entry provided a much-needed jolt of electricity to a franchise that had lain dormant for over a decade, this new film picks up with Chris Pratt (Owen Grady) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing) reprising their roles as folks who find a reason to head back to an island filled with earth-shaking dinosaurs. After directing the previous film, Colin Trevorrow takes a screenwriting credit here while handing the directorial reigns to J.A. Bayona, known for The Orphanage, The Impossible, and last year's heart-wrenching tearjerker A Monster Calls. What can we expect from this latest trip to dino-land? Breathtaking special effects, jaw-dropping thrills, nostalgia-laden cameos, and a few extinct creatures looking to catch a break. Release Date: June 22, 2018, via Universal Pictures