#462 July 11, 2023

Matt writes: Alan Arkin (1934-2023) was one of those actors whose very name caused me to light up with anticipation whenever it materialized onscreen. He made me leap out of my chair in “Wait Until Dark” and laugh until I wept in “Little Miss Sunshine,” a film that ranks high among my all-time greatest moviegoing experiences (people were literally dancing in the aisles at Chicago’s Landmark Century Center Cinema). He stole every one of his scenes in “Edward Scissorhands” and shared many indelible scenes with The Muppets. His unforgettable screen credits are numerous—“Catch 22,” his directorial feature debut “Little Murders,” “The Seven Per Cent Solution,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Slums of Beverly Hills,” “Argo” and “The Kominsky Method ,” to name a few—but it was his role in Jill Sprecher’s 2001 masterwork, “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing,” that I hold closest to my heart. Roger Ebert concluded his review of the film by writing, “If the universe is indifferent, what a consolation that we are not.” Thank you, Alan, by providing us with that gift through your timeless artistry.

Be sure to read Marya E. Gates’ moving tribute to Arkin, as well as three of Roger Ebert’s interviews with the actor from 1967, 1976 and 2013 (where he was joined by Christopher Walken and Al Pacino).

Alan Arkin, Christopher Walken and Al Pacino. Photo by Roger Ebert.


Bob Marley: One Love(2024). Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. Written by Reinaldo Marcus Green, Zach Baylin, Frank E. Flowers and Terence Winter. Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, Michael Gandolfini. Synopsis: A look at the life of legendary reggae musician Bob Marley. Debuts in the US on January 12th, 2024.

A Compassionate Spy(2023). Directed by Steve James. Synopsis: The incredible story of Manhattan Project scientist Ted Hall, who shared classified nuclear secrets with Russia. US release date is TBA.

The Year Between(2023). Written and directed by Alex Heller. Starring Alex Heller, Steve Buscemi, J. Smith-Cameron. Synopsis: Clemence returns home after dropping out of college with a newly diagnosed mental illness.Now available in the US.

Happiness for Beginners(2023). Written and directed by Vicky Wight (based on the novel by Katherine Center). Starring Ellie Kemper, Luke Grimes, Nico Santos. Synopsis: Helen signs up for a wilderness survival course, a year after getting divorced. She discovers through this experience that sometimes, you have to get really lost in order to find yourself. Debut on Netflix on July 27th, 2023.

Dreamin’ Wild(2023). Written and directed by Bill Pohlad (based on the magazine article by Steven Kurutz). Starring Casey Affleck, Zooey Deschanel, Chris Messina. Synopsis: Musical duo Donnie and Joe Emerson spend everything they have to produce a record in the 1970s.Debuts in the US on August 4th, 2023.

Corner Office (2023). Directed by Joachim Back. Written by Ted Kupper (based on the novel by Jonas Karlsson). Starring Jon Hamm, Danny Pudi, Christopher Heyerdahl. Synopsis: Orson, a compulsive bureaucrat who discovers a secret room. US release date is TBA.

Compensation(2023). Directed by Nimród Antal. Written by Christopher Salmanpour and Alberto Marini. Starring Liam Neeson, Jack Champion, Embeth Davidtz. Synopsis: A bank executive receives a bomb threat while driving his children to school that his car will explode if they stop and get out. Debuts in the US on August 23rd, 2023.

sly(2023). Directed by Thom Zimny. Synopsis: The nearly 50 years prolific carrier of Sylvester Stallone, who has entertained millions, is seen in retrospective in an intimate look of the actor, writer, director-producer, paralleling with his inspirational life story. US release date is TBA.

Scrapping(2023). Written and directed by Charlotte Regan. Starring Lola Campbell, Harris Dickinson, Ambreen Razia. Synopsis: Georgie, a dreamy 12-year-old girl, lives happily alone in her London flat, filling it with magic. Suddenly, her estranged father turns up and forces her to confront reality.Debuts in the US on August 25th, 2023.

The Old Oak (2023). Directed by Ken Loach. Written by Paul Laverty. Starring Trevor Fox, Debbie Honeywood, Laura Lee Daly. Synopsis: The future for the last remaining pub, The Old Oak in a village of the Northeast England, where people are leaving the land as the mines are closed. Houses are cheap and available thus making it an ideal location for the Syrian refugees. Debuts in the US on September 29th, 2023.

Red, White & Royal Blue(2023). Directed by Matthew Lopez. Written by Matthew López and Ted Malawer (based on the novel by Casey McQuiston). Starring Nicholas Galitzine, Taylor Zakhar Perez, Uma Thurman. Synopsis: The son of the American President sparks a feud with Britain’s prince.Debut on Prime Video on August 11th, 2023.

The Elephant 6 Recording Co.(2023). Directed by Chad Stockfleth. Synopsis: The inside story of the 1990s psychedelic rock bands Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Apples in Stereo– the founding groups behind the Elephant 6 collective, as well as a host of other artists.US release date is TBA.

Sound of Freedom(2023). Directed by Alejandro Monteverde. Written by Alejandro Monteverde and Rod Barr. Starring Jim Caviezel, Bill Camp, Cristal Aparicio. Synopsis: The incredible true story of a former government agent turned vigilante who embarks on a dangerous mission to rescue hundreds of children from sex traffickers. Now in US theaters.

The Dive(2023). Directed by Maximilian Erlenwein. Written by Maximilian Erlenwein and Joachim Hedén. Starring Louisa Krause and Sophie Lowe. Synopsis: Two sisters go diving at a beautiful, remote location. One of the sisters is struck by a rock, leaving her trapped 28 meters below. With dangerously low levels of oxygen and cold temperatures, it is up to her sister to fight for her life.Debuts in the US on August 24th, 2023.

The Nun II(2023). Directed by Michael Chaves. Written by Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing and Akela Cooper (based on characters created by James Wan and Gary Dauberman). Starring Bonnie Aarons, Taissa Farmiga, Storm Reid. Synopsis: 1956 – France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. The sequel to the worldwide smash hit follows Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun.Debuts in the US on September 8th, 2023.

Dune: Part Two(2023). Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Written by Denis Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts (based on the novel by Frank Herbert). Starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler. Synopsis: Paul Atreides unites with Chani and the Fremen while seeking revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family.Debuts in the US on November 3rd, 2023.

Bird Box Barcelona(2023). Written and directed by David Pastor and Alex Pastor (based on the novel by Josh Malerman). Starring Georgina Campbell, Mario Casas, Diego Calva. Synopsis: After an entity of mysterious origin annihilates the world’s population causing those who observe it to take their lives, Sebastián and his daughter begin their own great adventure of survival in Barcelona.Debut on Netflix on July 14th, 2023.

Killers of the Flower Moon(2023). Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Martin Scorsese and Eric Roth (based on the book by David Grann). Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone. Synopsis: Members of the Osage tribe in the United States are murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s, sparking a major FBI investigation involving J. Edgar Hoover.US release date is TBA.

The Best Films of 2023…So Far

Matt writes:I was pleased to join my fellow writers at RogerEbert.com in spotlighting our picks for The Best Films of 2023 So Far, including my own personal favorite, Kelly Fremon Craig’s marvelous Judy Blume adaptation, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. “, starring Abby Ryder Fortson in a flawless performance.

Carolina Cavalli on “Amanda”

Matt writes: In the latest installment of her Female Filmmakers in Focus column, Marya E. Gates speaks with director Carolina Cavalli about her acclaimed feature, “Amanda.” You can read their full conversation here.

Free Movies

St. Martin’s Lane(1938). Directed by Tim Whelan. Written by Tim Whelan, Clemence Dane, Charles Laughton, Bartlett Cormack and Erich Pommer. Starring Charles Laughton, Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison. Synopsis: On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles, who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a young pickpocket, Libby, also has a talent for dancing and adds her to his act.

Watch “St. Martin’s Lane”

Scarlet Street(1945). Directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Dudley Nichols (based on the novel by Georges de La Fouchardière and André Mouëzy-Éon). Starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea. Synopsis: A man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, though her fiancé persuades her to con him out of the fortune they mistakenly assume he possesses.

Watch “Scarlet Street”

The Third Man(1949). Directed by Carol Reed. Written by Graham Greene, Orson Welles and Carol Reed. Starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles. Synopsis: Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.

Watch “The Third Man”