FIRST LOOK: The Christmas Chronicles 2 – Netflix

A year ago, I was pleasantly surprised by The Christmas Chronicles. Here was Kurt Snake Plisskin Russell as an uber cool Santa and they weren’t buying him. I didn’t think he’d make a very good Santa Claus and was wrong.

So, here we are a year later and Netflix is delivering a sequel with Mrs. Claus played by Goldie Hawn..

Teenager Kate Pierce is reunited with Santa Claus when a troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas — forever.

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020) – Rotten Tomatoes

Official trailer:

This looks like a good movie to watch this holiday weekend. Maybe not looking quite as humorous as the first one, but will still watch. Are you interested in watching?

The Christmas Chronicles 2 is available for streaming on Netflix as of November 26, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: Run – Hulu

The mystery surrounding the release date for this movie is solved (see: Is @Lionsgate Run (2020) screening WIDE January 24, 2020 – if not, when?). While it’s being released almost a year later than originally planned and direct to streaming, the time has come.

Yes, Sarah Paulson stars in this Hulu thriller with a one word title. Have seen the Run title before, including an old Patrick Dempsey thriller (I liked that, btw). This is not related. Here’s the plot from IMDB:

A homeschooled teenager begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her.

Run (2020) – IMDb

Official Hulu trailer:

Are you planning to watch this on Hulu? More and more, I’m enjoying the Hulu streaming service. It’s become the #3 go to option, maybe even #2 at times over Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Run will be streaming on Hulu starting November 20, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: Sputnik – Hulu

For those with Hulu, the Russian sci-fi alien-like horror movie Sputnik is streaming.

One of the most-acclaimed surprises of this year was the Russian film, Sputnik. Set in the Cold War space race, the film went beyond the usual sci-fi stereotypes with its chilling premise and gripping characters, with decent visual effects. It is just another example of several other non-English films that are cementing their position in the pantheon new-age science fiction films.

Sputnik & 9 Thrilling Non-English Sci-Fi Films To Watch

One of my favorite non-English horror films is the zombie Nazi mashup, Dead Snow. You don’t need much dialogue for that film, it just works on pure frozen Nazi zombie carnage. This film seems to have an alien-like vibe to it. Am definitely going to check it out. It was on our Thursday Watch To Watch for the weekend list. If you check it out, let us know what you think!

Sputnik is streaming on Hulu as of Friday the 13th, November 13, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: True To The Game 2

The sequel to True To The Game picks up one year after the events of the first film. To try and prevent any spoilers I’ve edited the quoted article below to remove spoilers.

If you want to see the first film like we did before seeing this sequel that opens in theaters this weekend, then head over to Vudu and check that out right now. It’s free with ads for those in the United States anyway, can’t say how it is for our international friends.

….picks up a year after [the events of the first film] Gena (Peeples) … love interest. Separating herself from Philly’s dangerous scene, Gena has reinvented herself as a journalist, living and working in New York City. Forced to take some time off of work, Gena is sent on assignment to Los Angeles for a career-changing story. Though Gena is far from home, her life in Philly seems to always make an appearance. Someone from Quadir’s circle … reigniting another war between the two crews. Jerell (Fuller) is determined to get paid by any means necessary— and he’ll start with Gena.

Imani Media Group’s ‘TRUE TO THE GAME 2,’ The Sequel To The Best-Selling Urban Novel By Teri Woods Opens In Select Theaters Nationwide On November 6th

You might also want to skip watching this trailer if you haven’t seen the first film. Spoilers could abound here as well. The trailer is for those who don’t care about what happened in the first film being spoiled:

We have our tickets reserved to watch on opening night at the local AMC theater. A review will be coming.

True To The Game 2 opens in LIMITED number of theaters in the United States on November 6, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: True to the Game (2017) – Vudu

True To The Game 2 is opening this weekend in LIMITED number of theaters, so having not seen the first film, we looked up where it’s available streaming. Vudu has it to watch FREE with ads.

It’s not always desirable watching sequels before seeing the first film, so hoping to help out others that might be in the same situation.

True To The Game is based on a Teri Woods novel same name. Haven’t read the book either, but found the story about the author interesting. She couldn’t get a publishing deal so went the self-publishing route, even forming her own company. Her stories target a specific demographic, via Wikipedia: “…eventually starting Teri Woods Publishing, a self-publishing house to put out her own work and that of others, principally in the urban fiction genre, aimed at a demographic largely ignored by major publishers.”

This gives some idea of what True To The Game about:

A charismatic drug lord tries to start a new life after he falls for a young woman from Philadelphia.

True to the Game (2017) – IMDb

Official trailer:

So, is this a romance, drama or action film? Seems like it’s leaning toward a drama and romance. This could be good. We’re watching it and have tickets for the sequel already reserved. A FIRST LOOK will be posted for that separately later today.

True To The Game is available for streaming on Vudu (FREE with ads) as of this writing November 6, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Japan only theaters: Oct 16

Here’s another first for our FIRST LOOK: a film we’re looking at exclusive released in another country with no official release date in the United States announced. There is hope, though, so keep reading.

It’s currently the #1 film in Japan’s theaters.

Domestic box office sales for a film, prior to the pandemic, used to be a good indicator of performance. Studios and even movie theater chains base their results at least in strong part by domestic sales.

Since the market in the US has been severely handicapped by a wide variety of factors — theaters closing, uncertainty from moviegoers about returning, local government restrictions, etc — box office performance internationally is dramatically outperforming success in the United States.

Case in point, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. A movie that’s made over $100 million in its Japan only debut so far this month.

Currently, Demon Slayer has the biggest opening day and opening weekend at the [Japan’s] box office. The movie is already the highest-grossing flick of 2020 and even managed to top the global box office upon its opening. Now, fans are wondering if Demon Slayer can overtake Spirited Away and Your Name to become the highest-grossing anime movie to date.

Demon Slayer Movie Retains Number One Spot at Box Office

This release strategy is puzzling to me given our current times. I realize movies traditionally are released in foreign markets all the time and never appear in the United States. The thinking is that it won’t appear to a wide enough viewing audience in America. We’re a melting pot of moviegoers here, however. Yes, it might not be a large audience that’s pays to see films like these in America, but there are definitely interested moviegoers. Yes, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

Bring Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. to US theaters and other international markets ASAP. Bring all new foreign movies to American theaters, even if its only for a brief screening cycle.

I mean, seriously, we’re in a drought of new films in theaters — according to the theaters themselves — and the #1 theater chain in the world, AMC, isn’t showing this film everywhere that it can globally?

(I get it, they can’t .. it’s not been made available yet — and that’s dumb)

Official trailer:

Over 9.2 million views for the official trailer on YouTube — and yes, this is subtitled

Given it’s just the trailer, but this looks good. I’m a fan of anime, having covered some of it here at this site and interested in expanding that coverage. I’m not deeply immersed in the genre, but more than a casual fan and interested in watching more and digging deeper into the genre. Fortunately, some of this is being made available on streaming channels.

Kara might not be as interested in seeing this, but I’d reserve a ticket to watch this right now, if only it was playing in theaters.

A little digging around revealed this:

Aniplex of America and Funimation revealed at the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Panel at New York Comic Con 2020 that the highly anticipated Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train is headed to U.S. and Canadian theaters early 2021!

Demon Slayer – Mugen Train website

Can somebody please take a minute or two and explain the logic of delaying release in the US in the comments? (Artificial scarcity, maybe?) I get that this is based on a popular anime TV series in Japan and the film will obviously be met with the most familiarity and likely sell the best there, but why nor share that success worldwide immediately? Or at least within a few weeks or month of the exclusive release? Share it!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is available in Japan theaters only as of October 16, 2020 and scheduled for release in the United States and Canada in early 2021.

FIRST LOOK: Let Him Go

I like Kevin Costner’s acting style and his clean-cut look fits. He has a certain regalness to his roles.

Diane Lane has been around awhile and in a few films I’ve enjoyed. I can’t really remember her being a bad actress in anything, but she’s been in some dreadful movies. Most recently she’s played Martha Kent in the Superman movies.

Costner clearly has a better resume of good to great films, certainly he has some stinkers too — it just happens if you’re around long enough and active in the business. He played Clay Shaw in one of my all time favorites from Oliver Stone, JFK. Have seen Costner in Yellowstone, his newest TV show, recently and liked what I saw there. So, Costner’s involvement in any film, regardless the story, has me a little more interested than just random unknown actor. Diane Lane, purely on her many years of experience also ratchets up my anticipation.

So with these two leads, particularly Costner, I’m intrigued by what this film might offer.

Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are starring together in a new thriller titled Let Him Go. It looks like a western version of Taken, with Coster and Lane trying to rescue their grandson from an “off the grid” family being led by Phantom Thread’s Lesley Manville.

Kevin Costner Goes Full Liam Neeson In Let Him Go Trailer

Like the description of a Western version of Taken, but Costner doesn’t give me the same vibe as Liam Neeson, so kind of hoping that’s not what this film is like.

Let’s look at the official trailer:

Uh oh, did Costner’s character in the first few seconds just say, “Don’t start what you can’t finish?”

Yeah, that’s definite Liam Neeson territory. Maybe he can play the heavie, but he just works better casting-wise as less of a heavy type and more polished. Maybe I’m typecasting him, but that’s what I think from his past work. He’s played flawed characters including athletes (Bull Durham!), but I don’t remember him venturing very often into roles like Rutger Hauer or Liam Neeson.

Still looking forward to seeing this based on the trailer. Will try my best to clear my memory and see if Costner surprises. He’s done it before. He’s got the talent to do so. What do you think of this one?

Let Him Go opens wide domestically in theaters on November 6, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: Come Play

The trailer (further below) sure makes this creature that the boy befriends look like E.T. It appears to be a twisted E.T, which is the right idea just before Halloween.

“Come Play stars Azhy Robertson as a lonely young boy who feels different from everyone else. Desperate for a friend, he seeks solace and refuge in his ever-present cell phone and tablet. When a mysterious creature uses the boy’s devices against him to break into our world, his parents must fight to save their son from the monster beyond the screen.”

Fresh ‘Come Play’ Poster and Stills Find a Friend in Larry – Bloody Disgusting

Official trailer:

The E.T-looking character is called Larry, based on a 2017 short with that name. The concept has been expanded, something that worries me. Too many times shorter works that are expanded for a full length movie screw up the pacing. Hopefully the padding won’t show in this effort. We’ll know in a few days.

Come Play will be released on a LIMITED number of theaters starting Thursday October 30, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: Synchronic

This is showing at a nearby AMC theater in south Seattle and released today. Hadn’t seen anything about it prior to seeing it on the movies available list at AMC and seeing that it was showing at only one theater nearby.

It made its world debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019.

In the new sci-fi horror Synchronic, Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan star as Steve and Dennis, two New Orleans paramedics who witness the troubling side effects of a new drug that distorts reality. When personal and professional obligations collide, the terrifying power of this new pill takes them on a mind-bending journey through time.

The costume design secrets behind sci-fi horror Synchronic

A designer drug that distorts reality, don’t almost all drugs do that? I like the box art and the title has a sci-fi ring to it.

Trailer:

Yeah, I’m kinda digging the trailer. No idea if the movie will deliver or not, but I’m a fan of sci-fi horror that’s done well. Anybody see this? Interested in seeing it?

Synchronic is available as a LIMITED theatrical release on October 23, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: Totally Under Control – Hulu

We share your pain in pandemic fatigue, but here in America we have an election coming in a few weeks and many still haven’t voted yet (my ballet will arrive in the next few days). I used to vote on election day in person, but for several years now it’s been strictly mail-in balloting.

One of the topics that many will be considering in who they vote for is what will future politicians will do about the pandemic? Personally, I have mixed opinions about politicizing the pandemic, but worried about the next four years. Heck, I’m worried about the next four months.

We’ve anticipated a wide variety of COVID-19 movies, documentaries and TV shows to begin appearing in entertainment. Totally Under Control scratches that itch on the documentary front.

Filmed in secret over five months, Totally Under Control (streaming on Hulu tomorrow) uses news footage and interviews with experts and government whistleblowers to show how the administration missed each opportunity to either stop the virus from arriving in the U.S. or prevent its spread. The filmmakers present these events in rapid, blow-by-blow succession, lending the doc an urgency that contrasts with the languid federal response to the pandemic.

‘Totally Under Control’: An Essential Pandemic Documentary – The Atlantic

Official trailer:

Totally Under Control is available for streaming via Hulu on October 20, 2020.