Welcome to this week’s edition of Back Lot 605’s Coming Soon column! We’ve got arguably the biggest movie of the holiday season – if not the entire year! – opening this week, so let’s cut to the chase! Here’s what coming soon for the week of December 17th, 2021:
Featured Title: Spider-Man: No Way Home
It’s been a very busy year for the MCU: we’re well into the fourth live-action MCU series on Disney+, Hawkeye… and now, following Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and Eternals, we now have our *fourth* MCU feature film within 6 months! And to be honest, not only is this probably the most anticipated of this year’s MCU movies as well… but possibly the most anticipated movie of the year, period! (And if you doubt my opinion on that… watch how this movie’s weekend box office plays out, because it’s going to be massive!)
This is the third solo go-round for Tom Holland’s Spidey, which picks up right after the game-changing mid-credits scene of Far from Home, in which Peter Parker is publicly revealed to be Spider-Man. Peter then enlists Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell that will have everyone forget he’s Spidey… but alas, the spell goes wrong, and Dr. Strange accidentally unleashes the multiverse! And thus leads into the big fan-service concept of this movie: that the villains from the previous Sam Raimi and Marc Webb Spidey movies emerge in the MCU… including Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus, Jamie Foxx’s Electro, and Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin! And, hmm… I wonder if anybody else from those earlier movies will appear…..??? 🙂 Returning cast members from previous MCU Spidey pictures include Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, and Jon Favreau… and Jon Watts returns for his third MCU Spidey movie as well. (Opens Friday, December 17th in theaters nationwide, including the Century Stadium 14 & XD, the Century East at Dawley Farm, and the West Mall 7 in Sioux Falls, with preview showings beginning at 3PM on Thursday, December 16th.)
Opening in Theaters
Guillermo del Toro’s first movie since winning 2 Oscars for 2017’s The Shape of Water is a slight detour… and the type of risk he can take after winning Best Picture and Best Director! This is a remake of the 1947 film noir, starring Bradley Cooper as a carny who becomes ensnared by a mystery woman (Cate Blanchett). Also starring Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, and David Strathairn. (Opens Friday, December 17th in theaters nationwide, including the Century Stadium 14 & XD, the Century East at Dawley Farm, and the West Mall 7 in Sioux Falls, with preview showings beginning at 6PM on Thursday, December 16th.)
New to Streaming and VOD
Being the Ricardos
Writer/director Aaron Sorkin loves to write about the world of television, having brought us such behind-the-camera TV series as Sports Night, Studio 60, and The Newsroom… and now, he follows up last year’s critical success The Trial of the Chicago 7 with his third stint as a feature film director: This look at a particularly eventful week behind the scenes of I Love Lucy, with Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball, and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz. Also starring J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, and Clark Gregg. (Premieres Tuesday, December 21st on Amazon Prime Video.)
Unfortunately, no theaters in South Dakota were able to pull in the latest boundary-pushing movie from director Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct) earlier this month (I wonder why???)… but it’s now dropping on VOD for us all to enjoy! This follows a 17th-century nun who begins to see shocking visions… and who also engages in a forbidden lesbian affair. (Premieres Tuesday, December 21st on digital VOD services.)
In a future world where androids have revolted, a pregnant woman (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her boyfriend (Algee Smith) try to flee to a safe place where she can give birth. This is the directorial debut of Mattson Tomlin, who wrote Netflix’s sci-fi tentpole Project Power and co-wrote the upcoming The Batman (and his writing partner on that movie, Matt Reeves, is a credited producer on this feature). (Premieres Friday, December 17th on Hulu.)
This futuristic tale from Apple is starting to garner awards attention for Mahershala Ali… who stars as a father who’s diagnosed with cancer. His doctor (Glenn Close) proposes a solution of sorts for his situation: She offers to secretly clone him so his wife (Naomie Harris) and children can avoid grieving… thus setting up the bulk of the film, in which the real Ali trains his clone. Also starring Awkwafina. (Premieres Friday, December 17th on Apple TV+.)
Here comes another theatrical movie that was slated to open in theaters early this year from Paramount… but instead, it’s now a Paramount+ exclusive! This is an animated movie set in a world where monsters are wrestling superheroes; a human girl (Geraldine Viswanathan) set outs to train an underdog (Will Arnett) into a champion! Other voices include Terry Crews, Jimmy Tatro, Ben Schwartz, and Tony Danza. (Premieres Wednesday, December 15th on Paramount+.)
The Hand of God
Finally on the new-release front, we have the latest awards contender from Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty, This Must Be the Place, Youth). This is a semi-autobiographical piece set in 1980s Naples (his hometown), and is described by Netflix as “a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss”. (Premieres Wednesday, December 15th on Netflix.)
Nosebleeds Film Festival Presents The Lutefisk Wars!
For their final monthly offering of 2021, the Nosebleeds Film Festival is setting aside their typical presentation of short films… and instead, they’ll be screening this 2011 comedy that was partially filmed in North Dakota! It follows a Schwan’s-like frozen food delivery guy who’s mistaken for someone else… and ends up in the middle of a conflict within the Norgewian Mafia! This is screening December 20th at 6PM at the east-side Last Stop CD Shop in Sioux Falls! For more info, check out the event’s official Facebook page!
Showing at the State!
A Christmas Story
The final batch of the State’s Christmas movie offerings is screening this week… and we begin with a true all-timer: Bob Clark’s 1983 family comedy about the holiday adventures of li’l Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) in the 1940s. From the leg lamp to “You’ll shoot your eye out!” to the legendary tongue-on-the-pole scene, you’ll want to enjoy all those favorite moments with a packed State audience! Also starring Darrin McGavin and Melinda Dillon. (Showing Friday, December 17th, Saturday, December 18th, and Thursday, December 23rd at the Sioux Falls State Theatre.)
If you attend the December 17th screening of A Christmas Story, you’ll want to stick around afterwards… because Bob Clark’s other holiday classic will be playing that night as part of Late Night at the State! Yes, this is the original 1974 horror film about a house of sorority sisters who begin receiving a series of creepy anonymous phone calls! Starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon. (Showing one night only, Friday, December 17th at the Sioux Falls State Theatre.)
The Nativity Story
For a more religious Christmas movie offering, the State is screening 2006’s retelling of the birth of Jesus, from director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, the first Twilight). Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac star as Mary and Joseph, who head to Bethlehem for the census… and end up giving birth to the Savior! Also starring Shoreh Aghdashloo, Hiam Abbass, Ciarán Hinds, and Alexander Siddig. (Showing Saturday, December 18th and Sunday, December 19th at the Sioux Falls State Theatre.)
Jingle All the Way
For more family fun, be sure to check out Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1996 comedy, in which he plays a harried dad who will stop at nothing to get his son (Jake Lloyd) a Turbo Man doll for Christmas! Also starring Sinbad, Rita Wilson, and the late, great Phil Hartman! Directed by Brian Levant (Beethoven, 1994’s The Flintstones… and speaking of a movie we mentioned above, 2012’s direct-to-DVD A Christmas Story 2!). (Showing Saturday, December 18th and Sunday, December 19th at the Sioux Falls State Theatre.)
It’s a Wonderful Life
Finally, as they did with White Christmas, the State is bringing back another all-timer that they first showed when the State reopened last December: Frank Capra’s 1946 perennial starring James Stewart as George Bailey, who’s shown what the world would be like if he was never born! Also starring Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore. (Showing Saturday, December 18th, Sunday, December 19th and Wednesday, December 22nd at the Sioux Falls State Theatre.)
New This Week to Blu-ray and 4K UHD
- Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)
- The Last Duel (2021)
- The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
- The Card Counter (2021)
- The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) (new to 4K UHD!)
Older Movies New to Streaming
- Darkest Hour (2017) (premieres Thursday, December 16th)
- Oldboy (2013) (premieres Saturday, December 18th)
- Cryptozoo (2021) (premieres Thursday, December 16th)
- Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman (2021) (premieres Thursday, December 16th)
- The Nowhere Inn (2021) (premieres Friday, December 17th)
- The Theory of Everything (2014) (premieres Thursday, December 16th)
- Who You Think I Am (2021) (premieres Monday, December 20th)
- No additional movies on Shudder this week. Sorry!
- Home Alone 4 (2002) (premieres Friday, December 17th)
- Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist (2012) (premieres Friday, December 17th)
- After the Sunset (2004) (premieres Wednesday, December 22nd)
- No additional movies on Peacock this week. Sorry!
- No additional movies on Paramount+ this week. Sorry!
The Criterion Channel:
- Friday, December 17th: Double Feature: Homewreckers: Shadow of a Doubt (1943), To Sleep with Anger (1990)
- Saturday, December 18th: Saturday Matinee: Long Way North (2015)
- Monday, December 20th: True Stories: Strange Victory (1948)
- Tuesday, December 21st: Short + Feature: The Night Before Christmas: A Christmas Dream (1948), Fanny and Alexander (1982)
- Wednesday, December 22nd: Women Filmmakers: Second Coming (2014)
The Shameless Plugs
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