Pixar delivers its latest animated release and Jeff Daniels returns to TV.
The animated movie from Pixar and Disney tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who sets out to become an accomplished musician. The trouble is, his family has banned music for generations. Miguel suddenly finds himself in the magical Land of the Dead, where he teams up with the trickster in hopes of unlocking the secret behind his family history.
Directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina, Coco features Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt among its voice cast, with tributes to notable figures like artist Frida Kahlo and Mexican wrestler Santo. The movie, which is accompanied by the Frozen featurette Olaf's Frozen Adventure, has already become Mexico's top-grossing title of all time.
Denzel Washington stars in the thriller as a legal savant and Los Angeles attorney who is offered a job at a prestigious law firm after the death of his longtime partner. He then takes on a case that has life-altering repercussions. Nightcrawler helmer Dan Gilroy directs the Sony movie, also featuring Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo in the cast.
THR's review calls it a "nervy, admirably cerebral story" which has many fine and noble qualities. Just for starters, there’s a typically studied, finely calibrated performance from Washington, evocative use of downtown Los Angeles locations, a magnificent soundtrack of vintage funk and soul and a pleasingly retro use of punctuation in its title. Unfortunately, something at the center just doesn’t hold, and it flies apart over the course of 133 minutes into confusing shards of plot, legalese-heavy monologues and, perhaps most surprising of all given Gilroy’s bona fides, a touch of soggy sentimentality in the home stretch."
Gary Oldman is nearly unrecognizable in portraying Winston Churchill, just as he’s about to become Prime Minister of Great Britain in the face of World War II. He then debates exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. Joe Wright directs Focus’ historical drama, also starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn.
THR's review of the buzzy awards contender says, "Joe Wright has made a snappy and straightforward crowd-pleaser that focuses on new Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s mighty efforts to rise to the occasion of rescuing his country from the appeasers and defeatists in Parliament and stirring the public to defiance of Adolf Hitler. Subtle and nuanced the film is not, but Gary Oldman’s robust performance will help put it over as a solid performer."
Dan Stevens portrays Charles Dickens in the Bleecker Street release, which recounts how the acclaimed author blended real-life inspirations with his imagination to create his classic holiday story A Christmas Carol in 1843. Directed by Bharat Nalluri, the historical dramedy also stars Christopher Plummer as the "Scrooge" character, while Jonathan Pryce plays Dickens' father.
THR's review says the movie "wants to have its Christmas cake and eat it, too, by attempting to be both a (highly fictionalized) biographical portrait of Dickens and, simultaneously, a creative spin on the oft-dramatized tale. It doesn't fully succeed at either, but it does offer enough enjoyable Masterpiece Theater-style moments to entice Anglophiles and those who can never get enough of Ebenezer Scrooge."
Netflix's seven-part miniseries, starring Jeff Daniels, is being hailed as a feminist Western. Set in the 1880s, the limited series — executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and created, written and directed by Scott Frank — follows a betrayed Frank Griffin (Daniels) and his gang of outlaws as a search for his missing protege (played by Jack O’Connell) leads him to an isolated mining town that is mysteriously made up mainly of women.
The cast includes Michelle Dockery, Merritt Wever, Scott McNairy, Kim Coates and Sam Waterston. THR's review calls the Western "an excellent dust-up of a genre."
Spike Lee brings a reboot of his 1986 classic film of the same name to Netflix. Similar to the film, the show centers on Nola Darling, a Brooklyn-based artist in her late 20s struggling to define herself and divide her time among her friends, her job and her three lovers.
Hailed as a revolution when the film first premiered, the series is being called "an East Coast version of Issa Rae's Insecure or a complement or corrective to Lena Dunham's Girls" in THR's review.