Matt writes: After endless days of quarantined viewing, returning to Champaign, Illinois for the 22nd installment of Ebertfest was nothing short of a tonic for the soul. From April 20th through the 23rd, audiences once again filled the Virginia Theatre for unforgettable film screenings with such special guests as filmmaker Ramin Bahrani (“The White Tiger”), actor Krisha Fairchild (“Krisha”) and Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker (“French Exit”).
I had the great pleasure of moderating an onstage Q&A with Oscar-nominated writer/director Terry Zwigoff (“Crumb,” “Bad Santa”) and brilliant actress Thora Birch (“American Beauty,” “Hocus Pocus”) following a screening of their 2001 cult classic, “Ghost World.” You can view our conversation in the video embedded below and find the taped footage of practically all the festival intros and Q&As on the official YouTube page of Ebertfest. Stay tuned for our full festival recap posting soon at RogerEbert.com…
Official Competition (2022). Directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat. Written by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat. Starring Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Martínez. Synopsis: A wealthy businessman hires a famous filmmaker to help make a smash hit film. Debuts in the US on June 17th, 2022.
Z (Comme Z) (2022). Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Starring Bérénice Bejo, Romain Duris, Luàna Bajrami. Synopsis: Things go badly for a small film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie when they are attacked by real zombies. US release date is TBA.
Crimes of the Future (2022). Written and directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen. Synopsis: A deep dive into the not-so-distant future in which humankind is learning to adapt to its synthetic surroundings. This evolution moves humans beyond their natural state and into a metamorphosis, which alters their biological makeup. Debuts in the US on June 2nd, 2022.
Fire Island (2022). Directed by Andrew Ahn. Written by Joel Kim Booster. Starring Margaret Cho, Zane Phillips, James Scully. Synopsis: A pair of best friends set out to have a legendary week-long summer vacation with the help of cheap rosé and a group of eclectic friends. Debuts on Hulu on June 3rd, 2022.
Monstrous (2022). Directed by Chris Sivertson. Written by Carol Chrest. Starring Christina Ricci, Santino Barnard, Colleen Camp. Synopsis: Story centers on a traumatized woman fleeing from her abusive ex-husband with her 7-year-old son. In their new, remote sanctuary they find they have a bigger, more terrifying monster to deal with. US release date is TBA.
Good Mourning (2022). Written and directed by Machine Gun Kelly and Mod Sun. Starring Pete Davidson, Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelly. Synopsis: Follows London Clash, a movie star whose world is turned upside down when he must choose between pursuing his one true love and landing a life-changing, starring role in a major motion picture. Debuts in the US on May 20th, 2022.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022). Directed by Sophie Hyde. Written by Katy Brand. Starring Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack, Les Mabaleka. Synopsis: Follows Nancy Stokes, a 55 year-old widow who is yearning for some adventure, human connection and some sex, good sex. Debuts in the US on June 17th, 2022.
Black Site (2022). Directed by Sophia Banks. Written by John Collee and Jinder Ho. Starring Michelle Monaghan, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney. Synopsis: A group of officers based in a labyrinthine top-secret must fight for their lives against Hatchet, a brilliant and infamous high-value detainee. When he escapes, his mysterious and deadly agenda has far-reaching and dire consequences. Debuts in the US on May 3rd, 2022.
Flux Gourmet (2022). Written and directed by Peter Strickland. Starring Asa Butterfield, Gwendoline Christie, Richard Bremmer. Synopsis: Set at an institute devoted to culinary and alimentary performance, a collective finds themselves embroiled in power struggles, artistic vendettas and gastrointestinal disorders. Debuts in the US on April 18th, 2022.
Clark (2022). Directed by Jonas Åkerlund. Starring Bill Skarsgård, Alicia Agneson, Vilhelm Blomgren. Synopsis: This is the incredible story behind Sweden’s most notorious gangster, Clark Olofsson, whose infamous crimes gave rise to the term “Stockholm Syndrome”. Debuts on Netflix on May 5th, 2022.
Hacks: Season 2 (2022). Created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky. Starring Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder, Carl Clemons-Hopkins. Synopsis: Explores a dark mentorship that forms between Deborah Vance, a legendary Las Vegas comedian, and an entitled, outcast 25-year-old. Debuts on HBO Max on May 12th, 2022.
Becoming Elizabeth (2022). Created by Anya Reiss. Starring Jamie Parker, George Baker, Sinna Mogul. Synopsis: Elizabeth Tudor, an orphaned teenager who becomes embroiled in the political and sexual politics of the English court on her journey to secure the crown. Debuts on STARZ on June 12th, 2022.
Conversations with Friends (2022). Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Leanne Welham. Starring Joe Alwyn, Jemima Kirke, Sasha Lane. Synopsis: Two Dublin college students, Frances and Bobbi, and the strange and unexpected connection they forge with married couple, Melissa and Nick. Debuts on Hulu on May 15th, 2022.
The Staircase (2022). Created by Antonio Campos. Starring Toni Collette, Colin Firth, Odessa Young. Synopsis: Tells the story of Michael Peterson, a crime novelist accused of killing his wife Kathleen after she is found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their home, and the 16-year judicial battle that followed. Debuts on HBO Max on May 5th, 2022.
The Lincoln Lawyer (2022). Created by David E. Kelley. Starring Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Neve Campbell, Christopher Gorham. Synopsis: An iconoclastic idealist runs his law practice out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car in this series based on Michael Connelly’s bestselling novels. Debuts on Netflix on May 13th, 2022.
Night Sky (2022). Created by Holden Miller and Daniel C. Connolly. Starring Sissy Spacek, J.K. Simmons, Chai Hansen. Synopsis: Follows Franklin and Irene York, a couple who years ago discovered a chamber buried in their backyard which inexplicably leads to a strange, deserted planet. Debuts on Prime Video on May 20th, 2022.
Life After Life (2022). Directed by John Crowley. Starring Thomasin McKenzie, Isla Johnston, Lesley Manville. Synopsis: Ursula Todd dies one night in 1910 before she can draw her first breath. On that same night in 1910, Ursula is born and survives. US release date is TBA.
Lightyear (2022). Directed by Angus MacLane. Written by Angus MacLane and Jason Headley (based on characters created by John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft). Starring Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi. Synopsis: The story of Buzz Lightyear and his adventures to infinity and beyond. Debuts in the US on June 17th, 2022.
Gilbert Gottfried (1955-2022)
Matt writes: The great comedian Gilbert Gottfried was originally scheduled to attend the screening of Neil Berkeley’s wonderful 2017 documentary, “Gilbert” at Ebertfest 2022. His passing earlier this month at age 67 inspired our contributor Donald Liebenson to pen a beautiful tribute. I had the honor of interviewing Gottfried at Hot Docs 2017 about the documentary, and you can read our full conversation here.
Céline Sciamma on “Petite Maman”
Matt writes: One of the greatest directors alive today, Céline Sciamma, has released her latest essential masterwork, “Petite Maman,” which received four stars from our critic Odie Henderson. Be sure to read Sciamma’s recent conversation with our frequent contributor Peter Sobczynski.
Abraham Lincoln (1930). Directed by D.W. Griffith. Written by Stephen Vincent Benet. Starring Walter Huston, Kay Hammond, Jason Robards Sr. Synopsis: An episodic biography of the 16th President of the United States.
Watch “Abraham Lincoln”
Invisible Ghost (1941). Directed by Joseph H. Lewis. Written by Helen Martin and Al Martin. Starring Bela Lugosi, Polly Ann Young, John McGuire. Synopsis: The town’s leading citizen becomes a homicidal maniac after his wife deserts him.
Watch “Invisible Ghost”
Fear in the Night (1946). Directed by Maxwell Shane. Written by Maxwell Shane and Cornell Woolrich. Starring Paul Kelly, Kay Scott, DeForest Kelley. Synopsis: A man dreams he committed murder, then begins to suspect it was real.