May 18, 2024 6:07 pm

#442 September 27, 2022

Matt writes: Louise Fletcher, the brilliant actress whose timeless portrayal of Nurse Ratched in Milos Forman’s 1975 classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” brought her cinematic immortality, died this past Friday at age 88. Be sure to read Dan Callahan’s obit, as well as Roger Ebert’s Great Movies essay on “Cuckoo’s Nest,” which is excerpted below, alongside the footage of Fletcher’s unforgettable Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech.

If Nicholson’s performance is justly celebrated, Louise Fletcher’s, despite the Oscar, is not enough appreciated. This may be because her Nurse Ratched is so thoroughly contemptible, and because she embodies so completely the qualities we all (men and women) have been taught to fear in a certain kind of female authority figure–a woman who has subsumed sexuality and humanity into duty and righteousness. Dressed in her quasi-military nurse’s costume, with its little hat and its Civil War-style cape, she is dominatrix and warden, followed everywhere by the small, unspeaking nurse who is her acolyte.

Because we respond so strongly to her we hardly see Fletcher’s performance. But watch her preternatural calm, her impassive “fairness,” her inflexible adherence to the rules, as in the scene where she demands McMurphy get a majority vote in order to turn on the World Series on TV–this despite the fact that a majority of the patients don’t understand what they are voting on. At the end, when McMurphy’s final fate is decided upon, note how the male administrator tentatively suggests he be sent back to the prison farm, but Ratched firmly contradicts him: “We must not pass our responsibilities on to someone else.”

Trailers

Babylon (2023). Written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Jean Smart. Synopsis: A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood. Debuts in the US on January 6th, 2023.

The Watcher (2022). Created by  and . Starring Jennifer Coolidge, Naomi WattsMia Farrow. Synopsis: A married couple moving into their dream home is being threatened by terrifying letters from a stalker, signed- “The Watcher“. Debuts on Netflix on October 13th, 2022.

The Mother (2022). Directed by Niki Caro. Written by Misha Green, Andrea Berloff and Peter Craig. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Gael García Bernal. Synopsis: While fleeing from dangerous assailants, an assassin comes out of hiding to protect her daughter she left earlier in life. US release date is TBA.

Please Baby Please (2022). Directed by Amanda Kramer. Written by Amanda Kramer and Noel David Taylor. Starring Andrea Riseborough, Harry Melling, Demi Moore. Synopsis: Newlyweds Suse and Arthur become the dangerous obsession of a greaser gang that awakens a sleeping quandary into the couple’s sexual identity. US release date is TBA.

Decision to Leave (2022). Directed by Park Chan-wook. Written by Park Chan-wook and Seo-kyeong Jeong. Starring Tang Wei, Park Hae-il, Go Kyung-Pyo. Synopsis: A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains meets the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing. Debuts in the US on October 14th, 2022.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody (2022). Directed by Kasi Lemmons. Written by Anthony McCarten. Starring Naomi Ackie, Stanley Tucci, Ashton Sanders. Synopsis: The joyous, emotional, heartbreaking celebration of the life and music of Whitney Houston, one of the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time. Tracking her journey from obscurity to musical superstardom. Debuts in the US on December 21st, 2022.

Corsage (2022). Written and directed by Marie Kreutzer. Starring Vicky Krieps, Colin Morgan, Finnegan Oldfield. Synopsis: A fictional account of the later years of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. On Christmas Eve 1877, Elisabeth turns 40 and is officially deemed an old woman and starts trying to maintain her public image, once idolized for her beauty. Debuts in the US on December 23rd, 2022.

Nothing Compares (2022). Directed by . Synopsis: The story of Sinéad O’Connor’s rise to worldwide fame, and how her iconoclastic personality resulted in her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on prophetic words and deeds across a six-year period (1987-1993), the film reflects on the legacy of this fearless trailblazer, through a contemporary feminist lens. US release date is TBA.

The Year of the Dog (2022). Directed by Rob Grabow, Andrew McGinn and Michael Peterson. Written by Rob Grabow. Starring Rob Grabow, Michael Spears, Jon Proudstar. Synopsis: Matt, a loner alcoholic at rock bottom, struggles to maintain sobriety for 30 days so he can honor his mother’s dying wish, to visit her in hospice, sober. His book-thumping AA sponsor, Fred, offers him refuge at his farm, where Matt finds Yup’ik, a stray Husky with a unique talent. Debuts in the US on December 13th, 2022.

V/H/S/99 (2022). Directed by Flying Lotus, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, Johannes Roberts, Joseph Winter and Vanessa Winter. Written by Zoe CooperFlying Lotus, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyreJohannes Roberts, Joseph Winter and Vanessa Winter. Starring Kim Abunuwara, Duncan Anderson, Kyle Bales. Synopsis: Witness a hellish vision of 1999, as social isolation, analog technology and disturbing home videos fuse into a nightmare of found footage savagery. US release date is TBA.

Mister Organ (2022). Directed by . Synopsis: Journalist David Farrier (“Tickled“) is drawn into a game of cat and mouse with a mysterious individual. Delving deeper he unearths a trail of court cases, royal bloodlines and ruined lives, in this true story of psychological warfare. US release date is TBA.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022). Written and directed by  (based on the short story by ). Starring Jaeden Martell, Donald Sutherland, Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Synopsis: When Mr. Harrigan dies, the teen who befriended and did odd jobs for him, puts his smart phone in his pocket before burial and when the lonely youth leaves his dead friend a message, he is shocked to get a return text. Debuts on Netflix on October 5th, 2022.

Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me (2022). Directed by . Synopsis: After years in the limelight, Selena Gomez achieves unimaginable stardom. But just as she reaches a new peak, an unexpected turn pulls her into darkness. This uniquely raw and intimate documentary spans her six-year journey into a new light. Debuts on Apple TV+ on November 2nd, 2022.

The Return of Tanya Tucker—Featuring Brandi Carlile (2022). Directed by . Synopsis: Decades after Tanya Tucker slipped from the spotlight, music star Brandi Carlile takes it upon herself to write an entire album for her hero based on Tanya’s extraordinary life, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history. Debuts in the US on November 4th, 2022.

Enola Holmes 2 (2022). Directed by Harry Bradbeer. Written by Jack Thorne (based on the book by Nancy Springer). Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter. Synopsis: Now a detective-for-hire, Enola Holmes takes on her first official case to find a missing girl as the sparks of a dangerous conspiracy ignite a mystery that requires the help of friends – and Sherlock himself – to unravel. Debuts on Netflix on November 4th, 2022.

Hellraiser (2022). Directed by David Bruckner. Written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski (based on the book by Clive Barker). Starring Jamie Clayton, Hiam Abbass, Odessa A’zion. Synopsis: A take on Clive Barker‘s 1987 horror classic where a young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that its purpose is to summon the Cenobites. Debuts in the US on October 7th, 2022.

The Midnight Club (2022). Created by  and . Starring Samantha Sloyan, Zach Gilford, Heather Langenkamp. Synopsis: A group of five terminally ill patients at Brightcliffe Hospice begin to gather together at midnight to share scary stories. Debuts on Netflix on October 7th, 2022.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022). Created by  and . Starring Evan Peters, Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald. Synopsis: Story of the Milwaukee Monster told from the perspective of the victims and police incompetency that allowed the Wisconsin native to go on a multiyear killing spree. Now available on Netflix.

Essie Davis on The Justice of Bunny King

Matt writes: I recently had the supreme honor of interviewing one of the greatest living actors, Essie Davis, about her work in two of the year’s best films, Justin Kurzel’s “Nitram” and Gaysorn Thavat’s “The Justice of Bunny King,” the latter of which received four stars from our critic Sheila O’Malley. Read my full conversation with Essie here.

Chicago International Film Festival 2022

Matt writes: Don’t miss our sneak peek at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival, which runs from Wednesday, October 12th, through Sunday, October 23rd. Opening this year’s festival is “A Compassionate Spy,” the latest documentary from master filmmaker Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “Life Itself”), a clip from which can viewed in the video embedded above.

Free Movies

The Lost World (1925). Directed by Harry O. Hoyt. Written by Marion Fairfax (based on the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle). Starring Bessie Love, Lewis Stone, Wallace Beery. Synopsis: The first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam.

Watch “The Lost World”

The General (1926). Written and directed by  and . Starring , Marion Mack, Glen Cavender. Synopsis: After being rejected by the Confederate military, not realizing it was due to his crucial civilian role, an engineer must single-handedly recapture his beloved locomotive after it is seized by Union spies and return it through enemy lines.

Watch “The General”

The Night of the Living Dead (1968). Directed by George A. Romero. Written by George A. Romero and John A. Russo. Starring Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman. Synopsis: A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a horde of flesh-eating ghouls that are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.

Watch “The Night of the Living Dead”

Matt writes: Louise Fletcher, the brilliant actress whose timeless portrayal of Nurse Ratched in Milos Forman’s 1975 classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” brought her cinematic immortality, died this past Friday at age 88. Be sure to read Dan Callahan’s obit, as well as Roger Ebert’s Great Movies essay on “Cuckoo’s Nest,” which is excerpted below, alongside the footage of Fletcher’s unforgettable Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech. If Nicholson’s performance is justly celebrated, Louise Fletcher’s, despite the Oscar, is not enough appreciated. This may be because her Nurse Ratched is so thoroughly contemptible, and because she embodies so completely the qualities we all (men and women) have been taught to fear in a certain kind of female authority figure–a woman who has subsumed sexuality and humanity into duty and righteousness. Dressed in her quasi-military nurse’s costume, with its little hat and its Civil War-style cape, she is dominatrix and warden, followed everywhere by the small, unspeaking nurse who is her acolyte. Because we respond so strongly to her we hardly see Fletcher’s performance. But watch her preternatural calm, her impassive “fairness,” her inflexible adherence to the rules, as in the scene where she demands McMurphy get a majority vote in order to turn on the World Series on TV–this despite the fact that a majority of the patients don’t understand what they are voting on. At the end, when McMurphy’s final fate is decided upon, note how the male administrator tentatively suggests he be sent back to the prison farm, but Ratched firmly contradicts him: “We must not pass our responsibilities on to someone else.” Trailers Babylon (2023). Written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Jean Smart. Synopsis: A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood. Debuts in the US on January 6th, 2023. The Watcher (2022). Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan. Starring Jennifer Coolidge, Naomi Watts, Mia Farrow. Synopsis: A married couple moving into their dream home is being threatened by terrifying letters from a stalker, signed- “The Watcher”. Debuts on Netflix on October 13th, 2022. The Mother (2022). Directed by Niki Caro. Written by Misha Green, Andrea Berloff and Peter Craig. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Gael García Bernal. Synopsis: While fleeing from dangerous assailants, an assassin comes out of hiding to protect her daughter she left earlier in life. US release date is TBA. Please Baby Please (2022). Directed by Amanda Kramer. Written by Amanda Kramer and Noel David Taylor. Starring Andrea Riseborough, Harry Melling, Demi Moore. Synopsis: Newlyweds Suse and Arthur become the dangerous obsession of a greaser gang that awakens a sleeping quandary into the couple’s sexual identity. US release date is TBA. Decision to Leave (2022). Directed by Park Chan-wook. Written by Park Chan-wook and Seo-kyeong Jeong. Starring Tang Wei, Park Hae-il, Go Kyung-Pyo. Synopsis: A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains meets the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing. Debuts in the US on October 14th, 2022. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (2022). Directed by Kasi Lemmons. Written by Anthony McCarten. Starring Naomi Ackie, Stanley Tucci, Ashton Sanders. Synopsis: The joyous, emotional, heartbreaking celebration of the life and music of Whitney Houston, one of the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time. Tracking her journey from obscurity to musical superstardom. Debuts in the US on December 21st, 2022. Corsage (2022). Written and directed by Marie Kreutzer. Starring Vicky Krieps, Colin Morgan, Finnegan Oldfield. Synopsis: A fictional account of the later years of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. On Christmas Eve 1877, Elisabeth turns 40 and is officially deemed an old woman and starts trying to maintain her public image, once idolized for her beauty. Debuts in the US on December 23rd, 2022. Nothing Compares (2022). Directed by Kathryn Ferguson. Synopsis: The story of Sinéad O’Connor’s rise to worldwide fame, and how her iconoclastic personality resulted in her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on prophetic words and deeds across a six-year period (1987-1993), the film reflects on the legacy of this fearless trailblazer, through a contemporary feminist lens. US release date is TBA. The Year of the Dog (2022). Directed by Rob Grabow, Andrew McGinn and Michael Peterson. Written by Rob Grabow. Starring Rob Grabow, Michael Spears, Jon Proudstar. Synopsis: Matt, a loner alcoholic at rock bottom, struggles to maintain sobriety for 30 days so he can honor his mother’s dying wish, to visit her in hospice, sober. His book-thumping AA sponsor, Fred, offers him refuge at his farm, where Matt finds Yup’ik, a stray Husky with a unique talent. Debuts in the US on December 13th, 2022. V/H/S/99 (2022). Directed by Flying Lotus, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, Johannes Roberts, Joseph Winter and Vanessa Winter. Written by Zoe Cooper, Flying Lotus, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, Johannes Roberts, Joseph Winter and Vanessa Winter. Starring Kim Abunuwara, Duncan Anderson, Kyle Bales. Synopsis: Witness a hellish vision of 1999, as social isolation, analog technology and disturbing home videos fuse into a nightmare of found footage savagery. US release date is TBA. Mister Organ (2022). Directed by David Farrier. Synopsis: Journalist David Farrier (“Tickled”) is drawn into a game of cat and mouse with a mysterious individual. Delving deeper he unearths a trail of court cases, royal bloodlines and ruined lives, in this true story of psychological warfare. US release date is TBA. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022). Written and directed by John Lee Hancock (based on the short story by Stephen King). Starring Jaeden Martell, Donald Sutherland, Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Synopsis: When Mr. Harrigan dies, the teen who befriended and did odd jobs for him, puts his smart phone in his pocket before burial and when the lonely youth leaves his dead friend a message, he is shocked to get a return text. Debuts on Netflix on October 5th, 2022. Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me (2022). Directed by Alek Keshishian. Synopsis: After years in the limelight, Selena Gomez achieves unimaginable stardom. But just as she reaches a new peak, an unexpected turn pulls her into darkness. This uniquely raw and intimate documentary spans her six-year journey into a new light. Debuts on Apple TV+ on November 2nd, 2022. The Return of Tanya Tucker—Featuring Brandi Carlile (2022). Directed by Kathlyn Horan. Synopsis: Decades after Tanya Tucker slipped from the spotlight, music star Brandi Carlile takes it upon herself to write an entire album for her hero based on Tanya’s extraordinary life, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history. Debuts in the US on November 4th, 2022. Enola Holmes 2 (2022). Directed by Harry Bradbeer. Written by Jack Thorne (based on the book by Nancy Springer). Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter. Synopsis: Now a detective-for-hire, Enola Holmes takes on her first official case to find a missing girl as the sparks of a dangerous conspiracy ignite a mystery that requires the help of friends – and Sherlock himself – to unravel. Debuts on Netflix on November 4th, 2022. Hellraiser (2022). Directed by David Bruckner. Written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski (based on the book by Clive Barker). Starring Jamie Clayton, Hiam Abbass, Odessa A’zion. Synopsis: A take on Clive Barker’s 1987 horror classic where a young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that its purpose is to summon the Cenobites. Debuts in the US on October 7th, 2022. The Midnight Club (2022). Created by Mike Flanagan and Leah Fong. Starring Samantha Sloyan, Zach Gilford, Heather Langenkamp. Synopsis: A group of five terminally ill patients at Brightcliffe Hospice begin to gather together at midnight to share scary stories. Debuts on Netflix on October 7th, 2022. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022). Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan. Starring Evan Peters, Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald. Synopsis: Story of the Milwaukee Monster told from the perspective of the victims and police incompetency that allowed the Wisconsin native to go on a multiyear killing spree. Now available on Netflix. Essie Davis on The Justice of Bunny King Matt writes: I recently had the supreme honor of interviewing one of the greatest living actors, Essie Davis, about her work in two of the year’s best films, Justin Kurzel’s “Nitram” and Gaysorn Thavat’s “The Justice of Bunny King,” the latter of which received four stars from our critic Sheila O’Malley. Read my full conversation with Essie here. Chicago International Film Festival 2022 Matt writes: Don’t miss our sneak peek at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival, which runs from Wednesday, October 12th, through Sunday, October 23rd. Opening this year’s festival is “A Compassionate Spy,” the latest documentary from master filmmaker Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “Life Itself”), a clip from which can viewed in the video embedded above. Free Movies The Lost World (1925). Directed by Harry O. Hoyt. Written by Marion Fairfax (based on the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle). Starring Bessie Love, Lewis Stone, Wallace Beery. Synopsis: The first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam. Watch “The Lost World” The General (1926). Written and directed by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman. Starring Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender. Synopsis: After being rejected by the Confederate military, not realizing it was due to his crucial civilian role, an engineer must single-handedly recapture his beloved locomotive after it is seized by Union spies and return it through enemy lines. Watch “The General” The Night of the Living Dead (1968). Directed by George A. Romero. Written by George A. Romero and John A. Russo. Starring Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman. Synopsis: A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a horde of flesh-eating ghouls that are ravaging the East Coast of the United States. Watch “The Night of the Living Dead” Read More