Similarly to television, it would seem that with theaters slowly beginning to reopen; the movie release schedule is picking up speed in May. Just in time for what typically would be the start of the blockbuster season, this spring features a greater, eclectic list of films to choose from and, luckily for those still unwilling to go to a theater just yet, plenty of at-home viewing possibilities.
After the recent video announcement of Disney/Marvel’s upcoming dominance at the box office, this might be a good time to support independent and midlevel cinema before it’s all drowned out by tentpole features, sequels, and reboots. There’s plenty to choose from this month, from reflective documentaries to startling foreign films that stormed through last year’s festival circuit to an understated feature film for mega-star Angelina Jolie, the array of films available to us this month is striking.
What You Need to Know: Her first film since she made her debut with the impressive 2013 “Palo Alto,” Gia Coppola returns with “Mainstream.” Starring Andrew Garfield as a warped social influencer and Maya Hawke as a young woman who begins to find internet stardom when she begins making videos with Garfield’s Link. While films about our society’s over-reliance on social media and technology are almost a given at this point, there’s still a fine line to walk so that the story’s subject matter doesn’t also sound out of touch. Nat Wolff and Jason Schwartzman also star. While our critic applauded Garfield’s total commitment to the role, they were less than favorable towards the film as a whole, writing that it “…stumbles gauchely into every pitfall of this particular subgenre: it’s a big, blunt, sanctimonious satire of YouTuber idolatry that, for all its bug-eyed, pin-balling energy, never feels remotely ahead of the curve.”
Release Date: May 7 via IFC Films
“The Boy From Medellin”
What You Need to Know: The latest from director “City of Ghosts” and “Cartel Land” director Matthew Heineman, “The Boy From Medellin” demonstrates the range of interests the filmmaker is looking to capture. The film, which made its premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, follows Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin as he prepares for his 2019 homecoming covert amid political turmoil. The documentary allows the pop singer to open up about his personal struggles, giving his fans and casual viewers alike greater insight into who is separated from his onstage persona. Our critic wrote, “There’s a lot more to talk about in regards to J.Balvin than “The Boy from Medellín” goes into, but the documentary’s overall experience is still an enjoyable one that’s full of catchy music, candid moments with the guarded performer and one entertaining show at the end of it all.”
Release Date: May 7 on Amazon Prime
“Wrath Of Man”
What You Need to Know: The latest from Guy Ritchie refuses to stray too far from what we’ve come to expect from the director, who once again focuses his eyes on another hyper-masculine adrenaline rush. This time, Jason Statham takes the leading role as a security guard whose precision skills during a heist surprises his co-workers. Quickly though, the motives of the marksman are unveiled as he looks to settle a score. The film is based on the 2004 French movie “Cash Truck,” which Nicolas Boukhrief directed. The adaptation of the crime thriller sees a return to form for the director, who spend the better part of the last decade in studio fare with films such as “Aladdin,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E,” “King Arthur” and “Sherlock Holmes” so it will be interesting to see him dive back into gritty dramas. Alongside Statham stars Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, and Josh Hartnett.
Release Date: May 7 via MGM
What You Need to Know: 2010’s claustrophobic “Buried” with Ryan Reynolds is apparently a great plot because it’s seemingly being recycled for the very similar-sounding “Oxygen.” Directed by French filmmaker Alexandre Aja, known for horror fare like “Piranha 3D” (2010), “Horns” (2013), and “Crawl” (2019), this sci-fi horror stars Melanie Laurent (Mike Mills’ “Beginners,” Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”) Co-starring Mathieu Amalric and Malik Zidi, the thriller has a basic, but an effective-sounding concept: a woman wakes up in a medical cryo unit, she doesn’t remember who she is or how she ended up in this claustrophobic box. More importantly, she’s running out of oxygen and must rebuild her memory to find a way out of her nightmare.
Release Date: May 12 via Netflix
“The Woman in the Window”
What You Need to Know: Amy Adams is a phenomenal actress who hasn’t had the best luck in the past year with her choice of projects. From a thankless role in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League ” to the critically derided “Hillbilly Elegy,” it’s been a while since Adams has truly shone in a role deserving of her talents. Here’s hoping that “The Woman in the Window” does just that. With “Anna Karenina” and “Atonement” director Joe Wright attached along with Tracy Letts as the screenwriter, adapting the screenplay from the book of the same name by A.J. Finn, things are already looking a bit more promising. The film follows Adams’s agoraphobic Dr. Anna Fox after witnessing something she shouldn’t while keeping tabs on a seemingly picture-perfect next-door family. The cast is stacked, with Anthony Mackie, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, and Brian Tyree Henry.
Release Date: May 14 via Netflix.
“Those Who Wish Me Dead”
What You Need to Know: Despite her obvious star power, Angelina Jolie hasn’t starred in many films over the last few years. 2021 looks to rectify that with the obvious tentpole film she’ll be in with “The Eternals” out this upcoming November but up first will be the smaller-scaled drama “Those Who Wish Me Dead” directed by Taylor Sheridan. His first directorial outing since 2017’s “Wind River,” this time he is presenting the harrowing story of a smokejumper and a 12-year-old boy who must fight for their lives as two assassins track them through the wilderness. Based on the novel of the same name by author Michael Koryta, the film also stars Finn Little, Nicholas Hoult, and Jon Bernthal. Hopefully, the film will be a welcome reminder of Jolie’s star power when put to use in the right project and another strong film from Sheridan.
Release Date: May 14 via Warner Bros. and on HBO Max.