Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Netflix new release roundup for November ‘20

I’m watching much more Netflix now than before, and not just for the new releases. I think I’ve come to depend on it a bit, as a way of coping. A movie a day, plus two or three TV episodes, isn’t too much, is it? At least I’m not bingeing.

The Trial of the Chicago Seven. The anti-Vietnam protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and the violence that resulted as a result of the confrontation with the Chicago police, gets revisited in this film from writer-director Aaron Sorkin. Specifically, it’s about the trial of an unconnected group of individuals at the heart of the protests, including irreverent activist Abbie Hoffman, memorably played by Sacha Baron Cohen. He’ll get Oscar nominated for certain. Sorkin uses cross-cutting between places and times to bring life to a very talky but riveting screenplay, in addition to actual television footage from the late 60s. In a time when Americans have been agitating for more drastic change in society than ever before, this movie leaves a deep impression.


So Death on the Nile and Free Guy moved to next year and Wonder Woman 1984 will debut in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. The Tom Hanks western News of the World and the video game adaptation Monster Hunter are still expected to play theatrically in 2020... for the moment. This Slate article goes into streaming amidst the current status quo and how unsatisfying it can ultimately feel in a world with diminished theatrical distribution.

More on the other side.

For obvious reasons, there’ll be no list of top five moviegoing moments this year. If I had to pick one anyway, I suppose it would be when I saw Jojo Rabbit way back in January. Had a good audience for that one and they enjoyed the movie a whole lot.

Speaking of moviegoing, the Loews Jersey Theatre reopened with limited capacity and online ticket sales in October. They had a twin Halloween bill of Beetlejuice and The Uninvited. In November they showed Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Duck Soup. I didn’t make it either month.

They’re still going through their regular renovation procedures, in addition to Virus-related cleaning practices. For the screenings, they close off every other row and make people sit farther apart than usual.

In a post on their Facebook page dated October 1, they discussed what they called the “ambitious plan” agreed to by Friends of the Loews (FOL) and Jersey City back in June to renovate the venerable theater to the tune of $40 million:

...Since the announcement in June, FOL and the City have been working to put the plan into motion, so we've been waiting a little while before explaining things in more detail to all of the Theatre's supporters and friends.  But as things move along in that department, and FOL starts the process of opening the Loew's back up after the long pandemic shutdown, this is probably a good time -- so we'll have a discussion of this out in the next week or so.

Here’s a recent New York Times piece on how indie theaters in NYC are getting by, which includes an interview with Cinemart Fiveplex owner Nick Nicolaou. And here’s a related Times story on how nostalgia for old movies and old pop culture in general is thriving.


Since switching to an online format back in March, the Queens World Film Festival has spent the year holding virtual screenings of movies by indie filmmakers. Now they’re holding a fundraiser to help keep them going into 2021. The plan is to hold next year’s festival June 23-26. If you’re able, drop a few bucks in their hat because they do good work and have for years.


Virginia and I had spent the past two Thanksgivings with our mutual friend Kate and other friends at her place in Manhattan, but this year there were just four of us, we two plus Ann and Kate. I was naturally trepidatious this year; I almost bowed out of it, but we took all the precautions you would expect us to and it turned out fine. It came down to them really wanting to stick with it in spite of everything, and I felt inspired by their example. I cooked bread. It went over well.


Taking time off from here paid off: the latest draft of my manuscript is finished. The bad news, though, is that I know I absolutely have to write at least one more draft. This version changed the original ending of my story for the first time—obviously a major adjustment, but a necessary one. I’m convinced this version is better. It’s certainly smaller, by at least 30,000 words, probably more, and some of the cuts were extremely painful. Maybe 2021 will finally be the year I finish this beast. We’ll see.

Three blogathons coming up this month, beginning on December 5, so come back for that. Might review a Christmas movie later on. Maybe.


  1. I just pulled out a lot of DVDs of Christmas movies and Christmas episodes of classic TV. I must pencil in some of the Netflix stuff that looks interesting.

    I am beginning to wonder if we can still continue our tradition of taking Gavin to the movies on his January 1 birthday. H'm.

  2. They have a bunch of new Christmas movies this year. None of them look interesting to me, but maybe something will catch your eye.

    I hope you do get to see Gavin on New Year’s Day. Maybe sooner.


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