20th Century Women Annette Bening

Ring In 2017 with These New Releases

Friday, December 30, 2016 Rob Samuelson

For all you old boring people (like me) who probably won’t be ringing in the new year by paying $75 for all-you-can-drink crappy champagne at a club with too many people and not enough fun, there are a number of limited releases to take in this holiday weekend. Let’s see what’s in store for you old boring people who happen to live in the rare places that get these films.

Photo credit: Hidden Figures/Facebook


Toni Erdmann
Director: Maren Ade
Writer: Maren Ade
Starring: Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonischek, Michael Wittenborn



A late-middle-age father (Peter Simonischek) tries to reintegrate himself into his uptight professional daughter’s (Sandra Hüller) life. He goes about this in a silly and dumb way: by dressing in disguise and trying to become one of her clients. This German comedy has been getting praised for what feels like eons (it’s really just since about last winter’s Sundance Film Festival) and now we plebs get to finally experience what is supposed to be hilarious. So, there you have it.

Paterson
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Nellie



Jim Jarmusch returns after a few years (2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive was the most stellar part of the vampire movie trend), but this time he has his sights set on more ordinary people than his previous feature’s centuries-old vampire lovers. Adam Driver gets to put down his Kylo Ren mask to play a more unassuming type of fellow: a bus driver named Paterson in Paterson, New Jersey. He’s a poet on the side and he lives with a musician girlfriend (Golshifteh Farahani) and their dog. That seems to be about it. They are good-natured people trying to make art with what free time they have. That’s a nice sounding way to end the year.

20th Century Women
Director: Mike Mills
Writer: Mike Mills
Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann



While it hasn’t been in my mind for as long as Toni Erdmann, it feels like I have seen 20th Century Women’s trailer several times a week forever. It’s really just been the last couple months, but it’s been in front of basically every single movie that has hit theaters in that time. Annette Bening plays a single mother in the late 1970s who attempts to get a pair of younger women (Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning) to help her raise her son (Lucas Jade Zumann) into a better man than the men she has dealt with in her life. Coming of age stories are among my favorites, so I’m a sucker for this thing, even if I’m a newcomer to writer-director Mike Mills’s work after missing out on his mostly acclaimed Thumbsucker and Beginners.

Hidden Figures
Director: Theodore Melfi
Writers: Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe



I am also a sucker for science in movies. Hidden Figures  isn’t quite the sci-fi that sets my mind on fire, because it’s a story about the real thing: the NASA scientists and mathematicians (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe) who made sure Americans like the recently deceased John Glenn could go into space. If you have kids and you’re looking to inspire them to head into STEM fields, you could do worse than to take them to this movie, which doubles as a call for diversity in all professions -- double whammy!

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