Movie review

#423 January 4, 2022

Matt writes: Happy New Year, Ebert Club subscribers! We are kicking off 2022 with a letter from publisher Chaz Ebert that provides an essential overview of the work published on our site in 2021. You can read the full letter here, which is excerpted below, alongside a photo featuring yours truly, my fellow Assistant Editors Nick Allen and Nell Minow, Editor-at-Large Matt Zoller Seitz, Managing Editor Brian Tallerico and, of course, Chaz…

To All Our Cherished Critics, Contributors, Readers and Subscribers:

Happy New Year! I hope all of you have had a healthy and enjoyable holiday season. I am deeply grateful to each and every one of you for your contributions, whether it be through your writing, your reading of our reviews and essays or quite simply, through your moral support during the second year of the pandemic. You can come to our site every day for the best film reviewsTV/streaming reviewscollectionsinterviewsblog entries and more. All of our contributors, and their individual collections of published work, can be found hereBefore we embark on the next twelve months ahead, I’d like to take a moment to look back on some of the extraordinary work published on our site,


The Northman (2022). Directed by Robert Eggers. Written by Robert Eggers and Sjón. Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman. Synopsis: An epic revenge thriller that explores how far a Viking prince will go to seek justice for his murdered father. Debuts in the US on April 22nd, 2022.

Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts (2022). Executive produced by Casey Patterson. Synopsis: Cast members from all “Harry Potter” films reunite in a retrospective special to celebrate the anniversary of the first film, including interviews and cast conversations. Now available on HBO Max.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022). Directed by Sam Raimi. Written by Jade Halley Bartlett and Michael Waldron (based on the comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko). Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Rachel McAdams. Synopsis: Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the door to the multiverse, including an alternate version of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff. Debuts in the US on May 6th, 2022.

Death on the Nile (2022). Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Written by Michael Green (based on the novel by Agatha Christie). Starring Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer. Synopsis: While on vacation on the Nile, Hercule Poirot must investigate the murder of a young heiress. Debuts in the US on February 11th, 2022.

We Need to Talk About Cosby (2022). Directed by W. Kamau Bell. Synopsis: Can you separate the art from the artist? Should you even try? While there are many people about whom we could ask those questions, none pose a tougher challenge than Bill CosbyDebuts on Showtime on January 30th, 2022.

Compartment No. 6 (2022). Directed by Juho Kuosmanen. Written by Juho Kuosmanen, Andris FeldmanisLivia Ulman and Ljuba Mulmenko (based on the novel by Rosa Liksom). Starring Yuriy Borisov, Seidi Haarla, Yuliya Aug. Synopsis: As a train weaves its way up to the arctic circle, two strangers share a journey that will change their perspective on life. Debuts in the US on January 26th, 2022.

Cow (2022). Directed by . Synopsis: A close-up portrait of the daily lives of two cows. Debuts in the US on January 14th, 2022.

Bigbug (2022). Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant. Starring Dominique PinonElsa Zylberstein, Isabelle Nanty. Synopsis: A group of bickering suburbanites find themselves stuck together when an android uprising causes their well intentioned household robots to lock them in for their own safety. Debuts on Netflix on February 11th, 2022.

I Want You Back (2022). Directed by Jason Orley. Written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. Starring Jenny Slate, Charlie Day, Jami Gertz. Synopsis: Newly dumped thirty-somethings Peter and Emma team up to sabotage their exes’ new relationships and win them back for good. Debuts on Prime Video on February 11th, 2022.

Peacemaker (2022), red-band trailer. Created by James Gunn. Starring John Cena, Jennifer Holland, Robert Patrick. Synopsis: The origin of the DC superhero so dedicated to world peace that he is prepared to use force of arms to achieve it. Debuts on HBO Max on January 13th, 2022.

Señorita 89 (2022). Created by Lucía Puenzo. Synopsis: In a seeming paradise, 32 beauty queens arrive for three-months of grooming before competing to become Miss Mexico. Debuts in the US on February 27th, 2022.

The Witcher: Blood Origin (2022). Created by . Starring Michelle Yeoh, Nathaniel Curtis, Francesca Mills. Synopsis: Prequel to the Netflix series ‘The Witcher’, set in an elven world 1,200 years before the show, centering on the origins of the very first Witcher. US release date is TBA.

Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber (2022). Created by  and . Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Uma Thurman, Kyle Chandler. Synopsis: The roller-coaster ride of the upstart transportation company, embodying the highs and lows of Silicon Valley. Debuts on Showtime on February 27th, 2022.

Euphoria: Season 2 (2022). Created by . Starring Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney. Synopsis: A look at life for a group of high school students as they grapple with issues of drugs, sex, and violence. Debuts on HBO Max on January 9th, 2022.

Search Party: Season 5 (2022). Created by ,  and . Starring Alia Shawkat, John Reynolds, John Early. Synopsis: A dark comedy about four self-absorbed twenty-somethings who become entangled in an ominous mystery when a former college acquaintance suddenly disappears. Debuts on HBO Max on January 7th, 2022.

Uncharted (2022). Directed by Ruben Fleischer. Written by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway and Rafe Judkins. Starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas. Synopsis: The story is a prequel to the games, starring Holland as a younger Drake, showing us details of how he came to meet and befriend Sully. Debuts in the US on February 18th, 2022.

The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021). Written and directed by Joel Coen (based on the play by William Shakespeare). Starring Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Kathryn Hunter. Synopsis: A Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power. Debuts on Apple TV+ on January 14th, 2022.

The Batman (2022). Directed by . Written by  and Peter Craig (based on the comic by Bob Kane and Bill Finger). Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano. Synopsis: In his second year of fighting crime, Batman uncovers corruption in Gotham City that connects to his own family while facing a serial killer known as the Riddler. Debuts in the US on March 4th, 2022.

Betty White (1922-2021)

Matt writes: Mere weeks away from her 100th birthday, television legend Betty White passed away on December 31st, 2021, leaving behind one of the most extraordinary legacies in the history of the medium. Don’t miss Nell Minow’s beautiful tribute to the beloved star of “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

24 Great Performances of 2021

Matt writes: The writers at spotlight twenty-four of the best performances to grace the screen in 2021. Click here to read the full piece, which contains my appreciation of Rachel Sennott’s star-making turn in Emma Seligman’s debut feature, “Shiva Baby,” a film that received four stars from our critic Monica Castillo.

Free Movies

Springtime in the Sierras (1947). Directed by . Written by . Starring Roy Rogers, Trigger, Andy Devine. Synopsis: A gang, headed by evil Stephanie Bachelor, is slaughtering game out of season. Roy finds the freezer where the meat is kept, but baddie Roy Barcroft finds him there. A famous fight takes place in the freezer. Roy, of course, wins it.

Watch “Springtime in the Sierras”

The Time of Your Life (1948). Directed by . Written by  (based on the play by ). Starring James Cagney, William Bendix, Wayne Morris. Synopsis: A wide variety of persons come into Nick’s Pacific Street Saloon, some to ask for work and others just to pass the time.

Watch “The Time of Your Life”

Ma Barker’s Killer Brood (1960). Directed by . Written by . Starring Lurene Tuttle, Tristram Coffin, Paul Dubov. Synopsis: Ma Barker and her four sons terrorize the 1930s South and Midwest with a string of kidnappings, robberies and murders, and even get to work with such famous criminals as John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.

Watch “Ma Barker’s Killer Brood”

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