Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie, and Ryan Gosling? YES, PLEASE!! Written by Gerwig with her frequent collaborator – and real-life partner – Noah Baumbach, Barbie promises to be a meta blast, based on the parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey in the teaser (narrated by Helen Mirren). The supporting cast includes Simu Liu, America Ferrera, Issa Rae, and Kate McKinnon. Two-time Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat, who worked with Gerwig on her previous directorial effort, 2019’s gorgeous Little Women, will compose the score.
Barbie is scheduled to open in theaters on July 21.
- The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Plans for a feature film adaptation of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes began before the novel was even published. It made sense; The Hunger Games film series was one of the most profitable of the 2010s. Surely there would be an audience for this prequel, set during the 10th Hunger Games as a young Coriolanus Snow mentors the female District 12 tribute. Francis Lawrence, who helmed the last three Hunger Games movies, will direct; James Newton Howard, who has scored every single film in the series, will return as well. Tom Blyth and West Side Story‘s Rachel Zegler will play Snow and the District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, respectively. Then there’s the spectacular supporting cast, which includes Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage, and Viola Davis.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is scheduled to open in theaters on November 17, 2023.
- Spinning Gold
Oh HELL yes! Look, is Spinning Gold going to be a GOOD movie? Probably not, but I’m going to enjoy the shit out of it anyway. This biopic traces the journey of Neil Bogart, who went from the housing projects of Brooklyn to the head of his own label, Casablanca Records. Many of the label’s artists – including KISS, Donna Summer, Gladys Knight, Bill Withers, George Clinton, Ron Isley, and Giorgio Moroder – are represented in the film, which was written and directed by Bogart’s son, Timothy Scott Bogart.
Spinning Gold is due in theaters on March 31.
- Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret / Judy Blume Forever
Full disclosure: Judy Blume was essential to my childhood, as she was to many a Gen-X girl. Her seminal YA novel, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, astonished us with its candid depictions of the perils of puberty. Margaret’s milestones – her first bra, her first period, her first crush – mirrored our own. After fifty years, Blume finally sold the book rights to producer James L. Brooks. Kelly Fremon Craig, who tackled adolescence beautifully with her previous film The Edge of Seventeen, wrote and directed; the cast includes Rachel McAdams and Benny Safdie as Margaret’s parents and the inimitable Kathy Bates as her grandmother.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is due in theaters on April 23.
Judy Blume Forever, a documentary celebrating Blume’s trailblazing life and career, will debut next week at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok, the doc will feature interviews with authors and other artists inspired by Blume’s work, as well as Blume herself.
Elemental, Pixar’s newest feature, explores the relationship between fiery Ember and go-with-the-flow Wade, who just happen to be elements. Director Peter Sohn, the child of Korean immigrants, wanted the film’s bustling city to mirror his experience growing up in the Bronx in the 1970s and ’80s. Based on the teaser trailer, the animation looks colorful and gorgeous; the story – per Sohn, “…about our differences that bring us together” – is universal.
Elemental is slated to debut in theaters on June 16.
- Squaring Circles: The Story of Hipgnosis
Hipgnosis (Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell), the English art collective responsible for creating some of the most iconic album covers of the rock era before transitioning to music videos in 1983, is the subject of a new documentary feature directed by Anton Corbijn (who got his own start in music videos back in the ’80s). I don’t know much more about this project, but I don’t need to: I am IN.
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith
The upcoming Amazon adaptation of Doug Liman’s 2005 feature film will star Maya Erskine and Donald Glover, who co-created the series with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Waller-Bridge was also set to co-star, but left the project over “creative differences” with Glover). The supporting cast will include Parker Posey, Michaela Coel, John Turturro, and Paul Dano. No teasers have been released yet; stay tuned to PBandJulie for more information.
- The 1619 Project
“You cannot tell the story of America without telling the story of Black America” – Nikole Hannah-Jones
Based on Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer Prize-winning work for The New York Times, this docuseries will likely draw as much controversy as the original project, which some historians argued was factually inaccurate. The topic has become a political lightning rod, with far-right lawmakers like Florida governor Ron DeSantis banning the teaching of critical race theory in schools. This docuseries is sure to ruffle some feathers, in the best possible way.
The 1619 Project premieres on Hulu on January 26.
- Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part I
The penultimate Mission Impossible entry promises more of everything we love about this series. Tom Cruise, now sixty, performing death-defying stunts? Check. A delightful supporting cast, including series regulars Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Vanessa Kirby, as well as newcomers Hayley Atwell, Shea Whigham, Esai Morales, and Cary Elwes? Check. Car chases, fight scenes, the iconic MI score? Check, check, and check.
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part I will arrive in theaters on July 14.
- True Detective: Night Country
Here’s where I confess I’ve never watched True Detective, HBO’s acclaimed but wildly uneven anthology series. I’ve just…never gotten around to it. But you better believe I will tune in to season four, which stars one of the all-time greats, Jodie Foster. The rest of the cast consists of Kali Reis, John Hawkes, Christopher Eccleston, and Fiona Shaw.
True Detective: North Country will premiere on HBO sometime in 2023.
- Love & Death
HBO’s take on the Candy Montgomery story comes on the heels of the Hulu series Candy, which starred Jessica Biel as Montgomery, a Texas housewife accused – and ultimately acquitted – of the ax murder of her friend Betty Gore (Montgomery was sleeping with Gore’s husband Allen). Elizabeth Olsen steps into the role of Montgomery and Lily Rabe will portray Gore; the outstanding supporting cast includes Jesse Plemons, Patrick Fugit, Keir Gilchrist, Elizabeth Marvel, Krysten Ritter, Beth Broderick, and Brian d’Arcy James. As a true crime obsessive, I will definitely be tuning in for this.
Love & Death will premiere on HBO sometime in 2023.