In theaters: 'Bergman Island'
"What's new for me about this film is that it was so frontal—it was the first time I actually represented a woman who had the same vocation as me," says writer-director and Academy member Mia Hansen-Løve, in her A.frame exclusive this week. Fresh off a Cannes premiere, the film stars Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth as a couple, and a couple of filmmakers, who make a pilgrimage to the island of Fårö—the longtime home of legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. A poignant commentary on love, relationships and the creative process, the movie's meta-narrative aspects were not lost on Hansen-Løve, who found her perfect foil in Bergman's lofty home turf. "For years, I wanted to make a film about this, but I didn't know how and where and which form it would take. Until I got the idea of setting it in Fårö," she explains. "I had never been there, and it was really a place you dream up, a place of pilgrimage. Sort of a fantasy, fantasme." Also starring Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie.
'Needle in a Timestack'
Oscar winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) wrote and directed this probing sci-fi meditation on love and fate, starring Academy members Leslie Odom Jr. and Cynthia Erivo as a couple whose marriage is threatened by an unlikely source: time travel. Oh, and also by Erivo's meddling ex-husband, played by Orlando Bloom. Featuring a diverse cast and an inventive story, Needle in a Timestack looks to be one of the most original and daring science-fiction sagas in the genre to date. The great cast is rounded out by Freida Pinto and Jadyn Wong. Based on a short story of the same name by Robert Silverberg.
'The Last Duel'
Ridley Scott's account of the last officially sanctioned duel in France tells a very old story with plenty of resonance for the modern moment—and, yes, with a healthy dose of swashbuckling thrown in for good measure. Told in a Rashomon-style triptych from three points of view, the inciting event is Marguerite de Carrouges' (Jodie Comer) accusation of rape against squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver). Carrouges' husband is a well-regarded knight, played by Matt Damon, and Damon's old buddy Ben Affleck throws in as an unscrupulous count, not to be trusted. Or is he? Nothing is quite as it seems, perhaps, in this narrative that skewers a kind of masculine toxicity that is sadly not so unfamiliar today. Also stars Harriet Walter, Nathaniel Parker and Sam Hazeldine. Oscar-winning screenwriters Damon and Affleck penned the script along with Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nicole Holofcener.
The 12th installment in the Halloween franchise—and sequel to 2018's Halloween—Halloween Kills picks up where we left off, with Academy member Jamie Lee Curtis and family fresh off the heels of victory over the monstrous Michael Myers, last seen locked in the basement of a burning house. There's only one problem: He doesn't stay down there for long. Director and Academy member David Gordon Green, who also piloted the 2018 reboot, has a lot of fun tossing in allusions to the original movies, making this sequel a particularly satisfying one for longtime Halloween fans. Also stars Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton and Thomas Mann.
In theaters and streaming on Apple TV+: 'The Velvet Underground'
Oscar nominee Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) takes on one of his beloved muses in this artful documentary, an examination of the remarkably influential band the Velvet Underground. Fronted by Lou Reed, the group first gained recognition as the pet project of New York artist Andy Warhol, but broke up before achieving mainstream success. The band nevertheless set the template for a certain kind of experimental art-rock group, deeply influencing 1970s musical trailblazers like David Bowie and Brian Eno, and Haynes cleverly mimics the band's style in his handling of reams of old footage and interviews—and places them in their rightful context as true innovators in queer and avant-garde music and culture.
In select theaters: 'Introducing, Selma Blair'
Winner of a Special Jury Award at SXSW, Introducing, Selma Blair is a hotly awaited doc that charts the actor's courageous reckoning with a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Director Rachel Fleit proves adept at leavening the proceedings with humor and wit, while not shying away from the somber realities at hand, which Blair shares with openness and candor. The film will show exclusively in theaters until next Friday, when it becomes available for streaming on Discovery+.