With the approval of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida theaters have been given a green light to reopen, initially at a 50 percent capacity. Just when all will open is still shaking out for us to see. Theater owners are still figuring out what that will look like, from seating to serving to sanitization requirements. How many moviegoers theaters will attract is also uncertain with the pandemic still looming. But it is encouraging that it appears to finally be happening.
The news is especially good for moviegoers who are itching to get out of the house, excited about reaching their hands into some buttery popcorn and sitting next to total strangers for a large silver screen experience they can never truly replicate at their abodes. Nevertheless, when it comes to content, offerings will likely be limited as Hollywood has also been closed up and many films set to premiere in theaters have been moved to online platforms.
For instance, Disney+ has moved up the availability of the screening of “Hamilton,” filmed on Broadway with the original cast, to July 3, instead of the 2021 theatrical release it was planning originally. This is good news for fans of the blockbuster musical, which has grossed over $650 million to date, and for those who may not have been able to afford the pricey tickets when it rolled through town, or who wished they could have seen it with the original cast (me). Now all current subscribers paying the $6.99 monthly fee can watch from their couches, so just you wait (just not much longer). And while it may transparently show Disney’s more immediate need for original content online to keep interest in its streaming service, there are actually still quite a few others fresh out on other services now you can also consider. Check these out:
In this official selection from the 2020 Tribeca film festival (which was canceled this year), filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk document the investigative journalists at the IndyStar newspaper who exposed the abuse and cover-ups at USA Gymnastics, with multiple gymnasts coming forward against Dr. Larry Nasser, who had been molesting hundreds of young female gymnasts under the guise of “treatments.” With insights from reporters and footage from the brave whistle-blowers and elite gymnasts who came forward, the documentary shows unchecked abuse at disturbing levels. Produced by Jen Sey and Julie Parker Benello, it is set to stream June 24 on Netflix. PG-13; 1h 43m.
Here in America we have our go-to sports. Baseball, football, basketball and hockey have all been a part of our favorite pastimes — and sorely missed by enthusiasts during this pandemic. In the new series “Home Game,” set to premiere on Netflix June 26, we find out about a bunch of other sports played around the world that you may not have heard about, but still are just as revered in the lands where they are played. In Italy, for example, there is calcio storico, a traditional sport that dates back to the 16th century. If you were to combine football, soccer and rugby with boxing, mixed martial arts, bare-knuckle boxing and sumo wrestling, you may be close to imagining it correctly. Travel to Bali and you might enjoy Makepung Lampit, a sport where jockeys race water buffalo through flooded rice fields. There is also Catch Fétiche, played in the Congo in the manner of staged professional wrestling, WWE-style — only with the unexpected element of voodoo mysticism. These and several others bring attention to amusing matches played at home around the world that you may be surprised to learn about. Eight-part series each at 30m.
It is a small right-wing Wisconsin town where the Democratic National Committee’s top strategist, Gary, played by Steve Carrell, sees his party getting its ass kicked. He finds an opportunity to get a retired Marine colonel (Chris Cooper) to compete in a mayoral election. The RNC sends a brilliant nemesis played by Rose Byrne, and the town becomes a political tangle for the ages. From the writer and director Jon Stewart (“The Daily Show”), the Focus Features film is due for release to VOD on June 26. R; 1h 42m.
When Wesley, played by Nasim Pedrad (“SNL”), sends a rant of an email to her new boyfriend, she decides she does not want him to read it. Enter the “I’m going to get on his computer and delete it before he sees it” scenario. Enlisting the help of her friends she flies to Mexico, where he is, only to encounter her ex-boyfriend, who joins the campaign to help. Also starring Anna Camp, Sarah Burns, Robbie Amell and Heather Graham, the film is set to stream July 3 on Netflix. 1h 45m.
This may not have been an option worth considering, or just what you were waiting for when you spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to see Lin- Manuel Miranda’s Broadway blockbuster sensation in NYC, or when it ventured into the town where you live. But now Disney+ is unveiling a full film of the Tony Award-winning musical, yes, including the performances from the entire original cast, including creator Miranda, of the real live story of one of America’s foremost founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Thomas Kail, the show’s director, reportedly shot three live performances from the Richard Rodgers Theatre back then and Disney has paid $75 million for the global rights. Now quickened to streaming, the presentation to subscribers benefits all who are in love with this powerhouse musical. With or without theaters and Broadway shut down, you simply must not throw away your shot to see this, set to drop July 3 on Disney+.
Directed by Japanese film legend Hirokazu Koreeda (“Shoplifters,” “Still Walking”) and filmed in Paris, “The Truth” stars two acclaimed French actors, Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, who play alongside the masterful American great Ethan Hawke. This IFC Films picture offers cinematic heavy hitters with real international appeal. The storyline follows screen legend Fabienne who receives a visit from her daughter, a screenwriter, with her husband, an actor, after the publication of Fabienne’s memoirs. When her assistant resigns, her daughter agrees to take over his responsibilities at the beginning of the production of a sci-fi film. Working closely, memories of the mother-daughter relationship through the years surface, including resentments from the past. The truth comes out, testing the nature of their bond. Originally premiering at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, the film is set to stream VOD starting July 3. PG; 1h 46m.
— Eric Raddatz is the Presentation Editor at Florida Weekly, host of the indie film series T. G. I. M. and the founder of Fort Myers and Naples Film Festivals. Know of a great film coming out soon? Email him.