Are things back to normal? Are movies being released on the date they originally claimed? Who knows! I’m writing this in advance and I unfortunately can’t time travel. I am, however, cautiously optimistic that the theatrical release I’ve got on the list will come out on time. It’s the month of love, and I sure would like to give some to theaters, because boy, do they need it. 

My theatrical hopeful, Minari, stars Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead), and focuses on a Korean-American family that moves to rural Arkansas in the mid 1980s in search of the American Dream. Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung as a semi-autobiographical piece on his upbringing, the project was primarily filmed in Oklahoma in 2019 – I was even an extra on the shoot! (I’m almost 100% positive my scene was cut, but I was definitely there … please believe me, I’m very cool.) The scenery looks striking and the story will almost certainly pull some heartstrings. It has already played at Sundance and was released digitally with a very positive reception – here’s hoping the Oscars don’t pass this one over. The film releases in theaters on Feb. 12.

On the digital front, since that seems to be a far safer bet these days, I’m recommending a horror comedy called The Wolf of Snow Hollow. Written, directed and starring Jim Cummings, the story is set in a small Utah town that is seemingly being attacked by a werewolf. Cummings plays officer John Marshall, an alcoholic single father who tries desperately to get everything under control while his aging father and boss – played by the late Robert Forester in his final role – struggles with the idea of stepping down as sheriff. It mixes the bizarre comedy and dark horror extremely well and at 85 minutes, doesn’t overstay its welcome. Cummings has an acting style I find fascinating, making choices it seems only he could pull off, and it’s great to see Forester for one last hurrah. The film is available to rent on Amazon Prime and other video on demand sites.

This last one is a bit of a Hail Mary, but take a chance with me: Death Note. I’m referring to the anime series, not the embarrassing American live action film. The show adapts the Japanese manga of the same name and centers around Light Yagami, a genius teenager, who stumbles across an otherworldly book called the Death Note which grants the power to kill anyone who has their name written in the pages. Even if anime isn’t really your bag, I implore you: at least watch the first episode. The set up is fast and engaging, the characters all well written, and the English dub is some of the best voice acting in the business. All episodes are streaming on Netflix. I promise you, it’s worth the trip. 

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