Maybe you didn’t have exactly the hot vaccinated summer we were all hoping for. While we can’t fix the big stuff, our critics do have good news about staying entertained — and challenged, and invigorated, and curious.

It’s time to find something good to watch.

We’re back with a guide of what to watch this fall. Because the lines between movies and television are being rapidly blurred, we’ve included both. Plus, everything we’re recommending can be seen from the comfort of your couch. You can search by release date, genre, and, most importantly, where in the heck you’re supposed to find it.

It’s not a complete listing by any means though, so take a look and then head to the Pop Culture Happy Hour Facebook page to let us know what you’ll be watching.

Dune (Film, 2021)

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, adapted from Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction saga, is one of the most anticipated films of 2021. And for good reason. With an all-star cast of veterans and newcomers alike, a film score composed by none other than Hans Zimmer, and a riveting space-opera plot sure to create a whole new generation of die-hard fans, Dune is projected to be one of the year’s biggest blockbusters.

The first book in Herbert’s series was published in 1965, and stands as one of the most popular sci-fi novels of all time. The entire Dune series spans six books, multiple planets, and thousands of years. That’s a lot of ground to cover. As such, Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 film will adapt the first half of the first novel only, and will be broken into two feature films.

As Dune fans ourselves here, we can’t wait to see our favorite elements from the novels play out on the big screen. In the meantime, we’ve put together everything we know about the film so far, from release dates to cast and character details, and even included a few hints at what audiences can expect to see in the Dune film 2021.

When Is the Dune Release Date?

After many changed dates, the release for Dune has again been pushed back — now, to October 22, 2021. In a controversial move, Warner Brothers agreed to release Dune on their streaming service HBO Max on the same day the film will hit theaters. As of right now (and despite reports to the contrary), that plan still stands. Dune will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22nd.

Shortly after the HBO Max release was announced, Villeneuve came out critically against the decision.

No Man of God (Film, 2021)

Amber Sealey’s “No Man of God” joins a long line of films about Ted Bundy, far too many of which have fed into the mystique of the handsome, charming, brilliant sociopath, putting the serial killer on a pedestal. Her film tries to sidestep that a bit by presenting not Bundy’s crimes or attention-grabbing trial but the days in which he was basically trying to talk his way out of the electric chair, but she still cedes so much focus to The Myth of Bundy that everything but him falls to the side. It’s therefore somehow damning to say that Luke Kirby’s performance as Bundy is quite possibly the best yet put on film—he’s magnetic and nuanced, but that turns “No Man of God” into yet another project that leans too heavily on not just the Bundy mythology but the supposition that he could have been living next door to anyone in America, or even an FBI profiler if he made a few other choices. I’m not here to unpack the unusual industry of books, shows, and movies that have built up around Ted Bundy, only to say that “No Man of God Movie” doesn’t add enough to the Bundy catalog beyond a strong central acting turn.

When Is the No Man of God Release Date?

No Man of God premieres in the US on August 27th, 2021 while the film will be following suit here in the UK on September 13th.

Gunda (Film, 2021)

Taken from farm to fable, the domesticated animals in “Gunda” star not as commodified flesh for human consumption but autonomous entities with inner lives.

The latest medium-pushing documentary from Russian director Viktor Kossakovsky is bare in its aesthetic dogma—there’s no music, no title cards, and no people in sight—and flawless with its observational truth. “Gunda” dispenses with all explanations and emotional scheming tactics for a thoroughly pictorial experience. This non-fiction rarity’s only soundtrack features an ambience choir of birds chirping and bugs buzzing.

As is the case in all forms of creative work, there’s no escaping a degree of bias from the artist’s own belief system. Yet, even if we are aware that a fellow human is arranging what’s on screen and the meaning we derive from it, his ruling principles speak loudly with a purity of mission: the director wants the focus to be on the voiceless and their right to live. Nowhere is the potency of Kossakovsky’s committed vision more evident than in the final sequence when a metal monster blindsides Gunda and in turn guts us via our recognition of her despair. Such an agonizing moment of unequivocal emotion wrecks any doubts one might still have about her real pain, and renders “Gunda” a cinematic triumph of porcine poetry.

When Is the Gunda Release Date?

You can buy virtual cinema tickets to rent Gunda on the Film Forum website by creating an account. Tickets to rent Gunda cost $12, with the option to donate, and are available for purchase now. After you buy a ticket, you will have 30 days to start the film, and 48-hours to finish watching it after you hit play.

Gunda has not yet been released to the public yet, but the good news is that for a limited time, you can watch Gunda at home via the Film Forum’s “virtual cinema” screenings of Gunda, which is essentially like renting the film on a digital platform.

If you live in New York, you can also catch Gunda at the Film Forum in person this week.

There is not yet a wide release date for Gunda, but Neon has said the film is coming to “big screens everywhere in 2021.”

Night of the Sicario (Film, 2021)

WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW

Parents need to know that Night of the Sicario is an action movie about how the residents and proprietor (Natasha Henstridge) of an assisted living facility try to protect a little girl from a murderous drug cartel. The movie has nothing to do with 2015’s Sicario or its sequel and actually has a faith-based subtext, despite the graphic violence. Expect shootings and killings, pools of blood, a woman being hit and punched several times, a character getting hit in the head with a blunt object, a character being thrown through a window, fighting, strangling, a car crash, and characters being held hostage. There’s also some cigarette smoking, and a use of the word “crap.” Characters discuss God, but only in a faith-based way. Neither sex nor consumerism are issues. Even though the movie means well, the story eventually falls apart.

In NIGHT OF THE SICARIO, a woman named Teresa (Amanda Diaz) is preparing to testify against a powerful drug cartel. As part of her deal, her husband, Francisco (Martin Peña), and daughter, Amelia (Addison Kendall), are being protected by the police. But as a massive Category 4 hurricane approaches, they’re attacked and shot at and must escape with the aid of Agent Cole Bennett (Costas Mandylor). They take shelter at the only place available: an assisted living facility for the elderly. The cartel’s killers (the sicario) — led by Leon (Manny Perez) — find the place but must contend with the facility’s owner, Taylor Ward (Natasha Henstridge), and its wily, crafty residents.

When Is the Night of the Sicario Release Date?

In theaters: April 16, 2021, On DVD or streaming: April 20, 2021

IS IT ANY GOOD?

A mashed-up collection of cinematic clichés, this faith-based action movie has a brisk, largely affable tone, and it might have been a guilty pleasure if it didn’t thoroughly fall apart. Night of the Sicario — which, incidentally, has nothing to do with the excellent Sicario or its solid sequel, Sicario: Day of the Soldado — might feel to some viewers like an attempt to cash in on those earlier movies and fool movie renters. But it’s hard to hate Henstridge’s Taylor, who just wants to help people and keep her struggling assisted living facility open, as well as the eclectic cross-section of residents therein.

Yes, it’s ridiculous to see the residents helping out in the battle, Die Hard-like, but it’s also hard not to root for them. But the villains eventually gum up the movie. They’re pretty dumb and easily fooled, and they don’t seem too eager to get on with business. (There’s a lot of talking.) The film tends to drag because of them, and a “surprise” twist is all too obvious. Perhaps the most questionable touch is the little girl, Amelia, who loses both her parents and never seems too upset about it. Instead, she and Taylor bond over a secret room and a chest full of memories. Night of the Sicario has its heart in the right place, but it also needed to get its head in the game.

By Roger

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