All right, everyone, it’s time to get serious. Telluride is over, TIFF is in full swing, and you’re about to have some serious FOMO if you start missing things on the big screen. There are no less than six incredible-looking movies (okay, five incredible-looking movies and The Predator) new in theaters, and that means that there’s precious little weekend to waste. Here’s all the info you need to get your priorities straight and plan any necessary romantic or platonic dates:
A Simple Favor
It’s happening: The mommy bloggers have gone neo-noir! From Stepford to Stars Hollow, Connecticut is the place for rich people to behave badly, and by all accounts this super-stylish thriller goes full Nutmeg State. And it. Looks. Delicious! We’ve already given the trailer and the poster some love, and we’d like to take a moment to lavish some of that same love on a certain Henry Golding — we’re still going through heartthrob withdrawal after Crazy Rich Asians, and while A Simple Favor’s stars Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are the gin and vermouth in this cool-yet-complicated, stirred-not-shaken cocktail, Golding is the both the olive and the twist.
White Boy Rick
Detroit hustles harder, and if you still need proof of that scientific fact, get thee to the movie theater this weekend to catch this incredible true story of a very young man who became a drug kingpin and an informant before he could vote or buy cigarettes. Newcomer Richie Merritt seems to hold his own just fine opposite Matthew McConaughey in the “Motor City mullet” iteration of his “dirtbag bodhisattva” persona, which seems to be entering its skeezy peak. Not to spoil anything (least of all your good time), but this isn’t, like, one of those aspirational drug dealer stories, despite the mood of the funky disco groove that drives the trailer. Of course, we didn’t really think Scarface was aspirational, either...
Mandy is, collectively, one of the Fandor staff’s most-anticipated releases of the year so far. From what we’ve previewed, it promises to be like if that one shelf of paperbacks in your favorite childhood bookstore — you know, the dusty one — fell over in a deluge of pulpy Atari-era fantasy...or like if someone’s very niche Tumblr got a taste for human blood. If you thought Stranger Things would have been made better if only it had been way, way more violent, then you’ll want to go ahead and buckle up, buttercup. Nic Cage is officially off the leash. Bring the whole crew from your Dungeons & Dragons campaign to the latest late-night screening you can find, and prepare for things to get very weird.
Nobody “axed” us, but we’re already all-in for what might just be the hottest queer femme murder drama since Bound. But while the Wachowskis created a trashy cult classic with a heart of gold that boils over with steamy and self-aware sexuality, Lizzie is a somber period piece cut by an undercurrent of desperate passion and white-hot rage. We can’t think of two actresses more steely or stoic than Sevigny and Stewart, but nonetheless we’re hoping for on-screen chemistry that rivals that of the Rachels (Weisz and McAdams) in Disobedience. The bar is high.
If you like heat-seeking camera footage and “yo momma” jokes, then boy, oh boy, oh boy do we have good news for you. The bad news is that we went back and watched the trailers for all of the Predator movies (yes, even the Alien vs. Predator movies), and there’s a pretty good chance that this is the worst of what’s become its own sort of auteur franchise...in its own way. But we all kinda knew that already, didn’t we? Why not pull up a front row seat and really appreciate a beloved extraterrestrial assassin saga at its nadir? You’ll be missing movies like this in the cold winter months to come.
For you and only you, Julianne Moore, we’ll suspend our disbelief that the angelic voice coming out of your mouth is yours, and not celebrated soprano Renée Fleming’s. This hostage-crisis thriller (and romantic drama?) seems genetically engineered for awards season, which could also explain the faint but undeniable synthetic aftertaste we’re getting from the trailer. Not that the thought of being trapped in a mansion with Ken Watanabe for weeks on end is unappealing! Bel Canto, which is based on the Ann Patchett novel of the same name, seals its characters off from reality and lets relationships flourish across political, cultural, and language barriers—and the party garb and opulent setting only add to the “surreality” of it all. But, of course, reality is never far away. The war, wherever it is, may come home at any time for any of us, and in that way, Bel Canto feels like a necessary movie for this volatile moment in the world. Have a great weekend, folks!