Welcome to the Weekend Watch. Where we try to point you towards the best ways to spend your viewing time (or, at least, steer you clear of the garbage).
Independence Day: Resurgence
Loren: Maybe it’s just me but I’m not super into this. I’m not all about the wanton destruction of cities, hence my feelings on Man of Steel. I guess Roland Emmerich and I have a difference of opinion on movies. And that’s fine.
RDT: Nostalgically, I do, kind of, want to see this. But, like Loren says above, I’m also pretty burnt out on city after city after city being destroyed. I dunno, maybe I’ll just see Finding Dory instead.
Rick: I’m down with this. I enjoy me some disaster movies, even the lower-tier Irwin Allen efforts (I’m looking at you, The Swarm). I actually appreciate that they waited twenty years to make a sequel. Not to get all high-minded about it, but it makes sense from a storytelling standpoint. Whether it’s good or not remains to be seen but, for me, all it needs to be is a ridiculous popcorn movie and I’ll be satisfied.
Jen: I had trouble with the mass casualties in the first one so I don’t think my feelings on this will be any different. On the other hand, Jeff Goldblum’s still got it. One the other, other hand, Lesser Hemsworth doesn’t. On the other, other, other hand, what is “it” anyway? I’m running out of hands.
Loren: That’s a surprisingly good trailer. Look, we all knew Blake Lively was attractive, but I won’t lie, I wasn’t sure she could hold a movie on her own. Hopefully this proves me wrong. I did see a review headline that said this was better than Jaws. I kinda highly doubt that, though.
RDT: I don’t swim in the ocean. Literally, I will not go in past my knees. Why? Because there are things in there. Living things. Things that will eat me (and, based on my diet, one can only assume I would be delicious). Does that mean I won’t see this movie? Dunno. Maybe. Maybe not. **shrugs**
Rick: I feel like this is just a big budget riff on Open Water. Given Sony’s track record with quality movies lately, I have my doubts.
Jen: Is Jaws on Netflix? I really could watch that again right now. I think I’d be more interested if it wasn’t yet another shark movie. Couldn’t it be, I don’t know, a rogue sea lion or something?
Free State of Jones
Loren: This starts out like a Civil War version of The Patriot starring Rust Cohle, but after that coffin/ambush bit I don’t even know what to think anymore. Maybe?
RDT: What a strange time to release this movie. Talk about counter-programming. Truth be told though, unless the reviews are amazing, it’s probably going to fall off my radar pretty quick.
Rick: The coffin/ambush bit Loren mentioned is what makes me think this movie is not up to snuff. It’s not the bit itself, but the fact that they put a pretty big reveal in the advertising. It’s like a comedy putting all the best jokes in the trailer. I love me some McConaughey, but I think I’ll pass on this one. The story would make for a great History Channel doc, though.
Jen: I have the feeling I’ll be reading an exposé on how incorrect this version of the story is in about 3 weeks. I anticipate many think pieces. I will probably read those rather than see this.
The Neon Demon
Loren: The Lady™ really wants to see this. And I’ll say this it looks absolutely gorgeous, cinematography wise. I could also be persuaded to watch a serial killer movie about attractive fashion models. Kinda seems win win if you ask me.
RDT: Nothing about that trailer gets me excited for it. Not a thing. I totally acknowledge Nicolas Winding Refn is a talented filmmaker, but I just don’t think he’s a filmmaker for me.
Rick: In a rare instance for Weekend Watch, I’ve gotten to see the movie before we publish. In short, I found it absolutely engrossing, and it is hands down one of the most beautifully composed and photographed films in recent memory. I will definitely watch this again, and may do so while it’s still in theaters. It has DNA from early Michael Mann (Manhunter and Thief, in particular), Mulholland Drive, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, David Cronenberg’s A Map to the Stars, Panos Cosmatos’ Beyond the Black Rainbow, a healthy splash of Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre), and the little seen 2014 horror film, Starry Eyes. It is, however, not mainstream in the slightest. It is often dreamlike in both content and pacing. And, for all its beauty, veers sharply into the grotesque, which may put off a lot of viewers. If any of the above has you intrigued and/or you’re a fan of Refn’s work, I suggest you give it a go. Even if the story fails to grab you, the photography, direction, and design are undeniably stellar.
Jen: Rick has sold me.
Raman Raghav 2.0
Loren: That was actually terrifying. I doubt I’ll check this out but Nawazuddin Siddiqui does a pretty incredible job going for the crazy bit. It’s really interesting to see this type of film coming out of India.
RDT: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, RDT don’t do creepy.
Rick: I love that the Indian film industry is having a renaissance of sorts. Over the last couple of years they’ve begun branching out and making more than their tried and true dramas and lavish Bollywood musicals. If you poke around Netflix you’ll find a few interesting action entries. As for this, I’m in. Maybe not in theaters, but I’ll keep it on my radar.
Jen: This is based on a horrifying true story. And it looks… pretty horrifying. Good for them. Bad for me. I’m out.
Loren: Yeah, I uh, I don’t think this is for me. Sometimes I wonder why I went to film school, because movies like this (which in theory I should be all about) do nothing for me.
RDT: Todd Solondz directing a movie about a wiener dog? I feel like there is definitely more to this than meets the eye.
Rick: Todd Solondz’s movies aren’t for everyone, but I think that’s a good thing. We need some irreverent and challenging material in the movie landscape. Is it obvious that I’m in for this? Solondz’s talent and the cast are more than enough to convince me. And who doesn’t love wiener dogs?
Jen: I dated a guy that was a big Solondz fan back in my 20s and at the time I really felt like he was speaking to me. Lately I’ve felt that less and less, but this one made me feel that youth and curiosity once again. Maybe I’m having a mid-life crisis?
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Loren: Take everything I said about the last movie and invert it. THIS is why I went to film school. In Wiener-Dog you have an uncomfortable type of weird that really doesn’t do it for me, but in this, this is the type of weird that I can totally get behind.
RDT: That trailer was delightful. It’s like some weird Bad Santa/Midnight Run in the woods hybrid. I probably won’t catch it in theaters, but it’ll definitely get my $5 when it’s on iTunes.
Rick: I loved What We Do in the Shadows, so I’m an easy sell on anything Taika Waititi is involved with. Count me in.
Jen: Fantastic! I am running out to see this. Wait, I don’t need to run, I’ll just fast walk.
Loren: I don’t know what just happened, but I’m intrigued. I just wish it wasn’t so hard to take John C. Reilly seriously.
RDT: Much like Loren, that trailer confused (and intrigued) the f— out of me. If it pops up streaming, I’ll check it out.
Rick: A Prophet and Rust and Bone are both excellent pieces of filmmaking, and anything you can favorably compare to The Searchers is guaranteed to get my money.
Jen: The reviews for this are positive and the trailer looks great. I love The Searchers and this *might* be a worthy successor.
Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words
Loren: I have a pretty deep respect for Frank Zappa and this doc looks pretty good. It’ll go directly into my queue once it hits Netflix.
RDT: The moon unit will be divided into two divisions: Moon Unit Alpha and Moon Unit Zappa.
Rick: A prolific artist to be sure, but I never got into him or his music. This doc is probably good, but it’s not for me.
Jen: I sort of forget that Frank Zappa was a musician. I couldn’t tell you anything about his music or his outlook on life. But I can tell you his kids names. Maybe that means I should see this doc and learn more. Or maybe it means I’m not motivated enough to seek it out. Likely the latter.
Breaking a Monster [New York City]
Loren: I remember when these kids went viral a few years back and thinking how cool they were. It’s an interesting look on their rise to fame, but leaves me fearful for them that they’ll turn out ok. Count me in.
RDT: I’m probably the most non-metal guy ever. But that’s a well done trailer. And, knowing nothing about these kids, I’m intrigued. I’ll definitely give it a watch when it hits Netflix.
Rick: *See Loren’s entry.
Jen: I’m more interested in this than in the Zappa doc so if a music flick is going to get my money, it’ll be this one.
Loren: This is a documentary about overpopulation. That’s all I have to say about it.
Jen: I am a parent to an only child, so that means I’m cool, right?
Loren: The trailer makes it pretty clear why this won best picture last year. Great cast, compelling subject, well acted, Boston accents. Everything. It’s going into my queue tonight.
RDT: Phenomenal film. Saw it once and will definitely see again. Great get for Netflix.
Rick: I waver between this and The Big Short as my favorite drama from last year. Frankly, you can’t go wrong with either, but since we’re talking about Spotlight, it’s an embarrassment of riches. Whenever I watch a movie I tend to find something I would adjust to improve some aspect of it. Spotlight is one of those rare instances where I couldn’t find anything I’d want to change. It’s pitch perfect. Well worth your time.
Jen: Talk about burying the lede… this is the thing to watch this weekend if you haven’t already seen it. It deserved the Oscar and deserves a couple of hours of your time.
So that’s your upcoming weekend in review. Let us know what you saw, liked and/or hated.
As always, you can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hollywoodpicturenews, or @HWPicNews on Twitter. And send in your questions/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Loren, RDT, Rick, and Jen