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).
FYI, Loren is still off galavanting in London with The Lady™ and wasn’t available at all. But we’ll have some cool Star Wars: Celebration pics going up throughout the weekend.
RDT: We’re finally here. For good or for bad, this has been a long time coming. Though I do feel it unnecessary, I will say I don’t have the white-hot hate for this movie that much of the internet seems to. With curiosity both hesitant and hopeful, I’m going in with as much of an open mind as I can. In fact, I already have my ticket for Friday night (and we’re talking about it on the podcast this weekend).
Rick: I went to the first screening I could get into. There will be no spoilers. Given the cast and the writing talent involved, I had high hopes for this. Then the trailer hit, and I wavered. Then the second trailer hit, and I wavered more. And news broke it was a remake, not a sequel. Then I sank. There is absolutely no need to remake Ghostbusters. A sequel is justifiable, but a remake is entirely unnecessary. However, I wanted to give it a fair shake. I’m not going to review this based on its quality as a remake (there’s not enough room here). Looking at it as if it were an original, 2016-created idea, the movie is flat. Most of the jokes either don’t land or are pushed that one extra line (or pratfall) and rendered unfunny. The film’s best idea is squandered by a lackluster and anticlimactic ending. Basically, it fails on the writing level, which is surprising given that Katie Dippold & Paul Feig’s The Heat is one of the best comedies in recent memory. On the positive, Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth are great. They look like the only ones who are having any fun in this movie. Personally, I can’t really recommend it outside of a rental, but draw your own conclusions. Like with The Force Awakens, I might turn out to be the lone dissenter in a sea of positivity. Oh, and in case you were wondering, there’s a post-credits tag.
Jen: I have so many thoughts! I didn’t love this trailer (why make it *look* like a sequel when it’s actually a reboot) BUT it was not the worst trailer I’ve ever seen and the “let’s go” line makes me laugh every time, maybe it’s my particular brand of humor? I’ve got my ticket for Friday as well and am excited and hopeful!
RDT: Looks a little clichéd (“Promise me this is the last one…”). But still, great cast. I’m sure I’ll check it out eventually.
Rick: I caught a screening earlier this week. Overall, it’s good. It’s an interesting story with strong performances all around. The film’s greatest attributes are the near-constant feeling of tension and the fact that *gasp* there’s actual character development. Who’d’ve thunk it? It does suffer from the “beleaguered cop’s wife” trope, but there’s so much else going on in the story that was almost bound to happen. Regardless, it’s worth a watch.
Jen: Every single drug cartel movie feels the same to me. A story condemning cocaine trafficking told by storytellers who are clearly high on the stuff. This one seems different and I enjoyed the trailer more than I thought I would, thanks largely to Bryan Cranston. That man can make anything watchable.
Café Society (Limited)
RDT: I’m just not a big Woody Allen fan. I’ll probably end up passing on this.
Rick: Admittedly, I haven’t seen a lot of Woody Allen’s output from the last few years. I’m hoping that his love of old Hollywood will make this a standout among his more recent efforts.
Jen: Jesse Eisenberg does seem to capture the essence of an Annie Hall era Woody Allen better than most actors out there today, so maybe this will be a throwback to some of his early hits?
RDT: I’ve really enjoyed A24’s output of late (Room, Ex Machina and a shitload of other quality flicks). So I’m sure I’ll see this once it pops up streaming.
Rick: The design looks quite a bit like The Island/Parts: The Clonus Horror/Logan’s Run/THX-1138. I do think Nicholas Hoult is talented, though, and I enjoy me some sci-fi. I’ll give this a shot; probably via on-demand.
Jen: For a dystopian future, everyone sure is well dressed. Not only have they eradicated emotions, but stains seem to be a thing of the past. OMG, you guys, is the OxiClean guy our future fascist overlord?
Phantom Boy (Limited)
RDT: The art looks cool, but that trailer just didn’t grab me.
Rick: I really enjoyed A Cat In Paris, so this is kind of a no-brainer for me. Bonus points for being 2D animation.
Jen: Huh. I am not the target audience for this film.
RDT: This looks terrible. Just watch Major League (as mentioned below), Bull Durham, The Sandlot, Major League 2, The Bad News Bears, The (other) Bad News Bears, A League of Their Own, Brewster’s Millions, Air Bud, Rookie of the Year, Little Big League or literally nearly any other baseball movie instead.
Rick: Uhhhhhhhhhhh. No. I’ll re-watch Major League instead.
Jen: I almost got the sense this was done in real-time, just one game from beginning to end. That would be different and kind of cool. It still looks terrible, but a single-game real-time movie would be different and kind of cool. Props to Aaron Tveit for being hot enough that I watched the whole trailer instead of giving up halfway through.
Stranger Things (Netflix original)
RDT: Based on early buzz, this will likely be the thing to break the insane West Wing marathon currently happening in my apartment (2 1/2 seasons in 2 weeks…). Spielberg meets Twin Peaks (although isn’t that what they said about Eerie, Indiana?), though maybe not as creepy, this looks to be a pretty good time. Will the mystery live up to the hype?
Rick: It’s been in my queue since the trailer dropped a month ago. Some have been comparing the feel to Stephen King’s work, but it reminds me quite a bit of Dan Simmons’ novel, Summer of Night. No matter its influences, I’ll likely binge watch this.
Jen: Dear Netflix, if I did not already have a legally-obtained password, I would be signing up the moment I saw this trailer. The X-Files + E.T. x Lost = me glued to my couch for 10 hours straight.
Rebirth (Netflix original)
RDT: Looks a little on the creepy side (I guess it’s creepy weekend at Netflix). And if you’re a regular reader of the column, you know I don’t do creepy. But, if the reviews and word of mouth are good, I’ll give it a shot.
Rick: Looks good, but something tells me it might be another by-the-numbers cult movie. I’ll give it a go to see if there are any genre-bending elements within.
Jen: I might give this a shot if only to see what it’s all about. Netflix is my jam this summer (what with the aforementioned legally-obtained password and all) while all my usual shows are on hiatus and this could fill an Orphan Black-shaped hole in my heart.
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.
–RDT, Rick, and Jen