Any weekend that lets us see both Michelle Yeoh and Glenn Close on the big screen is a good weekend in our book! We could honestly just leave things there, but if hand-to-hand combat and gnarly explosions are more your things, you’re also covered. The same goes for hashtag-pure content featuring formative interspecies friendship. It’s as if this week’s latest releases are saying, “It’s not back-to-school time just yet! Time for a few last hurrahs!” We’re listening! Here’s what you need to know about what’s new in theaters:
Crazy Rich Asians
Casting action icon and one-woman gravitas-factory Michelle Yeoh as the world’s most terrifying matriarch-in-law was just one brilliant move in a movie that seems full of them. While its class-conscious rom-com premise may not be anything particularly groundbreaking in and of itself, Crazy Rich Asians is a trailblazing project in plenty of other ways that relate directly to representation. Go see it! You’re going to enjoy it — it’s been scientifically built to hit your pleasure centers, after all — and it may just shift your perspective around what’s possible for Hollywood storytelling. We’ve found a new ingénue in Constance Wu, and a heartthrob in Henry Golding. Plus, get ready for more antics from Ocean’s 8 scene-stealer Awkwafina, and some truly gratifying wealth spectacle. You know what they say: There’s rich, and then there’s crazy rich.
What to say about the director, writer, producer, and sometimes-actor Peter Berg? Well, he’s responsible for the beloved cultural touchstone that is Friday Night Lights…and he’s also responsible for Battleship. Work is work! Of late, it seems that Berg may have found his muse, as Mile 22 is his fourth consecutive directing project starring Mark Wahlberg. Thank goodness this movie didn’t need any re-shoots! Hollywood’s biggest diva (nope, not going to let this one go) is joined by an international cast that includes the one-and-only John Malkovich, Indonesian action hero Iko Uwais, South Korean multi-hyphenate CL, and Ronda Rousey. Is this action thriller going to be more like a garbage burrito (delicious), or a garbage fire? Either way, if Mission: Impossible — Fallout left you craving more covert ops and machine gun pops, then this should do the trick quite nicely.
The cinematic subject of husbands taking credit for the creative collaboration and labor of their spouses is hardly new, as Big Eyes and the upcoming Colette will assure you.
But none of these movies star Glenn Close! Judging by the previews, this role was made for her. Judging by early reviews, it’s definitely not too soon to whisper O-S-C-A-R. Watching her just masticating that scenery, as a simmering ball of quiet desperation set to blow like the furnace in The Shining (book, not movie), is deeply satisfying, and made even more so by the truly objective injustice she’s suffered at the hands of her partner. We feel like that GIF of Michael Jackson eating popcorn in Thriller. Fun fact: Close’s younger self is played by her real-life daughter, Annie Starke, and director Björn Runge is married to the film’s editor, Lena Dahlberg (Runge).
From skyscrapers to sharks, this truly has been the summer for “that movie you like, but bigger.” Alpha most definitely continues that trend: Oh, you like movies about a boy and his dog? Ok! Let’s set it during the Upper Paleolithic and make it about how dogs were invented. Like A Boy and His Dog meets White Fang (meets Flipper?) on a CGI bender and in a family-friendly blender, Alpha may not have the emotional impact of a story like Homeward Bound, but it will certainly make up for it in the pure prehistoric spectacle. It’s a timely reminder that in hard times and harsh climates of any kind, we get by with a little help from our interdependence. It’s kind of hard to believe that this feel-good fable was crafted by one-half of the creative duo the Hughes brothers, who are most famous for Menace II Society, From Hell, and The Book of Eli.