Whether you’ve already started school or you’re just cherishing one last, long weekend, there’s plenty of time to catch a flick over the next few days and plenty of reasons to make the trip to the multiplex. Just because we’re in that awkward phase between summer blockbuster season and Oscar bait season, doesn’t mean there isn’t anything worth watching! From beloved stars to adorable animal actors, here’s what’s brand new in theaters this week:
Do we have a crush on Oscar Isaac? Oh, most definitely. Do we want to watch him hunt Nazis? You freakin’ bet. Is this movie historically accurate? Not really. Will it still be satisfying? Highly likely. Wait, is that Nick Kroll? Yes, yes it is. Director Chris Weitz is best known for fares like American Pie and About a Boy, as well as writing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so it’s safe to say Kroll isn’t the only one going against type, so to speak.
The Little Stranger
Charlotte Rampling seems to be following in Helen Mirren’s footsteps, taking on a chilling matriarch’s role in a big-budget thriller set at a haunted estate. But while Winchester used ghostly apparitions and aggressions to talk about the specter of gun violence in the U.S., The Little Stranger is, underneath all of the things that go bump in the night, a supernaturally-tinged tale of class, power, and decay in post-war Britain. Domhnall Gleeson is at his most pale and peaked, and Ruth Wilson’s signature arched gaze is in full effect — we may never know why she was written out of Showtime’s The Affair, but if it frees her up for more big-screen stuff, then that’s all right by us. The Little Stranger is a must for fans of Downton Abbey and gothic novels alike, and while it probably isn’t bringing anything innovative to the table, this cast is more than capable of delivering a perfectly delicious thriller.
We liked this movie better when it was called Transformers. This is like someone saw Transformers and that one episode of Black Mirror in the same weekend, and then sat down and wrote a script in one big fever. But if, say, you happened to see Alpha when it came out and you wanted to fast-forward a few millennia for an update on interspecies relations, then hey, this is your lucky weekend. But if you wanted to stay in and watch Chappie instead, we wouldn’t blame you, because at least the weirdos in Die Antwoord are charismatic and compelling…unlike these dubious, lab-grown teen idols.
Pick of the Litter
Pick of the Litter is both the platonic opposite of A.X.L. and the gosh-darned cutest and most wholesome thing since Pandas. Plus, not all of the pups can make the cut when it comes to guiding the blind, and the good-natured competition that results satisfies a deeply acculturated lust that dates back to the early days of Survivor and American Idol. The amount of training and discipline (and human energy) required to raise a dog from a mischievous puppy to a reliable and loyal service animal is really quite something, and frankly, it flies in the face of the lone-wolf boy-and-his-companion narrative that is pushed so relentlessly. For all of these reasons, it just might be the perfect back-to-school movie for the whole family.