First of all, if you haven’t seen Sorry to Bother You yet, do yourself a favor and do so before someone spoils it for you. This has been a PSA from Fandor.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the many movies that are new in theaters this weekend! While three of these are sequels, they’re all special in their own way. Add the most Oakland-tastic offering since…well, since Sorry to Bother You, and a jaw-dropping documentary on extreme wealth to the line-up, and the weekend is starting to look pretty booked! Here’s what you need to know about what’s now in theaters:
Somehow, Blindspotting manages to feel ripped from the headlines (and straight outta Oakland) even as it concerns itself with universal themes of identity, friendship, and personal politics. Writers and stars Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) and Rafael Casal are long-time friends who deeply identify with Oakland and its struggles and wrote this movie together over nine years, and it shows— their on-screen dynamic is both palpably authentic and filled with evocative flourishes, even in this very small teaser. Blindspotting truly, if we may dare say it, has the potential to be cinema by the people, for the people.
Righteous poetics of this collaboration aside, the supporting cast is also an exciting sight: As an officer involved in a police shooting witnessed by Collin and Miles, Ethan Embry is definitely taking on darker territory than his “loveable screw-up” safe zone, and we’re really pumped to see Janina Gavankar again after her too-small roles on The League and True Blood. If you can, go see this with your oldest friend, or maybe just your oldest friend in town. Oh, and stay tuned for more about Blindspotting in the final part of our three-part series about Oakland on-screen (you can read the first installment, The Black Panther Party, Black Panther, and Oakland, right now).
Unfriended: Dark Web
Our hottest take of the week is right here: A new day of “desktop” horror is dawning, and Unfriended: Dark Web is its harbinger. As more and more of our lives are lived via screens and in conversation with our webcams, it only makes sense that art would begin, more and more, to stare back. What The Blair Witch Project did for horror by adding mockumentary elements, Series 7: The Contenders did by mimicking a reality television show marathon, the Unfriended movies are doing for post-Internet screen culture.
While the first installment (spoiler alert) had a supernatural bent, its follow-up and “stand-alone” sequel is about real people doing really bad stuff: Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap (for bitcoin). All jokes aside, resist the urge to smash your smartphone with a hammer after seeing this…but maybe consider taping over your laptop’s camera. Just food for thought.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Technically, this is both a prequel and a sequel. Does having Cher join the cast (and sing “Fernando”) make up for a movie that by and large leaves us Streep-less? Is there a reason that everyone on this Greek island sings Swedish pop songs? Should we even bother asking these things? Lily James, who played sweet waitress Debora in last summer’s own “jukebox musical” (Baby Driver), is Streep at Sophie’s age, and we’re excited to see what she can do in a role like this. And for what it’s worth, we still think she’s a dead-ringer for Mädchen Amick. Of all the movies that release this weekend, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is the absolute least depressing one of the bunch. Shouldn’t that count for something? Sometimes you just want to see Pierce Brosnan in a linen shirt, gamely singing ABBA b-sides, you know? Why isn’t Mädchen Amick in this? Here we go with the questions again.
Champagne wishes and caviar dreams…or guillotines? Whether you believe that money is the filthy, twisted root of all evil or that it’s just a transfer of energy, or (more likely) falls somewhere on the spectrum, there’s no doubting the thrill of wealth, especially when manifested in the form of luxury. Director Lauren Greenfield, who also made The Queen of Versailles, has by all accounts crafted an astonishing love letter to late capitalism with this documentary. Her twenty-five years of experience photographing the “lifestyles of the rich and famous” should yield some fascinating insights in her narration, as well— but hopefully nothing as big of a bummer as plastic surgery for dogs. Yuck. Watch this, and then go take yourself out for some cake.
The Equalizer 2
“Denzel‘s back!” this trailer proclaims— though technically, we just saw him as the brilliant and abrasive Roman J. Israel, Esq. last year. I think what they’re trying to tell us is that Robert McCall is back, and this time, it’s personal. Look, this sequel must have been made because the powers that be felt they could top — top! — the single-minded and high-octane creativity, cunning, and brutality that Washington-as-McCall exhibits in The Equalizer. For gosh sakes, this is the first sequel that Denzel has ever done!
There are some very auspicious signs The Equalizer 2 will be worth Washington breaking his no-sequel streak: Director Antoine Fuqua is the master of gritty corruption thrillers, for one, and obviously we’re always happy to see Melissa Leo. Will this go down in history as one of the better follow-ups ever made, or will it be seen as a wasted opportunity? Only one way to find out.