This week in theaters, a little girl saves a fantasy world, Tiffany Haddish hunts a catfish, a teenaged boy is shipped off to be “cured,” and Rami Malek (finally) channels Freddie Mercury. Whether you’re in the mood for laughing, singing, dancing, or crying, this weekend’s releases offer several reasons to head to the theater. Hey, we all deal with this awkward time between the Halloween sugar rush and the Thanksgiving tryptophan coma differently! We don’t judge, we just inform. Here’s what you need to know about everything that’s new at the box office:
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Gone are the days when just a hot crock of ‘nog and Fantasia on the cathode ray tube was enough to satiate our “Nutcracker Suite” tooth. Now, only CGI and in-app product placement will satisfy. Honestly, we’d probably have more to say about this ballet-tastic sequel-boot if we weren’t so aghast that it’s already Christmas again at the movie theaters. Where does the time go? Impending holiday panic attack aside, it’s hard to deny that The Nutcracker and the Four Realms boasts a top-notch cast (among them, Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley), even if it’s essentially a watered-down version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Tiffany Haddish is undeniably on the come-up, and Nobody’s Fool marks her fourth big-screen appearance this year. With her turns in Night School and The Oath, she’s proven that she can take a relatively formulaic plot and really run with it, so we’re excited to see her chewing the scenery once again. With a raunchy reference to Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids and an appearance by the real hosts of MTV’s Catfish, Nev Schulman, and Max Joseph, Nobody’s Fool isn’t afraid to get meta, adding a fresh twist to a familiar cinematic formula. Speaking of which, Haddish’s comedic foil in this film is played by Tika Sumpter, who you may have seen as Michelle Obama in Southside With You. Gosh, was that only released back in 2016? It feels like a million years ago.
Between Lucas Hedges and his Lady Bird co-star Timothée Chalamet, the market for male, adolescent coming-of-age stories seems pretty well-cornered these days, and not entirely without thematic overlap (Case in point: the upcoming Ben is Back and the recently-released Beautiful Boy). If you haven’t seen Hedges in Jonah Hill’s Mid90s yet, this weekend gives you another excellent chance to get a taste of the young actor exploring his range. Viewed in the continuum of the conversion therapy canon, Boy Erased is definitely a movie geared toward parents and not their children, which sets it apart from The Miseducation of Cameron Post, released earlier this year. That’s likely why the latter crackles with the electricity of exuberant resilience, while the former seems to swoon under the weight of its own inevitable tragedy. Hey, if it takes Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe jerking our tears for two hours to get through to the last remaining, well-intentioned baby boomers, then so be it. Watch it at your own risk of ugly crying.
What can be said about this Freddie Mercury biopic that hasn’t already been covered? No, really, we’re being serious. Every aspect of this movie — from its star to its director, to its subject — has grabbed headlines over the past weeks, and the only person coming out looking good is Rami Malek. While we would have paid good money to see Sacha Baron Cohen play Mercury, Malek is the brightest spot in what promises to be a tragically PG-13 affair. But even if it doesn’t exactly rock you, Bohemian Rhapsody seems to prove once and for all that Walk the Line-style hagiography pales in comparison to more nuanced and experimental strategies of hero worship (we’re thinking of what I’m Not There does for Bob Dylan). Maybe in the future, films about queer and revolutionary rock icons won’t be flattened to fit a format that can’t contain their multitudes. Such figures deserve better, and frankly so do we.