Weekend Movie Guide: September 21-23

Hey now! Want to be a movie lovin’ all-star, but don’t know what’s playing? The new releases have started coming, and they won’t stop coming, so use this handy guide to hit the ground running, or, as we told you, fall film festival season is gonna roll you. So much to do, so much to see! So go early, and you’ll get the best seats. You’ll never know if you don’t go…Okay, okay, that’s enough. Thanks for sticking with us. Here’s what’s new in theatres this weekend: 

Life Itself

Who’s ready to buy some overpriced concessions and get emotionally manipulated? Life Itself is quite literally NBC’s This is Us with higher-powered stars, a bigger budget, and an even more sensational plot…and This is Us is itself the episodic storytelling equivalent of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Either Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Benning, Antonio Banderas, and Mandy Patinkin have all been conscripted to lend their considerable talents to what essentially looks like a Hallmark card with a really big budget, or we’ve finally reached the tipping point in our well-earned cynicism. Just do us a favour, and heed some advice: Wipe the popcorn salt off of your fingers before you rub the tears from your eyes. You’ll thank us later.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

If you like your PG-rated “chills” a little less campy-snarky than Goosebumps and a little more magical and outré than Harry Potter, this should be right up your Diagon Alley — you can tell just by the jaunty gold fantasy font that was picked for the titles. Jack Black has really cemented himself as the man for the job when it comes to this particular kind of kid-friendly fare, and Cate Blanchett might just be our favourite foil for him since John Cusack in High Fidelity. There are enough possessed pumpkins and puppets teased here to promise a proper welcome to Halloween season, but at the end of the day, the scariest thing in The House With a Clock in Its Walls will either be the uncanny CGI…or Kyle MacLachlan.


We don’t know about you, but this is the Keira Knightley we want and deserve. Mary Shelley definitely whetted our appetites for period pieces rife with literary libertines, and Colette is here to slake them! Get ready for flawless crossdressing, torrid affairs, cultural intrigue, domestic drama, and objectively enviable parties, all with an expertly applied frosting of “Hollywood girl power”-brand feminism. What’s not to like? If you haven’t gotten around to seeing Lizzie yet, why not double down on vintage queer moxie and make a double feature weekend happen. Just try not to come down with a case of the vapours!

Assassination Nation

Holy teenage hellscape, Batman! A cast of starlets on-the-rise, Instagram influencers, and alt-celebs, among them The Bad Batch’s Suki Waterhouse, “darkwave duchess” Abra, model-actress Hari Nef, and grown-up Disney star Bella Thorne, are about to go absolutely buck wild in a dark rendering of American adolescence that, in its nastiness, has already drawn comparisons to both Heathers and The Purge. Oh yeah, and Joel McHale is there, too! He’s not quite Matt Dillon in Wild Things, and he’s not quite Matthew Broderick in Election either, but as a high school teacher who stands to lose much from getting his phone hacked, he could be hitting the perfect note — it’s still too early to tell. Honestly, it’s entirely possible that this is a classic and superlative case of style over substance, but the style is good enough to justify the ticket price. If you don’t agree, you’re just too old to get it, man. Here’s what we do know: Assassination Nation ends with a marching band rendition of the 2013 banger “We Can’t Stop” by one Miley Cyrus. Eat your heart out, Harmony Korine!

Fahrenheit 11/9

Finally! A way for us all to painstakingly relive the events of the last twenty-four or so months. Judging by the trailer’s YouTube comments section (which we waded into so you don’t have to), it seems likely that nobody that’s happy with the way the 2016 election went wants to watch this. But judging by early reviews, that’s not really the point, because that’s not the audience that Moore’s trying to reach. It’s worth asking if Moore’s approach is as relevant and effective as it once was, given the recent rise of many charismatic sensationalists on both sides of the political spectrum. Do his on-camera stunts still speak truth to power, or will audiences too young to remember Roger and Me, Bowling for Columbine, or even Fahrenheit 9/11 see him as the personification of “old man yells at cloud?” Either way, it’s clear Moore is trying to preach some straight fire to the choir.

The Sisters Brothers

This latest offering from the auteur-focused production company powerhouse Annapurna Pictures promises to continue the trend of what we like to call “Weird Westerns,” an emerging genre that delves into plotlines far more complex than white hats versus black hats. But fear not, The Sisters Brothers will have plenty of gunplay and what looks to be a fair bit of horsing around, and it will be a pure pleasure to see where heavy-hitters Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed take to the material, which is adapted from the novel of the same name by Patrick DeWitt. By our count, there’s only one woman with a speaking role in the trailer, but hey — whoever said a sausage fest wasn’t delicious?

There are actually so many new movies out this weekend that we simply couldn’t cover them all! For the lowdown on other current releases, check out our recent reviews of “White Rabbit” and “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” and our interview with the directors of “Science Fair.” And if really you don’t want to miss a thing, then don’t miss out on our Weekend Movie Guide: September 14-16 and Weekend Movie Guide: September 7-9.
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