As movie theaters prepare to reopen, the big news of the week is AMC’s plan to mimic the 1920s. As locations begin to reopen on Aug. 20, the chain will offer moviegoers 15-cent tickets as an incentive for moviegoers to come in, and showing movies such as Black Panther, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Grease, and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The special will only be offered on the 20th.
Meanwhile in Japan, a Godzilla theme park has opened. Currently, only the Godzilla Museum is open, but the second phase of opening will include a Shin Godzilla attraction that will allow visitors to zipline directly into Godzilla’s mouth.
In less uplifting news, Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have departed the upcoming Netflix live-action adaptation of their work. “We ultimately came to the belief that we would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series,” Konietzko wrote in a statement. DiMartino added, “Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good. It might turn out to be a show many of you end up enjoying. But what I can be certain about is that whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.”
While we wait to see how the live-action series ends up, here are the new movies available to watch at home this weekend.
Where to watch it: Streaming on Apple TV Plus
The documentary Boys State follows a thousand teenage boys as they participate in a leadership even in which they are charged with creating a state government from the ground up. We were blown away back at Sundance, where the film premiered. From our review:
One of the many things that makes Boys State entertaining as well as relevant is the way Moss and McBaine capture these kids’ different facets, and track how their combined ambition and naïveté play into the big picture. On the one hand, the participants clown around with the process, proposing legislation to address “the looming threat of alien invasion” and the difficulty of pronouncing the letter W. (The wag who introduces that bill demands that Boys State officially change the letter to “dubya.”) A favorite leadership tactic involves getting them to chant, howl, or hoot like apes in order to focus their attention. There’s a lot of young male energy in these proceedings.
At the height of the Cold War, a Soviet spacecraft crashes on Earth after a failed mission. The only survivor of the crash is the the mission’s commander, who has no memory of what happened. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the lone survivor isn’t entirely alone: He may have brought back an alien parasite, too.
Stranger Things’ Joe Keery stars in this thriller as Kurt, a young man who dreams of becoming famous on social media. His latest gambit is rigging out his car, which he uses to work for an Uber-esque ride-sharing company, to stage a nonstop stream. This catches the eye of another social-media-famous wannabe, stand-up comedian Jessie (Sasheer Zamata), who sets out to stop him. This is another Sundance find that surprised us. From our review:
Considering how heavy that sounds, there’s not too much under the surface of Kurt’s violent ride. [Director Eugene] Kotlyarenko keeps Spree from becoming a present-set Black Mirror by opting for jokes over profound moments of psychological dissection. The result is a movie gushing with gags and a few moments that get too real for its own good. Killing a clichéd Los Angeles club-goer with a motorized drill is wacky! Brutal gun violence baked into an emoji-filled livestream gets a bit uncomfortable. Luckily, the tonal whiplash is rare for Spree, which zips from vignette to vignette on the back of an all-in performance.
New on Netflix this weekend
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
The Secret: Dare to Dream
The popular self-help book The Secret gets a movie adaptation in the form of The Secret: Dare to Dream, which stars Katie Holmes as a widow doing her best to raise her three children. Josh Lucas co-stars as a mysterious handyman who brings the power of positive thinking into the family’s life.
Where to watch it: Streaming on Shudder
Filmmaker Rob Savage shot a horror movie entirely in quarantine. The result is Host, which focuses on a group of friends’ weekly video call. The most recent activity they’ve decided on is holding a séance, and though it’s originally just a prank, the séance actually allows a demonic presence to cross over and wreak havoc on their lives — all seen via video chat.
The documentary The Fight follows five lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union as they fight four cases, including that of a migrant mother being separated from her child, and of a transgender soldier at risk of losing his career. As the ACLU becomes an increasingly pivotal force in the fight for justice, this documentary provides a concrete look at what the organization does, and how hard the people involved work to protect our freedom.
Gemma Arterton stars as Alice Lamb, a writer who, due to her reclusive nature, is thought of by the local children as a witch. Things begin to change when, as a part of the war effort during World War II, she is made the caretaker of a young boy. As she reluctantly takes on her new responsibility, she also recalls a past relationship with another writer, Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), with whom she’d once been in love.
Yes, God, Yes
Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer stars in this coming-of-age comedy as a Catholic teenager coming to terms with her sexuality. Her guilt over masturbation sends her to a religious retreat, but her urges only become harder to suppress when one of the other campers starts flirting with her. But maybe being good and devout is more than just being chaste.