A new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet insists that the blockbuster is arriving on its July 17 theatrical release date, raising questions as to whether or not Nolan and Warner Bros. might be being optimistic as to when it will be safe to return to theaters. Movie theaters shut down at the beginning of the pandemic as it became clear that crowds — especially crowds stuck in the same space — were a public health concern. July 17 is less than two months away — will that time be enough?
Meanwhile, Zack Snyder has announced that the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League will be coming to HBO Max. Over the next year, $20 to $30 million worth of work will be done on existing footage in order to create the director’s cut, which will hit HBO Max in 2021.
That’s all a ways away. As the wait for movie theaters to reopen, here are the new movies skirting the theatrical experience so you can catch them at home this weekend.
The Trip to Greece
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have now starred as exaggerated versions of themselves in four films for director Michael Winterbottom, the latest (and last) of which is The Trip to Greece, in which they attempt to retrace Odysseus’ footsteps while on a restaurant tour. It’s a fitting send-off for the series in the way it emphasizes the passage of time. From our review:
Four installments of the series have allowed a sense of intimacy to grow between the two men. Beyond the fact that Coogan and Brydon’s fictionalized selves seem transparent enough to be real — they air their petty grievances with no apparent regard for the cameras, and Coogan can’t seem to stop mentioning the BAFTA awards he’s won — four movies’ worth of companionship create a sense of camaraderie with the audience. It’s the same kind of emotional investment that people get out of, say, the Marvel cinematic universe, or a beloved TV series. (The film versions are edited together from six-episode seasons that air on British TV.)
When a wealthy patriarch (Patrick Warburton) suddenly passes away, his estate is divided among his family. His daughter Lauren (Lily Collins) also receives a message from her father about a secret bunker under the property, in which she discovers a man (Simon Pegg) who claims he’s been held captive there for three decades. The revelation that their father might not be who he claimed to be threatens to tear the family apart. It’s Pegg’s performance that really pulls the film together. From our review:
On the other side of this psychological duel, which the movie helpfully underlines by repeatedly placing a chess set between its two leads, Pegg manages to be both menacingly mysterious and sympathetic. He’s especially fun to watch when he’s allowed to cut loose, and between his performance and some strong makeup work, he believably embodies someone a decade or so older than his actual age. He’s both the only actor in Inheritance who sells his character’s emotions and the only one who seems ready to admit that he’s in a pulpy thriller.
Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy
Where to watch it: Rent on digital $9.99 through Greenwich Entertainment
The documentary Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy is a delight. As filmmaker Elizabeth Carroll digs into the life of Kennedy, a renowned chef, she also gets into the complications of a white woman being considered the foremost expert on Mexican cuisine. Throughout, Kennedy, who is no-nonsense and almost rowdy despite her age, reveals years’ worth of research and dedication to food, including precious personal relationships with other cooks.
Where to watch it: Rent on digital $12 through Good Deed Entertainment
When Grandma (Tsai Chin), 80 years old and newly widowed, is told that she’s going to have a particularly lucky day, she decides to head to the casino and go all in. Unfortunately, her gambling nets the attention of some local gangsters. When she hires a bodyguard from a rival gang, she becomes mired in the middle of a gang war.
The Painter and the Thief
Where to watch it: Rent on digital $3.99 through Neon and your local theater’s Virtual Cinema
The Painter and the Thief chronicles a remarkable true story, in which a painter tracks down the thief responsible for stealing two of her works. When she finds him, the two become friends, and she ends up inviting him to sit for a portrait of his own. Against all odds, he becomes her muse.
New on Netflix this weekend
- The Lovebirds, a romantic comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae
- The Big Flower Fight, basically The Great British Bake-Off except with flowers instead of flour
- New comedy special Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything
- Sweet Magnolias, a series about a close-knit group of women in a small Southern town
- Concert film Ben Platt Live From Radio City Music Hall
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
After the disaster that was Fantastic Four, Josh Trank returns with Capone, a biopic of the 1920s mob boss Al Capone in his final year of life. Tom Hardy stars as Capone, and it might just be his wildest performance yet. From our review:
Trank’s Fantastic Four was meddled with beyond recognition, and crashed in its attempt at appealing to every lowest common denominator. Capone, by contrast, doesn’t make any concession toward what an audience might want to see from a gangster biopic. It’s a bold comeback for Trank. Hardy’s outsized performance could easily have fit into a biopic of a hale, healthy, and active Capone. Instead, Trank matches that vigor with inventiveness, finding an unusual new way of addressing an iconic figure.
Where to watch it: Streaming free for subscribers on Amazon Video
Kristen Stewart stars as Jean Seberg in a film about the actress’ involvement with the civil rights movement and the FBI’s resulting interest in her. The story begins when she meets Black Panther activist Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie) on a flight. When the FBI photographs them together at the airport, she becomes a subject of surveillance and harassment to a degree that threatens her career, her personal life, and her mental health.
Scoob! is meant to be a reboot of the franchise’s film series, bringing in an entirely new cast of voice actors for the human characters — Will Forte as Shaggy, Gina Rodriguez as Velma, Zac Efron as Fred, and Amanda Seyfried as Daphne — but keeping Frank Welker as the voice of the famous dog detective Scooby-Doo. The new film pits the gang against the villainous Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs) and his dog Muttley (Billy West).
One of the best movies of last year is available to rent. The Safdie brothers’ Uncut Gems, which stars Adam Sandler as Ratner in his best performance ever, is a marvel, pushing the limit for just how stressful one movie can be as Ratner makes the biggest gamble of his life. From our review:
Even as Howard screws himself over with blustery bravado, it’s hard not to root for him. It’s a testament to Sandler’s performance, categorically the best of his career, but also to the Safdies’ skill behind the camera. They use tight close-ups, quick cuts, overlapping lines of dialogue, and an electronic soundtrack, by turns buzzy and blaring, to create a sense of claustrophobia. It serves as a kind of extended cinematic anxiety attack, leaving the audience as overwhelmed as Howard. And yet the sheer stakes of his reckless gambles may push them to empathize with him even as he descends into mania.