by Michael Roffman
Film & Video Critic
A Roundup of Movies and Shows You Can Watch This Weekend at Home
Summer has swept Miami, which means the living room has taken on a whole new purpose. It’s our home by the sea, to crib from Genesis, a respite from the rays that beat down on us each and every season. Fortunately, there’s plenty of pop in stock, and we’ve gathered the best of the bunch below.
This psychological thriller and BBC co-production hails from the mind of writer, producer, and director Alice Seabright (Sex Education). The Crown delight Erin Doherty stars as Becky, a young woman whose life revolves around miserable temp jobs and a day-to-day habitation with her mum. Her one escape is a keen interest with the titular Chloe, whose life on Instagram is everything Becky’s isn’t. Her obsession with the social media account turns up, though, when Chloe mysteriously dies, prompting Becky to not only investigate, but to also infiltrate. Things get dark. [Amazon Prime]
Master of None’s Alan Yang and 30 Rock’s Matt Hubbard have returned from the lab with this new workplace comedy starring comedy vet Maya Rudolph. The Saturday Night Live alum plays Molly Novak, an estranged wife left with billions of dollars. How awful! What she does with the money is where this story begins, and whether it continues depends on your mileage with Maya. Critics have been divisive; see where you stand. [Apple+]
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe
Nobody asked for it, but creator Mike Judge went ahead and made another theatrical adventure starring MTV’s most incorrigible duo. Depending on your generation, you either worshiped these guys or cowered in fear that your children may, too, try to set the house on fire. Regardless of where you stand, this ‘90s blast from the past is worth noting given Judge’s penchant for mining comedy from the most unlikely places. You’ll laugh, you’ll wince, you’ll probably want to revisit 1996’s Do America right after. [Paramount+]
Take a trip to Chicago with the latest series from Christopher Storer (Ramy, Dickinson). Shamelessstar Jeremy Allen White returns to the Second City to play a five-star chef whose life pursuits are put on hold when he must run the family sandwich shop following the unexpected death of his brother. Who doesn’t love a good homecoming story? It should be noted that Atlanta MVP Hiro Murai is one of the show’s producers, so expect quality. [Hulu]
Anyone still watching this? Well, it’s back for a fourth season. [HBO]
Coral Gables Art Cinema
Spanish filmmakers Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn spin this star-studded story about a billionaire entrepreneur who wants to deliver an iconic movie with the absolute best. (In other words, a true slice of Hollywood fiction!) Penélope Cruz plays the renowned filmmaker tasked to deliver such a film, but to do just that, she’ll have to contend with the egos of two hot heads. Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez play the two men in question, making this one of the hottest movies of the year by face value alone. And you can feel like a star yourself by attending the red carpet premiere on Friday night, where you can sip sangria, dine on bites, and hear from Duprat. [In-Theater Screening]
On the opposite end is Ali Abassi’s Swedish fantasy film about a creepy border patrol guard whose ability to smell human emotions finds her in a perplexing situation. The story is taken from Ajvide Lindqvist’s anthology Let the Old Dreams Die, and Abassi laces it with plenty of body horror, mystery, and moral fiber to chew on. Winner of the Un Certain Regard award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the film was also the Swedish entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, where it was sadly passed over. Alas, you can give it a chance this weekend. [In-Theater Screening]
Baz Luhrmann brings his Baz Luhrmann flare to the King of Rock with this new Hollywood biopic. Hannah Montana superstar Austin Butler plays Elvis Presley, whose rise to stardom is captured in a staggering 159 minute runtime. Tom Hanks plays his manager Colonel Tom Parker, while Olivia DeJonge plays his wife Priscilla Presley. Critics have been warm to this hounddog, meaning it’s at least a step above the glutton’s worth of historical dramas that have clogged up our queues over the last half decade. Thankyaverymuch.
The Black Phone
The ever-lovable Ethan Hawke plays the rare villain in this chilling thriller from the mind of best-selling author Joe Hill (ahem, Stephen King’s oldest son). Sinister director Scott Derrickson dials it back to the analog days of 1978, a time when stranger-danger was becoming an essential cautionary tale around neighborhoods across America. The twist to this parable, however, is that the kidnapped kid gets some much-needed assists in Hawke’s murky basement from the souls of children past. Spooky stuff.
Jurassic World: Dominion
Fun fact: Next year marks 30 years since Steven Spielberg unleashed the greatest blockbuster of all time with Jurassic Park. Since then, the Universal hit has been dinged with one mediocre sequel after the other. The worst of them all is the franchise’s Jurassic World reboot trilogy, which seemingly swaps Michael Crichton’s brand of intellectualism with the amusement park wizardry of a Ringling Bros. knockoff. By all accounts, this final chapter is reportedly a swan song of stupidity for writer-director Colin Trevorrow, who managed to bungle the easiest elevator pitch (“dinos in public”), but hey, it’s at least a reprieve from the Marvel formula. What a world we live in!
Crimes of the Future
The great David Cronenberg returns with his first feature since 2014’s Maps to the Stars. This one, though, feels like a true-blue homecoming given that it’s an original story by the Canadian maestro, and promises all the gnarly body horror he’s trademarked over the last half century. It’s also a reunion with his longtime muse Viggo Mortensen, who helped shape his catalog in the aughts with career highlights A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. To top it off, the film’s “visual feasts” have been prompting multiple walk-outs by nauseous moviegoers. See if you have the stomach for it and dig in!
Top Gun: Maverick
The world’s last movie star is back with a sequel 15 years in the making and set 36 years after the original. Tom Cruise reprises his role as hot shot naval pilot Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who has deliberately staved off from climbing the ranks to stay up in the air. Things change, however, when he’s tasked to train a whole new squadron as part of the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, aka “Top Gun.” Look, if you’ve been waiting for an adult movie to hit the screen – or rather, something that isn’t Marvel or Batman – you’d be wise to strap in for this danger zone.
Downton Abbey: A New Era
This sequel to the 2019 film and the popular BBC series of the same name sees the Crawley family taking a trip to the South of France, where a mystery awaits them involving the dowager countess’ newly inherited villa. Meanwhile, back in Downton, a film crew arrives to make a new movie at the stately home, and Lady Mary stays behind to supervise. You know how this goes: there’s sexual intrigue, there are funnies, and there is a lot of historical drama to Wiki and cross reference right as the credits roll. If you loved the series, you probably already have tickets.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
It’s another Marvel movie, yes. The catch here is that the great Sam Raimi is behind the lens, returning to the genre exactly 20 years to the week that he set the bar with 2002’s Spider-Man. Whether his signature eye manages to eek through the corporate filmmaking of Disney remains to be seen. Early buzz, however, suggests the Michigan filmmaker managed to make this one his own, some even stressing that fans of Evil Dead 2, Darkman, and Drag Me to Hell will find much to love within these woods. So, take that as you will.