This week’s movie news is mostly to do with the projects that will get underway once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, as there’s still no indication of when it will be safe to reopen movie theaters. Spike Lee himself has said that he won’t go to a movie theater until there’s a vaccine, also noting that he’s unsure of how film production will resume safely. But the industry is working on protocol for future film shoots, and a new survey suggests audiences want to find a way back to the multiplex.
If Hollywood can figure out that new normal, we may soon see Cate Blanchett in Eli Roth’s upcoming Borderlands movie, Hamilton’s Thomas Kail direct a new version of Fiddler on the Roof, and a sequel to the Sonic movie, which is now in development.
In another landmark for post-pandemic life, Netflix’s talks to acquire the historic Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles have finally ended, allowing the streaming service to showcase its own content in a major theater without worrying about the exclusivity windows that made agreements to play Netflix films in Regal and AMC theaters so difficult.
In the meanwhile, however, theaters are still closed, here are the movie you can watch this weekend from the comfort of your own home.
The High Note
Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is the overworked personal assistant to music superstar Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross). Though Maggie seems to have hit a dead end in her job, she still aspires to become a music producer. Meanwhile, Grace’s manager (Ice Cube) wants her to take a residency in Las Vegas, which Grace views as a death sentence. In order to get what they want, Grace and Maggie have to learn how to work together.
The Vast of Night
Where to watch it: Streaming on Amazon
Set in the 1950s, The Vast of Night focuses on two teenagers investigating a mysterious radio frequency. Over the course of one night, switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick) and radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) go on a supernatural scavenger hunt, investigating everything from reels of tape to anonymous phone calls as they attempt to uncover the frequency’s source.
On the Record
Where to watch it: Streaming on HBO Max
Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s On the Record sheds light on the accusations of sexual assault and harassment against Russell Simmons, co-founder of DEF Jam Recordings. The documentary includes testimony from more than 20 women, and focuses on Drew Dixon, who accused Simmons of rape and experienced further harassment, as well as harm to her professional life, throughout her career. The film also addresses the way black women’s voices have been left out of the #MeToo movement.
Where to watch it: Rent on digital $12.99 through Corinth Films
You may be most familiar with Colombian artist Fernando Botero’s work from memes. Don Millar’s documentary on Botero paints him in a broader light, going back to Botero’s past in provincial Medellin in 1932 and following his rise through the art world. Millar weaves original footage together with archival photos and videos from Botero’s family as he endeavors to create as comprehensive a picture of the painter as possible.
New on Netflix this weekend
- Comedy special Hannah Gadsby: Douglas
- Steve Carell’s new comedy series Space Force
- The third season of documentary series Somebody Feed Phil
- The Safdie brothers’ magnetic Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
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.