American movie theaters are still largely closed, and they will likely stay that way for at least another month: even Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. have caved and pushed the release date for the mysterious thriller Tenet back by another few weeks. Now it’s scheduled for an Aug. 12 debut.
While we wait, there’s more news as to what’s in the pipeline: Aardman Studios announced that a Chicken Run sequel is in the works, more than two decades after the film’s initial debut. The new movie will pick up with the chickens following their escape from the chicken farm, and see them dealing with a new threat to their peaceful existence. Mel Gibson will not return as the voice of arrogant rooster Rocky.
As far as role reprisals go, however, Michael Keaton may be returning as Batman, as he’s reportedly in talks to join the upcoming Flash movie. The film is expected to roughly follow the Flashpoint story arc, meaning that time travel and alternate timelines are in the works.
And as far as big changes are concerned, the ride Splash Mountain, based on the controversial 1946 Disney live-action/animation hybrid film Song of the South, is being retooled to be based on 2009’s animated feature The Princess and the Frog. There’s no date set for exactly when those changes will occur. But for now, here are the new movies you can watch at home this weekend.
Jon Stewart’s new movie stars Steve Carell as a political strategist who, after seeing a viral video of a Wisconsin man (Chris Cooper) standing up for his town’s undocumented workers, decides to turn the newly minted star into the town’s mayor. However, the opposing party soon sends their own strategist (Rose Byrne) to try to foil him. It’s funny and earnest, but its take on American elections feels hopelessly out of step with this particular political moment. From our review:
Instead of aping the intensity of Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s legendary doc The War Room, or delivering the punchy breakdowns of The Big Short, Stewart concentrates on the human element. Jack’s supporters are quirky, the opposition is a caricature, and the media hyping up the showdown is the obstructive enemy. The choice makes it one big sitcom (complete with Office-ready campaign operatives played by Topher Grace and Natasha Lyonne). Stewart clearly did his homework — the movie feels like it’s being propped up by the last three years of Atlantic magazine cover stories — but the message lacks any sense of bite or power.
Where to watch it: Streaming on Amazon
It’s been clear since his turn as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy that Dave Bautista has considerable comedic chops, and My Spy sees him taking on a leading role in a comedy. Bautista stars as JJ, a newly hired CIA operative who teams up with 9-year-old Sophie (Chloe Coleman) in his pursuit of an illegal arms dealer after she catches him on the job.
House of Hummingbird
Where to watch it: Rent on digital $12 through digital cinemas
House of Hummingbird is a slow-burn coming-of-age story, starring Park Ji-hoo as Eun-hee, a teenager trying to figure out who she is. As she wanders through 1994 Seoul, Eun-hee struggles to connect with the people around her. A spark finally arrives in the form of her remedial Chinese tutor Young-ji (Kim Sae-byuk), who seems to understand Eun-hee in a way that even her family doesn’t.
Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece stars the director himself as Mookie, a pizza delivery man. The film focuses on Mookie’s neighborhood, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and the racial tension between its inhabitants and the local pizzeria, run by Sal (Danny Aiello) and his unabashedly racist son Pino (John Turturro), which boil over on one particularly hot, fateful day. With the film being discussed again due to widespread tensions and protests over the latest series of police killings of unarmed black Americans, it’s been made free to stream via a variety of platforms through June 29.
Michael Mann’s Ali centers on 10 years in the life of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, portrayed in the film by Will Smith, from 1964 to 1974. The movie covers his accomplishments in boxing (winning the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, winning the Rumble in the Jungle fight against George Foreman in 1974) as well as his conversion to Islam and his criticism on the Vietnam War. It also touches on the political upheaval caused by the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. The film is free to rent through the end of June, as one of many films studios are making available to highlight the experiences of Black Americans.
New on Netflix this weekend
- Eric Andre’s new special Eric Andre: Legalize Everything
- Documentary film Athlete A
- Nobody Knows I’m Here, starring Jorge Garcia as a former child star
- Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, and Dan Stevens in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth stars Eliza Scanlen as a teenager with an unspecified form of cancer, whose blossoming romance with a 23-year-old delinquent sends ripples through her life. From our review:
Terminal teens have become fairly common in contemporary young adult romances, from The Fault in Our Stars (Shailene Woodley has cancer, falls in love with Ansel Elgort), to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Olivia Cooke has leukemia, falls in love with Thomas Mann), to Five Feet Apart (Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse both have cystic fibrosis, fall in love with each other). Some movies, like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, handle terminal illness thoughtfully, but many others use it solely as a gimmick, romanticizing death and ignoring the actual difficulties of sickness. So Babyteeth, directed by Shannon Murphy in her feature debut, serves as a breath of fresh air for the subgenre. The film, which stars Eliza Scanlen as a teenager with an unspecified form of cancer, hits some predictable beats, but Rita Kalnejais’ script (based on her stage play of the same name) and Murphy’s directorial voice make the story seem brand new.
Single mom Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie) is a former beauty queen, once crowned “Miss Juneteenth,” a title commemorating the day slavery was abolished in Texas. Now, she aims to make her 14-year-old daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze) the next Miss Juneteenth, despite the fact that Kai doesn’t want to compete, in the hopes that winning will change Kai’s life where it failed to change her own.
You Should Have Left
You Should Have Left stars Kevin Bacon as Theo Conroy, a man who decides to book a vacation in the Welsh countryside in an attempt to repair his marriage with his much younger wife (Amanda Seyfried). Unfortunately, the house they’ve chosen to rent isn’t quite what it seems, as Theo begins to suspect that there’s something supernatural at work within its walls. From our review:
[Writer-director David] Koepp’s new film, You Should Have Left ... isn’t one of his best, but it’s squarely within his wheelhouse. It recalls Secret Window, another of his less successful efforts, in that the story involves psychological mysteries exacerbated by isolation, and it’s based on someone else’s fiction. Secret Window was from a Stephen King novella; Left is apparently based on a whole novel, though the 92-minute film feels like it could have been adapted from a 25-page short story. It draws out tension by obviously withholding details from the audience, even though the movie’s characters already know them.
The Short History of the Long Road
The only life the teenage Nola (Sabrina Carpenter) knows is roaming the U.S. with her father (Steven Ogg) in their RV. When tragedy strikes, Nola must fend for herself, and begins by setting out to find the mother she never knew, as well as possibly finding a permanent home.