This weekend sees the highly anticipated premiere of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune and Wes Anderson’s comedic-drama anthology The French Dispatch, both of which star Timothée Chalamet of Call Me By Your Name fame. While the far-future sci-fi epic is available to stream on HBO Max this weekend alongside its initial theatrical premiere, Anderson’s latest is firmly set to screen in theaters only for the time being.
If you’re not up to venturing out this weekend, or somehow aren’t enticed by the prospect of feuding aristocratic fiefdoms in space vying for a coveted resource with the power to bend time and expand perception, there’s still a ton of great new releases to watch from home this weekend. There’s Martin Campbell’s assassin action thriller The Protégé starring Maggie Q (Nikita) and Samuel L. Jackson, the fantastical family drama Bergman Island starring Vicky Krieps (Old), the suspenseful horror drama Knocking, and much more.
To help you get a handle on what’s new and available, here are the movies you can watch with the click of a button this weekend.
Where to watch: In theaters and available to stream on HBO Max
Set in the year 10,191, Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villenueve’s adaptation of the celebrated Frank Herbert sci-fi epic stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, son and heir to the powerful Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), who is forced to leave the planet of his birth to become the newly appointed stewards of Arrakis, a desert planet home to a coveted resource known as melange. There are sword fights, politics, intrigue, betrayal, drama, and oh — these colossal creatures called sandworms that burst out of the ground before devouring people. Honestly, there’s way too much to explain about Dune than can fit in a single paragraph, which is why we so lovingly put together this handy-dandy guide to explain its vast and strange universe. But enough of all that, let’s hone in on the biggest question: should you set aside time this weekend to watch Villeneuve's latest, hulking sci-fi extravaganza? From our review,
If you can get lost in the cocoon of production, costume, and art-design opulence, and sink into the Big Event angle of it all — which is why people go to the movies, isn’t it? — the film, styled as Dune: Part One, can be overwhelmingly evocative. The problem, though, is the film’s pervasive emotional emptiness. Villeneuve and his co-writers, Jon Spaihts (of Passengers and Prometheus) and Eric Roth, rush through character journeys, and shortchange ostensible hero Paul Atreides (wild-hair-haver Timothée Chalamet). They skip over explaining most of the dense mythology of this world, instead collapsing entire communities into thinly rendered versions of other recognizable pop-culture figures. (The Fremen more or less become Tusken Raiders; the Bene Gesserit are Macbeth’s witches.) And the result of all that streamlining is that the connective thread linking all these disparate elements into a cohesive whole is nowhere to be found. The film is a splendid, threadbare tapestry that unravels as you’re watching it.
If you’re aching for another assassin action thrilling in the vein of 2017’s Atomic Blonde, 2019’s Anna, or this year’s Kate, then The Protégé should be right up your alley. Starring Maggie Q (Nikita), the film centers on the story of Anna, a young contract killer adopted by the legendary assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) and raised to be his partner and apprentice. When Moody is brutally executed at the behest of devious businessman Michael Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), Anna embarks on a campaign of vengeance to uncover the reason why Moody was targeted, all while fending off Moody’s killer. While The Protégé may sound nearly identical to all those aforementioned assassin drama, what this film has in its favor is Martin Campbell, the director of 2006’s Casino Royale at the helm. Campbell is an old hand at these kinds of action films, so it goes without saying that if anyone can pull something fresh and exciting from this premise, it’s him.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
Adam Randall’s vampire horror thriller Night Teeth follows Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), a young college student moonlighting as a chauffeur who realizes that his two young female clients are in fact blood-sucking vampires. The film quickly transforms into Collateral by way of Vampires vs. the Bronx, with Benny being forced to drive the pair around as they wreak havoc on their unsuspecting victims. It’s a strange and alluring premise for sure, though one that is very obviously indebted to a whole slew of vampire films that have preceded it. From our review,
Sometimes, challenging cinema is overrated. Sometimes, a mildly trashy film is good enough for a couple hours of distraction, especially if it takes its premise from Blade, Underworld, and numerous other bloodsucking B-movies; its costumes from a burlesque revue of Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula; and its (too-brief) Megan Fox performance from Jennifer’s Body. Night Teeth isn’t genuinely original, substantive, or scary. But as a remix of the vampire thriller’s most lizard-brain-focused qualities, Netflix’s latest Halloween offering is appreciated for how few demands it puts on its audience.
Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island’s centers on Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth), a married couple of American filmmakers who journey to Fårö island — the former home and inspiration for their creative idol Ignmar Bergman — for the summer in order to draw inspiration of their own from the fabled isle. As their stay progresses, the couple find themselves navigating their own creative journeys as the lines between their writing and reality begin to blend and blur into an introspective look at their origins as a couple and their respective futures. The trailer looks whimsical, upbeat, and genuinely fascinating, with Vicky Krieps and particularly standing out as a woman standing at the crossroads of her career as a filmmaker and her responsibilities as a mother and spouse.
With a premise that bears more than a passing resemblance to Joe Wright’s The Woman in the Window meets Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, Frida Kempff’s Knocking follows Molly (Cecilia Milocco), a recent survivor of a traumatic incident who begins to hear a strange insistent knocking sound, coupled with shrill screams, emanating from the room above her new apartment. With little help from the authorities or her neighbors, Molly must uncover the source behind these strange noises if not to save whoever is trying to contact her, then to preserve her own sanity. From the looks of the trailer, Knocking is jarring and paranoia-inducing thriller with grotesque visuals, unnerving sound design, and downright menacing performances. If you’re up for something spooky this weekend, this is definitely the film to watch.
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Space Jam: A New Legacy stars LeBron James as a fictionalized version of himself who, in a thwarted attempt to grow closer to his computer game-obsessed son Dom, is transported into the Warner Bros. Serververse and held captive by a nefarious artificial intelligence known as Al-G-Rhythm (Don Cheadle). To escape, LeBron must assemble the Looney Toons cast from across the corners of several Warner Bros. franchises and compete in a winner-takes-all basketball match against the Rhythm’s Goon Squad of virtual basketball icons like Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson. From our review,
The first Space Jam was born out of an attempt to sell sneakers. In a dizzying display of corporate dominance, the new Space Jam is trying to sell everything Warner Bros. has ever made. Space Jam: A New Legacy isn’t really a movie — it’s a crash course in vertical integration and brand identity, a marketing slideshow with a two-hour running time. Its viewers are taken on a whirlwind tour through every Warner IP geared toward every demographic: Wonder Woman’s Themyscira for girls and women, The Matrix for older men, Harry Potter for Old adults under 40 who haven’t been reading the news much, and so forth. This is how Hollywood works now. This is the future of blockbuster movies.
The premise of Old, the latest horror thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan, is as terrifying and cockamamie as you’d expect from the title alone. Following a family vacationing at a tropical resort, the premise takes a dark turn when they and other fellow guests at the resort find themselves trapped on a mysterious beach with no way to escape. Even worse, their bodies are rapidly growing and deteriorating at an alarming rate, forcing the group to search for a way to safety before their bodies crumble into dust. One of the people trapped on the beach, played by The Underground Railroad’s Aaron Pierre, is a rapper named Mid-sized Sedan. Really. From our review,
Old has been marketed and constructed as a thriller — the opening act is steeped in dread, and its horror comes from the whittling down of its small cast, both psychologically and mortally. But it’s also a surprisingly sentimental film. While its title and premise presume a focus on an adult fear of aging and death, Shyamalan’s script and staging is overwhelmingly concerned with children. The few scenes before the beach are almost entirely from their perspective, as Trent, precocious and smart, rattles off facts and makes friends, and his older sister Maddox looks out for him. The nightmare of the beach isn’t what happens to the adults, who ought to know better, but the children, who, mere feet away from their parents, are thrust into adulthood without any guidance at all, getting a lifetime’s worth of regret compressed into a few moments.