A Biblical epic, civil rights biopic, and Arnold Schwarzenegger hit theaters this weekend, and The Grand Budapest Hotel expands. On Netflix, the McConaissance is in full-swing. Here's what you should watch this weekend.
Headlining multiplexes this week is Darren Aronofsky's Noah. It's an epic from the director of The Wrestler and Black Swan, stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins, and is definitely only "inspired" by the biblical tale, not an exact retelling. Really, this looks like the Russell Crowe specialty (long, drawn out epic in the vein of Gladiator and Robin Hood), and holy crap is the advertising for this EVERYWHERE. Somewhat surprisingly, Noah has been getting pretty good reviews, and there's certainly more going on than just a Hollywood thrill-fest adaptation of the bible, but it's still probably not a great movie. At least people are talking about it though, which for a movie like this isn't always a given. So if you're going to see something in theaters this weekend, Noah seems like the way to go, if only to be part of the conversation.
If biblical action thriller isn't up your alley, perhaps Sabotage will suffice. Arnold Schwarzenegger continues his post-governorship comeback, this time as a DEA agent going after the world's most dangerous drug cartels. This one definitely won't be a good movie, but sometimes you aren't looking for one, and that's OK. As The Wire's David Sims writes: "If you judge films by how many people get shot in the head with remarkable ease, Sabotage may well be the pinnacle of American cinema."
The third film going wide this weekend is the biopic Cesar Chavez. Michael Peña stars as the title civil rights activist, and the movie has an interesting supporting cast: John Malkovich, America Ferrera, and Rosario Dawson all show up. It'll likely be a straightforward affair – you sort of know what you're getting with a Chavez biopic – and it's always good to see Peña get a worthwhile role. But this movie is only going to appeal to a certain type of moviegoer; that's either you or it isn't.
In Limited Release
The Grand Budapest Hotel continues its slow expansion to movie theaters outside NYC and Los Angeles, so if you were waiting patiently and envious while we on the coasts enjoyed Wes Anderson's latest, your time may finally be here. There aren't too many notable new limited releases this weekend, but you might want to check out The Raid 2 if you're in NYC or LA (sorry everybody else, but like I said, you have GBH to see). It's an Indonesian action thriller that has a 79 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so why not? Oh, there's The National movie, Mistaken for Strangers, too, if you're into that.
Videos on Demand
More of 2013's "movies you were going to see but didn't" populate On Demand this week. The biggest name is The Wolf Of Wall Street, which almost scored Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar win, but of course did not. Like I keep having to tell my mother because for some reason she thinks she wants to see it, the movie is very raunchy, so if you're anti-excessive sex and drugs in movies, this one is probably a pass, even if it was nominated for Best Picture. Also hitting On Demand is The Book Thief, one of those trying-too-hard to be Oscarbait films that ended up not doing anything with audiences or critics. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from those two is Delivery Man, which features Vince Vaughn as an impossibly prolific sperm donor who's fathered more than 500 children. Remember when Vince Vaughn starring in a movie was a selling point? Life is fleeting.
Streaming on Netflix
Embrace the McConaissance and watch Mud this weekend, one of the recent Matthew McConaughey roles that went under the radar. If you're on board with his resurgence, Mud is a good place to expand into the world of McConaughey, at least before you watch Killer Joe. Also new to streaming is Paranoia, which has Harrison Ford, one of the Hemsworths (Liam, but can you really tell?), Amber Heard, and Gary Oldman (sorry, Gary). Paranoia has a 5 percent (!!!) rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so by all accounts this is total crap-fest. Still, could be worth watching just to see how bad it is. And then there is a film called We Are What We Are. I'll be honest, I've never heard of this movie before but it has great reviews and it's apparently about cannibals, so you should probably watch it.
Movies on TV
Premiering on HBO Saturday at 8 p.m. is the fantastic summer comedy The Heat, starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. Studios learned with Bridesmaids that yes, women can lead blockbuster comedies that aren't rom-coms, and The Heat does nothing but reinforce the idea. At 6 p.m. Saturday on Showtime is Crash, so if you go see Cesar Chavez and are still itching for more Peña, here you go. After a brief Shameless interlude, the Adam Sandler-ized The Longest Yard is on at 9 p.m.