Parents and their kids have a clear option this week, as do edgy teens. If neither wide-release film strikes your fancy, and you don't happen to live in NYC or LA, there's plenty of good stuff on demand and streaming this weekend. Everybody's covered.
What you'll want to see this weekend will likely depend on your age. Are you under the age of 12 or over the age of 50? Then this week's choice appears to be Mr. Peabody & Sherman, the new film from DreamWorks Animation, because you're either a kid, the parent of a kid, or an adult looking for some simple childhood nostalgia. A remake of the classic animated Peabody's Improbable History shorts that aired in the 1950s and '60s, the film updates the boy/dog/time-traveling humor for a more modern sensibility. Which means, of course, that it takes something like this and adds more poop jokes. Ty Burrell voices the title canine, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman sports a fairly solid supporting cast: Stephen Colbert, Allison Janney, Dennis Haysbert, and Leslie Mann all lend their voices to the film. Somewhat surprisingly, the film is actually pulling a 75 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Variety's Guy Lodge describing it as "swift, peppy and defiantly unendearing." The positive reviews are despite what The Wire's own David Sims calls "the irritating ad campaign and depressingly formulaic trailer." As Sims points out, this isn't the first time Hollywood has tried to update classic cartoons, and it probably won't be the last.
If Mr. Peabody & Sherman leaves you unenthused, because you're a teenager and thus "over" animated kids movies, the other option opening wide in theaters this weekend is 300: Rise of an Empire. Not only is this the long-awaited and fervently-demanded sequel (...right?) to the original 300, but we get another Frank Miller film adaptation! It looks the same as the first movie, with more Greek-on-Persian action, but there's no Gerard Butler this time. Instead, the biggest name appears to be ... Eva Green, I guess? Sullivan Stapleton plays the lead character of Themistokles, who you might remember from his small part in Gangster Squad, despite your best efforts to forget that movie exists. 300 Two has critics fairly mixed, but it's sitting at 41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It's exactly what it looks like: mindless computer-enhanced sword-fighting action, perfect for a good veg out. And it's a movie with a little something for everyone. Our personal favorite review comes from Associated Press' Jake Coyle, who wrote, "It's as if Douglas Sirk made a combat video game." Exactly how many people seeing 300: Rise of an Empire in theaters this weekend will know who Douglas Sirk is?
In Limited Release
If you're lucky enough to live in New York City or Los Angeles, then you only have one choice this weekend: The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's being hailed as "the platonic ideal of a Wes Anderson movie" and whether that sounds like the best or worst thing to you, Anderson movies are always at least worth seeing. If nothing else, at least go to appreciate Tony Revolori's mustache-drawing skills. Unfortunately, TGBH is only playing in four theaters in two cities this weekend, so you might have to wait for next weekend, when it opens wider.
Videos On Demand
Headlining On Demand this weekend is none other than 2013 box office champ The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. If you're one of the few people on planet Earth to have missed the film in theaters, then now is your chance to catch up. Or you know, just watch it again. Also up this weekend are a couple of Oscar nominees, now that all the statues have been handed out: Gravity, which won for Best Director, and Nebraska, which scored acting nominations for Bruce Dern and June Squibb but failed to win. And then there's the unnecessary and soulless American remake of Old Boy, starring Josh Brolin, if you're into that sort of thing.
We have quite a few truly great movies new to streaming on Netflix this weekend. There is Capote, the film the late Philip Seymour Hoffman won his Oscar for; Blue is the Warmest Color, of which The Wire is an admitted fan; '80s classic Dirty Dancing (skip the latest remake); Stanley Kubrick's near-perfect Dr. Strangelove (watch it so you can finally get all those "this is the war room" jokes); and The Silence of the Lambs, which would make for fitting pre-True Detective finale viewing. Seriously, that's a stacked lineup.
Movies on TV
If you're relying on television this weekend, things are looking a little rough. Premiering on HBO is Snitch on Saturday at 8 p.m. What you need to know: it's a movie about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson going undercover with a drug cartel to exonerate his son of false charges. That's either your thing, or isn't. Not a lot of middle ground with this one. The exact opposite of Snitch is playing on Showtime Saturday night at 9: Quartet, starring Maggie Smith at a "home for retired musicians." Like I said, not Snitch. Following that is Lawless, one of the last movies Shia LaBeouf did before he, well, you know.