The fall movie season has officially arrived, which means audiences can expect a slew of exciting, new films to choose from in the coming months, as each studio ramps up for a late Oscar push. This week’s staff picks for the weekend’s hottest releases include the latest superhero flick from Marvel Studios, a stunning wartime story directed by Mel Gibson, and the touching true tale of an interracial couple in 1960s America. So let’s jump in and look at some new movies, courtesy of your friends here at The Cheat Sheet.
1. Doctor Strange
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has reached something of a turning point this year. As DC has begun ramping up their own fledgling movie-verse, the MCU has entered into the next stage of its expansive saga. That bring us to Doctor Strange, vaulting Marvel’s films into a brand new world of magic and mysticism. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Sorcerer Supreme, we’re given an intriguing origin story that acts as a catalyst for the MCU’s plans for the immediate future.
For our own viewing of the film, we came away with a few major takeaways. First off, Cumberbatch shines as Stephen Strange. He brings his usual level of charisma and talent for his debut superhero movie, and it’s clear that he could carry the MCU on his own should Robert Downey Jr. decide to depart sometime in the near future. Second, the visual effects are straight up Oscar-worthy. Third, (and on the more negative end) Doctor Strange features a villain so eminently forgettable that odds are you’ll need to look up his name on IMDb to remember who he is. The sum total: an entertaining, albeit flawed addition to the MCU.
2. Hacksaw Ridge
Mel Gibson found himself surrounded by controversy throughout the last decade, with a reputation that’s made it difficult for him to work in Hollywood in recent years. For Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson returns to the director’s chair for the first time in a decade, delivering a film that harkens back to his creative heyday helming Braveheart.
The basic story follows the true story of Desmond Doss, a World War II soldier who refused to pick up a gun, while bravely saving 75 soldiers on the battlefield as a medic. Rotten Tomatoes already has the film sitting pretty at an 87% positive rating, with critical consensus calling it “a gripping wartime tribute to faith, valor, and the courage of remaining true to one’s convictions.”
Hacksaw Ridge isn’t the only true story hitting theaters this weekend. Loving comes to us from Midnight Special director Jeff Nichols, running through the struggles of an interracial couple living in 1960s America. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star alongside Michael Shannon and Nick Kroll.
Over on Rotten Tomatoes, Loving currently sits at a 92% positive score, while critical consensus credits Nichols for “an understated approach to telling a painful — and still relevant — real-life tale.” In the midst of a racially charged political landscape right now, it’s not hard to draw a parallel to modern America. Beyond that, if you’re looking for an alternative to Marvel or Mel Gibson, you could do a whole lot worse than a movie already garnering a good deal of Oscar buzz in its early release.
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