Summer movie season is officially here, which means audiences can expect a slew of exciting, new films to choose from in the coming months. This week’s staff picks for best movies include a thrilling new heist-centric Western, a hilarious animated film from Seth Rogen, and the latest project from Meryl Streep. Let’s jump in and talk movies, shall we?
1. Hell or High Water
Westerns have been in something of a resurgence lately, marked by releases like The Hateful Eight and Bone Tomahawk. Hollywood won’t be slowing down anytime soon either. September will represent a high point for the genre with the release of the Denzel Washington-led remake of The Magnificent Seven. Before we get there though, Hell or High Water is more than enough to tide us over.
Led by Ben Foster, Chris Pine, and Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water is currently trending at a stunning 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critical consensus calling it “a solidly crafted, well-acted Western heist thriller that eschews mindless gunplay in favor of confident pacing and full-bodied characters.” This isn’t director David McKenzie’s first 99% Rotten Tomatoes release either. He scored the same rating in 2014 with the U.K. prison drama, Starred Up. All told, there are far worse ways to kick off your Friday night.
2. Sausage Party
Perhaps you’re not looking for a gritty Western drama this weekend. Worry not, because there’s an option that couldn’t be more different: Sausage Party. Seth Rogen leads a talented cast of voice actors, in a movie based around the idea that all the food we eat is not just sentient, but also feels every bit of the pain of being eaten, cooked, and consumed. Think Toy Story, only a bizarro R-rated version.
At the directing helm is an intriguing duo in Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan. The former’s experience is mostly in straightforward animated movies, with Shrek 2 and Madagascar 3 as the biggest projects on his resume. The latter has dealt almost entirely in the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise. The bizarre sum total is an irreverent R-rated comedy that’s actually doing alright on Rotten Tomatoes right now (as of publishing, it’s at 84%).
3. Florence Foster Jenkins
So Westerns and comedies aren’t your thing? Totally fine. Florence Foster Jenkins takes things in yet another direction, telling the crazy, but true story of a woman with no musical talent who aspired to be a world famous opera star. Meryl Streep plays our lead character, joined by Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg, in a movie that critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes calls a “poignant, crowd-pleasing dramedy.” With a stellar 87% positive rating, it rounds out one of the best weekends for new releases we’ve had all summer in terms of sheer quality.
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