3 Best Movies in Theaters Right Now: ‘American Pastoral’ and More

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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 a chilling adaptation of a popular novel, a star-studded action-comedy, and a surprising horror sequel that has so far managed to exceed everyone’s expectations. So let’s jump in and look at some new movies, courtesy of your friends here at The Cheat Sheet.

1. American Pastoral

Ewan McGregor has long been a fixture in Hollywood, appearing in everything from tense dramas to time-honored sci-fi franchises. The talented actor takes on a slightly different role for his latest project though. He makes his directorial debut with American Pastoral, which is loosely adapted from the Phillip Roth novel of the same name. The story follows a couple seemingly living the American dream in 1960s America, before their daughter’s involvement with violent revolutionaries brings it all crashing down.

Unfortunately, McGregor’s debut directorial effort hasn’t quite landed with critics, with American Pastoral netting a disappointing 15% Rotten Tomatoes score. That still doesn’t make us any less curious to see what he has to offer, and as our top-voted staff pick of the weekend, you can color us interested to see how his considerable acting talent translates to being on the other side of the camera.

2. Keeping Up with the Joneses

There’s little doubting the fact that Greg Mottola has a stellar directorial resume. His past projects include Adventureland, Superbad, Paul, and assorted episodes of both The Newsroom and Arrested Development. For his latest project, he’s paired with an A-list comedic cast, bringing together the likes of Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, Gal Gadot, and Zach Galifianakis. The result is a film that, while not scoring well from a review standpoint, is still worth seeing knowing that a skilled director and talented cast are all signed on. Basically, if you’re looking for an easy-to-digest suburban spy comedy, then you could do a whole lot worse than Keeping Up with the Joneses this weekend.

3. Ouija: Origin of Evil

We’ll be honest here: Our expectations were pretty low for a sequel to a movie that scored all of 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, with one critic going so far as to dub it “the cinematic equivalent of a sleeping pill.” With a different director signed on for Ouija: Origin of Evil though, we have ourselves a shocking turn for the better. Rotten Tomatoes currently has the film sitting pretty at a 78% positive rating. Critical consensus for the site is equally as friendly, calling it “a surprisingly scary and dramatically satisfying follow-up to its lackluster predecessor.”

Most prominent critics liken the Ouija sequel to The Conjuring, and based on what we know, it’s an apt comparison. American horror as we know it today is rooted in vaguely fleshed-out ghost stories that put an unfortunate family at the center of the suffering. It’s a device, that while not entirely groundbreaking, still makes a solidly scary movie, and one that Ouija: Origin of Evil appears to utilize to a tee.

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