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 the shocking but true story of two stoner arms dealers, the latest animated masterpiece from LAIKA, and a career-making performance from Daniel Radcliffe. Let’s jump in and talk the weekend’s releases, shall we?
1. War Dogs
Usually, whenever you see a “based on a true story” label slapped on a movie, the assumption is that Hollywood took a fair share of its own creative liberties. War Dogs though is a rare case where dramatizing the source material wasn’t necessary in order to tell a blockbuster-worthy tale. David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli really were arms dealers at 21 and 19-years-old, respectively, landing a massive $300 million contract back in 2007 to supply the U.S. military with 100 million rounds of AK-47 ammunition. The story from there only gets crazier, taking our main characters through a complex web of violence, betrayal, and just enough comedy to remind you that The Hangover director Todd Phillips is in charge.
2. Kubo and the Two Strings
When it comes to animated cinema, no one does it quite like the folks over at LAIKA, having delivered groundbreaking films like ParaNorman and Coraline. While studios like Dreamworks are focused more on talking animals in movies aimed at children, LAIKA is continually trying to blaze new ground in the realm of stop-motion. Kubo and the Two Strings is the next logical step in a long line of incredible films. Currently sitting pretty at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s been dubbed a telling homage to Kurosawa, telling a story that resonates with both adults and children. Plus, if you’re not in the mood to watch a film about twenty-something gun runners, it makes for a solid alternative option.
Daniel Radcliffe has spent a fair share of his career proving that his work didn’t end with his time as Harry Potter. In the time since he exited the magical world of Hogwarts, he’s carried a TV series in A Young Doctor’s Notebook, proved his horror chops in The Woman in Black, and shown he can go full indie with the bizarre Swiss Army Man.
For his latest project, he takes things to a whole new level, playing an undercover government agent posing as a militant skinhead. Critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes cites “troublingly timely themes and a talented cast” as the driving factors behind its 81% positive rating, making it more than worth your time this weekend.
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