The 3 Best Movies in Theaters Now: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and More

There are plenty of notable new films set to hit the big screen this week. Can’t decide which option to buy tickets for first? Here are our staff’s picks for the top three flicks to check out in theaters this weekend.

1. Straight Outta Compton

In terms of biopics, Hollywood hasn’t given us one worth seeing in a long time. That being said, there’s no better story out there than that of N.W.A., the rap group that shook the musical world in a time of turmoil. Eazy E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube changed hip hop forever, with their incisive music that painted of a picture of the injustice they experienced at the hands of local law enforcement. It’s a story that doesn’t need to be dramatized for Hollywood, given the actual drama that played out over the early years of the group’s existence.

The movie has been lauded by critics across the board, boasting an 87% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus calling it “a biopic that’s built to last, thanks to F. Gary Gray’s confident direction and engaging performances from a solid cast.” Gray has spent his career working with prominent artists in the hip-hop community, having directed Ice Cube in Friday, so he’s no stranger to the travails of N.W.A. in the slightest. His expertise shines through in the expertly crafted story of a rap group that sought to have the voice of their oppressed community heard.

Straight Outta Compton releases in a time where its message couldn’t be more relevant. The Black Lives Matter movement has proliferated in the wake of widespread police violence, and now Hollywood has produced a movie to show that this isn’t a new problem by any means. It’s one ingrained deep in America’s history, contextualized by this biopic for modern audiences.

2. The Man From U.N.C.L.E

In the world of spy thrillers, most people nowadays are talking about the upcoming Bond movie, Spectre. It promises to be yet another stellar addition to the 007 saga, and has had fans buzzing ever since the first teaser hit YouTube. Not to be overshadowed, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is spy movie worthy of acting as the bridge between now and Spectre‘s release this November. It stars Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger), as super-spies from opposing nation during the Cold War.

In the face of a global threat, they’re forced to work together as an unlikely team. Cavill plays your classic, suave Bond-esque character, while Hammer is the gruff, rigid yin to that yang. Together, they must stop an evil international syndicate from sending nuclear proliferation into full swing. Rotten Tomatoes has it sitting at a 67% rating, putting it mostly in the “you won’t have a bad time if you see this category,” although their consensus isn’t quite so kind: “The Man from U.N.C.L.E. tries to distract from an unremarkable story with charismatic stars and fizzy set pieces, adding up to an uneven action thriller with just enough style to overcome its lack of substance.”

3. AIR

The movies out this weekend are decidedly in the “thrilling” category, and this week’s third pick is no exception. AIR takes us to a dystopic future, where the air outside is unbreathable, and humanity has been reduced to just a few people living in suspended animation underground. Taking care of the remnants of our species are two techs, played by Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou. When a malfunction leads to one of their own pods catching fire, they’re left with a limited amount of air to keep them alive.

The suspense plays out as a commentary on humanity and morality, while Reedus and Hounsou try to figure out a way to keep them both alive without compromising the people they’ve been tasked with taking care of. It’s a core concept that sounds promising, but its 14% Rotten Tomatoes score says otherwise. The New York Times digs in further, noting how “the script would benefit from more moments when hard questions are considered and unexpected actions are taken.” The moral dilemmas of the movie, while compelling, are never quite explored to their full potential, making for an entirely entertaining yet limited final product.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

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