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. Man Up
The rom-com genre has taken something of an interesting turn in the last year, with many films doing what they can to break out of the typical conventions of their predecessors. No longer does your average romantic comedy begin with two completely opposite people stumbling upon each other, learning to love, hastily breaking up, and then reuniting in a heartfelt airport scene. Instead, movies like Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck that break modern gender conventions are the new gold standard. Fitting neatly into this new age of rom-coms is Man Up, releasing this weekend.
Starring Lake Bell and Simon Pegg, Man Up tells the story of a woman who gets mistaken for a man’s blind date, pretends to be the blind date anyway, and then deals with the fallout of her lie. It’s scoring a solid 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the Los Angeles Times calling it “frequently laugh-out-loud funny and tangibly tender where it ought to be.” All in all, that’s really what we want when we go see a romantic comedy. There’s a whole lot of serious Oscar bait in theaters right now, so Man Up is really the best place to go for something decidedly more light-hearted.
If light-hearted isn’t your thing, then Entertainment is definitely a solid alternative. Although this also comes with a strong warning to anyone who decides to partake: This movie will make you really, really sad. It’s absolutely a stunningly realized commentary on the minds of entertainers, with Indiewire calling it a “twisted existential comedic masterwork.” At the same time, The Guardian also gave it the dubious distinction of being “a roadtrip to the center of a harrowing abyss,” so tread lightly here.
Storywise, Entertainment is about one man’s journey as a comedian performing at bottom-of-the-barrel establishments and generally questioning his existence on planet Earth. Its 84% Rotten Tomatoes score indicates that it’s certainly worth seeing, but maybe go find the nearest pet store afterwards and play with a couple puppies to help balance things out.
3. The 33
The story of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground in a tunnel collapse in 2010 is one that’s been kicking around Hollywood for awhile now. It was only a matter of time before someone adapted the story into a full-fledged biopic, and so Warner’s The 33 was born. It stars big-name talent like Antonio Banderas, Martin Sheen, and Gabriel Byrne, giving it tons of mainstream appeal for anyone in search of something a tad more inspirational and uplifting than Entertainment.
Admittedly, the movie hasn’t done well with critics, evidenced by its coincidentally appropriate 33% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the criticism surrounds its adherence to conventions, as The 33 does little to break out of the box of its hero narrative. Combine that with the racially tone-deaf casting of Gabriel Byrne, an Irishman, as a Chilean engineer, and you start to see some problems. Regardless, anyone who followed the story of the trapped miners back in 2010 will probably enjoy this movie.
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