Here’s a quick rundown of all the movies we’re most excited about that are playing on the big screen in New Orleans area this week. Film festival screenings, bizarre cult movie sequels, and niche subject documentaries seem to be ruling the local cinema scene this round, making for an oddly diverse & plentiful crop.
New Releases We Haven’t Seen (Yet)
1. Kubick screenings at Filmtopia – The Prytania Theatre is launching a brand-new film festival this weekend with the very loose theme of “movies good & plenty,” meaning they’re screening plenty of good movies with very little, if any, connection to one another. Out of the twenty or so films listed on the schedule, there’s plenty to be excited about (including a 90s feature from Personal Shopper director Olivier Assayas), but the crown jewel of the collection appears to be a run of Stanley Kubrick titles rarely seen projected on the big screen: The Shining, Barry Lyndon, The Killing, Eyes Wide Shut, A Clockwork Orange, and Full Metal Jacket. They’re also screening a documentary titled Film Worker, about one of Kubrick’s closest, most consistent collaborators. The festival will run from July 20-26 at Louisiana’s oldest operating single-screen theater. Check out the full lineup here.
2. Unfriended: Dark Web – My personal fascination with technophobic genre films, especially ones fixated on the evils of the internet, once manifested in making everyone else in the Swampflix crew discuss the found footage internet horror Unfriended for a lengthy Movie of the Month conversation. Needless to say, I’m very excited for that film’s follow-up sequel, whether or not that enthusiasm is at all justified.
3. Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again – Speaking of bizarre sequels to cult favorites, this ABBA jukebox musical is a decade behind its 2008 predecessor, but promises so much unembarrassed joy, Cher-delivered sass, and maniacal horniness (the first one practically ends with an orgy) that it’s impossible not to be excited for the series’ return. It’s also the subject of our next podcast episode, to be posted sometime next week.
4. Three Identical Strangers – Documentaries seem to be having A Moment in 2018, as this well-reviewed oddity joins the Fred Rogers & Whitney Houston docs already in theaters, each in ever-expanding wide release. The trailer for this doc introduces a true, tabloidish tale of triplet brothers who were kept unaware of each other’s existence until they happened to discover their unlikely kinship by chance in their college years; it also teases a sinister tale of scientific cruelty & political corruption behind that bizarre occurrence. Looks like a very strange journey with plenty of you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up twists.
Movies We Already Enjoyed
1. Sorry to Bother You – This consensus is to dismiss this movie with descriptors like “messy,” “unsubtle,” and “all over the place” as if those were critical digs instead of exciting invitations. One of the wildest, funniest, most visually inventive political satires of the decade, a knockout comedy with an incredible amount to say about class, race, and organized labor under modern capitalist hierarchies. Easily the best new release screening in New Orleans right now, no matter how “messy” people seem to think it is.
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – A Fred Rogers documentary that’s all but guaranteed to make you well up with both tears & awe. This film doubles as both a document of a philosophically-minded art project that aired on public television for over three decades (Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) and a profile of a fascinating man who’s easy to love but difficult to fully understand.
3. Ant-Man and the Wasp – From Boomer’s review: “Like the first film, Ant-Man and the Wasp prioritizes fun shenanigans over the more superheroics of its MCU brethren. 2015’s Ant-Man was following in the footsteps of what was arguably the franchise’s first true comedy outing in Guardians of the Galaxy, but by foresaking that film’s space operatics for the more terrestrial mundanity of a heist film, it cemented a move that has come to be one of the motivating forces of why people love these movies and keep forking over money for them: humor, plain and simple. This is not a heist film, however, and unlike other outright comedic entries in the MCU, there’s not an easily-identifiable genre or style that director Reed has grafted the Ant-Man team onto this time around.”
4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – This a half-hearted recommendation, because Fallen Kingdom is not a great movie, but it does have a great movie buried within it. There are enough lame jokes, laborious duties to franchise-wide storytelling, and dull moments of forced chemistry between the mismatched leads to nearly ruin the film entirely, but director J.A. Bayona snuck an admirably bizarre B-movie conceit into this wounded behemoth that helps save it from being entirely useless. For a glorious 45 minutes or so, Fallen Kingdom functions as a haunted house Gothic horror flick with dinosaurs instead of ghosts, which is one of the most gloriously ludicrous genre mashups you’ll see onscreen all year, even if it is weighted down by the lumbering beast of a franchise it serves.