Here’s a quick rundown of the movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week. I’m both weeks-behind on new releases and pleasantly surprised by how many movies we recently enjoyed are still hanging on locally, so this week’s round-up is overflowing with recommendations.
New Releases We Haven’t Seen (Yet)
1. Night is Short, Walk on Girl – Surrealist animator (of Mind Game fame) Masaaki Yuasa’s anime freakout about a single night out in Kyoto, Japan looks like a visually wild experience, only available to see on the big screen two nights this coming week: Tuesday, August 21, and Wednesday, August 22. Check out the film’s Fathom Events page for more details.
2. Skate Kitchen– The director of the eccentric cinephilia documentary The Wolfpack returns with a docudrama about teen girl skateboarders in NYC. I’m sensing some The Florida Project & Girlhood vibes from the trailer in the way it promises to mix real-life characters & staged fiction tactics to achieve something dramatically authentic. It’s also the first of two significant 2018 skateboarding dramas to hit the city (the other is Jonah Hill’s upcoming Mid90s) so catch the trend before it gets started. Only playing at The Broad Theater.
3. BlacKkKlansman – Spike Lee hasn’t exactly disappeared, but it feels like he’s been hiding in plain sight for the last decade or so by dedicating his efforts to small-scale, limited appeal experiments (like, for instance, a Kickstarter-funded remake of the esoteric cult classic Ganja & Hess). BlacKkKlansman appears to be a much better-funded, commercially minded picture than we’ve seen from the infamous indie auteur in a long while, one that filters satirical jabs at Trumpian racial politics through a classic buddy cop genre structure & a historical look back at the not-so-distant past of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s incredibly exciting.
4. Crazy Rich Asians – Part wish-fulfillment rom-com & part extravagant wealth porn, this comedic romance fantasy looks like a crucial slice of escapist fun. It also promises to incite a much-needed corrective for Hollywood’s dismally deficient Asian American representation on the big screen, so it’s a worthy film to support while it’s playing in theaters.
5. McQueen – I’m not very familiar with deceased fashion designer Alexander McQueen outside hearing his name dropped in rap songs and seeing a few of his pieces at NOMA’s A Queen Within exhibition earlier this year. I’m eager to correct that, though, and this documentary seems to be a great place to start. Only playing at Canal Place.
Movies We Already Enjoyed
1. Sorry to Bother You –I’ve now said this three weeks in a row, but this is very likely the last week to see one of the summer’s wildest surprise gems on the big screen (it’s now only playing at The Broad Theater). From Boomer’s review: “These continue to be dark days, and though we may not know how to fix them, we must not get used to them. And if you like your social commentary candy-colored but lacking in neat, pat answers, go see Sorry to Bother You. Hell, go see it even if that’s not your bag; your comfort zone could become your noose if you don’t push your boundaries.”
2. Eighth Grade – Bo Burnham’s directorial debut doubles as a teen girl coming-of-age drama and an Anxiety Litmus Test. Either you find the awkwardness of its protagonist’s last week of junior high amusingly adorable or it hits you like a relentless, anxiety-driven nightmare where each minor social interaction plays out with the creeping dread of a horror film. It’s an impressively intense tonal experience either way.
3. Three Identical Strangers – It’s been an incredible year for documentaries, both creatively & financially. Now that Won’t You Be My Neighbor has disappeared from local theaters, its documentary-of-the-minute slot has been replaced by something much more sinister: a bizarre tale of triplet brothers who were unaware of each other’s existence until they were in their late teens, which then develops into a continually twisty nightmare. Especially recommended for amateur conspiracy theorists & fans of true crime narratives. Only playing at The Broad Theater.
4. The Spy Who Dumped Me – Even if the excitement around Mission: Impossible – Fallout hasn’t ignited an immediate thirst for more (and sillier) espionage thriller content or the memory of Spy is too vivid for you to enjoy its comedically inferior echo, SNL MVP Kate McKinnon alone is well worth the price of admission for The Spy Who Dumped Me. This early in her career it’s still rare to see her afforded extensive, front & center screentime, so this movie cannot be overvalued as a McKinnon showcase. The lagniappe delight in that indulgence is that she gets to participate in a sweet, endearing action comedy about female friendship (alongside Mila Kunis), one where the action & the friendship dynamic are both surprisingly convincing & well-staged.
5. Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again – This decade-late sequel to the ABBA jukebox musical is notably better-made on a technical level than its predecessor (it shares a cinematographer with most Wes Anderson productions?), but it’s also a hell of a lot less horny & bizarre. For the most part, though, Here We Go Again delivers more of the same Mamma Mia! goodness, except this time with a little Cher for flavor. Britnee’s an especially big fan of this franchise and you can hear our dual review of both Mammas Mia! on a recent episode of the podcast.