Here’s a quick round-up of the movies we’re most excited about that are screening in New Orleans this week. In case you can’t tell, we’re starting to get into that glorious time of the year where Oscar Hopefuls trickle down South from NY & LA while dirt-cheap genre films simultaneously get dumped into wide-release. It’s a very satisfying, weirdly incongruous overlap.
Movies We Haven’t Seen (Yet)
If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins follows up his Best Picture winner Moonlight with an adaptation of a James Baldwin novel set in 1970s Harlem. From what I can tell without spoiling it for myself, it appears to be brimming with gorgeous costumes, sensual romance, and a seething indictment of America’s inherently racist system of “justice.” Looks heavy, but emotionally powerful.
Escape Room – Whether it’s “Truth or dare?,” Pokémon Go, or CandyCrush, it seems like there’s always an early-in-the-year horror release waiting to exploit a silly game or novelty fad for cheap, goofy scares. This year, the random topic generator landed on escape rooms, which should be as good for a dumb-fun time at the movies as anything.
Mortal Engines – A steam punk action-fantasy epic about warring cities on wheels. Appears to fall halfway between Howl’s Moving Castle & Mad Max: Fury Road. I doubt it’s half as good as either of those comparison points, but it looks impressively silly and this is likely its last week on local big screens.
Movies We Already Enjoyed
All About Eve (1950) – A classic Big Studio melodrama starring Bette Davis as an aging Broadway star who must fight to maintain her profession & fame in the face of a power-hungry fan who intends to usurp her. It won an impressive six Academy Awards in its day (including Best Picture) and is as excellent of a Bette Davis acting showcase as any you’ll see. Playing Sunday 1/6 & Wednesday 1/9 as part of Prytania’s Classic Movies series.
The Favourite – Yorgos Lanthimos follows up the stubbornly obscure The Killing of a Sacred Deer with his most accessible feature yet: a queer, darkly funny costume drama about a three-way power struggle between increasingly volatile women (Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz). It’s both a gorgeous laugh riot and a pitch-black howl of unending cruelty & despair. Fun!
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – In the abstract, the concept of a 2010s CG animation Spider-Man origin story sounds dreadful. In practice, prankster screenwriter Phil Lord explodes the concept into a wild cosmic comedy by making a movie about the world’s over-abundance of Spider-Man origin stories (and about the art of CG animation at large). Spider-Verse is a shockingly imaginative, beautiful, and hilarious take on a story & a medium that should be a total drag, but instead is bursting with energetic life & psychedelic creativity.