Our staffers have some recommendations for what you can watch at the theater or in the comfort of your home this weekend.
‘Blade Runner 2049’
Adam Nayman: Like its predecessor, Blade Runner 2049 begins on the image of an eye: a knowing callback by director Denis Villeneuve, reminding us of the primacy of vision in this corner of Ridley Scott’s cinematic universe. Villeneuve gives us lots to look at, with more detail per square inch than any other comparably huge studio release this year. But to my eyes, it contains only one truly haunting image: a proverbial ghost in the machine in a movie that otherwise seems to have been made by (and for) melancholy robots.
‘The Meyerowitz Stories’
K. Austin Collins: Thankfully, The Meyerowitz Stories isn’t a bitter movie. It is, for the most part, a quick-witted, cleverly conceived delight, with old [Noah] Baumbach tricks thrown into the mix with new ones to make this otherwise somewhat familiar story—for Baumbach, anyway—feel fresh with style and insight. The movie, which competed at Cannes earlier this year, debuts on Netflix this Friday to go with a limited theatrical release, making it one of the more prestigious streaming offerings of its kind. It’s broken up into four parts, each functioning as its own separate story.
Shea Serrano: In The Foreigner, [Jackie] Chan plays Quan, a restaurant owner whose daughter gets killed during a bombing in London, and let me stop right there and tell you why this article even exists: We have never gotten to see this version of Jackie Chan before. Never. Not ever. The closest we’ve come—and this is going to sound so dumb if you’ve not seen the movie, but the closest we’ve ever gotten is Mr. Han, his character from the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid.
Alison Herman: As far as reintroductions to a show after a rocky season go, you could do far worse than Bobby Cannavale. For even the most skeptical of Mr. Robot cynics worn down by piled-on plot points and twists for twists’ sake, there’s a straightforward appeal in watching one of television’s most charismatically menacing actors haggle over the fine print of promotional punch cards. And after a season that tried even some die-hards’ patience by crossing the line between valuing character over plot and disregarding plot to the point of sabotaging characters, Mr. Robot could use a welcome back into its world as uncomplicated as a familiar face. When mystery comes with the promise of answers, it compels us to keep watching—but with its third chapter, Mr. Robot has to overcome the impression that it only plans to add to our confusion, never resolve it.
Herman: Like Zodiac, Mindhunter is also based on a book, subtitled Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit and coauthored by real-life Bureau profiler John Douglas. Douglas provides the basis for protagonist Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff, in his first series lead role after HBO’s tragically short-lived Looking), an idealistic agent who becomes obsessed with criminal psychology and what he calls “sequence killers” when he’s retired from the field to teach at Quantico. Mindhunter’s basis in fact and history gives it a leg up over the sometimes absurd inventions of Criminal Minds or, memorably, textbook shark-jump Dexter.
‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’
Andrew Gruttadaro: It’s been six years since the last episode of Curb aired, and the extended hiatus has allowed us to contemplate some very important questions: Can you pause toast? Is the chat-and-cut a morally indefensible move? Are all bows one in the same? Curb returns for its ninth season with a whole new set of (probably meaningless) questions, and thank god for that.