With the NBA season still weeks away, you may be wondering what to do with all of your free time. Well, no need to search any further. Our staffers have some recommendations for what you can watch at the theater or in the comfort of your home this weekend.
K. Austin Collins: All the elements are there for an interesting popcorn movie, in other words, and not just a familiarly satisfying one — which is the only reason I’m complaining. Give me your processed cheese, but understand that you’re handing me Kraft Singles when the recipe calls for Velveeta. [Matthew] Vaughn at times comes off as a director who resorts to bombast when it’s clear he’s really just run out of ideas — like a guy at a party who repeats a bad joke, more loudly this time, because he thinks the problem is that we didn’t hear it.
Sean Fennessey: What follows is one of most chaotic, bracing films of recent memory, as [Darren] Aronofsky strafes the screen with imagery that struck me as blunt, hammerheaded metaphor. A bursting sink is a biblical flood. A leaping frog is a portent of a plague. A bleeding, rotting hole on the floor is original sin. A war of belief raging under the roof of one house. Flesh torn from flesh. Fire, fight, and rape. As the movie grows more intense and more destructive, it becomes more unpleasant to watch — but also suitably enrapturing. I can’t recall the last time revulsion and fascination commingled with such fury. It’s a cocktail of convulsion.
K. Austin Collins: It’s endearing, in a way — you almost want the new It to keep being a silly teen movie about growing up during a realistically unsheltered ’80s. But then we’d have to miss out on what Pennywise the clown, one of the great horror villains, has in store. And the answer is: too much and not enough. The Pennywise imagined by this new movie has changed with the times — meaning, he’s got a few new CGI tricks. That delightful grimace is back, and so is that irksome laugh and the violent sense of humor. As played by Bill Skarsgard, Pennywise is even more unhinged than we remember, and is it possible that his forehead is even bigger? He’s got a “Back on my bullshit” vibe I kind of love, even if what’s villainous about him seems somehow diluted. It’s a Pennywise who, though mischievous, is a little less clever and fun — a little less of a clown — than before. He’s bigger, but not badder; at his worst, he feels like a distraction from what this story is really about.
Mark Titus: I don’t want to give too much away, because as I’ll make clear below, American Vandal is phenomenal and should be seen by everyone. Here’s a spoiler-free synopsis, though: Someone has spray-painted dicks on 27 different cars (including Mrs. Rothacker’s) in a high school faculty parking lot. Everyone believes that the culprit is Dylan Maxwell, a senior student who has a reputation as both a dipshit prankster and a serial dick drawer. Most of the evidence from the incident leads back to him, as Dylan has a strong motive, a weak alibi, and the means to pull the caper off. Taking all of this into account, the school board takes little time in expelling him, a decision that nobody in the community seems to find controversial in the slightest. Nobody, that is, except for one student with a camera and a thirst for the truth, who dares to ask the question that no one else would: Are we sure Dylan did the dicks?
Alison Herman: Broad City’s status as a bellwether for urban millennials, not to mention a fresh, funny, interesting show in its own right, was up for evaluation. Broad City no longer feels like a pure expression of the zeitgeist, a shift that’s simultaneously the natural state of a fourth-season series and the unfortunate consequence of cultural factors outside its control. That’s hardly a death sentence; most series aren’t the voice of their generation or burdened with the expectation they should be. But it still begged the question of what, exactly, Broad City was without its urgent topicality.
The good news is that [Ilana] Glazer, [Abbi] Jacobson, and the rest of the Broad City crew seem aware of the hurdles they face and have pushed themselves into new territory accordingly.
Jason Concepcion: The twin hallmarks of David Simon shows are an interest in tearing the veil off the systemic, institutional forces that drive people to the margins and a focus on humanizing the people who inhabit those spaces. The Deuce is no different. The system — as always, for Simon — is capitalism. This time the commodity is flesh. Primarily female. This is fraught, complex material. That’s before taking into account HBO’s reputation for blurring the line between necessary sexual story elements and titillation. The Deuce manages to depict sex work in a way that’s not sexy. It also, perhaps most importantly, strips away the swaggering outlaw charm of the pimp, revealing the core of the profession — a man with a knife forcing someone to do what he wants.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.