Hey, everybody! We have five new releases this weekend and I thought it would be fun to do a quick rundown of each film. In wide release, we have the latest Marvel Studios film, “Thor: Ragnarok,” the holiday-themed R-rated sequel, “A Bad Moms Christmas,” and Rob Reiner’s new biopic, “LBJ.” In limited release, Richard Linklater’s back with “Last Flag Flying” and A24 finally releases Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, “Lady Bird.” So let’s get right to it!
“Thor: Ragnarok,” dir. Taika Waititi
Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is the third film in the “Thor” series and the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I gotta say I’m very excited to see it! Reviews so far have been overwhelmingly positive, currently sitting at a 96% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 73 on Metacritic, making it one of the best reviewed films in the MCU. I haven’t yet gotten the chance to see “What We Do in the Shadows” from director Taika Waititi, but I did see his previous film, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and I absolutely loved it. His comedic writing and impressive style have me very excited to see what he can do with Thor, especially as someone who has appreciated the character more than most people. I thought his intro film was not only good but one of the best solo entries in the MCU and while I agree that “Thor: The Dark World” was one of the weakest films in the canon, I certainly had an enjoyable time. I’ll be seeing “Thor: Ragnarok” this evening and will have a full review up on Friday.
“A Bad Moms Christmas,” dir. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
“A Bad Moms Christmas” follows our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas. And if creating a more perfect holiday for their families wasn’t hard enough, they have to do all of that while hosting and entertaining their own mothers. By the end of the journey, our moms will redefine how to make the holidays special for all and discover a closer relationship with their mothers.
I seem to be in the minority of people who thought that last year’s “Bad Moms” was an absolutely terrible comedy, rarely delivering jokes that would even make me chuckle. I think that Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn are very talented and they were all trying their hardest, but the problem is that the material was so painfully unfunny that it made for an unbearable experience at the movies. So on that note, there’s no way in hell that I’ll be seeing “A Bad Moms Christmas.” Comedy sequels are already tough to do right and following a movie that I didn’t think was any good to begin with means I’m most likely not gonna like it. It’s currently 28% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes and a 42 on Metacritic so it sounds like critics aren’t encouraging people to see this, either. I’ll just stay home and watch “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” and “The Night Before” for my R-rated holiday fix.
“LBJ,” dir. Rob Reiner
“LBJ” centers on the political upheaval that Vice President Johnson faced when he was thrust into the presidency at the hands of an assassin’s bullet in November 1963. With political battles on both sides of the aisle, Johnson struggles to heal a nation and secure his presidency by passing Kennedy’s historic Civil Rights Act.
I remember this being in last year’s lineup at the Toronto International Film Festival, but I decided to skip out on it because I hadn’t heard much buzz on it and there were many other movies that were higher on my radar. After seeing that it has a 64% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a mediocre 47 on Metacritic, “LBJ” doesn’t really seem like a must see. Woody Harrelson is one of my favorite actors working today and he’s already done outstanding work this year in “War for the Planet of the Apes” and next week’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” but I’m just not interested enough to go out of my way to see it in the theater.
“Last Flag Flying,” dir. Richard Linklater
Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry “Doc” Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
I reviewed this film back in late September when I saw it at the New York Film Festival and I personally thought it was great. While it unfortunately hasn’t stuck with me as much as I was hoping it would, it’s another winning film from Richard Linklater with a strong emotional core and a great trio of performances from the leads, Steve Carell giving the best performance of his film career . . . meaning nowhere near his amazing work on “The Office.” It doesn’t make much sense to me that it’s 71% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and a 64 on Metacritic, relatively low ratings for Linklater considering his past three films, “Before Midnight,” “Boyhood,” and “Everybody Wants Some!!” were all raved. While it’s definitely not as good as those films, “Last Flag Flying” surely deserves a higher score than it currently has. I say it’s worth checking out.
“Lady Bird,” dir. Greta Gerwig
The adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year.
This is another one that I’ve already reviewed both at TIFF and at NYFF so I’ve already written a lot about how much I just flat out adore “Lady Bird.” Greta Gerwig has delivered a coming of age story that is beautifully real and absolutely hilarious. Saoirse Ronan gives the performance of her career, making an already brilliantly written character in Lady Bird even more rich with depth. It’s by far the best reviewed film opening this weekend with a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a staggering 94 on Metacritic so it seems like everyone agrees that “Lady Bird” is a top priority. I’m sure that it’s going to be in the conversation during all of awards season and I encourage all of you to go see it this weekend. I’m seeing it again tomorrow!
There we have it! This weekend is definitely packed with options of films to see so what will you be seeing? Are you in New York or Los Angeles and anxious to see “Lady Bird?” Are you going to be rushing out to see what seems to be yet another MCU winner with “Thor: Ragnarok?” Does anybody care about “A Bad Moms Christmas?” Leave a comment down below
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Thanks for reading!