‘Relentless, ridiculous, occasionally panic-inducing’: Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem in Mother! Photograph: Niko Tavernise/Paramount Pictures
Thrillers are headed to theaters this weekend with the releases of mother! and American Assassin. Also hitting the big screen are documentaries spotlighting creatives including A-list footwear designer Manolo Blahnik.
Read on to find out what The Hollywood Reporter‘s critics are saying about the weekend’s new offerings (as well as which film will likely top the weekend’s box office).
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris star in Darren Aronofsky’s horror tale THR‘s critic calls a Rosemary’s Baby for current times. Lawrence and Bardem play a married couple whose relationship and tranquil existence is tested when unexpected guests arrive at their home. Chief film critic Todd McCarthy writes in his review that the film, “grabs your attention and eventually soars well over the top to make the bold concluding statement that, for some creators, art is more important than life.” He adds that mother! “pulls you in with its intriguing central dramatic situation and pushes you out with some mightily far-fetched plot contrivances.” Aronofsky tells THR his film continually shifts gears until it ends. “No matter how much you read about it, nothing will spoil you for the experience.”
Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan and Taylor Kitsch star in the politically charged action thriller full of gun fights, helicopter’s and car chases as a Cold War veteran-turned counter-terrorism operative (O’Brien) teams up with his CIA trainer (Keaton) to take on a former American agent who plans on starting a global war. The film is based on Vince Flynn’s novel of the same name. THR critic Sheri Linden writes in her review: “Built for action, like its title character, the movie packs a muscular, bloody punch, but mainly it’s a well-oiled diversion.” Read the full review here.
Ben Stiller stars as an anxious father accompanying his gifted teenage son on a tour of New England colleges. Reviews editor Jon Frosch calls the film a “droll and affecting male-midlife-crisis comedy,” and notes the film is along the lines of writer-director Mike White’s previous screenplays Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl and Beatriz at Dinner — all squirm-inducing portraits of people stumbling, and sometimes sliding toward madness — in their quest for meaning. Read the full review here.
Extraordinary Ordinary People
Alan Govenar’s doc takes viewers on a music-fueled journey, spotlighting the “extraordinary, ordinary” talented singers, dancers and artists who have been awarded the National Heritage Fellowship for their impact on American culture. The film’s timely release comes when the future of the National Endowment for the Arts is in danger. According to THR critic John DeFore, the bottom line is that the film is, “a dazzling array of talent presented in a very modestly made doc.”
Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards
Famed shoe designer to the stars Manolo Blahnik is getting the big screen treatment in a new documentary. Featuring appearances/interviews by Rihanna, Iman, Naomi Campbell, Rupert Everett, Isaac Mizrahi, Andre Leon Talley and more, Manolo explores how the designer went from making shoes out of candy wrappers for lizards in his family’s garden to making custom shoes for A-listers, thanks to HBO’s Sex and the City. Linden writes in her review that the doc, directed by Blahnik’s friend and former New Yorker fashion director Michael Roberts, is “frustratingly fawning.”