With the industry just coming out of a historic strike, new movies are hitting theaters in droves. Here are a few that caught our eye. The Broadway musical Wicked gets the big screen treatment starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande. The film is out this fall.
The Woman King
The Woman King features a squad of agile female warriors that strike fear in the hearts of those who face them. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love and Basketball”), the film is based on real historical accounts of the Agojie, all-female soldiers from the Kingdom of Dahomey (modern-day Benin). Starring Viola Davis as General Nanisca, the หนังใหม่ชนโรง showcases a group that is committed to protecting their king and one another.
Their bond is a major narrative highlight. From their sharp banter to the way they intertwine their lives, the characters are incredibly captivating and invite a genuine emotional investment. Nanisca’s relationship with Amenza (Sheila Atim), Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), and Izogie (Lashana Lynch) is particularly strong. Unlike other movies, The Woman King depicts Black Africans playing a part in the tragic commodification of human beings, but without falsely equating this with the culpability of white Europeans and Americans who fashioned slave economies.
Don’t Worry Darling
After making her directorial debut with 2019’s coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, Olivia Wilde is back with Don’t Worry Darling. It follows a housewife who starts to suspect something is wrong in her idyllic experimental company town. Florence Pugh stars as Alice, whose husband Jack (Harry Styles) works for the top-secret Victory Project. Pugh’s character relies on her best friend Bunny, who also lives in Victory. The actress is known for her work on TV shows like Skin and medical dramas such as House. She’s also starred in films including Tron: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens, The Lazarus Effect and Vinyl.
Gemma Chan and KiKi Layne co-star as Bunny’s husband, Frank. Kroll has been in everything from comedy to action to a reboot of The Office. Pine’s resume includes both blockbusters and indie flicks such as The Princess Diaries and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
When the movie industry got caught up in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor became poster girls for the importance of women speaking out. The film version of their Pulitzer-winning journalism, directed by Maria Schrader and starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, focuses on the women’s cat-and-mouse struggle to bring the story to light while resisting being silenced by the smarmy mogul’s payouts and nondisclosure agreements.
While the pace is glacial and the screenplay occasionally indulges in any number of journalism-movie tropes, She Said succeeds where it matters most, largely due to its fine performances by Mulligan and Kazan. She Said isn’t a thriller, but it’s an engrossing look at a vital piece of work. It is also a galvanising portrait of tired women holding firm.
Lyle Lyle Crocodile
An anthropomorphic singing crocodile, voiced by Shawn Mendes, helps Josh and his parents (Scoot McNairy and Constance Wu) cope with their family struggles. Through his silent understanding and empathetic nature, Lyle is able to connect with each member of the Primm family.
Hector P. Valenti, a down-on-his-luck magician, finds baby Lyle in an exotic pet shop and thinks he can make it big with this new addition to his act. But when he gets stage fright, he loses the audience and his big house, forcing Hector to abandon Lyle in the attic of their home. The family soon learns to love the crocodile. But their downstairs neighbor, Mr. Grumps, doesn’t agree. And it takes all of Lyle’s charm to win him over. The film is a sweet tale of family and believing in yourself.
Gareth Edwards, director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Godzilla, delivers a more serious sci-fi drama in The Creator. The movie is set in a not-too-distant future where a nuclear explosion triggered by artificial intelligence destroys much of Los Angeles and sparks a 15-year world war that pits humans against AI. Military leaders (led by a hard-bitten colonel played by Allison Janney) want to track down the “Creator,” an ex-special forces agent who is believed to possess an AI-powered weapon capable of ending the war. They recruit Joshua, who is hiding out with his comatose wife Maya and her daughter Alphie.
Despite some interesting ideas and impressive action sequences, The Creator is ultimately held back by its worldbuilding mistakes. Several references are made to heaven, reincarnation, and Valhalla, but the film never fully explores those themes.
From spooky frights to family-friendly fun, a wide range of new movies hit theaters this week. Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande take on the roles of Elphaba and Glinda in this Broadway musical movie. Filmmaker Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Men) returns with a neo-dystopian drama. Cast includes Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny and Nick Offerman.