This weekend, we welcome the highly anticipated Western The Magnificent Seven and watch Andy Samberg as a bizarre bird in Storks and Nick Jonas dive into bully-hazing rituals in Goat. All will be showing just down the street from you, Denver!
Here are the five best film openings to indulge in this weekend. Click the movie title to read our condensed reviews and find out where each film is playing.
1. The Magnificent Seven
"Look, if you're not stirred by the sight of Denzel Washington, clad in head-to-toe black, riding a black stallion over dunes and bluffs and right up to the saloon of some two-bit frontier town — well, maybe the movies just aren't for you. For about 30 seconds, characters in this brutal, occasionally stirring Magnificent Seven remake squawk about its central badass being black. Then out come the guns, and they don't squawk no more. It's Denzel's movie." Continue reading.
"Pasolini's Salò meets red Solo cups in Goat, Andrew Neel's deep, dank dive into the depravities of frat pledging that operates as its own kind of hazing ritual. Points are made and lessons imparted with all the subtlety and finesse of a Greek paddle to the head. Based on Brad Land's 2004 memoir of the same name (which I haven't read), Goat opens with its best scene: A dozen or so young white guys, all stripped to the waist, move silently in slo-mo, their actions accompanied by a dark-ambient score. Some clap hands; others are shouting, their neck tendons strained; many look downward, fixated on something or someone offscreen. That we're never sure what they're so focused on — are they cheering on the football team or revving up for a bukkake party? — only adds to the terror generated by this scalding image of toxic masculinity." Continue reading.
3. White Girl
"It's hard to watch White Girl without experiencing a creeping sense of anxiety. Loosely based on the adolescent life of writer/director Elizabeth Wood, the film follows Leah (Morgan Saylor), a college student who parties all night and snorts prodigious amounts of cocaine. She and her roommate, Katie (India Menuez), live in Ridgewood, Queens as members of the hipster gentrification class. Early on Leah meets Blue (Brian Marc), a drug dealer hanging outside her apartment, and the two begin the tumultuous relationship that drives the narrative as they party, fuck and push the product. Blue doesn't seem too much like the usual movie cliché of a hustler (though plenty of stereotypes can be found in his orbit) — he has a delicate quality and is less wild than his girlfriend." Continue reading.
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"In this age of billion-dollar, candy-colored, fully digital child-distraction movie-making, the new chatty-animal adventure comedy Storks wouldn't have to be good in any way to be wildly profitable. It often is good, though, hilariously so, its too-familiar misfits-become-a-family storyline enlivened by flights of lavish comic invention. Its set pieces, especially a howler about a pack of wolves going gaga for a plumply adorable human baby, live up to the last-century promise of the WB logo that opens the film. At its best, as when lead stork Junior (Andy Samberg) face-plants again and again into sheets of glass that birds simply cannot see, this shit is looney tunes." Continue reading.
5. The Dressmaker
"A woman wears sunglasses, a tight red dress, matching long gloves and red lipstick. She stands and smokes a cigarette, ostensibly watching a rugby game, but really the players are watching her, fumbling their footwork, and it's exactly the effect she desires. This early scene, with its shifting gazes and splash of lurid color, suggests a film that might be fun and provocative. Unfortunately, The Dressmaker does not deliver on this early promise." Continue reading.