8 Things to Watch This Weekend

7:50 AM 8/18/2017

by Ashley Lee and Jackie Strause

'Hitman's Bodyguard,' 'Logan Lucky'
'Hitman's Bodyguard,' 'Logan Lucky'
Courtesy of Lionsgate; Claudette Barius/Fingerprint Releasing/Bleecker Street
  • The Hitman's Bodyguard

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Lionsgate

    The Lionsgate/Summit action-comedy stars Ryan Reynolds as a top protection agent who is assigned to guard the life of his mortal enemy, a notorious hitman played by Samuel L. Jackson. Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek are also among the cast of Patrick Hughes’ genre mashup, which surprisingly features a bluesy gospel song penned and performed by Jackson.

    Still, The Hollywood Reporter’s review called it a “diverting but hardly thrilling romp, which fails to develop much chemistry between its stars despite their individual charms. … [It] offers more than enough shoot-'em-up to keep multiplex auds munching their popcorn, but sharper talents behind the camera might have made it considerably more enjoyable.”

  • Logan Lucky

    In theaters

    Claudette Barius/Fingerprint Releasing/Bleecker Street

    Channing Tatum and Adam Driver star as two brothers who set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, all in an attempt to reverse a family curse. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the heist comedy from Bleecker Street and Fingerprint Releasing also features a starry cast that includes Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Sebastian Stan, Hilary Swank and Daniel Craig (complete with Southern accents).

    THR’s reviewdescribed Soderbergh’s first feature film in four years as “a redneck Ocean's Eleven. … Soderbergh has made the sort of breezy, unpretentious, just-for-fun film that scarcely exists anymore, one almost anyone could enjoy.” However, the identity of the movie’s screenwriter remains a Hollywood mystery.

  • Patti Cake$

    In limited theaters

    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    Fox Searchlight's suburban rapper comedy stars Aussie actress Danielle Macdonald as Patricia “Killa P” Dombrowski, a New Jersey working class girl who struggles to make a mark in the rap music scene. The feature directorial debut of music video helmer Geremy Jasper, also featuring Bridget Everett, sparked a bidding war at Sundance. It “crackles with energy and grassroots authenticity,” and features “strong performances and a gritty soundtrack,” reads THR’s review.

    That happened because the breakout actress took a year to learn about hip-hop culture and how to rhyme. "I practiced rapping in my closet because the sound was best in there," says Macdonald, who would spit out lyrics by Notorious B.I.G. and Nicki Minaj.

  • Gook

    In limited theaters

    Courtesy of Sundance

    Justin Chon wrote, directed and stars in the Samuel Goldwyn dramedy, which recounts the 1992 L.A. riots from a perspective seldom covered in mainstream media: that of Korean Americans. The movie follows two Korean American brothers that run their late father’s shoe store in a predominantly black community in Los Angeles. While they are grappling with their own futures, racial tensions in the community surrounding their store build to a breaking point in the aftermath of the Rodney King trial verdit. THR’s review said the black-and-white title “demonstrates a strong kinship with the indie cinema of that period, yet feels wholly alive in our present moment."

    “Moving forward, it’s the 25th anniversary of the riots, and this is an opportunity for us to say, ‘Let's never go back there.’ But the irony is, we haven't progressed. There's still insane police brutality,” Chon told THR. “We're so divided, and what I wanted to say was, "Look what happens when there's no conversation. Look what happens when no one wants to step inside someone else's shoes."

  • Crown Heights

    In limited theaters

    Courtesy of Sundance

    Lakeith Stanfield stars in the prison drama as Colin Warner, who is arrested and wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. While losing hope, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to restoring Colin's freedom, doggedly pursuing every lead for years. First debuted at Sundance, the IFC/Amazon release was written and directed by Matt Ruskin.

    For Stanfield, shooting the film reiterated what he’s always known about the prison system. “It’s not infallible, and I think we need to always remain conscious of that, because the moment we forget that, things like this can happen and then be swept under the rug,” he told THR. “Now, more than ever, we can see that we exist in a place where the administration needs to be questioned consistently.” Yet altogether, THR’s review called the movie “a heartfelt but not very lively account of a true campaign for justice.”

  • The Defenders

    Friday, Netflix

    Courtesy of Netflix

    Netflix's new superhero show brings together four familiar faces from different shows in the Marvel Universe in a bid to save New York. The highly anticipated multi-superhero series stars Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones), who unite in the third episode (there are eight total) to discuss their shared foe, The Hand, an organized-crime sect led by Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver). 

    "Marvel and Netflix always wanted us to make a show where audiences could dive into it without having seen any of the others," says showrunner Marco Ramirez about new Marvel viewers enjoying the series. Head here for a cheatsheet on where all the heroes stand heading into Defenders.

  • Halt and Catch Fire

    Saturday, 9 p.m. on AMC

    Courtesy of AMC

    The fourth and final season of the AMC tech drama, starring Kerry Bishe (next to seen on Netflix's Narcos), kicks off with a two-hour premiere. Veep star Anna Chlumsky joins the cast in a "crucial role" when the computer pioneer drama heads into the early '90s and the birth of the Internet.

    The show has earned "a well-deserved reputation for enriching the character work and raising the dramatic stakes," says THR's critic of the show's attempt to welcome new audiences each season. "I appreciate that Halt and Catch Fire has designed itself so that it can still gain viewers."

  • Episodes

    Sunday, 10 p.m. on Showtime

    SHOWTIME

    Also returning for its final season is Matt LeBlanc's Episodes. The fifth season of the Friends alum loosely parodying himself on the Showtime series will feature seven episodes, with the Hollywood satire picking up with the success of fictional Matt LeBlanc's game show, The Box. Meanwhile, writers Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) are also trying to get a new series with him off the ground. 

    “Showtime has been the opposite of every network we write about. If it were up to them we could go on making Episodes forever," said co-creators and writing partners David Crane and Klarik of ending the comedy. "But we’ve told the story we set out to tell and we'd never want to outstay our welcome."

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