6 Things to Watch This Weekend

6:02 AM 7/28/2017

by Ashley Lee and Jackie Strause

'Atomic Blonde'
'Atomic Blonde'
Courtesy of Focus Features
  • Atomic Blonde

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Focus Features

    Charlize Theron stars in the Focus action flick as an MI6 operative who is called in to Berlin five days before the Berlin Wall falls. She joins a colorful world where spies have gone rogue. Sofia Boutella, James McAvoy, John Goodman and Toby Jones are also featured in the David Leitch film, based on the graphic novel The Coldest City.

    "Charlize did 98 percent of her own action including fighting, running and those kinds of things. When it comes where she has to fall down stairs or swing from a height — that she can't do insurance-wise," said the film's stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave. And the movie, which debuted at SXSW to strong reviews, could be the beginning of its own action-packed franchise. Said screenwriter Kurt Johnstad, "I'm prepared for a sequel. Charlize was really looking for a character-driven action movie and I told her, 'I'm going to write this script like your character is a guy, and every guy is going to wish they were your character. I'm going to create your Bourne franchise.' I see it as three movies. It might be more."

  • The Emoji Movie

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

    The Sony animated comedy stars T.J. Miller as an emoji who is struggling to grasp why he fails to have a facial expression like the rest of his peers. Upset and seeking answers, he enlists the help from his friends to journey with him through their app-filled world of a teenager's phone to discover the mystery behind his face. Anthony Leondis directs the mobile-inspired film, also featuring James Corden, Ilana Glazer, Anna Faris, Patrick Stewart and Maya Rudolph in its star-studded voice cast, as they bring well-known symbols such as the meh face, smiley face, poop symbol, high-five, monkey and more to life.

    According to THR's review, any comparison to The Lego Movie or Inside Out isn't earned here: "It is fast and colorful enough to attract young kids, but offers nearly nothing to their parents."

  • Detroit

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

    Kathryn Bigelow directs the Annapurna Pictures drama, which recounts the true and gripping story of one of the darkest moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of 1967, and has remained a largely forgotten act of police brutality against a group of young black men, and two young white women, in Michigan’s biggest city.

    It the third collaboration over a nine-year stretch between Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, after The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. John Boyega, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Will Poulter and Jacob Latimore are among the cast of the movie, which is shot in docudrama style.

    After opening in limited theaters last weekend, Detroit now expands nationwide. A box-office challenge for the movie, which is already earning Bigelow Oscar buzz, is its tough subject matter. Legal questions have also arisen as to whether the movie risks a lawsuit from the real-life cops at the center of the story.

  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

    In limited theaters

    Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

    Al Gore's followup to his hit 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth comes more than a decade after the original — this time with a slightly more hopeful tone, though it does focus on some concerns about President Trump's stance on the environment. Directed by Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen, the Paramount release follows the former vice president as he champions for a multinational climate agreement.

    Much of the film’s action takes place during the Paris Climate Accord talks in 2015, as he plays the role of key negotiator, particularly with India, which initially balked at the emissions cuts the country would have to make. Last-minute changes to the doc to reflect Trump's withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement.

  • The Last Tycoon

    Friday, Amazon

    Courtesy of Amazon/Sony Pictures Television

    Amazon's new period drama takes viewers to Depression-era 1930s Hollywood. Matt Bomer, Kelsey Grammer and Lily Collins star in the 10-episode adaptation, which is based on the final unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Created by Billy Ray (The Hunger Games), the series stars Bomer as film producer and widow Monroe Stahr, who finds himself in a love triangle involving studio head Pat Brady (Kelsey Grammer) — he sleeps with his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) while being courted by his 19-year-old daughter (Collins). Monroe soon falls for a woman who reminds him of his wife while battling Brady over the movie he's hoping to make in his late spouse's honor.

    THR's reviewer's biggest gripe is that "there's not a sense in the series that anyone is likable." But an award-winning costume and production design team deliver "a visual feast" of old Hollywood glamour. Ray summed up the series by saying it's a "beautiful, shocking, funny, romantic, slightly dangerous, compelling, operatic, intimate, American story that says something about who we are as a people in a timeless way.”

  • Room 104

    Friday, 11:30 p.m. on HBO

    Courtesy of HBO

    Mark and Jay Duplass return to HBO for their first non-animated series since Togetherness with Room 104, a genre-less anthology that focus on people who stay in the same hotel room at an average American motel chain. "When you show up here, you literally don't know what you're going to get," said co-creator, writer and exec producer Mark Duplass. "It's kind of like the Russian roulette of television." Each half-hour episode of the comedy-horror-drama tells a stand-alone story of the guest or guests who stay in the room, albeit at different times. The rotating cast includes Jay Duplass, Mae Whitman, James Van Der Beek and and Amy Landecker.

    THR's review says the series, which the Duplass brothers hoped would be a "casual" viewing experience, feels "almost experimental and new, even though its premise is the most basic and traditional of film school exercises: Tell a single story within the confines of a single motel room." Still, they "are only beginning to tap its potential."

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