In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'Greta,' 'Madea Family Funeral' and More

1:55 PM 3/1/2019

by Jasmyne Bell

See what The Hollywood Reporter's critics have to say about this weekend's new releases.

Greta'
Greta'
Courtesy of TIFF

This Friday, audiences will be able to see a variety of films, from drama/thriller Greta, starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz, to Tyler Perry's final installment in his Madea comedy franchise, A Madea Family Funeral

Other titles opening this weekend include Apollo 11, a documentary that offers further insight into what happened when the moon landing took place; Climax, a psychedelic horror film that depicts a dance troupe's intoxicated rehearsal; and Saint Judy, the true story of an Afghan woman who changed America's asylum laws for good.

Read on to see what The Hollywood Reporter's critics had to say about the new releases.

  • 'Greta'

    Release Date: March 1

    Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert star in this drama-thriller about an unusual friendship turned dangerous. When Frances (Moretz) moves to New York City to live with her best friend (Maika Monroe), she meets Greta (Huppert), a lonely French piano teacher struggling to find companionship. Frances, who had recently lost her mother, finds solace in the maternal presence of Greta. As their friendship progresses, it moves quickly from friendly to disturbing.

    "The early parts of Greta are especially clunky, as Huppert stalks both Moretz and Monroe with ridiculous ease and little consequence," writes THR critic Keith Uhlich. "The general ineffectiveness of the police and of authority figures like Frances' estranged dad (Colm Feore) lead one to fear that [Neil] Jordan is venturing into the dreckish territory of his Jodie Foster revenge thriller The Brave One (2007)."

  • 'Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral'

    Release Date: March 1

    Originally set to release in August 2018, Tyler Perry's final installment to his Madea films hits theaters Friday. In this farewell comedy, a family reunion turns into a mess of chaos as the family travels to the backwoods of Georgia, where they find themselves unexpectedly planning a funeral. As it unravels, family secrets are bound to be exposed.

    THR's critic Frank Scheck comments on the last movie of the ongoing series in his review, writing, "Considering how well the character has served him, Perry certainly doesn't return the favor in this graceless installment combining raucous comedy and turgid melodrama to undigestible effect."

  • 'Apollo 11'

    Release Date: March 1

    Apollo 11 is a documentary that will give moviegoers a firsthand look into the incredible feat of the 1969 moon landing. This never-before-seen film footage of Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin will show what went into the making of one of humanity's greatest accomplishments.

    "There are stories that need to be told, that positively burn with obscurity and lack of exposure, At this point, the first lunar landing isn't one of them," writes THR critic Daniel Feinberg. "However, a lack of necessity can sometimes breed a remarkable freedom."

  • 'Climax'

    Release Date: March 1

    Screengrab

    In A24's latest horror film, directed by Gaspar Noé, a troupe of young dancers gather to rehearse in an empty school building. As the night goes on, the group's celebration turns dark when they consume a mixture of sangria and LSD. The story observes rivalries, crushes and more conflict among the collective psychedelic frenzy.

    THR's Todd McCarthy comments on Noé's return to the cinematic world. "Pairing his usual boundary-pushing sex-and-drugs fixation with a vital presentation of wildly exuberant dance and movement, Gaspar Noé has made a film that's seductive in its rhythms and bold visualization of his young dancers' sometimes beautiful, other times somatic expressiveness," he writes.

  • 'Saint Judy'

    Release Date: March 1

    Courtesy of LA Film Festival

    This inspirational true story tells of the immigrant attorney Judy Wood fighting to change American asylum laws forever. When she fled her home country after being persecuted by the Taliban for opening a school for girls, she came to America as a single mother and fought to establish necessary asylum laws in the states.

    THR's Stephen Farber gives praise to Michelle Monaghan's timely performance as Afghan refugee Judy Wood. "Monaghan has given a series of gritty performances that haven't always received the attention they deserve, and she is once again perfectly cast as an imperfect, beleaguered but always intrepid single mother and tireless advocate for marginalized members of society," he writes.

  • 'Transit'

    Release Date: March 1

    Courtesy of Berlin Film Festival

    When German refugee Georg (Franz Rogowski) flees from the harsh fascism of Nazi Germany, he takes on the identity of the deceased writer whose papers he is carrying with him. While living among the refugee population, he meets Marie (Paula Beer), a woman who is looking for her missing husband — who happens to be the man whose identity Georg has stolen. Writer-director Christian Petzold adapted the film from the 1942 novel TRANSIT.

    "It's an intellectual gamble that underlines how little has changed for refugees in the last 75 years," writes THR critic Boyd van Hoeij. "But also an artistic choice that will limit the film's commercial prospects, as its intentional temporal dissonance between its story and its setting won't fly with audiences used to more travel narratives."

  • 'The Wedding Guest'

    Release Date: March 1

    Dev Patel stars in Michael Winterbottom's thriller that takes viewers on a trek through hidden places in Pakistan and India. Jay (Patel) is on a mission to travel to Pakistan so he can attend a wedding and kidnap the bride-to-be. The films takes moviegoers through a series of twists and turns around the Indian subcontinent.

    "Winterbottom has extensively documented his wanderlust throughout his career, but providing such skeletal stories just doesn't cut it," writes THR's Todd McCarthy. "His adventurous attitude reminds me of the late Anthony Bourdain, but he doesn't deliver the meals."