8 Things to Watch This Weekend

2:48 PM 9/22/2017

by Ashley Lee and Jackie Strause

'Kingsman 2' and 'Ninjago' battle it out in the box office amid several specialty offerings (including 'Battle of the Sexes'). On TV, Amazon's 'Transparent' returns and CBS launches 'Star Trek.'

'Battle of the Sexes'
'Battle of the Sexes'
Courtesy of Telluride Film Festival
  • Battle of the Sexes

    In limited theaters

    Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

    Following an ace tour of the fall festival circuit, Battle of the Sexes opens in select theaters. Telling the story of the highly publicized 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carel), the Fox Searchlight film, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, is "massively entertaining" and "a champ," according to THR's rave review.

    Stone has said the film, which charts King's battle for women’s rights, goes beyond the historical match and is also about “love, social change and people discovering who they are.” The cast of real-life characters also includes Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue and Austin Stowell.

  • Stronger

    In limited theaters

    Scott Garfield

    The Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions movie sees Jake Gyllenhaal portraying Jeff Bauman, a 27-year-old, working-class Boston resident who was at the 2013 Boston Marathon to try and win back his ex-girlfriend Erin. He aims to heal physically and emotionally after losing both his legs in the attack, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Directed by David Gordon Green, the real-life drama also stars Tatiany Maslany and MIranda Richardson.

    “The reason why I wanted to be a part of this story is for a very simple reason, which is a line his character says to somebody at the end, “If I’m gonna be okay, you’re gonna be okay too,’” Gyllenhaal told THR of joining the project, which was shot on location in Boston. “That’s what Jeff represents, and that idea is really beautiful.”

  • Kingsman The Golden Circle

    In theaters

    Giles Keyte/Twentieth Century Fox

    Taron Egerton, Mark Strong and even Colin Firth return for the Fox sequel to the 2015 surprise hit based on the Mark Millar/Dave Gibbons comic book. Matthew Vaughn again directs the espionage comedy, with starry new additions Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges. This time, the British-based spies head to Kentucky after their U.K headquarters is destroyed, and seek help from their U.S. counterparts, the Statesmen.

    The first movie won viewers over with its shameless, over-the-top take on James Bond tropes and comic book storytelling. There's more of the same in the second film — THR's review says of the movie's director, "Unlike some other directors of big franchise extravaganzas, Vaughn actually seems to prefer character, dialogue and humor to chases and explosion and he makes mostly very good use of his almost invariably well-chosen actors by identifying their appeal and drawing out their humor."

  • The Lego Ninjago Movie

    In theaters

    Warner Bros. continues to explore the world of Lego onscreen with its latest animated movie — this time, with Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Pena, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani and Zach Woods. Directed by Charlie Bean, the martial arts-centric action-comedy sees a ninja teaming with fellow toys to fight an evil warlord, who also happens to be his father.

    Action legend Chan told THR of introducing martial arts to young kids, "Martial arts is about [protection], it’s not attacking. Martial arts is about respecting everything — your family, the nature, the people, a country. If everybody understands everybody, then [there is] no more war, and always peace." 

  • Victoria and Abdul

    In limited theaters

    Courtesy of Focus Features

    Judi Dench stars in the dramedy as Queen Victoria, the monarch who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk, Abdul Karim (played by Bollywood star Ali Fazal). Amidst rising political tensions between Britain and then-subcontinent India, the two grow close until the Queen’s last days — and to the dismay of the Queen’s relatives and advisors, who destroyed almost all their correspondence.

    Stephen Frears directs the Focus release, which is based on the very few surviving source documents recounting their then-controversial bond. “It’s very complicated, not just a feeling of love but a feeling of the delight of being able to be relaxed with somebody without anybody around, without anyone giving her any ultimatum or standing on ceremony in any way,” Dench said of the role. “She was completely able to relax and talk to him and learn from him and be taught by him.”

  • Friend Request

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Aviron Pictures

    The horror movie from Entertainment Studios' Freestyle Releasing looks into the terrifying side of social media — a popular college student graciously accepts a social outcast's online friend request, but soon finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends. Simon Verhoeven directs the movie, starring Brit Morgan, Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette and Liesl Ahlers.

    Friend Request hits theaters just after the hit adaptation of Stephen King's It and Darren Aronofsky's divisive pic mother! have been released.

  • Transparent

    Friday, Amazon Prime Video

    Courtesy of Amazon Studios

    Jill Soloway's award-winning Amazon comedy explores borders, boundaries and the binary when Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) and the Pfefferman family travel to Israel in the fourth season. The season places the family in a post-election climate, as its transgender matriarch uncovers a deep family secret that spurs the rest of the gang — ex-wife Shelly (Judith Light) and kids Sarah (Amy Landecker), Josh (Jay Duplass) and Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) — to join her in the Holy Land.

    "There’s no doubt that season four takes place after the election. It’s part of the fabric of the show and you can feel it," star Tambor told THR. When previewing the season, Soloway (who now identifies as gender non-binary) said the goal of the season was for people to say, "Holy crap. It got better." Soloway adds, "We used the boundaries within the body, the boundaries around the binary, the boundaries within this family and laid on top of it a story about the borders and a country, and tried to weave them together into comedy and drama and make just a wild ride." 

  • Star Trek: Discovery

    Sunday, 8:30 p.m. on CBS

    James Dimmock/CBS

    After nearly two years, CBS is launching the reboot of the sci-fi classic. Set 10 years before the original, the digital series introduces a slew of new and reimagined characters, including the franchise's first openly gay character, to an iconic universe. After a one-night-only preview on CBS, viewers must subscribe to CBS All Access for the other 14 episodes.

    The Walking Dead's Sonequa Martin-Green takes on Discovery's lead role as the second-in-command of the USS Shenzhou and is joined by Michelle Yeoh, James Frain and Anthony Rapp on the Starfleet. The streaming show is an attempt to boldly go where no broadcaster has gone before.

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