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On Friday, theatergoers in select cities will be able to catch a showing of the coming-of-age film Mid90s, written and directed by Jonah Hill. The film is set for a limited release, along with What They Had, a drama starring Hilary Swank as a daughter who returns to her hometown to support her Alzheimer's-suffering mother.
The 11th installment in the Halloween slasher film franchise, already garnering favorable reviews, will hit theaters in the days leading up to the titular holiday.
This weekend also seems to be a good one for watching con artists in action. Melissa McCarthy steps into the role of real-life forger Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, while acting veterans Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek star in The Old Man & the Gun, a film about real-life bank robber Forrest Tucker, who escaped from prison numerous times.
Read on to see what critics for The Hollywood Reporter said about the new films coming out this weekend.
Jonah Hill re-creates a snapshot of his childhood in his directorial debut, Mid90s, a film about a 13-year-old boy named Stevie (Sunny Suljic) who finds a family in a group of adolescent skaters in Los Angeles. He's enraptured by their lifestyle, and willing to participate in dangerous situations and antics that all seem new to his eager eyes. THR critic John DeFore praised both Hill's directing and Suljic's acting, calling the film "a gem that feels simultaneously informed by its author's adolescence and the product of a serious artist's observational distance."
'What They Had'
In What They Had, written and directed by Elizabeth Chomko, Hilary Swank plays Bridget Ertz, who returns home to Chicago along with her brother (Michael Shannon) after their mother has an Alzheimer's-related incident. Their father, played by Robert Forster, is in denial, refusing to transfer her to a care facility even after she climbs out of bed one night and wanders into a blizzard. THR's David Rooney wrote, "What They Had, which will be released by Bleecker Street, may be a tad vanilla to make much of a dent theatrically, but it's been made with genuine feeling and smooth professional craftsmanship."
Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, who survived masked killer Michael Myers' murder spree in the franchise's very first film released in 1978. This film actually serves as a direct sequel to the original Halloween, ignoring the events of the nine films in between. Strode has lived in paranoia for the past 40 or so years, shuttering herself in a heavily armored home, ready for when Myers plans a bloody escape from Smith's Grove Sanitarium. THR critic John DeFore praised the work of director David Gordon Green, who succeeded in "delivering both fan service and honest-to-god moviemaking of the sort rarely seen in horror spinoffs."
'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'
Melissa McCarthy takes on a dramatic role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which follows the real-life exploits of author-turned-forger-turned-thief Lee Israel. The film is actually adapted from Israel's own memoir, where she chronicled in detail her criminal past. THR critic Stephen Farber said in his review that the film allows McCarthy to demonstrate another side of her acting capabilities. "After a couple of recent misfires, this picture will remind viewers of McCarthy’s undeniable talents," Farber wrote.
'The Old Man & the Gun'
The Old Man & the Gun spotlights the later part of Forrest Tucker's life as a notorious bank robber and even more notorious prison escape artist. Robert Redford plays Tucker, who, in the film, is planning his 17th escape from San Quentin State Prison. "The film makes plenty of mileage from trading on the charm of a good bad boy, and Redford’s long experience in playing such roles serves him beautifully here; he knows by now he doesn’t have to push his attractiveness to be ingratiating," THR critic Todd McCarthy wrote. "His work here is natural, subtle, ingratiating and doesn’t miss a trick." McCarthy likened Tucker's state to Redford's, two men near the end of their prolific careers, considering Redford's announcement that he would retire after making this film.
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