7 Things to Watch This Weekend

10:31 AM 7/21/2017

by Ashley Lee and Jackie Strause

Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Dunkirk

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Warner Bros.

    The Warner Bros. war drama centers on the British military evacuation of the titular French city in 1940, one of the biggest battles during World War II. Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the film’s ensemble cast includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and One Direction’s Harry Styles.

    In comparison to most war films, Dunkirk has very, very little dialogue and focuses and spans a relatively short period of time. "It places you so absolutely in the situation of conflict — you don’t learn the details of characters’ backstories or even their surnames. ... You’re invited in to experience it as they’re experiencing it — as in, with not enough time to think or process things," says Branagh. And since it has a PG-13 rating, Rylance hopes it speaks to a younger audience: "It’s good for young people to see a truthful war film like this. ... young boys who are always fascinated by war can come and see just how awful and chaotic any war is. And if, God forbid, they come to a time when they’re going to be drafted or something like that, they’ll be a little more informed about what might be asked of them.”

  • Girls Trip

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Michele K. Short/Universal

    The Universal comedy stars Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish as four lifelong friends who behave badly while vacationing in New Orleans. Though the R-rated offering has its share of raunchy humor, it's also filled with heartwarming moments and female empowerment — a combination that's earned strong reviews.

    "I wanted a counterbalance to women sniping at each other or throwing drinks in each other’s faces; I wanted some real relationships," explained director Malcolm D. Lee. "And my wife’s book club watched the movie as one of my first audiences, and they laughed and loved it and said, 'I love how soft they are with each other.' If that’s part of the takeaway of this bold, outrageous comedy, that’s great."

  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

    In theaters

    Courtesy of STX Entertainment

    Luc Besson’s passion-filled adaptation of the 1960s-era French comic book stars Dane DeHaan as the titular time-traveling hero, and Cara Delevingne as his partner Laureline. They both find themselves on an enormous space station called Alpha, which is home to thousands of species. Ethan Hawke, John Goodman, Clive Owen and Rihanna round out the cast of the STX sci-fi thriller, which features a whopping 2,355 visual effects shots, some 600 more than Rogue One.

    The high-budget project is a personal gamble for the director, who ended up investing his entire salary into the movie. "[The budget is] not my money, but at the last minute, the financing fell short, so they asked me, 'Can you put your entire salary in?' And I said yes," said Besson, who has wanted to make this movie for decades. However, critics aren't as enthusiastic about the finished project.

  • Landline

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

    The Amazon comedy from Jenny Slate, Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm — the team behind the beloved indie rom-com Obvious Child — stars Slate and Abby Quinn as sisters who, alongside their mother (played by Edie Falco), grapple with the fallout of their family patriarch's affair in their unique ways.

    The '90s-set title is inspired by the writers' own experiences. "Liz and I are both from New York City and our parents both divorced in the '90s when we were teenagers and that’s sort of where this story started, with our personal lives," says Robespierre. "Then through the course of writing it for a year it turned into something bigger. And that’s sort of how it started — over wine, as it always does."

  • Ozark

    Friday, Netflix

    Jackson Davis/Netflix

    Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star in Netflix's money-laundering drama, which released its full first season on Friday. Ozark sees Bateman, who is an executive producer and director on the series, in a much darker role than on his other Netflix show, Arrested Development. He plays Marty Byrde, a Chicago financial advisor who is laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. After a betrayal by his partner, the show takes a violent turn and Marty moves the operation, and his family — Wendy (Linney) and kids Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) — to Lake of the Ozarks.

    Created by The Accountant's Bill Dubuque, THR's reviewer says the mystery drama is "four or five different shows doing battle at once — generally in the most familiar of moody and murky cable crime veins — but with a couple interesting characterizations and twists if you're willing to focus in a way the show rarely is prepared to do itself."

  • Ballers

    Sunday, 10 p.m. on HBO

    Jeff Daly/HBO

    One week after Game of Thrones' return, HBO's Sunday night of originals kicks off its second hour with Dwayne Johnson's football comedy. The Rock's Ballers picks up after his character, Spencer's, hip surgery and welcomes guest stars Steve Guttenberg, Steven Weber and Graceland's Serinda Swan.

    After filming its first two seasons in Miami, the comedy, which is executive produced by Mark Wahlberg, moved to California to film the third season. The season trailer sees Spencer and Joe (Rob Corddry) hitting up some familiar Los Angeles hotspots, talking about the next step in Spencer's "global domination" and exploring launching a football team in Las Vegas.

  • Insecure

    Sunday, 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

    Justina Mintz/Courtesy of HBO

    The second season of Issa Rae's acclaimed comedy Insecure picks up fresh in the aftermath of Issa's breakup with Lawrence (Jay Ellis). "For me it just came down to telling human stories," Rae told THR of creating a show where people of color could be seen as relatable. "Trying to be funny, putting people in realistic situations. We're telling a very universally specific story."

    Insecure and Rae were high on the list of snubs after the 2017 Emmy nominations were announced. But the star and co-creator (along with Larry Wilmore) said she was "over it in a minute." Telling Bravo's Andy Cohen, "We really stand behind this second season. We're so excited about it and, you know, it just motivates us to work harder next year to get noticed." THR's reviewer agreed, calling Insecure in his second season review "a show you should be watching."