Howdy, amigos! Looks like the Earth spun around seven times and brought us to another edition of the Friday Movie Pile & Slang Terms for Being Drunk, the long-running weekly feature that is the Internet’s top source for new movie releases and euphemisms for intoxication. Accept no substitutes (unless they’re better somehow)!
Rampage (PG-13, 1:47)
Plot: A giant ape tries to calm down an even larger ape. Based on the video game (always a good sign).
Director: Brad Peyton (San Andreas, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore)
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, CGI
Truth or Dare (PG-13, 1:40)
Plot: Teens play the old “truth or dare” game, but the kids who refuse to tell the truth or perform the dare start dying (which is fair — games have rules for a reason). Being marketed as Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, I guess to avoid confusion with Madonna’s.
Director: Jeff Wadlow (Never Back Down, Kick-Ass 2)
Stars: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane
Buzz: Blumhouse has a great track record producing horror films that make money, and a so-so track record producing horror films that are good. At Rotten Tomatoes, only 20% of critics are recommending it; at Metacritic, the average score is 36/100.
Beirut (R, 1:49)
Plot: In 1982, during the Lebanese Civil War, a retired U.S. diplomat is brought in to do One More Job: negotiating for the release of his friend from the same terrorist group that killed his own family. Hilarity ensues.
Director: Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Vanishing on 7th Street); the screenwriter is Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, the Bourne movies)
Stars: Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Shea Whigham
Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero (PG, 1:24)
Plot: Animated film based on the true story of a stray dog who became the most decorated war dog of World War I. He was a good boy!
Director: Richard Lanni (nothing)
Stars: Voices of Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter, Gerard Depardieu
Buzz: Despite being an out-of-nowhere entry from a new distributor (“Fun Academy Motion Pictures,” which sounds like a front), this is getting mostly good reviews from critics who say it’s effective and charming, especially for the young demographic it’s aimed at. It’s 90% at Rotten Tomatoes (average score is 6.1/10 — most critics like it, but they don’t love it), 54/100 at Metacritic.
Aardvark (PG-13, 1:29)
Plot: A troubled man (Zachary Quinto) has hallucinations about his famous-actor brother (Jon Hamm), leading him to the care of a therapist (Jenny Slate). I think we’ve all had hallucinations about Jon Hamm, though.
Director: Brian Shoaf (first-timer)
Stars: Zachary Quinto, Jon Hamm, Jenny Slate, Sheila Vand
Buzz: It may be first alphabetically, but Aardvark is just about last among this week’s new films: 12% at Rotten Tomatoes (average score 4.5/10), and 37/100 at Metacritic (where the nicest review gives it 63/100).
Smaller releases playing here ‘n’ there, keep your fingers crossed for them to come to your town:
The Rider: Fact-based drama about a rodeo rider and his horse, acted largely by non-professionals. Directed by Chloe Zhao (Songs My Brothers Taught Me). Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (only one negative review); Metacritic: 91/100.
Borg vs McEnroe: Another true story, this time about Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) and their 1980 tennis rivalry. Directed by Denmark’s Janus Metz. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%; Metacritic: 65/100.
Mercury: From India comes this silent horror thriller about a group of deaf-mute people trapped in a ghost town where everyone died of mercury poisoning. Reviews sparse so far.
Wildling: Horror/fantasy about a teen (Bel Powley) who’s kept locked up by her “daddy” (Brad Dourif) so a child-eating monster doesn’t get her. Premiered at SXSW. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%; Metacritic: 58/100.
Slang Terms for Being Drunk
Full as a tick
Having one’s flag out
Three sheets to the wind
In one’s cups
Four to the floor