Bruce Springsteen, Naomie Harris, Eddie Murphy, Isabelle Huppert, more lead the weekend's new theatrical and streaming movies.

By Joey Nolfi
October 25, 2019 at 09:00 AM EDT
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Black and Blue (2019 movie)

type
  • Movie

EW wants you to make good choices when going to the movies (or spending a night in Netflix-and-chilling) this weekend, and our new, recurring movie preview guide will keep you informed about the best new blockbusters, indie gems, sturdy holdovers, and fresh digital standouts up for your viewing pleasure (plus a bonus box office preview to wrap it all up).

This week, Black and Blue‘s Naomie Harris goes head-to-head with the Grim Reaper (did you know there’s an app that can predict your death!? Well, at least there is in the new horror flick Countdown) for a slot in the top five at the box office, while new prestige indies (French icon Isabelle Huppert returns to American screens since scaring the s— out of us in Greta) gun for specialty dollars and awards-bound titles (Jojo Rabbit, Pain and Glory, Parasite) expand to more theaters (or premiere on streaming, like Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name) as they set their sights on Academy voters’ hearts.

New releases in theaters

Black and Blue

  • Starring: Naomie Harris, Mike Colter, Frank Grillo, Reid Scott, Tyrese Gibson
  • Directed by: Dean Taylor
  • Release type: Theatrical (wide)
  • EW grade: B (full review here)

Before she was an Oscar nominee for Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, Naomie Harris paid her dues running from zombies (28 Days Later) and keeping the most famous spy in the world in line as the no-nonsense Moneypenny (Spectre). Now, she’s at the center of her very own dramatic thriller, the cleverly titled Black and Blue, about a rookie cop who attempts to expose unspoken evils after her body camera captures her peers (Frank Grillo, Reid Scott) murdering a drug dealer.

“I’m a black woman, and I want to represent black women in a positive light,” Harris previously told EW of her character’s morality. “I was brought up by a single parent. She was and still is a strong, powerful, and capable woman. I grew up in a community of women who were like that. What I felt growing up is that I didn’t see that strength represented in the media. So I’ve made it my mission to play women who were like the women I knew growing up.”

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Countdown

Starring: Elizabeth Lail, Jordan Calloway, Talitha Bateman, Tichina Arnold
Directed by: Justin Dec
Release type: Theatrical (wide)

Looking for love? Download Tinder. Craving a bean burrito at 3:00 a.m.? In the words of Martha Stewart: Postmate it! Curious about how much time you have left on earth? STX’s spooky thriller Countdown — starring You‘s Elizabeth Lail — proposes a world in which there’s an app that predicts your time of death down to the second, and, surprise! The company’s quality-control specialist is a maniacal supernatural force hard at work making sure you get what you paid for (in essence: it’ll kill you real good and dead).

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The Current War

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland
Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Release type: Theatrical (wide)

A rocky road to release (the film changed hands in the wake of the 2017 Weinstein scandal) couldn’t dim the glow (hah!) of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Martin Scorsese-produced historical retelling of the (literally) electric war waged between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) across the late 1800s. Thanks to being filmed nearly three years ago, the project also features a baby-faced, pre-Spider-Man Tom Holland in a supporting role, and if that’s not enough to spark your interest (we’ll see ourselves out), what will!?

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Notable holdovers and expanding titles in theaters now

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

  • Starring: Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville
  • Directed by: Joachim Rønning
  • Release type: Theatrical (wide)
  • EW grade: B- (full review here)

Angelina Jolie‘s second go-round as Maleficent is back for, well, another go-round at the weekend box office. Sour reviews (albeit praise for the film’s lead) couldn’t keep audiences away from the bona fide movie star’s first live-action role in four years (we still stan By the Sea!), as the Joachim Rønning-helmed fantasy (featuring a delightfully evil Michelle Pfeiffer, whom Jolie has called simply “fierce” in past interviews) cruised to the No. 1 spot at the box office last week. And, as Jolie previously told EW, there’s more than enough room for two wicked divas in the film’s universe.m

“In this one, we have been living together for a while, and we’re family, and we’ve grown up,” Jolie said of the titular dark fairy and her goddaughter, Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). “And so now our world is expanding, it’s not just the two of us quietly living together. And so with that comes all the forces from outside, all the different ways of living, and all of the different opinions.”

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Joker

  • Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Zazie Beetz
  • Directed by: Todd Phillips
  • Release type: Theatrical (wide)
  • EW grade: N/A (full review here)

Joker is officially a movement: As hordes of Instagram addicts crowded that Bronx staircase Joaquin Phoenix danced his way down in the movie, the grim Todd Phillips-directed blockbuster continued its ascent toward becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time at the global box office this week.

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Zombieland: Double Tap

  • Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson
  • Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
  • Release type: Theatrical (wide)
  • EW grade: B (full review here)

Sequels: They’re (sometimes) just as good only slightly inferior to the original! Such is the case with Zombieland: Double Tap, a wild ensemble horror-comedy that’s nearly as fun to watch as its all-star cast likely had shooting it.

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Parasite

  • Starring: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong
  • Directed by: Bong Joon-ho
  • Release type: Theatrical (limited)
  • EW grade: A- (full review here)

As we commanded in our first official Oscar predictions of the season: BongHive, assemble! The breakout prestige hit of the festival circuit, Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner has become the darling of awards season, completely selling out every showing of its New York City theatrical bow in limited release en route to likely becoming one of the most successful foreign releases of the year for its unique social commentary on class disparity.

“I’m not a sociologist, but I think all creators are very sensitive to their surroundings and all I do is try to portray what I encounter in my daily life,” Joon-ho told EW at the Toronto International Film Festival. “Even just a second with another person, you think about that person’s class, you get to smell them, so it’s a very natural, all-surrounding thing.”

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The Lighthouse

  • Starring: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
  • Directed by: Robert Eggers
  • Release type: Theatrical (limited)
  • EW grade: B+ (full review here)

Robert Pattinson masturbating within the first few minutes of Robert Eggers’ directorial follow-up to The Witch? What more do you need to hear to get you to smash that “purchase” button on your ticketing app? We’ll tell you: ZADDY WILLEM DAFOE IN CRISP BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY, THAT’S WHAT!

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Jojo Rabbit

  • Starring: Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant
  • Directed by: Taika Waititi
  • Release type: Theatrical (limited)
  • EW grade: A- (full review here)

Though it might not seem like it’s possible on the surface, director-star Taika Waititi proves it’s possible to mine heart and soul out of the atrocities of World War II, as he and an impeccable cast (newcomer Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Thomasin McKenzie) craft a timely anti-hate satire about a young Hitler Youth who, amid divisive political discourse, discovers his pure-hearted mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in the walls of their home in 1940s Germany. As Waititi said in EW’s exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette for the film: “I just want people to be more tolerant, and spread more love and less hate.”

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Pain and Glory

  • Starring: Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz
  • Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Release type: Theatrical (wide)
  • EW grade: B+ (full review here)

Antonio Banderas has never been better than he is in renowned filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s highly personal drama about an aging filmmaker who reflects on past loves — both platonic, familial, and romantic — as his present-day circumstances threaten to bring his world crashing down around him.

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New indies, specialty, and streaming gems

Dolemite Is My Name

  • Starring: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Titus Burgess, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Wesley Snipes
  • Directed by: Craig Brewer
  • Release type: Theatrical (limited), streaming (Netflix)
  • EW grade: B+ (full review here)

Eddie Murphy makes a triumphant return to the big screen… and, well, whatever device you choose to stream his latest movie on… in Dolemite Is My Name, Craig Brewer’s immensely enjoyable, Netflix-bound biographical comedy about the life of famed comedian and actor Rudy Ray Moore.

“He f—ing believes in himself, and that’s why his stuff works,” Murphy told EW of Moore, whom the actor met with about making the long-gestating project before his death in 2008. “I thought the whole idea of ‘You don’t have to be brilliant to get your s— off, you just have to believe in it’ was a universal and timeless story.”

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Western Stars

Starring: Bruce Springsteen
Directed by: Bruce Springsteen, Thom Zimny
Release type: Theatrical (limited)

The Boss of rock music gets a promotion to the director’s chair at the helm of his concert documentary Western Stars, inspired by the release of his 2019 concept album of the same name (and co-directed by his longtime collaborator Thom Zimney).

“One night in front of the TV I wrote that whole script in about a couple of hours, just sort of sitting there thinking, ‘You know maybe these songs, because they’re new, they need individual introductions,'” Springsteen previously told EW of the film, which flits between live performances and philosophical asides separating the numbers. “And then with Thom, we put together the images and shot the footage that we ended up with and suddenly we had this whole other film that excited the two of us, and we hope will for the audience.”

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Frankie

Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Marisa Tomei, Brendan Gleeson, Greg Kinnear
Directed by: Ira Sachs
Release type: Theatrical (limited)

The queen of French cinema returns to English-language movies for the second time in 2019. Following her bonkers turn in Neil Jordan’s wickedly satisfying thriller Greta, Isabelle Huppert reconnects with her dramatic roots in Ira Sachs’ melodic familial drama Frankie, in which the 66-year-old stars as an aging performer who beckons several generations of her family to the picturesque Portuguese countryside to share potentially devastating news (and, no, she doesn’t spit in anyone’s hair this time).

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Rattlesnake

Starring: Carmen Ejogo, Theo Rossi, Emma Greenwell
Directed by: Zak Hilditch

If the title alone wasn’t enough to send a shiver down your spine, Rattlesnake‘s pulse-pounding plot involving a mother (Carmen Ejogo) embroiled in a murderous game after making a grim bargain in exchange for saving her daughter’s life will certainly do the trick.

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Oct. 25 – 27 weekend box office preview:

Maleficent is set to cast another enchanting spell over North American audiences this weekend, as the superstar-studded tentpole should easily reclaim the No. 1 spot atop the box office thanks to its competitor’s targeted appeal (at just over 2,000 locations, Black and Blue should play well with adults to the tune of $10-$12 million, while Countdown will play just as fine with the thrill-seeking youths as it looks to scare up around $10 million — way above its meager $6.5 million budget).

Elsewhere, Frankie should pull in a healthy per-theater average in limited release (especially in New York City), thanks to Huppert’s appeal on the specialty circuit, while Parasite will continue its dominance in limited release as it builds a financially backed case for its standing in the Best Picture race.

Check back on EW.com this Sunday for final weekend box office estimates. For now, here’s what the weekend numbers could look like:

1) Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – $17 million

2) Joker – $16 million

3) Zombieland 2: Double Tap – $13 million

4) Black and Blue – $10 million

5) Countdown – $10 million

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Black and Blue (2019 movie)

type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
director
  • Deon Taylor

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