New movies preview: Feast on Knives Out, Queen & Slim, and more this Thanksgiving weekend
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).
Thanksgiving: A time for giving thanks (and also taking a full day to binge some of the year’s best releases at your local theater). With a buffet full of hearty cinematic offerings that will leave your family’s Turkey Day spread completely shook, the 2020 Thanksgiving frame has something for everyone’s tastes, from family-friendly holdovers like Frozen 2 to the sleek, adult-oriented stylings of new wide releases Knives Out and Queen & Slim. Stoke your appetite for Hollywood’s best new titles with a sampling of EW’s coverage of this week’s releases below.
New wide releases in theaters
Director Rian Johnson carves out a delectable mystery with an impressive ensemble cast in this breakneck-paced gem about a detective investigating the curious circumstances surrounding the death of a wealthy, volatile family’s patriarch.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve done a movie where I got to wear nice clothes! I usually wear such boring s—,” star Chris Evans told EW of immersing himself into his role with the help of cashmere sweaters and other bougie garments. “The clothing, the hair, all of it helps tons [with getting into character].”
Queen & Slim
Billed by EW’s Darren Franich as an “old-fashioned road picture set in a brutally modern America,” music video helmer Melina Matsoukas’ feature debut boasts sleek style and timely themes to make it a rich, satisfying indulgence for your post-Thanksgiving viewing.
“With music videos, I really got to learn how music could be a character and I started to concentrate on the narrative and bringing stories into that space,” Matsoukas previously told EW of preparing to shoot the Lena Waithe-penned film, which follows a couple (Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith) on a first date that goes awry after a police officer pulls them over. “But with this film, I got to develop something that was from me, from my soul, from my gut,” Matsoukas said. “I could truly, genuinely own it.”
New limited, indies, specialty, and streaming gems
The Irishman (streaming debut following prior theatrical release)
Martin Scorsese is back in theaters — and streaming! — and he brought Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci (whom he allegedly coaxed out of retirement for his first movie role in nine years) for a gritty crime drama. What more do you need to know?
“Having gotten to make the film. The picture was very difficult to get made the past 10 years, and for many different reasons. But I really felt that De Niro and I had one more picture to make at least,” Scorsese recently told EW. “Robert read Charles Brandt’s book [I Heard You Paint Houses] when he was doing [the 2006 drama] The Good Shepard. He gave it to me. I saw he was connected with the character and we’ve been wanting to make something together since Casino. I realized he really cares about the character, and that it’s something that could be moving. So I figured we’d take the trip. It took a while. It’s very special that we got it made. And I feel at this point in my life, it’s something that I feel the value of — if not for me, for Bob, Al, and Joe — a lot of people involved in it. And the fact people have reacted so strongly is really [pauses] I don’t know if I have the words to express the thanks. What’s special about it is that everything in our hearts was put into it at this stage of our lives.”
The Walking Dead and Star Trek: Discovery actress Sonequa Martin-Green stars in this hip holiday comedy about an ousted radio DJ, played by A Million Little Things star Romany Malco, who, along with his four spoiled children, moves in with his aunt as he mounts a return to the airwaves.
The Report (streaming debut following prior theatrical release)
Directed by frequent Steven Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns (Side Effects, The Laundromat) as his directorial debut, this thrilling, fact-based drama courted major Oscar buzz for Annette Bening at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It follows a U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence staff member, Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver), who assists Senator Dianne Feinstein (Bening) in her probe into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program following 9/11. The ensemble cast also includes Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, and Jon Hamm.
Starring: Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré
Directed by: Mati Diop
Release type: Streaming (Netflix)
Earlier this year, Mati Diop became the first black woman in history to compete for the Cannes Palme d’Or, and her cinematic vessel, Netflix’s Atlantics, is an engrossing, highly singular ghost story about a group of underpaid Senegalese laborers who venture out to sea in search of a better life, but after a shipwreck kills them all, their spirits return to exact revenge on the men — and reconnect with the women — from their past lives.
Notable holdovers and expanding titles in theaters now
It only took six years for you to finally stop hearing “Let It Go” on repeat in the back of your mind, but, fear not, as the infectious earworm — as well as a fresh soundtrack of new jovial tunes — is poised to soundtrack your every waking thought as the Disney sequel Frozen 2 storms theaters this weekend. With a returning voice cast including Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell as sisters Elsa and Anna who, three years after the events of the first film, travel beyond the realm of Arendelle to discover the source of the former’s magical powers.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Authenticity was key to Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller‘s latest film, a fantastical, often surrealist drama (that absolutely is not a biopic!) about a cynical journalist (Matthew Rhys) whose perspective on fatherhood radically alters after his publication sends him to Pittsburgh to profile legendary children’s host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks). Inspired by real-life writer Tom Junod’s experience in writing about Rogers, Heller wanted the audience’s experience in meeting Mister Rogers through Hanks’ portrayal to brim with authenticity; so she imported vintage Ikegami cameras to mimic the look and feel of Rogers’ beloved daytime TV show and raided the real-life icon’s tie collection (with permission from his wife, Joanne) for Hanks’ on-screen wardrobe.
“[He calls for] us to be our best selves, and I think that’s required of parents in order to be patient and see these little people we’re bringing into the world with compassion,” Heller previously told EW of her passionate connection to Rogers’ legacy — which partially inspired her, as a new parent herself, to make the film. “Mister Rogers helped break down those things in a way that, as a parent, you can gain a lot of compassion that translates beyond just your relationship with your children; it translates into your relationship with your partner or spouse, or relationships at work. I know it translated into how I wanted to make this movie, and the process by which we work creatively and how we treat the crew. I approached every decision with the movie as: ‘How would Fred approach this? How can we treat everybody with a level of emotional empathy and compassion that shows that we value everyone?’ That was his main message: Everyone is valued.”
Director Brian Kirk helms a Marvel reunion as Black Panther‘s Chadwick Boseman leads this crime thriller from producers (and Avengers series directors) Anthony and Joe Russo. Judging by early previews, the result appears to be a pulse-pounding thriller — about an NYPD detective who puts Manhattan on lockdown in pursuit of a pair of renegade cop killers — that also happens to be the second film of 2019 in which Sienna Miller speaks with a deliciously over-the-top accent.
Hailed as an emotionally moving masterwork out of its fall festival debut, Waves — about a singular traumatic event’s long-lasting impacts on a suburban family — sees rising superstar director Trey Edward Shults (Krisha) proving his versatility as he moves from apocalyptic horror (It Comes at Night) to this seamless tapestry weaving together familial strife, pulse-pounding criminal drama, and the resilience of the human spirit all in one film.
Despite its title, director Alma Har’el’s semi-biographical examination of actor Shia LaBeouf’s early life as a rising child star with a troubled father is light on saccharine flair.
“I was in a court-ordered rehab facility and it was part of sussing out my past, flashlight to your soul, trying to get to know myself, like a shedding of skin in a way,” LaBeouf previously told EW of writing his unresolved personal pain into the script. “I put it on a piece of paper like they told me, and then I get home and read it and it felt like it was in script form. I wound up sending all of my stuff to Alma who’s one of my closest friends and now a full-blown collaborator, so I was sending her all these pages and as the pages kept developing she’s like ‘Whoa, this is really a film.’ She was cheerleading from the outside and that was lifting my spirits inside.”
Erin Brockovich, Karen Silkwood, and the whistleblowers of cinema history welcome Mark Ruffalo’s Robert Bilott — a corporate lawyer railing against a chemical company over its long history of pollution — as acclaimed director Todd Haynes returns to the big screen this weekend with an adaptation of the real-life Bilott’s book Exposure.
“I’ve gotten to know Rob very well and have a tremendous amount of admiration for him and the work that he’s done,” Ruffalo says of the source material’s author in an exclusive interview excerpt published by EW. “[I want] to help have this information be disseminated out into the world. It’s really important. It’s been underreported and it touches all of our lives. It transcends politics and ideologies. It’s one place I think where we can meet communally.”
Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 28-Dec. 1) box office preview
Notoriously difficult to forecast exact numbers for (hence the absence of our usual ranked predictions list below), the only thing to know ahead of the Thanksgiving box office frame is: Holdovers typically stand strong on sturdy legs across the four-day stretch, as kids, parents, and everyone in between likely have at least some of the four-day period off from school and work, meaning more potential for bodies filling seats at your local movie theater. With cross-demographic appeal, expect Frozen 2 to finish the week in first place once again, with Knives Out (thanks to a stellar ensemble cast and their robust promotional push in the months leading up to its release) trailing close behind, while strong word-of-mouth (and the fact that a Mister Rogers movie just feels like an appropriate cinematic hug to cozy up to during the holiday season) should boost Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood to a solid sophomore tally.
21 Bridges (2019 Movie)