What to Watch: Jennifer Hudson has soul as Aretha Franklin in Respect and Ryan Reynolds plays nice in Free Guy
Breaking down our top picks for your weekend.
Just because the dog days of summer are drawing to an end, doesn't mean the plethora of new movie releases is. If you're unsure what new films are for you, let the EW staff help out — we're breaking down our two top picks in this week's What to Watch video series.
The first offering is Free Guy, the new action-comedy from director Shawn Levy. It follows a bank teller called Guy (Ryan Reynolds) who realizes he is a background character in an open world video game called Free City that will be imminently offline. Will audiences gobble it up? "This was one of the first movies I saw back in a theater when theaters started opening up, and it has a lot of heart to it," EW digital news writer Nick Romano says. "I think of it sort of as Wreck-It Ralph meets Ted Lasso. There's such a nice guy at the center of this, but it's also like the whole concept of a video game character being self aware that he's inside a game. Everyone looks like they're having a ball."
Adds EW critic at large Leah Greenblatt, "Like Nick said, there's this sort of Ted Lasso quality of sweetness and kindness to the movie that I really didn't expect going in. And I think that is the thing that will make it more of a crossover for people who have little to no interest in [video games], because you don't really need it. If you're a video game lover's plus one to this movie, you will not be suffering in silence."
Up next is the Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect. Jennifer Hudson stars as the Queen of Soul in the film, which follows her journey from her early life up until the early '70s. Before she died, Franklin handpicked Hudson to play her, and Hudson sings all of the music live in the film. Comparing Respect to Judy, which saw Renée Zellweger win Best Actress for her role as Judy Garland, EW executive editor Clarissa Cruz says the Franklin biopic definitely has Oscar vibes. "It's sort of the same idea — tackling this musical legend in a biopic, and [Zellweger] rode that wave all the way to Oscar, and I could see how that could play out here," she says.
For more on Respect and Free Guy, check out the full video above.
Watch the full episode of What to Watch: Free Guy + Respect now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.