Your time is valuable and at the end of a long week, the discretionary time must be spent to its maximum value. In order to help narrow choices down on the film, television, and gaming fronts, every Friday we’ll give you the rundown of your options and an educated guess as to which ones make the most sense.
At the Movies
Independence Day: Resurgence
Twenty years later, Independence Day: Resurgence gives fans the sequel they’ve always wanted. But has the wait been worth it? Critical response has been decidedly mixed and the previews have looked like a blown-up rehash of what came before. Granted, this is textbook popcorn entertainment so it’s possible audiences will pull a Transformers and go against the critical grain, but it’s hard to gauge whether or not the average moviegoer is interested in this. Plus, the CGI destruction can’t hold a candle to the first film’s Oscar-winning visual effects.
The Verdict: Fans of Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman’s hobo beard need to see this. Everyone else can probably get a better experience out of the original.
For me, this is the must-see movie of the weekend. If we aren’t going to get another Jaws film, this looks like the best substitute. Reviews have been solid especially in regards to Blake Lively’s lead performance. The movie’s recent move to this weekend indicates that the studio thinks it can take a bite out of Independence Day: Resurgence and that’s the kind of confidence I love to see. It’s been too long since we’ve had a shark movie that takes itself completely seriously, and I hope The Shallows is the first sign of a fin-filled renaissance at the box office.
The Verdict: Unless you want to see more Sharknado films being made, you need to see this.
Free State of Jones
As someone who loves Matthew McConaughey, it’s rough to see him headlining this flat looking historical drama. The production quality is unenthusiastically minimal, the energy from the trailers has been lukewarm, and the word on the street is that the film’s treatment of this powerful true story is too paint-by-numbers to be enticing. At the very least, I hope the reaction to the film helps push McConaughey back into returning as Rust Cohle in a new season of True Detective.
The Verdict: Give this a watch as it’s playing on the TV in the background when you visit your parents for Thanksgiving.
The Neon Demon
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves
Current RT Meter: 48% Fresh
My box office prediction last Sunday: $7,000,000
Nick’s box office prediction: $1,500,000
Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn unleashes his first outright horror movie this weekend, and it’s no surprise it’s already proving to be extremely divisive. Refn is already a challenging filmmaker but playing in the horror genre guarantees that things are going to be difficult for most audiences when it comes to this picture. The movie has a great cast and gorgeous production, but it’s likely that its oddness is going to be a little too abrasive for Grandma and friends.
The Verdict: If you are a film nerd (*raises hand*), you can’t miss this. Everyone else can go see The Shallows.
On the Tube
The former Sabretooth has been killing it over on Showtime as Los Angeles’ number one fixer, and the show is about to head into its fourth season stronger than ever. Liev Schreiber is a powerhouse of a performer and Ray Donovan will definitely be one of the strongest moments in his long career.
The Verdict: The faithful are ready for the new seasons, and everyone else should get mighty curious about this.
Cameron Crowe is trying to bounce back from the embarrassing failure of Aloha by turning to the world he loves: music. Unfortunately, this new drama looks sickeningly saccharine and the critical response has been devastating. Could there be some charm to be found? Surely, but this looks like it might give you diabetes before you reach such material.
The Verdict: Tenacious D honored roadies in a much better way. Just listen to that instead.
For the Gamers
Mighty No. 9
One of the most highly anticipated Kickstarter projects has finally been unleashed into the world, and the response has been a deafening thud. I go into much greater detail in my review of the game, but Mighty No. 9 is a poor substitute for everyone’s favorite Blue Bomber.
The Verdict: Seriously, read my review. It’s pretty cut and dried.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Fans of Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem are eager to get their hands on this crossover RPG. Reviews are looking good and most sources say this is a game tailor-made for the die-hard crowd. We can always use more well-crafted JRPGs so if that’s a genre you have any love for, this might be one worth picking up.
The Verdict: Looks light-hearted and action-packed. Not a bad way to spend your gaming time this weekend.