Weekend Movies: Pete’s Dragon, Florence Foster Jenkins, Gleason, The Infiltrator and more

A quick scan of new releases in theatres. Plus what to watch right now on Netflix


>>> Pete’s Dragon is a work of grace and joy and profound empathy, a film made by a corporation for a mass audience that somehow manages to be lyrical. Against all odds, it’s exquisite – a Disney remake of a vaguely remembered catalogue title that throws out virtually everything from its predecessor except the central relationship between a child and a friendly monster, and builds something absolutely wonderful on top of it. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNNNN


Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise offers a full accounting of the late poet and author’s life and legacy, tracing the intersection of her activism and her literary influence. Interweaving an extensive interview recorded a few months before Angelou’s death in 2014 with archival footage and testimonials from friends, family and collaborators – among them Diahann Carroll, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Bill Clinton and Common – directors Hercules and Coburn Whack give us a chronological walk through the life of a genuinely transformative artist. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNN


Anthropoid is a clenched, grim war picture about two expats (Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan) who return to occupied Czechoslovakia on a mission to assassinate Hitler’s third-in-command, Reinhard Heydrich, the Butcher Of Prague. The true story is incredible enough, but director/producer Ellis – who also shot and co-scripted the film – seems more interested in staging elaborate set pieces than in the quieter scenes that connect them, so Anthropoid works only in fits and starts. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNN


Equity is utterly compelling and numbingly schematic. From the double-entendre title to its scenes of bankers facing off over Jenga, Menon’s corporate thriller puts its cards on the table and leaves the misdirection to its conniving characters. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNN


Florence Foster Jenkins made one of the most requested concert recordings in the history of Carnegie Hall – quite an achievement for someone who couldn’t actually sing. Director Frears delivers an inspirational tale for the era of ironic celebrities, reminding audiences of the beating heart beneath any so-bad-it’s-good success. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNN


Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World is an entertaining if not exactly illuminating look at the effect of the internet on human communication. Bavarian filmmaker Herzog explores the landscape of information technology that’s supposed to lift us out of the natural world and quickly concludes we’re all doomed. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNN


Gleason is an intimate, gut-wrenching and inspiring doc about football player Steve Gleason’s life with ALS. The film is culled from home videos he made for his baby boy as a way for the child to know who his father was. That gesture is enough to leave you a blubbering mess, but the film goes much further. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNNNNN


The Infiltrator stars Bryan Cranston as Richard Mazur, a U.S. Customs special agent who carried out an elaborate money-laundering sting that crippled Pablo Escobar’s drug cartels in the 80s. It’s a twisty true-life thriller, and Cranston is totally sympathetic in a role that lets him play a mirror image of Walter White: rather than unleashing his dark side, this particular criminal improviser is actively repressing his inner moral compass. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNN


Zoom follows the existential crises of two live-action women (Alison Pill, Mariana Ximenes) and one animated man (Gael García Bernal) as they chase creative fulfilment and deal with body issues. The mix of live-action and rotoscoped animation makes Zoom a little different than most multi-character dramas, as does the notion that the characters never quite meet but still have a profound influence on one another’s lives. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNN


How Heavy This Hammer finds Tower director Radwanski returning with another story of urban alienation, this time about middle-aged Erwin (Erwin Van Cotthem), who’s been drifting away from his wife and children to spend more and more time playing an online fantasy game. Almost suffocatingly focused on its protagonist, who can neither articulate nor confront his issues but keeps pushing forward in an attempt to outdistance them, How Heavy This Hammer packs a lot of angst into its slim running time. (See full review). 

Opens August 12. See showtimes

Rating: NNNN


AVAILABLE NOW ON NETFLIX

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The Overnight stars Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling as a couple newly arrived in Los Angeles and looking to make new friends. So naturally, they’re delighted to be invited to dinner by the parents (Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche) of their son’s playmate… only to discover these hipster sophisticates have some very odd expectations for the evening… (See full review). 

Rating: NNNN

Available to watch here. 

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