This weekend, your best bet is to steer clear of "Need for Speed" and seek out a few indies instead. The critics have spoken, and "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul's first mainstream theatrical vehicle, based on the wildly popular video game racing franchise, has no wheels. So instead, why not catch not one, but two hunky Jake Gyllenhaals in Denis Villeneuve's moody "Enemy," director Jason Bateman's "Bad Words," the long-awaited "Veronica Mars" movie, or even some sweet old folks in "Le Week-End"? Trailers below.
With fest-circuit hit "Le Week-End," Brit director Roger Michell ("Notting Hill") returns to his home turf after several limp Hollywood outings ("Morning Glory," "Hyde Park on Hudson"). He directs writer Hanif Kureishi's sharp, acutely observed romantic comedy about a 60ish couple (Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan) hoping to liven up their marriage with an anniversary celebration in Paris, where they honeymooned 30 years before. When big personality Jeff Goldblum sweeps flirtatiously into the mix, hilarity ensues.
If "Black Swan" were remade and recast with Jake Gyllenhaal as a lonely professor in place of psycho ballerina Natalie Portman, it might look something like "Enemy," Canadian helmer Denis Villeneuve's ("Prisoners") anxiety-drenched doppelganger thriller from Jose Saramago's novel "The Double." At a curt 90 minutes, this schizoid head trip never loosens its grip as we follow Adam (Gyllenhaal) on a sinuous journey to find, and possibly destroy, his dead ringer. A la Hitch, leggy blondes abound in this psychosexual thriller offering more clues than answers. Pretentious? Sure, but never overtly self-serious.
Via Warner Bros. comes the Kickstarted "Veronica Mars" movie, director Rob Thomas' spinoff of his beloved cable caper, premiering day-and-date in theaters and on VOD Friday. It's the first time a major studio has ever done this. The film revisits everyone's favorite plucky private investigator, played of course by Kristen Bell, who years after the events of the original series gets pulled back to her hometown for one last case. Any member of the "Veronica Mars" cult -- and there are many of them -- won't be skipping this one.
In limited release off the festival circuit arrives Jason Bateman's raunchy directorial debut "Bad Words." The well-reviewed, politically incorrect comedy stars Bateman as a former child spelling bee star who, now grown-up, jumps back into the otherwise kid-friendly competition to redeem his faded reputation. Critics enjoyed the foul-mouthing movie, which costars comediennes Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney and Rachael Harris, and is slated to go wider on March 28. Considering Bateman's "Arrested Development" fame, niche audiences should come out for this one.
Le Week-End Dir. Roger Michell, UK | Music Box Films: Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Olly Alexander | 98% Fresh | Film.com: "While the overall film is more mild, and ends with a somewhat silly deus-ex-Goldblumina, the good of seeing senior citizens treated maturely on film far outweighs the bad."
Enemy Dir. Denis Villeneuve, Canada | A24 | Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Isabella Rossellini | 83% Fresh | Slant: "Jake Gyllenhaal embodies the two roles with real presence, establishing Adam's sniveling wimp and Anthony's striding jerk as two believably discrete sides of the same coin." | Our review
Veronica Mars Dir. Rob Thomas, USA | Warner Bros. | Cast: Kristen Bell, Francis Capra, Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen, Kristen Ritter | 77% Fresh | The Wrap: "Veronica Mars makes the jokes witty, the mystery challenging and the suspense and action tense. You don't have to have tuned in to the small-screen version to enjoy it on the big one."
Bad Words Dir. Jason Bateman, USA | Focus Features | Cast: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney, Rachael Harris, Philip Baker Hall | 75% Fresh | Variety: "Jason Bateman makes an auspicious directing debut with this exuberantly foul-mouthed and mean-spirited comedy."
Need for Speed Dir. Scott Waugh, USA | Disney | Cast: Aaron Paul, Dakota Johnson, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Michael Poots | 26% Fresh | Village Voice: "Scott Waugh's moronic flick has multiple personalities -- it's the 'Sibyl' of street racing, with a script that doesn't feel so much typed as button-mashed."
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