47 Meters Down
47 Meters Down is basically fetish porn for Shark Week junkies, and wastes little time delivering an impressively tense mixture of well-timed shocks, closeups of steadily diminishing air gauges, and moments of no-choice heroism divvied up between the extremely game leads. Unfortunately, the narrative may be a bit too clever for its own good, derailing the movie’s relentless momentum. Still, even if it falls short of the B-movie ingenuity of The Shallows, there are plenty of effective, primal screamy moments here. ANDREW WRIGHT Various Theaters.
The Bad Batch
The Bad Batch starts strong, presenting a future in which the world’s undesirables (skaters! People with neck and knuckle tattoos! At least one party DJ!) have been exiled to a large, fenced-off section of Texas. (It’s like Escape from New York, but for Burning Man.) Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is a recent internee who’s almost immediately set upon by two cannibals in a golf cart, then methodically dismembered at an airport graveyard full of cannibal bodybuilders. Then a mysterious hobo (Jim Carrey) takes her to a way more chill town full of non-cannibals, EDM raves, and Keanu Reeves. With A Girl Walks Home, Director Ana Lily Amirpour deftly wove unusual genre conventions and a loose narrative into engaging cinema. But The Bad Batch feels like a step backwards—an empty style exercise without a legible moral compass or a clear endgame. The film is sprinkled liberally with beautiful compositions and potentially intriguing characters, but Amirpour seems uninterested in marshaling the assembled material into a coherent formation. BEN COLEMAN Hollywood Theatre.
Zoe Lister-Jones’ debut is written, directed, and produced by her, with an all-female crew helping bring to life her story of a married couple (Lister-Jones and Adam Pally) who decide the best way to fix their foundering marriage is to form a band with Fred Armisen and use their stupid fights as fodder for songwriting. Living Room Theaters.
Batman: The Movie
“I suppose you’re only familiar with the new Batman movies. Michelle Pfeiffer? Ha! The only true Catwoman is Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, or Eartha Kitt. And I didn’t need molded plastic to improve my physique. Pure. West.” Hollywood Theatre.
Alan Parker’s hit 1980 musical about the precocious, ambitious, and above all emotional students at New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts. Not only did it launch Irene Cara’s career and spawn a successful television show, it also helped mainstream the practice of going to a theater at midnight and yelling at a beat-up print of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a form of cathartic self-discovery. Co-starring Emil from Robocop as a really sensitive ginger who sings the body electric. Proceeds benefit Outside the Frame. Clinton Street Theater.
★Grindhouse Film Festival: Rolling Thunder
The Hollywood’s monthly grindhouse celebration presents a rare 35mm print of 1977’s high-toned motherfucker of a revenge flick, Rolling Thunder. You gotta be some kind of grindhouse masterpiece if Quentin Tarantino names a company after you, right? Written by Taxi Driver’s Paul Schrader, Thunder features all-time best performances from stars William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones, both of whom are overshadowed by—of all the goddamned things—an eye-popping, paradigm-shifting turn by The Dukes of Hazzard’s James Best as a ruthless shitkicker so stone-cold Boss Hogg would piss his pants at the sight of him. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
★Hecklevision: Con Air
Normally, Hecklevision presents a particularly pungent scrap of cinematic detritus to aim at with your phones, firing texted one-liners (and ASCII dicks) until all your ammo is spent. But how in the fuck do you heckle something as self-aware as Con Air? How do you even dream of winning a one-liner shootout against John Malkovich, Dave Chappelle, Steve Buscemi, and Colm Meaney? Will your thumbs be rent immobile as the virile presence of Nic Cage in his sweaty, mulleted, beefcake prime thunders through Simon West’s better-than-Michael brand of Bayhem? Or do you think you can manage a gag or two amid the gunfire? You better be extra sure you have the goods, or the bunny gets it. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
This week’s entry into the illustrious genre of Indie Movies About Sad Old Men, The Hero follows Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott), a 71-year-old movie star who’s keenly aware that he’s about 40 years past his prime. If you’re guessing what Lee needs is a visit from a manic pixie dream girl, well, hey, look who it is: thirtysomething standup comedian Charlotte (Laura Prepon), who’s got a thing for older dudes and a ready supply of molly. There’s a fair amount of meta-ness going on in The Hero—characters keep telling Lee how much they like his mustache and his old movies where he played a cowboy—and Elliott remains as gruff, likeable, and watchable as ever. That real-life baggage weighs both ways, though; no matter how seriously writer/director Brett Haley takes all this, it’s never not going to be weird to watch Donna from That ’70s Show making out with The Stranger from The Big Lebowski. ERIK HENRIKSEN Cinema 21.
While your normal jubilant time will be had watching babyfaced Jennifer Connelly alternately fuss and frolic in a Muppety wonderland full of magic dancing and farting bogs, every viewing of this Jim Henson classic going forward will be a just a little bittersweet, being that we now exist in the dark timeline where David Bowie has left the building. Guess you’ll just have to sing along all the louder when he makes his fabulous presence felt. BOBBY ROBERTS Academy Theater.
★The Maltese Falcon
John Huston’s 1941 adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade story is ground zero for American film noir. At the time, nobody knew that’s what it was—it was just a quick ’n’ dirty piece of B-movie business. But as time went on and an entire genre grew from its shadow, The Maltese Falcon was recognized not just as the progenitor of all your favorite hardboiled clichés, but still the best example of them. The twisting plot that only barely makes sense, the pack of highly entertaining degenerates seeking to best our flawed hero, the duplicitous moll at the center of it all—it says something that with almost 80 years of imitators in its wake, The Maltese Falcon still feels just as fresh and punchy as it did when it opened. BOBBY ROBERTS Laurelhurst Theater.
★Re-run Theater: The Best of Both Worlds
Little-known fact! Star Trek: The Next Generation was shit for its first three years—more accurately, its first season was an inert, insufferable, beige pile of old cliché-ridden scripts from the 1970s. Then creator Gene Roddenberry fell ill and died. This allowed the writing staff, free of his shitty storytelling instincts and terrible ideas, to spend the next two seasons rehabbing the show. The two-parter that closed season three, The Best of Both Worlds, is generally recognized as Next Gen’s ascension to classic status, and for good reason—if this had been released to theaters it would have been the second best Star Trek film ever made, juust behind Wrath of Khan. Tonight, Both Worlds gets its big screen due. BOBBY ROBERTS Hollywood Theatre.
Transformers: The Last Knight
You don’t have to do this to yourself. You really don’t. Look at all these other movies! Look at all the choices! You can do anything. Anything but sit down and let... this happen to you. For your sake, and the sake of those who care for you—please don’t do this. Starring Stanley Tucci as Merlin. Various Theaters.
★The Wizard of Oz
1939’s The Wizard of Oz is less a film than it is an American touchstone, a rite of passage for children of every generation, a silly, sentimental constant always running in our popular culture’s background like a TV in the other room. But when you set all that aside and actually watch it as a film—holy shit is it one fuckin’ weird movie, an acid-trip wonderland full of flying monkeys and melting witches and lions and tigers and bears and little dogs, too. There’s a reason dipshit burnouts have been trying to make Pink Floyd its unofficial soundtrack for decades now. BOBBY ROBERTS Cinema 21.