NELL FISHER as Kassie in New Line Cinema’s horror film EVIL DEAD RISE, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Welcome to LATINA’s Film Fridays, our bi-weekly picks for the exciting new film releases on our radar.
With a horror film, a military film, a biopic, a musical, and an action romcom all coming out on the same day, there really is something for everyone this weekend. The biggest release, without a doubt is the latest “Evil Dead” film, which is garnering acclaim from every direction. However, new films from Guy Ritchie and Dexter Fletcher are not to be forgotten. If nothing else, there is a new “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” special on Netflix with the original cast. And yes, that means more Rocky DeSantos.
“Evil Dead Rise”
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Metacritic: 74
The long-anticipated follow up to Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez’s 2013 remake, “Evil Dead Rise” is the latest franchise reboot that isn’t really a reboot or a sequel or a remake. It’s just a movie that has the creators of the original film really excited. It also may or may not tie back to the original franchise in a future installment. Regardless, “Evil Dead Rise” is being hailed as one of the franchise’s best. Not that any of them are bad — far from it, honestly — but “Evil Dead Rise” is getting an especially warm welcome from critics and fans alike. With this small-scale update of the “Evil Dead” mythology, the less you know the better. All you need to know is that there’s a Necronomicon, someone gets possessed, and it’s scary as hell.
“Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant”
Rotten Tomatoes: 79% Metacritic: 64
Unless you’re watching one of his well-known crime comedies like “Snatch” or “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”, you might not know you’re watching a Guy Ritchie movie at all… which is probably why he put his name right in the title. Seriously, this guy directed two Sherlock Holmes movies, a King Arthur movie, and an Aladdin movie. Some were better than others, but you can’t deny the guy’s got range. His latest effort, another huge departure from his post-Tarantino origins, follows Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim as a soldier and interpreter, respectively, as they pursue the Taliban to avenge the death of the latter’s son. Critics are calling it one of Ritchie’s best non-gangster movies and another impressive addition to his increasingly expansive filmography.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81% Metacritic: 67
Biopics have a bit of a hit-and-miss reputation, but this biographical film about the life of French-Caribbean violinist Chevalier de Saint-Georges promises to be a powerful and moving story about one of history’s most important musicians. It does reportedly fall into some of the same biopic traps that have been criticized in the past, but “Chevalier” also has the benefit of its titular character, a truly singular figure with a fascinating life story one could only hope to adapt into a film. Even if biopics and historical dramas aren’t really your thing, “Chevalier” might be worth checking out as an exception.
Rotten Tomatoes: 65% Metacritic: 46
Starring one of our most recent first-time Oscar nominees, Paul Mescal, this reimagining of the classic Italian opera, “Carmen”, co-stars “Scream” actress Melissa Barrera and features a soundtrack of original music. The film’s director, Benjamin Millepied, started out in Hollywood as a ballet choreographer for films like Black Swan and “Vox Lux”, both starring Natalie Portman. Carmen also features music from Nicholas Britell, who does the score for “Succession” and is widely considered one of the best new composers around. All that said, critics aren’t exactly loving this one. Regardless, a lot of talented people are involved with this project and, even if it isn’t the best movie you see this year, it might be one of the most interesting.
“Ghosted” (On Apple TV+)
Rotten Tomatoes: 32% Metacritic: 33
Similarly to “Carmen,” the latest Apple TV+ feature film offering, “Ghosted”, is maybe worth a look even though it’s not on the fast track to winning any Oscars. Chris Evans and Ana de Armas are teaming back up just one year after 2022’s “The Gray Man”, which saw Evans going against type and playing a real scummy piece of work. In “Ghosted”, he returns to Jon Hamm territory (really good looking guy who also knows how to be goofy) for the first time since 2019’s “Knives Out”, which featured one of his best performances to date… and also starred Ana de Armas. Basically, these two have an established chemistry that always works regardless of the dynamic, and that’s something “Ghosted” is very aware of. “Rocketman” director Dexter Fletcher took the reins on this one while “Community” writer Chris McKenna and “Deadpool” writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick penned the script. Long story short, there are a lot of talented people involved with this movie and seems like a great reason to lay on the couch and decompress from the day.
“Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once & Always” (On Netflix)
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Metacritic: 61
Okay, it’s not technically a movie. But also, we make the rules so we get to break the rules. And for a good reason, too! Mighty “Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once & Always” is a reunion that’s been decades in the making. Although it’s only a 55-minute special, fans of the original run of Power Rangers series say it successfully captures the spirit of the original shows while giving fans everything they could want from these iconic characters. One of the main reasons we wanted to highlight “Once & Always” is, of course, the one and only Rocky DeSantos. Latino actor Steve Cardenas returns to the role alongside a number of his other former castmates, including Walter Jones and David Yost. When so many reboots, requels, remakes, and reunions seem to disappoint us, it is with great pleasure we get to say: don’t worry, everyone, this one is good.
Rotten Tomatoes: 62% Metacritic: 57
Love him or hate him, Nicolas Cage never turns in a boring performance. His Oscar-winning role in 1995’s “Leaving Las Vegas” continues to be a highlight of his career, but we can’t forget his downright lunatic performances in movies like “The Wicker Man” and “Ghost Rider”. The dude just goes for it every time. In “Renfield,” director Chris McKay is putting Cage’s talents to good use, casting him as a modern-day Dracula alongside Nicholas Hoult’s titular character. Renfield, sick of playing second fiddle to the legendary vampire, yearns for a better life while he struggles to break free from Dracula’s abusive, overbearing, and violent tendencies. Although critics are mixed on the new horror-comedy, fans of both Dracula and Cage are really sinking their teeth into this one… no pun intended.
“The Pope’s Exorcist”
Rotten Tomatoes: 49% Metacritic: 37
Exorcism movies are almost always a good time. William Friedkin’s 1973 landmark horror film, “The Exorcist”, birthed an entire subgenre of horror films that continues to thrive today. Although very few, if any, have reached the heights of Friedkin’s classic, exorcism movies like “The Last Exorcism” or “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” prove there’s still gas left in the tank. This latest offering, “The Pope’s Exorcist”, is loosely based on the actual case files of legendary exorcist Father Gabriel Amorth, who was the subject of a documentary directed by Friedkin a few years ago. Critics aren’t exactly eating this one up, but fans of the genre say it’s a worthy addition to a long line of films about troubled men casting demons out of the mortal world.
Rotten Tomatoes: 21% Metacritic: 42
Listen, is “Mafia Mamma” going to be a masterpiece? Probably not. Are we still excited to see Toni Collette ham it up in a gangster comedy alongside Monica Bellucci? Absolutely. This latest offering from “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke isn’t on the fast track to the Academy Awards, but fans of mafia movies and Toni Collette in general (so, pretty much everyone on the planet) will definitely have some fun seeing the acclaimed character actress struggle to maintain a mafia empire in the wake of her grandfather’s death. If you want something easy and breezy with just enough bite to keep you interested, “Mafia Mamma” might be worth your time this weekend.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% Metacritic: 74
The latest from celebrated anime director Makoto Shinkai is already enjoying acclaim from critics and fans alike. Although most can agree it’s not the best film of his career, this otherworldly road trip adventure is yet another feather in the director’s cap. The story follows a teenaged girl who pairs up with a boy she’s never met to save Japan from a series of disasters released through doors leading to parallel worlds. As the pair struggles to save their country from impending doom, they work to uncover the source of the doors and put an end to the disasters once and for all. With its creative animation, lovable characters, and thought-provoking story, Suzume is on track to become one of the year’s most beautiful animated films.
“Beau is Afraid”
Rotten Tomatoes: 76% Metacritic: 69
Ari Aster’s latest film is a decidedly divisive one. On the one hand, you have people hailing it as one of the most original and horrifying depictions of anxiety ever put to film. On the other, Aster’s detractors are calling it an overlong, navel-gazing exercise in faux-cerebralism. However, everyone can agree: there’s nothing quite like it. Joaquin Phoenix reportedly turns in another killer performance, but that’s no surprise because, when has he not? Casting Phoenix in a movie pretty much guarantees it’ll be interesting to watch. Whether you side with the film’s champions or detractors is entirely up to you, but at the very least you’ll get a chance to see one of our most thoughtful new horror directors whip up something wholly original.