Welcome to LATINA’s Friday Film Roundup, our bi-weekly picks for the new movie releases on our radar.
This week’s biggest release, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, is already on track to becoming one of the year’s most successful movies. Not to be lost among several new big-name blockbusters are a number of exciting independent releases. From a down-and-dirty activist thriller to a world-bending shampoo-centric comedy, here are the films we’re most excited about this week.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie (In Theaters April 5th)
Rotten Tomatoes: 54% Metacritic: 48
If you’re someone who has ever played a Mario game (so, pretty much everyone) this is probably a pretty big week for you. The long-anticipated Super Mario Bros. Movie is the first attempt at an adaptation of the franchise since the disastrous 1993 film starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. This latest animated offering from Illumination Studios, the same company behind the Despicable Me movies and the animated Grinch remake, isn’t exactly hitting with critics. However, fans of the games are thrilled to see their favorite Mario moments on the big screen. And isn’t that what really matters?
Air (In Theaters April 5th)
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% Metacritic: 79
Ben Affleck’s fifth directorial effort follows the team of Nike creatives who developed the Air Jordan sneaker, featuring one of the most iconic designs in the history of, well, shoes. Featuring an ensemble cast including Affleck, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, and Chris Tucker, Air is being celebrated as a return to form for Affleck, whose last feature, Live by Night, was panned as a disappointment in his otherwise stellar directorial career. But hey, four for five isn’t bad when one of your films has won Best Picture at the Oscars.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (In Theaters March 31st)
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Metacritic: 72
Although the months leading up to Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves had fans of the game pretty worried, this fun, action-packed adaptation ended up surprising just about everybody. Critics are eating up the film’s inventive fantasy setting and chemistry between co-stars Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez, with plenty of cheeky jokes and references to keep things light. DnD fans say it replicates the experience of a real game, where very serious moments are immediately followed by bursts of laughter. We know the movie came out last week, but Dungeons and Dragons his looks like it’s destined to be a word-of-mouth hit that will find a new life when it hits streaming services.
How to Blow Up a Pipeline (In Theaters April 7th)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Metacritic: 83
Director Daniel Goldhaber’s second feature follows a group of environmental activists who devise a plan to, you guessed it, blow up a pipeline. The film is already attracting attention as a powerful and politically motivating film that challenges each viewer to do more in the face of increasingly severe climate change. Goldhaber’s first film, Cam, debuted on Netflix to positive reviews in 2018. Judging by critical response up to this point, How to Blow Up a Pipeline and its director escaped the sophomore slump in his adaptation of Andreas Malm’s popular book.
Sick of Myself (In Theaters April 12th)
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% Metacritic: 80
Similarly, director Kristoffer Borgli’s second feature is also being celebrated as a major step up from his debut. Critics are already comparing it to Joachim Trier’s acclaimed dramedy, The Worst Person in the World (2022). However, Borgli’s film follows a narcissistic couple — one a successful artist, the other his envious partner — who struggle with their self-centered impulses in the wake of his newfound fame. Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp), desperate for the limelight, pursues fame of her own…by any means necessary.
El Houb (In Theaters April 7th)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A Metacritic: N/A
El Houb (which translates to The Love) follows a Moroccan man who returns home to visit his family and finally reveals to them that he is a gay man. When they reject him, he refuses to leave their home until they’ve properly discussed it as a family and created some space for understanding. Although we don’t know a ton about the film just yet, it debuted at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival to positive reviews. The film’s trailer promises a tender, original love story about family and acceptance.
Pilgrims (In Theaters April 7th)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% Metacritic: N/A
Although this initially premiered at the Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) in 2021, it took nearly two years for Pilgrims to get a US release. The Lithuanian film follows a man who becomes preoccupied with investigating and avenging his brother’s death. Accompanied by two friends, the trio returns to the town where it happened and is immediately confronted with a dark and sinister energy. The film was Lithuania’s official submission to the Academy Awards and looks like a tense, slow-burn thriller that may become one of the year’s low-key gems.
Oh Belinda (On Netflix April 7th)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A Metacritic: N/A
The only Netflix release we’re recommending this week is a larger-than-life Turkish film about an actress who reluctantly films a shampoo commercial she thinks is beneath her. However, she wakes up one day to find that she’s been transported into the world of the commercial. Using what little information she has, she works to find a way back into the real world. It’s an interesting idea and we always love when big streaming services pick up indie movies like this. Oh Belinda might be worth watching if you’re looking to have a night-in this weekend.