Welcome to LATINA’s Friday Film Roundup, our weekly picks for the new movie releases on our radar.
Unlike the week of May 5th, when “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” was one of the only movies worth watching, there are now too many good movies coming out this weekend. Seriously, we had to include a bonus round this week to make sure we mentioned them all. From big tentpole films like “Fast X” to intimate character studies like “Master Gardener” and “White Building,” this weekend has movies of every budget, scale, size, and genre from countries all over the world. If there was ever a weekend to set aside all your plans and spend all day at the cinema, this is that weekend.
“Fast X” (In Theaters May 19th)
Now that the “Fast and Furious” franchise has taken its once-humble group of low-level thieves and turned them into globetrotting, space exploring superspies, the tenth, but not final, has a lot to live up to. If the past few sequels are any indication, there’s really no telling what’s possible this time around. With the trailer promising a scene where Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto smashes two helicopters together with his car, it can only go up from there. The franchise welcomes newcomer Louis Leterrier as this installment’s director, however series mainstay Justin Lin did stick around to co-write the script. Since “Fast Five” in 2011, these movies have basically become Latino Avengers…but we’re not complaining.
“The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future” (In Theaters May 19th)
Blending elements of magical realism, environmental consciousness, and family drama, this uniquely crafted Chilean film is unlike anything else you’ll see this year. We had a chance to speak to the creatives behind the film in 2022 to learn more about the process of bringing such a singular vision to life. There’s not much we can say here that they don’t say much better. Be sure to check out our interview!
“Sanctuary” (In Theaters May 19th)
Can Christopher Abbott just stop being such a great actor who stars in a bunch of original, thought-provoking independent films? It’s like, we get it, you’re perfect. Enough already! However, it’ll probably be a long time until he decides to stop being amazing. Until then, that means more movies like “Sanctuary,” a sexy and original thriller about a dominatrix (Margaret Qualley) who blackmails a rich client (played by Abbott) after he tries to end their relationship. With its commentary on class, gender, sexuality, and more, “Sanctuary” is already on track to be one of the year’s best. And not just because the film currently has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that does help.
“Master Gardener” (In Theaters May 19th)
Paul Schrader’s really been on a roll lately. With “First Reformed,” “The Card Counter,” and now “Master Gardener,” Schrader seems to be completing his trilogy about flawed men who represent American institutions. “First Reformed” was about religion and climate change, “The Card Counter” was about war and wealth disparity, and now we have “Master Gardener.” The film, which stars a sorely-missed Joel Edgerton (“The Gift,” “The Great Gatsby”) — seriously, where has this guy been the last couple of years? — seems to focus more on class as it follows Edgerton’s titular character, a horticulturist who is suddenly confronted with the sins of his past. It’s nothing new for Schrader, thematically, but it’s impossible to ignore the run he’s been on lately.
“Moon Garden” (In Theaters May 19th)
There’s nothing better than gathering around the TV with some friends on a late night and watching an old horror movie. It’s a timeless way to spend a Sunday night and something we should all make a point to do regularly. That being said, it’s tough to find newer horror films that capture the spirit of those 80s classics. However, “Moon Garden” writer-director-editor-producer-production designer-art director Ryan Stevens Harris is giving it his all. Literally. Harris is a veritable one-man crew, shooting with expired film stock on decommissioned cameras to accurately capture the essence of those seminal horror movies and doing most of the heavy lifting himself. The film looks like an exciting debut from a promising new voice in the genre.
Although we usually only profile five or six films every Friday, this weekend is unbelievably stacked with great movies from all genres, all over the world. There’s just not enough room to give each one the props it deserves, but here’s a list of six more indies worth watching this week.
“The Night of the 12th” (In Theaters May 19th)
“Stay Awake” (In Theaters May 19th)
“Dark Nature” (In Theaters May 19th)
“Outpost” (In Theaters May 19th)
“White Building” (In Theaters May 19th)
“The Thief Collector” (In Theaters May 19th)
Josef Rodriguez is a writer, filmmaker, and film critic living in New York City.