Friday Film Roundup: The Little Mermaid, The Machine, Kandahar, and More

ENTERTAINMENTBy 2023-09-08T16:54:40-04:00May 26th, 2023|
  • Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to LATINA’s Friday Film Roundup, our weekly picks for the new movie releases on our radar.

Somehow, on the same weekend that Disney’s “Little Mermaid” remake comes to theaters, so do two films based on the stand-up routines of two of the world’s most popular comedians. It’s hard to believe that this weekend, in movie theaters across the country, Bert Kreischer fans will be occupying the same space as a bunch of kids who just want to put copious amounts of butter on their popcorn and watch Ariel sing some songs. But it’s a wild world we live in!

“The Little Mermaid” (In Theaters May 26th)

It’s been a long, weird, uncomfortable road to this live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” The moment Disney announced Halle Bailey in the titular role, conservative media went absolutely insane, seemingly for months on end. Now that the movie is out and the controversy has died down, the film is on track to be one of the summer’s biggest releases. Critics are loving Bailey as Ariel, even if they don’t love the movie surrounding her. However, the biggest Disney fans (most of them small children) are all in. And that’s really what matters, right?

“Kandahar” (In Theaters May 26th)

Another year, another Gerard Butler movie I’ll never get around to seeing that somehow ends up making like $100 million at the box office. I have nothing against the guy, or the movies he makes, but it just seems like the minute one of them leaves theaters, another one enters. Didn’t “Plane” just come out three months ago? Regardless, Butler is reteaming with his frequent collaborator, director Ric Roman Waugh, for their latest release, “Kandahar.” Butler and Waugh have worked on three films together thus far, with two more already in the works. This latest effort follows Butler as a CIA operative who gets stranded in Afghanistan after uncovering a covert mission. Not unlike Guy Ritchie’s new film, “The Covenant,” “Kandahar” is a gritty spy thriller starring one of America’s favorite action stars.

“The Machine” (In Theaters May 26th)

If you’ve even heard the name Bert Kreischer at some point in the last ten years, you probably know the story about how he got involved with the Russian Mafia. It’s the story that made him famous, one he continues to tell on the road today. His new film, “The Machine” — a reference to the nickname given to him the Russian Mafia — is a kind of retelling of that story. However, the movie goes back and forth between an adaptation of the original yarn, starring Jimmy Tatro as a younger Bert, while present day Kreischer gets kidnapped by the Russian Mafia alongside his father (played by Mark Hamill) after his first debaucherous outing with them 20 years prior. Kreischer fans know what they’re getting into and will, without a doubt, absolutely love this movie. For the uninitiated, it might be one of the most unexpected comedy movies you’ll see this year. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you.

“About My Father” (In Theaters May 26th)

Interestingly enough, there’s another high-profile stadium comic coming out with a movie this weekend. Not only that, it’s also based on the comic’s actual standup routine. Italian jokester Sebastian Maniscalco, who’s made a name for himself telling hilarious anecdotes about his family, stars alongside Robert DeNiro in a “Meet the Fockers” style culture clash between Maniscalco’s loud Italian clan and his WASP-y in-laws. If you’ve seen Maniscalco’s comedy, you know that it’s extremely physical and relies almost entirely on the comic’s unique style and cadence. It’ll be interesting to see how that translates to a screenplay and a whole cast of characters, but if Kreischer can do it, why not Maniscalco, too?

“The Wrath of Becky” (In Theaters May 26th)

You may not have seen 2020’s under-the-radar horror film “Becky,” but you really should. It stars, wait for it, Kevin James in the single best performance of his entire career. It is genuinely a lot of fun to watch and one of those movies that just begs to become a franchise. Well, fans of the movie are in luck because the 2023 sequel, “The Wrath of Becky,” is here! The new film picks up two years after the original and follows Becky as she tries to start a new life. Of course, she’s confronted with another gang of goons and has to revert to her “Home-Alone”-but-actual-murder ways. James doesn’t reprise his role in the sequel but, in keeping with the idea of having comic actors do serious roles, they swap him out with the criminally underrated Seann William Scott. The sequel is actually getting better reviews than the original. We might just have our next great horror franchise, ladies and gents.

“You Hurt My Feelings” (In Theaters May 26th)

Now, if you’re looking to preserve your hearing this weekend, “You Hurt My Feelings” might be the movie for you. This is going to be a very loud weekend at the movies. Nicole Holofcener’s latest release is, by contrast, a sharply funny and understated domestic dramedy about two people learning to accept that they can’t always be the other’s favorite. The film stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as a successful novelist releasing her new book. One day, she overhears her husband speaking privately with a friend about how he’s not too crazy about it despite telling her it’s some of her best work. Like any great indie drama, that seed of an idea spreads into a more all-encompassing look at relationships, communication, honesty, and love. Holofcener hasn’t made a bad movie yet and, judging by the reviews for this one, she’s only getting better.

Josef Rodriguez is a writer, filmmaker, and film critic living in New York City.