Friday Film Roundup: The Thanksgiving Special

ENTERTAINMENTBy 2023-11-22T14:19:26-05:00November 22nd, 2023|
  • "Wish" (2023). Courtesy of Disney.

Yes, we know, it’s not Friday. But holiday releases are tricky like that. When it comes to the big ones, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, days off from school and work means more butts in seats halfway through the week. The late-year holiday weekends are a total grab bag, offering broadly appealing films for the whole family alongside the major Oscar contenders. This year is no exception. Whether you want to catch a flick with your family members this weekend or run to a theater to avoid them, this is a good weekend for the moviegoers.

“Wish” (In Theaters)

In honor of its centennial, Disney’s latest release is another addition to what made the company so popular in the first place – animated films. Although Disney does own Pixar, Walt Disney Animations stands alone as the Disney subdivision that has produced some of the most iconic animated films of all time. “Wish” stars Ariana DeBose as the newest Disney princess, Asha, who lives in the Kingdom of Rosas in the Mediterranean Sea.

In Rosas, everybody gets one wish on their eighteenth birthday. However, the wishes are not immediately granted and are, instead, stored by King Magnifico in his sprawling castle. When Asha, just before her 18th birthday, wishes upon a star, she summons one of them down to Earth to help liberate her people’s wishes and dethrone the king. DeBose, who is Dominican, will voice the first big-screen Disney princess in history. So, in a way, young Latinas everywhere are getting one of their own wishes granted, too.

“Napoleon” (In Theaters)

It was only a matter of time before Ridley Scott made a Napoleon biopic. The director whose battle sequences rival just about any filmmaker in history is quite possibly the only person who could have made this movie. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the titular military commander and is said to be jam-packed with some incredibly impressive action sequences.

However, the film is already inspiring some pretty divisive opinions, with many viewers lauding Scott’s characterization of Napoleon as an overgrown manchild while others say it paints the historical figure in an unnecessarily negative light. Regardless of your own personal opinion on the movie, we don’t think anyone expected “Napoleon” to be, of all things, an action-comedy.

“Monster” (In Theaters)

The latest from director Kore-eda Hirokazu is, unsurprisingly, being praised as yet another masterpiece from one of the all-time great Japanese filmmakers. “Monster” is another one of the director’s deceptively simple stories, centering this time around a mother-son relationship that begins to unravel after a fight in a classroom has consequences that extend far beyond busted lips and meetings with the principal.

“I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me” (Netflix)

This stranger-than-fiction tale from “Los Espookys” director Fernando Frías follows a Mexican writer who travels to Barcelona for a Master’s program, only to be caught up in a criminal organization involving his cousin. The film is based on a novel by Juan Pablo Villalobos that stars a character named…Juan Pablo Villalobos. It’s a very self-reflexive story about the line between fact and fiction, inspiration and retelling. After proving that he has the ability to effortlessly blend comedy, character, and violence during his directorial stint on “Los Espookys,” Frías seems like the perfect director to adapt Villalobos’ postmodern novel for the screen.

“Good Burger 2” (Paramount+)

Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger! Again! Look, is this straight-to-streaming sequel going to be able to touch the legacy of the 1997 original? Probably not. But the entire cast is back, there are a bunch of celebrity cameos, and there’s not a lot more to ask for when you can get Kenan and Kel. back on-screen together.

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