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Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington star in "Amsterdam." Photo courtesy of IMDb.

OPINION: Weekend Watches: What to watch (and avoid) this weekend


With the fall movie season nearly in full swing, you might find yourself spending more time deciding what movie to watch than actually watching. But don’t you worry, darling — The Daily Lobo is here with a guide on the most notable films coming to theaters or streaming on Friday, Oct. 7, to hopefully save you from hours of indecision.

Amsterdam (In Theaters)

If there’s any movie that you should do everything in your power to avoid, it’s this one. Say what you want about the cast (Taylor Swift, Robert De Niro and Mike Myers are just a few interesting notables) or some of the behind-the-scenes talent (most notably Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki), the film is still directed by David O. Russell. This serves as sufficient reason to ignore the film entirely.

If the abuse and assault allegations against O. Russell are somehow not enough to keep you away from this film, perhaps the extremely lukewarm critical reception will. Regardless, there are too many other options for you to choose from this weekend for “Amsterdam” to even be in consideration. Don’t watch this movie.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (In Theaters)

Okay, just hear me out: Shawn Mendes as a giant CGI anthropomorphic singing crocodile. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like just the right kind of absurd escapism that only cinema can provide.

Yes, perhaps the film is a children’s movie, but that didn’t stop everyone from going absolutely bananas for “Minions: Rise of Gru.” It could serve as a nice palette cleanser before a long list of Oscar hopefuls release in the coming months, each of which will probably make you feel anything but whatever “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” might make you feel. If you’re just looking for a good time, regardless if the film is good or bad, it’s hard not to reccomend this one.

Hellraiser (Hulu)

The last “Hellraiser” film released was 2018’s “Hellraiser: Judgment,” the most recent in a long line of straight-to-video “Hellraiser” films; the last “Hellraiser” movie to be released in theaters was 1996’s “Hellraiser: Bloodline” almost thirty years ago. This year, “Hellraiser” is back, although still not on the big screen.

This latest iteration seeks to reboot the franchise in a similar fashion to 2018’s “Halloween.” The biggest draw for this film is Jamie Clayton’s turn as the infamous Pinhead. The character, which has been historically male, has been reimagined in an androgenous form. Reviews from the film aren’t overwhelmingly positive, but certainly good enough to warrant a watch for those looking to stay in this weekend — if you decide to watch any new release this weekend, I would make it this one.

Luckiest Girl Alive (Netflix)

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Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention whatever hogwash happens to be getting churned out of Netflix’s constant content wheel (the film is only distributed by Netflix, however I wouldn’t blame you for thinking it was just another in a long line of sub-par originals). This week, it just so happens to be an adaptation of Jessica Knoll’s 2015 novel “Luckiest Girl Alive.”

While there isn’t a lot about this project that stands out (Mila Kunis isn’t exactly on the top of my list of best working actors), the screenplay was penned by Knoll herself — a rare instance of an author adapting their own work for the screen. Combine that with the ever-so popular true-crime genre, and you’ll probably have a remotely passable mystery-thriller that’ll make for a decent, safe choice for a weekend movie night with friends.

Catherine Called Birdy (Amazon Prime Video)

Another one to avoid: Lena Dunham’s latest release this year, (coming after the absolutely abysmal “Sharp Stick”), “Catherine Called Birdy” sees Dunham fulfilling a passion project in adapting Karen Cushman’s 1994 novel of the same name.

Despite generally favorable reviews, the film still seems to contain a large amount of the usual Dunham-isms that will either lead you to loving this film or reaching for whatever blunt object is nearby to smash your television with. Either way, the only reason one should even consider this film is for Bella Ramsey’s stand-out work in the titular role ahead of her hotly anticipated turn as Ellie in HBO’s television adaptation of “The Last of Us.” Other than that, though, you’d be largely better off skipping this one.

Werewolf By Night (Disney+)

Out of everything on this list, this one is by far the biggest question mark. Announced a little under a month ago at the D23 expo, this TV special is the first “Marvel Studios Special Presentation” within the regular Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. Not only that, but it’s directed by Micahel Giacchino — yes, the composer responsible for the iconic scores behind films like “The Incredibles” and “Up.”

Not much is known about the special aside from a brief trailer and plot synopsis. The special is likely to tie in to the upcoming “Blade” film, but the trailer doesn’t seem to indicate very many direct MCU connections. With Gael García Bernal in the lead role, a brisk 52-minute runtime and a very classic creature-feature vibe, it seems pretty promising, unlike most other upcoming MCU projects.

While Albuquerque doesn’t have the privilege of garnering limited-release films (you’ll have to wait a bit longer for Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness” and Todd Fields’ “TÁR”), I hope that these options provide some sort of satiation in the meanwhile.

John Scott is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at editorinchief@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @JScott050901

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