Labor Day is sneaking up on us, kids are getting in their back-to-school routines, but you can escape the summer season winding down by watching a new movie this weekend. There are plenty of places to see them with theaters back up and running and new films still streaming at home to entertain you and your family.
This weekend, Ryan Reynolds is a video game good guy on a mission in a colorful action comedy, Jennifer Hudson channels the Queen of Soul in a musical biopic, John David Washington goes on the lam in a Netflix action thriller, and a deaf family with a hearing daughter are at the center of a heartwarming Sundance fave.
Here’s a guide to new movies that’ll satisfy every cinematic taste:
If you’re caught up on ‘Ted Lasso’ and need another hit of optimism: ‘Free Guy’
Reynolds stars as Guy, a bank teller in an ultra-violent “Grand Theft Auto”-type game living every day surrounded by chaos and destruction until he meets a cool and mysterious British woman (Jodie Comer). Guy gets a crash course in being his best self and learning how to be a hero in a fun and feel-good flick filled with A-list cameos, clever references and a surprisingly deep message about free will.
Where to watch: In theaters
If you’re still mad Jennifer Hudson didn’t win ‘American Idol’: ‘Respect’
An otherwise conventional and so-so musical drama about two formative decades in Aretha Franklin’s life gets lifted every time Hudson hits the screen, belts out a number and takes you to church as the legendary soul singer. The story follows Franklin from childhood to her 20s, dealing with an overbearing preacher father (Forest Whitaker) and abusive manager husband (Marlon Wayans) on the way to finding her voice.
Where to watch: In theaters
If you need a great movie (and a good cry): ‘CODA’
Director Siân Heder’s fabulous dramedy features newcomer Emilia Jones as Ruby, the hearing child of two deaf parents (Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur). A key part of her family’s fishing business, Ruby’s soon torn between those obligations and exploring her singing talent. A focus on inclusivity and the deaf community give familiar coming-of-age and teen romance tropes a welcome refresh in a movie that’ll make your heart grow at least a few sizes.
Where to watch: In theaters and on Apple TV+
If you’re a John Boyega super-fan: ‘Naked Singularity’
He didn’t get much time with a lightsaber in the recent “Star Wars” movies but at least Boyega gets busy with a samurai sword in this quirky effort, which starts as an intriguing satire about the legal system before turning into a middling crime thriller. Boyega plays a stressed-out New York City public defender questioning his career when he gets pulled into a drug heist by an erratic former client (Olivia Cooke).
Where to watch: In theaters and on Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play
If you dig John David Washington’s action-hero vibe: ‘Beckett’
The “Tenet” star is an everyman on the run in a European landscape in this decent throwback to 1970s paranoia thrillers with a Hitchcockian edge. Washington plays an American tourist vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend (Alicia Vikander) when they get into a gnarly car accident, and soon our hero is sucked into a conspiracy that finds him pursued by dogged villains and grabbing various modes of transportation to stay alive.
Where to watch: Netflix
If and only if you’re a young-adult completist: ‘The Kissing Booth 3’
While the first two “Kissing” installments made for decent teen-movie comfort food, the trilogy-closer is a wet, sloppy finish. Newly graduated Elle (Joey King) spends one last summer with her friends, though she has a big choice: matriculate at Harvard with boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi) or head to Cal-Berkeley with lifelong bestie Lee (Joel Courtney). Entirely skippable unless you just have to see a “Mario Kart” game brought to cheesy life by King and friends.
Where to watch: Netflix
If you’re all about stranger-than-fiction tales: ‘The Suicide Squad: Missione Suicicde’
The Suicide Squad is a 2021 American superhero film based on DC Comics featuring the team Suicide Squad. Produced by DC Films, Atlas Entertainment, and The Safran Company, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is a standalone sequel to Suicide Squad (2016) and the tenth film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It was written and directed by James Gunn and stars an ensemble cast including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Michael Rooker, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, Alice Braga, and Pete Davidson. In the film, a task force of convicts known as the Suicide Squad are sent to the island nation of Corto Maltese to destroy evidence of the giant alien starfish Starro the Conqueror.
Where to watch: HBO MAX
If you want to see what it’s like to be a kid these days: ‘Homeroom’
The thought-provoking documentary chronicles the senior class of California’s Oakland High School during their 2019-20 school year, where the diverse student population prepares for the future, fights to get rid of an on-campus police force and then out of nowhere gets sent home when COVID-19 strikes. That’s when the film gets real, following the kids as they face virtual graduations and rally for change in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
Where to watch: Hulu