So many movies, so little time. Every week brings a new crop of them, opening in multiplexes and arthouse theaters across the nation, and arriving in increasingly high volumes on streaming platforms like Netflix. How’s a voracious moviegoer to keep up? That’s where The A.V. Club comes in. The first week of every month, we’ll be previewing all the major movies coming to theaters (or laptops or gaming systems or Rokus) near you, helping narrow down these upcoming releases by making educated guesses on whether they’re worth your time and money.
Wonder Woman launched a thousand thinkpieces about the state of women’s roles in superhero films, but the only expectation it needs to worry about fulfilling is being a good movie. Set during World War I, the film finds Amazon princess Diana (Gal Gadot) living with her people on the remote island of Themyscira. But after American pilot Steve Trevor crash-lands in her backyard and tells her about the global conflict raging beyond their borders, she decides it’s time to get involved. Traveling to London with Trevor, she sets out to bring an end to the carnage—by killing Ares, the god of war.
Will it be worth your time? Well, it’s a big step up from DC’s other recent blockbusters, in that stretches of it are actually fun and Gadot’s Wonder Woman isn’t a mopey bore. But at two-and-a-half-hours, it’s still an overlong superhero movie, and an unevenly paced one, too. The character deserves a better film; maybe she’ll get one eventually.
DreamWorks’ latest animated franchise contender, Captain Underpants, is based on the smash children’s series from Dav Pilkey about a couple of precocious fourth-graders who hypnotize their principal into believing that he’s the half-naked hero of their homemade comic book. A voice cast of comic ringers—including Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele, and Kristen Schaal—bring his funny, farty misadventures to life, and potentially bring in a hip, childless audience.
Will it be worth your time? Captain Underpants has a reputation for gross-out silliness that tends to win parents over (when they aren’t making it the most banned book in America). Toss in an eclectic animation style that’s a little more Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World than Shrek, and you end up with something that merits a look even if you’re not among the generation that grew up on these novels. But if you have a kid between the ages of 7 and 13, chances are this is a moot question.
A ticking-clock film where the clock ticks away for four long days, Churchill is an effort to give the former British Prime Minister the Lincoln treatment, zeroing in on a very small window of time as a means of capturing something fleeting but essential about the political leader. Meeting with General Eisenhower (John Slattery) and Marshal Montgomery (Julian Wadham) to finalize the invasion of Normandy, Brian Cox plays Churchill as a tempestuous, anxiety-ridden blusterer, fearful about repeating the Battle Of Gallipoli, which sent hundreds of thousands of men to their deaths.
Will it be worth your time? Director Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man) has done solid work in the past, but this is exactly the kind of project that threatens to devolve into prestige-filmmaking niceties. It’s unclear if Churchill will possess enough of the audacious spirit of its subject to do him justice, but fans of “Great Men Of History” character studies will likely find much to enjoy.
Politely deadpan comedian Demetri Martin has a childlike whimsy and a talent for doodling that naturally lends itself to playing Dean, the arrested-development-suffering illustrator at the wounded heart of his directorial debut. Dean is a lost soul grieving the recent death of his mother, a break-up with his fiancée, and the general ennui suffered by all sensitive men. He journeys to L.A. on a path of self-discovery that’s helped along by a new love interest (Gillian Jacobs) and paralleled by his widower father (Kevin Kline), who’s tentatively exploring his own new romance with a realtor (Mary Steenburgen).
Will it be worth your time? It depends on how you feel about Martin’s clever yet slightly precious approach to comedy. Dean eventually rallies for a pretty affecting ending that casts what came before it in a moving new light. Before that, however, it’s mostly just a showcase for the star’s persona—and not an especially memorable one.
Life In Pieces star Zoe Lister-Jones wrote and directed this low-budget comedy about the cure for all dysfunctional relationships: starting a band. Lister-Jones and Adam Pally play a frustrated couple whose lapsed creative endeavors have only intensified their bickering, complaints they decide—in the tradition of Fleetwood Mac and other artists who hate each other—to put into song. Also, Fred Armisen does his Fred Armisen thing on the drums.
Will it be worth your time? Band Aid got a warm reception at Sundance, where critics praised its deadpan humor and affecting character work for overcoming a gimmicky premise (and that’s not to mention the surprisingly catchy songs, which Lister-Jones also co-wrote). Fittingly, the film has the appeal of a really solid, though not particularly groundbreaking, local indie-rock group; there are worse ways you could spend your nights.
Veteran British stage director David Leveaux makes his film debut in this World War II-set drama about a Nazi officer (Jai Courtney) who is sent to occupied Holland in 1940 to keep on eye on the deposed German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer) and ends up having an affair with a Dutch spy (Lily James). Adapted from a novel called The Kaiser’s Last Kiss by Alan Judd by the playwright and TV writer Simon Burke (also making his film debut), the film boasts a solid supporting cast, with Janet McTeer as Wilhelm II’s wife, Princess Hermine, and Eddie Marsan as Heinrich Himmler, the meerkat-faced commander of the SS.
Will it be worth your time? Based on its subject and pedigree, The Exception has all the makings of a competent but unremarkable piece of work. However, in an unusual move for indie powerhouse A24 (Moonlight, The Lobster, The Witch, Green Room, etc.), the film isn’t being screened for the press. That rarely bodes well.
The writer-director team of Mike White and Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl, Chuck & Buck) takes on the immigration debate in Beatriz At Dinner, starring a soulful, makeup-free Salma Hayek as Beatriz, a Mexican immigrant who works as a holistic healer in Los Angeles. After her car breaks down, Beatriz is invited to stay for dinner at one of her wealthy clients’ homes, where she comes face-to-face with the antithesis of everything she stands for: piggish, Trump-esque real-estate developer Doug Strutt (John Lithgow).
Will it be worth your time? A comedy of manners for the Trump era, Beatriz At Dinner would have the benefit of being extremely topical even without positive remarks on Hayek’s performance from critics at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Because all dead Hollywood franchises must eventually rise from their tombs, here again is the mustiest and most magical of the Universal monsters, looking a little more spry than your usual bandaged, lurching Egyptian terror. Though unrelated to the Brendan Fraser trilogy of Indiana Jones wannabes, this Mummy similarly appears to minimize horror in favor of action, with Tom Cruise in full running-and-jumping Ethan Hunt mode as an adventurer pitted against the ancient princess (Star Trek Beyond’s Sofia Boutella) he accidentally awakens from her desert crypt. Go-to franchise screenwriter Alex Kurtzman (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) steps behind the camera of his latest blockbuster bid, orchestrating a familiar jamboree of leaping CGI beasties and giant, fearsome faces materializing out of sandstorms.
Will it be worth your time? Cruise is never more likable than when he’s getting knocked around for our amusement, so it’s promising that one of The Mummy’s numerous authors is Edge Of Tomorrow writer Christopher McQuarrie. The real question is whether the film will deliver standalone thrills, à la the Mission: Impossible series, or just feel like a glorified preview for future monster mashes, given that it appears to be the first in Universal’s plan to build an Avengers-style “dark universe” for its classic creatures. Either way, we have a hunch the finished film won’t be nearly as much fun as this.
In a rare leading role, the veteran cowboy character actor Sam Elliott stars as, well, a veteran cowboy character actor whose career has dead-ended into fan conventions and doing voice-over work for barbecue commercials. Writer-director Brett Haley previously worked with Elliott on I’ll See You In My Dreams, and as with that septuagenarian-centered ensemble drama, most of the interest here lies in the cast, which includes Krysten Ritter as the Elliott character’s predictably estranged daughter and Nick Offerman as his pot dealer.
Will it be worth your time? Elliott’s performance drew praise when The Hero premiered at Sundance earlier this year, though critics seem to have less kind words for the script, Haley’s direction, and the overall finished product.
Director Trey Edward Shults explores a different, more explicit horror in It Comes At Night, the follow-up to his wrenching family drama Krisha. Starring Joel Edgerton as a paranoid woodsman, Carmen Ejogo as his heavily-armed wife, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. as their insomniac teenage son, the film imagines post-apocalyptic horror on a micro scale, depicting the violent fallout of a breach of trust among a small band of survivors hiding out from an unnamed plague.
Will it be worth your time? The A.V. Club caught the world premiere of It Comes At Night at the inaugural Overlook Film Festival, where we predicted Shults’ symbolically loaded, intensely grim film would become one of the buzziest horror titles of the summer.
Journeyman director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Hyde Park On Hudson) takes on Daphne Du Maurier’s windswept British mystery novel. Appropriately enough, it features many cobblestone streets and moments of candle-lit intrigue, and also features Rachel Weisz hiding gothically behind veils as the title character.
Will it be worth your time? Michell lacks any defining style, but Du Maurier’s novels and short stories—best known through film adaptations like Rebecca, The Birds, and Don’t Look Now—are noir urtexts, and the film promises lots of good-looking people (including Game Of Thrones’ Iain Glen) standing around in good-looking places. If that sounds enticing to you, you will probably be happy.
Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite tackles a very different story about the relationship between man and beast in this inspirational based-on-a-true-story drama about a Marine (Kate Mara) and the bomb-sniffing German shepherd who helps her search for roadside IEDs in the aftermath of the Iraq War. Boasting an unlikely shared screenplay credit for comedian Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids) and ’90s sap specialist Pamela Gray (Music Of The Heart, A Walk On The Moon), the film marks Cowperthwaite’s first foray outside of documentary film.
Will it be worth your time? We’ll admit that this looks as sentimental as can be, but given Cowperthwaite’s background in non-fiction, we’d like to believe that this will be the rare heart-warmer with its feet planted firmly on the ground.
Pixar’s bad case of sequelitis flares up again with this latest (and maybe final?) entry in the studio’s hit franchise/merchandising gold mine. Part three is a comeback story, with racing champ Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) struggling to keep up with a younger generation of NASCAR hotshots; he’ll mount what could be his final bid for glory with the help of a young race technician (Cristela Alonzo). Rather than step back into the driver’s seat, John Lasseter cedes directing duties to Pixar animation-department veteran Brian Fee, who populates the series’ terrifying and confusing world of anthropomorphized automobiles with some new voice talent, including Armie Hammer, Nathan Fillion, and Chris Cooper.
Will it be worth your time? Well, at least this one doesn’t stick Larry The Cable Guy front and center. But even if Cars 3 improves upon Cars 2, which is generally considered the rustiest jalopy on the Pixar lot, returning to this sputtering property yet again feels like the animation house’s most creatively suspect move ever. And the inspirational clichés in the trailer don’t fill our tank with confidence.
After languishing in development for nearly as long as Tupac Shakur got to enjoy rap stardom, the biopic of one of hip-hop’s most fascinating artists finally arrives, promising to offer a look at his life that hasn’t already been told in countless documentaries, TV specials, or his own songs. Dead ringer newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. plays the late Makaveli in this story of Tupac’s upbringing among the Black Panthers, his rivalry with The Notorious B.I.G., and his imprisonment, with occasional pauses for performances of officially licensed music.
Will it be worth your time? Tupac has a nigh-mythical hold over hip-hop—there’s a reason rumors persist that he’s still alive—and his story remains one of music’s most naturally dramatic, tinged with timely racial politics; embodying an epochal era of explosive creativity; and ending in a tragic, still-unsolved murder. That said, music biopics have a way of muddling even the liveliest subjects with their blandly formulaic structures. The fact that it’s recruited Notorious star Jamal Woolard to reprise his role as Biggie Smalls suggests it’ll have to work extra hard if it has higher aspirations beyond being future VH1 filler.
A veritable who’s who of comedy stars comes together for one wild night followed by one awful morning in Rough Night. Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell, and Kate McKinnon all star as a group of friends that reunite for a bachelorette weekend in Miami 10 years after graduating from college. But the partying takes a fatal turn when the male stripper they hired for the festivities turns up dead.
Will it be worth your time? This particular premise has been explored before, albeit with a group of male friends (see: 1998’s Very Bad Things). But with a script by Broad City writers Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs, hopefully Rough Night can transcend the clichés and become more than just Bridesmaids with a corpse.
The Armageddon to Gifted’s Deep Impact: a modestly budgeted movie about a precocious whiz kid suffering the indignity of public school in a small town, made by a director who rode a calling-card indie romance straight into the tentpole-franchise big leagues. The difference is that The Book Of Henry is being pitched as a thriller. Donning goggles yet again, Midnight Special’s Jaeden Lieberher plays the precocious title character, who begins to suspect that something dark is afoot at the home of his new neighbor, Christina (dancer Maddie Ziegler, of Sia music video fame). The promising cast includes Naomi Watts as Henry’s mother, Room’s Jacob Tremblay as his younger brother, and Dean Norris as the potential creep next door. Directed by Jurassic World (and, eventually, Star Wars: Episode IX) helmer Colin Trevorrow, the film was originally set to be released last year.
Will it be worth your time? It depends on whether you thought Safety Not Guaranteed and Jurassic World were mildly enjoyable, or can’t shake the feeling that Trevorrow only directs films in order to improve his résumé.
From the same wellspring of don’t-go-swimming anxiety that brought you Open Water and The Shallows comes this latest suspense thriller about a small cast of characters stranded in unfriendly waters with some hungry sharks. 47 Meters Down ups the claustrophobia and ticking-clock urgency by trapping its human chum—two sisters played by Mandy Moore and Claire Holt—inside a small, boxy shark tank with a dwindling oxygen supply, as giant leviathans circle in wait.
Will it be worth your time? Director Johannes Roberts’ last movie, The Other Side Of The Door, wasn’t exactly a master class of horror, and some of the imagery in the trailer suggests that the deep aquatic setting might render the action nearly incomprehensible. Still, going back to the granddaddy of the genre, there are few better uses for a lazy summer day than watching meaty swimmers dodge the chomping teeth of an oversize fish. In other words, even a bad Jaws knockoff can be good fun.
A quiet and understated look at the life of Canadian outsider artist Maud Lewis, Maudie follows the unique painter (played by Sally Hawkins) from her first days on her own after her older brother sells the family house. Moving in to work as a cook and maid for the brusque fisherman whom she would one day marry (Ethan Hawke), she’s then observed through the years as her passion for painting eventually brings her international fame—even Richard Nixon asks for one of her pieces.
Will it be worth your time? Regardless of their other qualities, biopics often live or die by the central performance of their star, and by that measure, Maudie seems to be a winner. Hawkins has received near-universal praise for her performance as the reclusive artist, and even if the picture isn’t as superlative as her work, the minimalist narrative and refusal to change gears from start to finish seem a fitting framework for such a steady, unhurried life.
The crucial yet sadly under-celebrated role of film composer finally takes center stage in this documentary, which grew out of a successful crowdfunding campaign. First-time director Matt Schrader has compiled interviews with more than 50 of the biggest names in movie scoring and the filmmakers who’ve worked with them, a roster that includes John Williams, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, Quincy Jones, Thomas Newman, Rachel Portman, Alexandre Desplat, Howard Shore, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross, plus many more names that should be familiar to people who enjoy listening to movies as much as watching them.
Will it be worth your time? If you’re even slightly into film scores—or just curious about the process of how they’re created—then this promises to be a long-overdue celebration.
Michael Bay—the emperor of excess, the potentate of pyrotechnics, the kaiser of the canted angle, the sultan of saturation—could not content himself with just three or even four loud, overlong Transformers movies. No, the Bay-man has blessed us with a fifth entry in his signature toy-based franchise, and this one promises to up the series’ reliably high per-film average of inane backstory by tossing some nonsense about King Arthur and The Knights Of The Round Table and an exposition-spouting Anthony Hopkins into the mix. Mark Wahlberg, the confused-looking Marlene Dietrich to Bay’s idiot-savant Josef Von Sternberg, reprises his role as “a scientist, somehow” while the very serious robots who turn into cars continue doing their boom-ka-bang-choo-choo-choo thing.
Will it be worth your time? On the one hand, the last film in this moribund series, the all-too-fittingly named Transformers: Age Of Extinction, suggested that Bay had run out of ideas about what to do with giant space-bots, and even managed to make fire-breathing robot dinosaurs boring. On the other, this looks kind of awesome in the dumbest possible way.
Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation, Marie Antoinette) puts her own elegant, sensitive spin on an early-’70s Clint Eastwood curiosity, set during the waning years of the American Civil War. Colin Farrell takes over for squinty Clint as the wounded Union soldier seducing the Confederate belles that give him shelter within their secluded, all-girls seminary school. Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning are three of the women negotiating their desire for—and suspicions about—this deceptive stranger laid up down the hall from their bedrooms.
Will it be worth your time? Those hoping for a radical reinvention of the Don Siegel original may be disappointed; though it’s been billed as a second adaptation of the Thomas Cullinan novel, as opposed to an official remake of the Eastwood version, this Beguiled sticks pretty close to the plotting of the last one. That said, Coppola unearths a subtler emotional dimension in the material, twisting camp into tense psychodrama, and her recreation of the wartime environment—all lush forest exteriors and hushed, candlelit interiors—is especially enveloping. Not for nothing did she win Best Director at Cannes just a few days ago.
Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani and his wife and podcast co-host, Emily V. Gordon, retell their real-life courtship: a meet-cute that morphed into a relationship, before taking an unlikely left turn into a medical crisis. Written by the couple, directed by Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name Is Doris), and produced by Judd Apatow, the film was a big hit at Sundance, where audiences swooned for its lightly fictionalized love story, buoyed by strong performances by Zoe Kazan, who plays the onscreen version of Gordon, and Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, who step in as her concerned ’rents.
Will it be worth your time? Yes. The Big Sick may sound navel-gazing in its anecdotal inspiration, but it’s an immensely likable romantic comedy about the challenges of cross-cultural dating and the strange business of bonding with the parents of your significant other. It’s also the best thing that Judd Apatow has been attached to in years; for once, the extended running time—that general Apatow bagginess—feels entirely earned.
Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpur follows her critically acclaimed vampire mood piece A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night with another stylized genre riff, this one about a young loner (Suki Waterhouse) escaping the clutches of cannibalistic bodybuilders in futuristic Texas, which has been transformed into a desert exile zone for society’s undesirables. Expect deadpan star cameos (Keanu Reeves; a certain comedy superstar, nearly unrecognizable as a mute hermit), ironically repurposed pop songs, and lots of loudly symbolic imagery to remind you that this nightmare dystopian America ain’t so different than the real one.
Will it be worth your time? Mileage will vary, as they say, and The Bad Batch may look more resonant today than it did on the festival circuit last fall, just as all art that exaggerates the less savory, more ruthless aspects of our culture suddenly does. But plenty of critics, ours included, found the film to be a tediously chic and obvious sci-fi satire—like Mad Max by way of a Vice photo shoot. Something tells us it won’t improve under the harsh glow of Trump’s America.
The great Bertrand Tavernier (Coup De Torchon, ‘Round Midnight) belongs to the storied French tradition of cinephile directors, and in this 195-minute documentary, he offers a exhaustive personal tour through lesser-known corners of French (and, by extension, global) film history, from the 1930s work of composer Marcel Joubert to the B-movies of the pockmarked American-expat-turned-French-pulp-icon Eddie Constantine.
Will it be worth your time? More than three hours might sound like a serious chunk of time, but few filmmakers are more lively in their insights into the work of others than Tavernier, a former film critic who, in addition to making his own movies, serves as the president of the Institut Lumière, a museum devoted to early cinema. Those looking for a taste are directed to The Lumiere Brothers’ First Films, his perspicacious hour-long overview of the career and artistry of the seminal sibling filmmakers.
Edgar Wright’s latest vehicle is an ode to vehicles—more specifically, it’s a movie about a getaway driver for robberies. Ansel Elgort stars as the titular wheel man, a taciturn oddball whose hearing damage is self-treated by a constant barrage of music. The film finds him pairing up with a group of bank robbers (including Jon Hamm, Eiza González, and Jamie Foxx) to pull off “one last job” as masterminded by kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey). Things don’t go smoothly, as you might imagine.
Will it be worth your time? It’s the new Edgar Wright film—of course it’s worth your time. What might surprise his devotees, though, is the dark tone that eventually overtakes the movie, a grimy narrative and bleak perspective that feels unusual coming from the normally humanist auteur. It’s clear Wright is paying homage to the down ’n’ dirty car chase films he loves, so the shift in tone is understandable—and speaking of shifts, this film has chase sequences that should make the Fast And Furious team burn (rubber) with envy.
A giant and gentle swine, her adorable preteen owner, radical animal-rights activists, a reality-TV competition, a manic Animal Planet-style host, genetic engineering, and twin corporate moguls played by Tilda Swinton are a few of the elements tossed into the blender of this crazed, futuristic fantasia by visionary South Korean director Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, Mother). Netflix has acquired the rights to the movie, but the streaming company is thankfully also releasing it in a handful of theaters; Bong’s high-energy cartoon spectacle deserves to be seen on a big screen, not just on living-room TVs and laptops.
Will it be worth your time? This is the closest Bong has come to reviving the genre free-for-all of his best movie, The Host. But while spirited and never less than diverting, Okja’s blend of high-concept satire, monster-movie mayhem, and girl-and-her-pig Spielbergian sentiment doesn’t cohere as neatly. At Cannes, it looked like a loopy mess, albeit one bursting with plenty of visual inspiration.
The House That The Minions Built is back for a third trip around the Despicable Me track, this time with Steve Carell playing both reformed supervillain Gru and his wealthier, less follically challenged long-lost twin brother, Dru. Along with Carell and returning co-star Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker comes on board as ’80s-obsessed jewel thief Balthazar Brett, his first role in a (children’s) animated movie. But the real draw, at least for elementary-school set, are those blabbering, be-goggled, yellow thumb-shaped guys.
Will it be worth your time? Do you really want to be the only adult sitting alone in a theater full of rowdy, Minions-obsessed tots and their guardians?
Oh, goody, another movie where Will Ferrell plays a wimpish buttoned-down square who gets in over his head in some of kind extra-legal enterprise. Ferrell and Amy Poehler play a suburban couple who open an underground casino in their basement to pay for their daughter’s college tuition; hilarity (or at least mild chuckling) ensues. First-time director Andrew J. Cohen spent almost 15 years climbing up through the Apatow-McKay-Ferrell-verse, working from being a personal assistant on Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, to helming self-indulgent Funny Or Die shorts about James Franco, to co-writing Neighbors.
Will it be worth your time? If you’ve seen The Other Guys and Get Hard, then you’re already two-thirds of the way through the Will Ferrell Financial Crime Trilogy and might as well go in for the grand finale. (Also, this looks like it could be kind of funny.)
Produced by current king of low-budget horror Jason Blum and distributed by the Weinsteins, this long-delayed umpteenth installment in the haunted-house franchise finds a single mother (newly minted Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh) moving her family into the titular property. Things get spooky, but not before teenage daughter Bella Thorne can meet cute with classmate Thomas Mann, who provides the scoop on their cursed new digs.
Will it be worth your time? A better question might be, “Does this movie really exist? And if so, will it ever open?” Originally scheduled for a January 2015 debut, The Awakening has moved multiple times in the two and a half years since, most recently from January of this year—a position on the calendar it abandoned basically last minute, in a typical move from the Weinsteins, who play this maddening game of release-date musical chairs on the regular. Assuming the movie is real and not just some moaning specter of franchises past, it’s probably safe to ignore, like that strange sound coming from your attic in the dead of night.
Famed documentarian Errol Morris has tackled big themes and big people in previous films (tabloids! murder! Donald Rumsfeld!), but here he trains his focus his friend, photographer Elsa Dorfman. The film documents her early years photographing NYC intelligentsia and Beat artists up through a long career of portraiture, in the process creating something of an elegy for analog film technology itself.
Will it be worth your time? With The B-Side, Morris seems to be aiming for something more personal and low-key in its pleasures. The results may not be as absorbing as, say, a penetrating long-form interview with a war criminal, but it’d be unusual for Morris to sign his name to anything less than interesting.
Just one week after The Beguiled, along comes its almost-spoof: a comedy, set in the 14th century, about three lonely, horny nuns (Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, and Kate Micucci) circling the servant (Dave Franco) hiding out from his master at their convent. It’s bawdy, it’s silly, it’s anachronistic—and it scored big laughs at Sundance, thanks not just to its game leads, but also a supporting cast that includes John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Nick Offerman, and a very funny Fred Armisen.
Will it be worth your time? There’s a little bit of Monty Python, a little bit of Mel Brooks, and plenty of a more modern comedic sensibility in Jeff Baena’s loose, broad spin on The Decameron. Many of the jokes land, even if the film itself is too featherweight to stick in the memory long term. But funny is funny.