Opening Wednesday, Aug. 28: Don't Let Go Shed no tears for Blumhouse Productions. Even though their The Hunt got 86-ed due to our Commander-in-Chief's misfocused rage, the studio has another film all ready to go. That would be this weekend's Don't Let Go, in which David Oyelowo (yep, ol' MLK himself) receives a chilling phone call from his dead niece. Critics have been falling all over themselves to point out conceptual similarities to 2000's Frequency, apparently forgetting that the original Twilight Zone had dead people phoning their living relatives every time the former's ectoplasmic little fingers could fish a dime out of the sofa. What counts is there's no way this Blumhouse offering is going to meet with the disfavor of the White House – until Trump decides that every black American who has a phone got it free from Obama and needs to give it back. Wait, he doesn't read this, does he? (R)
The Fanatic Why is it that every time John Travolta makes a movie, you have to consult the Vegas odds of it ever coming out? His 2017 biopic Gotti was pulled by its original distributor two weeks before release; half a year later, it had a brief theatrical run that was, shall we say, not a success. A similar cloud of uncertainty hangs over Travolta's new picture, The Fanatic, which may or may not be going to a few theaters this weekend before it heads to streaming to die. Just in case it does show up and you're provisionally interested, the movie is about an autistic superfan who stalks a horror-film actor, with the help of a female celebrity photographer. Wow, there's so much potential for offense there you almost can't believe Fred Durst directed the thing. (Helpful note to critics: The touchstone you're looking for here is 1996's The Fan, although comparisons to The King of Comedy will really make you look smart. As Fred Durst would say, that movie is the real muthaf*in' deal, y'all!) (R)
Ne Zha A record-breaker in its native China, this animated fantasy based on a classic folktale is set to open on one Orlando-area screen as we go to press. Possible roadblocks: a new development in the tariff war, or somebody finds out John Travolta is in it. (NR; opens Friday at Regal Waterford Lakes & IMAX)
Also playing: Luce In an adaptation of the Off-Broadway play of the same name, Naomi Watts and Tim Roth play a white American couple whose adopted Eritrean son is accused of harboring violent impulses. What's the big quandary here? Send him back! (R; playing at Regal Winter Park Village & RPX)
The Nightingale Before Van Diemen's Land was a song from Rattle and Hum, it was a British penal colony. It's also the setting of The Nightingale, in which an Irish woman seeks revenge for acts of English violence. I'd ask if she can get revenge for Rattle and Hum, but I actually liked that movie. It just needed more Fred Durst. (R; playing at Enzian Theater, Maitland)
– This story is from the Aug. 28, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.