Opening this week:
Dark Waters Twenty-four years after Safe, director Todd Haynes returns to the theme of environmental illness with Dark Waters, a corporate-intrigue drama based on the true story of a lawyer who tried to bring the DuPont Corporation to justice for poisoning unsuspecting Americans. Shades of Erin Brockovich, amirite? But don't expect to see Julia Roberts in the lead role, because she was apparently too busy licking her wounds over losing the part of Harriet Tubman or something. Instead, our driven hero is played by Mark Ruffalo, who was last seen upending the entire space-time continuum of the Marvel Universe and here faces the even more daunting task of trying to eke an ounce of contrition out of an American conglomerate. Reportedly, director Haynes has taken an intimate approach to the material, focusing on the personal changes wreaked upon the Ruffalo character by his righteous crusade. For one thing, it threatens his marriage to Anne Hathaway. See? There's always a silver lining! (PG-13; opens Friday)
Queen & Slim It's taken the release of a movie like Queen & Slim to finally make me realize just what I found so distasteful about Natural Born Killers (other than the obvious stuff, I mean, like the involvement of Oliver Stone and it sucking). Dithering over the questionable morality of making murderers folk heroes is an activity that's just so damn white – pure dilettantism compared to the experience of being a person of color living in a society that's almost daring you to not be violent. That's the conundrum facing the titular characters in filmmaker Melina Matsoukas' provocative lovers-on-the lam story, in which an incident of police harassment turns deadly. The character of Slim is portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya, who must have let his experience in Get Out lull him into a false sense of security when it comes to cop cars. Meanwhile, in the part of Queen, we have Jodie Turner-Smith of The Neon Demon. I guess she'll just consider it a step up if no one eats her this time. (R; opens Wednesday)
Waves It's always a red-letter day when a film comes out that accurately depicts what it's like to live in Florida, whether that means living in a shitty hotel on International Drive or hanging around a dive bar waiting to get shot by Aileen Wuornos. Like The Florida Project and Monster before it, Waves is not only set in the Sunshine State but was filmed here as well, drawing upon our deep reservoir of acting talent for supporting roles: Backing up Sterling K. Brown in this story of a South Florida father whose family has more than its share of hardships are distinguished area thesps like Rachel Comeau and Holland Hayes. (Full disclosure: The latter was one of the stars of Black Wood, my entry in the 2019 Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.) Visit orlandoweekly.com for an interview with director Trey Edward Shults by our Solomon Gustavo. (Fuller disclosure: I've never met the man.) (R; opens Wednesday at Enzian Theater, Maitland)
– This story appears in the Nov. 27, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.