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What to watch this weekend: ‘Elvis,’ ‘The Black Phone,’ ‘Netflix’s ‘The Man From Toronto’

  • June 24, 2022

Austin Butler brings the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll to life opposite Tom Hanks’ Colonel Tom Parker in a stylish Baz Luhrmann biopic. Ethan Hawke dons a creepy mask and a killer horror persona in 1970s-set supernatural thriller directed by Scott Derrickson (“Doctor Strange”); Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson team up for a Netflix action comedy; and Jenny Slate voices an adorable one-inch talking sneaker-clad shell in a family-friendly treat.

Here’s a guide to new movies that will satisfy every cinematic taste, plus some noteworthy theatrical films making their streaming and on-demand debuts:  

‘I couldn’t be an imposter’: How Austin Butler vanished into the role of Elvis Presley

If you still worship the King: ‘Elvis’

Butler shakes his hips and shows early on he’s got the stuff to play the iconic Presley in this busy drama that chronicles his life from childhood to his later days as a Vegas headliner. But a top-notch leading man and stunning musical numbers can only do so much to make up for an overstuffed narrative with pacing issues, a lack of focus and a surprisingly average outing for the usually great Hanks.

Review: Austin Butler rules as the King, but Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ is an unchained mess of a movie

Where to watch: In theaters

If you need a good horror film: ‘The Black Phone’

Based on the Joe Hill short story, Derrickson’s superbly crafted 1978-set chiller stars Mason Thames as Finney, a teen living in a Denver suburb where boys keep going missing, and he’s the next to be taken by the mysterious Grabber (Hawke). Finney is kept in a soundproof basement with a rotary phone where spirits of previous victims call to keep him alive and prepared for the villain, which Hawke inhabits with truly unnerving unpredictability.

Where to watch: In theaters

If you want to be won over by cuteness: ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’

Slate and director Dean Fleischer-Camp takes the super-cute animated Marcel from YouTube shorts and children’s books to the big screen with this delightful comedy. A documentarian follows the confident and endearingly wise little shell, his grandma Connie (Isabella Rossellini) and lint pal Alan as they live their lives  at an AirBNB, are interviewed by “60 Minutes” and search for their missing family members.

Where to watch: In theaters

If you’re a Kevin Hart completist: ‘The Man From Toronto’

The buddy comedy tries to ape “Central Intelligence,” but Harrelson doesn’t pull the same magic from Hart as he did Dwayne Johnson. “Toronto” features Hart as a failed fitness entrepreneur who’s mistaken for a global assassin (Harrelson), keeps up the facade to help the FBI and then teams up with the real guy. While there’s an ultraviolent “John Wick”-ness to it, it’s a rather forgettable film.

Where to watch: Netflix

If you’re down for a feel-good sports movie: ‘Rise’

A good double feature with Adam Sandler’s “Hustle” is this true-life story of the NBA’s Antetokounmpo brothers. “Rise” chronicles how their parents left loved ones behind, fleeing Nigeria for Greece, where the family lives in constant fear of being deported. Siblings Giannis (Uche Agada) and Thanasis (Ral Agada) discover their hoops talent and go from sharing basketball shoes to becoming NBA draft prospects.

Where to watch: Disney+

If you dig the unabashedly absurd: ‘Flux Gourmet’

Problematic farting is a major plot point in this culinary-themed dark quasi-horror comedy. Gwendoline Christie stars as the head of an institute that brings in a collective of “sonic catering” performance artists (Asa Butterfield, Fatma Mohamed and Ariane Labed). Cue lots of crazy orgies, power struggles, food fetishes, scatological high jinks and, for the journalist (Makis Papadimitriou) covering the group, bad gastrointestinal issues.

Where to watch: In theaters and on Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play

If you love time-travel romance: ‘Press Play’

After a tragic accident takes the life of her boyfriend (“Top Gun: Maverick” star Lewis Pullman), a young woman (Clara Rugaard) discovers the mixtape they made together allows her to go back in time. She uses it to try to warn him, but each time she does affects her present-day life, in a drama about making the most of our time with loved ones that doesn’t live up to its intriguing conceit.

Where to watch: In theaters and on Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play

Also on streaming

  • The hit superhero sequel “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” returning Benedict Cumberbatch as the Marvel sorcerer, is now available on Disney+.
  • “Watcher,” a thriller starring Maika Monroe as an American living in Bucharest who believes she’s being followed by a serial killer, is streaming on Apple TV+ and other VOD platforms.

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