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New This Week (05/19/2023): Fast X, Master Gardener, White Men Can’t Jump, & More!

May 19, 2023

By John Corrado

New releases for the week of May 19th, 2023.

Vin Diesel in Fast X

Theatrical Releases:

Fast X (Wide Release): The family is back in this tenth film in the Fast and the Furious saga, which is the biggest of this week’s new releases. I’ve never really gotten into these films (and have only even seen maybe a couple of them), but it should satisfy fans looking for more goofy fun starring Vin Diesel and friends, even if it does sound from the mixed reviews like this one sort of jumps the shark. And there are at least two more of these to go.

Master Gardener (Limited Release): The latest from Paul Schrader follows a horticulturist (Joel Edgerton) with a dark past, becoming involved with his boss’s (Sigourney Weaver) mixed-race grand-niece (Quintessa Swindel). It’s a bit of a minor work from Schrader, but still gives us plenty of stuff to chew on. The film unfolds at a deliberate pace and has enough intrigue to keep us watching, guided by Edgerton’s focused and quietly intense performance. (Full Review)

The Starling Girl (Limited Release): Eliza Scanlen gives an excellent performance as a repressed teenager in a fundamentalist Christian community embarking on an inappropriate relationship with her youth pastor (Lewis Pullman) in this Sundance drama. It’s a confident debut from writer-director Laurel Parmet, that nimbly handles its challenging subject matter, as it captivatingly explores themes of religion and sexuality. (Full Review)

Retrograde (Limited Release): This small-scale Toronto dramedy from writer-director Adrian Murray follows a young woman (Molly Reisman) who gets a traffic ticket and becomes driven mad by trying to get out of paying it, believing that she did nothing wrong. And it’s surprisingly compelling to watch. As I wrote in my review, Retrograde “serves as both a glimpse into the banal frustrations of dealing with bureaucracy, as well as an almost shockingly engaging portrait of a very specific type of neuroses.” It’s heightened by Murray’s unique framing choices and use of long takes, as well as Reisman’s completely believable performance. (Canadian Film Fest Review)

More Releases: What’s Love Got to Do With It? (TIFF Bell Lightbox), The Eight Mountains (Limited), Insanity (Limited), Dark Nature (Limited)

Streaming Releases:

White Men Can’t Jump (Disney+): This remake of the 1992 sports comedy that starred Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, offers a bland update of the story. Sinqua Walls and rapper Jack Harlow take over in the leads, playing a pair of basketball players who start hustling for cash on the Los Angeles courts. It’s a toothless made-for-streaming retelling that strips away a lot of grit from the original, and is pretty forgettable as a result. (Full Review)

More Releases: Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (Disney+), XO, Kitty (Netflix)

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