Buckle up! We’re coming in fast and furious with your weekly movie and TV recommendations. Fast X is finally hitting theaters, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is available to watch at home, Master Gardner and Sanctuary are also in theaters, and last but not least, a special RT25 pick, Godzilla. What will you be watching?
Critics Consensus: As irredeemably silly as it is satisfyingly self-aware, Fast X should rev the engines of longtime fans while leaving many newcomers in neutral.
Why We’re Watching: Speeding into theaters is the action/adventure film, Fast X. Reason No. 1 to see this is that it’s the beginning of the end of the road for the Fast Saga with plans to reach the finish line with Fast 11, due out in 2025. However! Vin Diesel did tease a possible Fast 12 at this film’s red carpet premiere in Rome, so this could become a finale trilogy!
Reason No. 2 is Jason Momoa joining the cast as villain named Dante Reyes, the son of a drug lord who was killed in 2011’s Fast Five. And Dante’s thirst for revenge has Vin Diesel’s Dom fighting to protect his crew and his family in this film.
Um, Diesel vs. Momoa? Yes please.
And a Fast movie wouldn’t be complete without some jaw-dropping surprises all the way through including some at the end of the film so be sure to stay past the credits!
Where to Watch: In theaters
Critics Consensus: Master Gardener suggests Paul Schrader might need to find a new patch of creative soil to till, but some strong performances make it difficult to dismiss.
Why We’re Watching: Also pruning its way into theaters is the indie crime thriller, Master Gardener.
No, it’s not just a metaphorical title, because this film stars Joel Edgerton as an actual meticulous horticulturist at a beautiful estate. He’s forced to take on the owner’s troubled great-niece as an apprentice and then things begin to unravel. Edgerton is joined by Sigourney Weaver and Quintessa Swindell as well, making this talented cast the main reason to check it out.
Plus, it was written and directed by Paul Schrader, who wrote a little old film called Taxi Driver once upon a time, among other Martin Scorsese projects. So yeah, the dude knows his stuff.
Master Gardener made its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last fall, and critics have been enjoying it to the tune of a Fresh 68% on the Tomatometer — which definitely doesn’t require a meticulous horticulturist to maintain.
Where to Watch: In theaters
Critics Consensus: Revolving around outstanding performances from Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott, Sanctuary confounds expectations with élan.
Why We’re Watching: Another theatrical option this week is the dark comedy thriller, Sanctuary.
This one may be worth adding to your watch list for the simple fact that it’s a unique, single location film that takes place over the course of one night. And it stars just two people: Christopher Abbott and Margaret Qualley. He plays the heir to a hotel empire who battles it out with the dominatrix who helped prime him for success — played by Qualley — as he tries to end their relationship.
Director Zachary Wigon is a relative newcomer to the biz, but the film’s screenplay was penned by Micah Bloomberg, best known as the co-creator of the hit series Homecoming.
After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, this one has been a hit with critics. And its Fresh 98% score on the Tomatometer is backed by reviews from people like Top Critic David Ehrlich from IndieWire who called it, “a salaciously enjoyable slice of snack-sized fun.”
Critics Consensus: While it’s nowhere near as thrilling as turtle tipping your way to 128 lives, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a colorful — albeit thinly plotted — animated adventure that has about as many Nintendos as Nintendon’ts.
Why We’re Watching: Jumping levels from theaters to streaming this week is The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
This animated juggernaut has a super strong 98% Audience score that is backed by its 1.1-billion-dollar haul at the global box office. That’s good enough to make this the highest-grossing film based on a video game — like, ever — and the highest-grossing film of 2023. You go, Mario!
All your favorite characters from the games show up in this one courtesy of a stellar cast that includes Chris Pratt as Mario and Charlie Day as Luigi, as well as Keegan-Michael Key, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black, and Seth Rogen.
And in a year that new movie options for kids have been relatively scarce, this animated feature provided some major relief for parents with a trip to theaters, and it can now do the same with a trip to the couch. It’s OK, the kids can play outside later.
Critics Consensus: Without compelling characters or heart, Godzilla stomps on everything that made the original (or any monster movie worth its salt) a classic.
Why We’re Watching: And finally, because celebrating 25 years of Rotten Tomatoes is our favorite thing to do around here, our RT25 pick this week is 1998’s Godzilla.
Released 25 years ago this week and marking the 23rd film in the Godzilla franchise, this one stars Matthew Broderick — because nothing says sci-fi action-thriller like Matthew Broderick. (Seriously. Check out 1983 classic WarGames.)
The film was directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich, who was coming off Independence Day a couple years prior, and who would go on to cement himself as the disaster-film king with projects like The Day After Tomorrow and White House Down.
Godzilla may be Rotten on the Tomatometer, but we’re pretty sure there’s not a “nostalgia” setting on that thing, so whatever — this one is worth a look 25 years later.
Hopefully our recommendations helped you fill up your entertainment calendar this weekend. Be sure to let us know in the comments what you watched, whether it was on this list or not!
Thumbnail image by Universal Pictures