15 Movies Worth Watching This Weekend in Tacoma: November 29-December 1, 2019

Knives Out, Queen & Slim, and Other Critics' Picks
Hopefully your Thanksgiving will be a little less stressful than Daniel Craig's stint in Knives Out. (Lionsgate)

We've selected the best movies playing this weekend, like the delightful whodunit romp Knives Out and the brilliant drama of police injustice and Black survival Queen & Slim. See all of our film critics’ picks below, and, if you're looking for even more options, check out our complete movie times listings.

Note: Movies play Friday–Sunday unless otherwise noted

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
It’s unusual to witness real cinematic magic these days, but the Fred Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood absolutely has it. Director Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) wisely avoids the visual slickness one might expect from a Tom Hanks-centric melodrama, instead employing a lived-in style and scene transitions that consist of miniature cities harkening back to the opening of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Hanks is totally committed to Rogers’ appearance and manner, but A Beautiful Day is more about Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) a fictional journalist profiling Rogers. (Vogel’s work is based on a 1998 Esquire profile by Tom Junod; as is the case with the film, Junrod’s piece sketches a beautiful yet enigmatic image of Rogers.) Where Heller’s film becomes transcendent is in its cinematic pressure points: The striking slowness of the narrative (it’s meant to emulate the pace of Rogers’ show, and you get used to it), the mirroring of Rogers and Vogel in their interview styles and drawn-out reaction shots, and a profound moment of silence that grips your heart like, “Did that really just happen? Why was that so intense?” SUZETTE SMITH
Various locations

Doctor Sleep
Rather than trying to be a slavish follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s inimitable The Shining, Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is a looser, goofier trip that just so happens to wander some of the same territory that Stephen King first explored four decades ago. Decades after The Shining, Doctor Sleep finds Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) all grown up, still appreciating a good, cozy sweater, and drinking away the ghosts—both figurative and literal—that’ve haunted him since childhood. But when 15-year-old Abra (Kyliegh Curran) reaches out—revealing that she shares Danny’s paranormal abilities—the two stumble onto a rambling road that eventually leads to the ruined, long-abandoned Overlook. Sure, Flanagan’s no Kubrick, but he does pull off the too-rare trick of capturing the sprawling, earnest, weird vibe of a decent King novel, where the grotesque usually walks hand-in-hand with silliness. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Various locations

Dolemite
Revisit the heyday of Rudy Ray Moore, the number-one star of '70s-'80s Blaxploitation and a wildly magnetic presence onscreen. This iconic movie stars Moore as an ex-con gunning for revenge. 
Grand Cinema
Saturday only

Ford v Ferrari
If you’re a lover of car-racing movies, you should probably check out Ford v Ferrari—because this film is likely to be one of the last of its kind. A biopic about the late ’60s rivalry between failing racecar company Ferrari and the “wants to be sexy soooo bad” Ford Motor Company, F v F is about how corporations can’t help but crush the passion and innovation they so desperately need. In this case, the crushees are race car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driving phenom Ken Miles (Christian Bale), both of whom are forced to cajole, finagle, and manipulate the suits at Ford in an attempt to win the famed Le Mans road race. Director James Mangold (Logan) smartly avoids the emotionally manipulative tricks found in other sports biographies, and Damon and Bale are, unsurprisingly, excellent and affecting. The problem? It’s impossible to ignore the two elephants in this room: The fetishization of white male toxicity and car culture, topics which society is trying to deal with and solve… not celebrate. This makes Ford v Ferrari a very good movie that, a decade ago, would’ve been considered great. Now it feels like a brand-new film that’s already an antique. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Various locations

Frozen II
It starts out with Young Elsa and Young Anna, and, I don’t know, this is just my opinion, but I didn’t think that part was very necessary, necessarily? I thought the story was good. I thought the parts were well thought out and they had some depth to them, if you know what I mean? Like some parts were really sad, and some parts could be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Also, you know how in the first Frozen, there’s like this main song that you know is the main song? In this one, there’s like three or four different songs that could be that main song. There were songs that like Elsa and Anna and Kristoff sang that could qualify for that position. I thought they were fine. SIMON HAM, AGE 12
Various locations

The Good Liar
The Good Liar is likely the most bonkers film I will see this year. What begins as a cautionary tale about the dangers of grandma’s online dating unfolds into a baffling series of reveals, all of which support the twist that we already gleaned from the trailer: Roy (Ian McKellen) is trying to double cross Betty (Helen Mirren) and take her money... but she's not that easy to trick! How all that happens, though? I could never have predicted it. What a septuagenarian mine cart ride! SUZETTE SMITH
Various locations

Harriet
With Harriet, audiences are given a live-action reimagining of Harriet Tubman’s journey to self-liberation: changing her name, hiding in bales of hay, being chased by dogs, and getting cornered by armed men on a bridge before jumping into the river. Harriet shows how Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) got help from a secret network of safe houses and trusted free Blacks (Leslie Odom Jr. and Janelle Monáe) who stuck their necks out to help her cause. Throughout the film, the only music you’ll hear, gladly, are negro spirituals—songs that enslaved Blacks used to express their sorrow and joy, and to secretly communicate. (Tubman, who was nicknamed Moses, would sing “Go Down Moses” as a signal to enslaved Blacks that she was in the area, and would help anyone who wished to escape.) Harriet doesn’t subject the sensitive viewer to excessive gore or violence (though there is one particularly unsettling scene), because for once, this is a story in the “slave movie” genre about tremendous triumph, leadership, and Tubman’s unwavering faith, both in God and herself. JENNI MOORE
Various locations

Jojo Rabbit
The latest from Taika Waititi starts off with a bright, Wes Andersonian whimsiness: Young Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) joyously bounces about at summer camp, having the time of his life as he frolics and laughs with his second-best friend Yorki (Archie Yates) and his first-best friend, the imaginary Adolf (Waititi). Just one thing: Jojo is at Hitler Youth camp—their campfire activities include burning books—Adolf is Adolf Hitler, and World War II is winding down, with Germany not doing so great. Both because of and in spite of its inherent shock value, Jojo Rabbit—based on a book by Christine Leunens—is just as clever and hilarious as Waititi’s other movies, but as it progresses, the story taps into a rich vein of gut-twisting melancholy. There’s more to the complicated Jojo Rabbit than first appears, and only a director as committed, inventive, and life-affirmingly good-hearted as Waititi would even have a chance of pulling it off. He does, to unforgettable effect. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Various locations

Joker
Joker isn’t really the story of a good man gone bad; clown for hire Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is troubled from the outset. He’s barely scraping by, living with his mother (Frances Conroy), and coming undone due to cuts in social services. Sure, Phillips overdoes it with long, panning explorations of Fleck’s bruised, skinny ribs, but then again, men with insecurities about being skinny are presumably the film’s target audience. The first half hour unfolds like a dog-whistle symphony for insecure guys who think they have it bad. Fleck berates his black social worker (Sharon Washington) for not listening to him when she’s obviously doing her best. He fixates on a black single mother (Zazie Beetz) after the briefest sign of camaraderie. Yet there are a series of trap doors throughout Joker that unexpectedly drop its audience into new perspectives. Early on, an obvious foreshadow shifts Fleck onto a new path, and as that plotline plays out, Joker offers some surprisingly rewarding reflections on the relationship between the villain and Batman. (Oh yeah! This is a Batman movie, remember?) Both men, Joker suggests, might be equally deranged, making sweeping moves against the world without regard for those who become collateral damage for their respective manias. SUZETTE SMITH
Various locations

Knives Out
Knives Out [is] Rian Johnson's phenomenally enjoyable riff on a murder-mystery whodunit. The less you know going in, the better, but even those familiar with mysteries will likely be caught flat-footed. Things begin in the baroque mansion of famed mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is very, very dead. Through flashbacks, monologues, and the genteel but razor-sharp questioning of investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), we meet the rest of the Thrombeys—played by Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, and more, with everyone clearly having a goddamn blast—and we hear about a billion motives and a billion alibis. Somebody killed Harlan, and while Benoit Blanc is on the case, Knives Out quickly spirals into unexpected territory. In a time when filmgoing is dominated by familiar franchises, seeing an original movie executed with as much care, glee, and skill as Knives Out feels like an experience that's entirely too rare. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Various locations

Pain and Glory
Pedro Almodóvar has long warmed his filmography with flickers of details from his personal life, but Pain & Glory brings us closer to the flame. In it, we look in on Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), a filmmaker in self-imposed exile due to a creative decline and a variety of physical ailments. Banderas stifles his melodramatic tendencies to subtly and powerfully reveal Mallo’s agonies and evolution. ROBERT HAM
Grand Cinema

Parasite
Parasite is director Bong Joon-ho at his very best. It's a departure from the sci-fi bent of his recent movies, though it's no less concerned with the state of society today. Set in Seoul, South Korea, the families and class issues at play reflect our global era, in which the disparity between the haves and have-nots seems to be widening. Parasite follows the Kim family, who secretly scam their way into the lives of the wealthy Park family. Slowly and methodically, the Kims begin to drive out the other domestic workers at the Park residence, each time referring another family member (who they pretend not to know) for the vacant position. And so the poorer family starts to settle comfortably into the grift—until a sudden realization turns their lives upside down. The resulting film offers an at turns hilarious and deeply unsettling look at class and survival, its essence echoed in the environments the characters inhabit. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Various locations

Queen & Slim
Queen & Slim may be the best—and is almost certainly the Blackest—film of 2019. One of the most striking things about the movie is that it’s intentionally absent of the white gaze. The directorial debut of Melina Matsoukas, it’s also the first film-length screenplay written by Lena Waithe, who knocked bestselling author James Frey’s original story idea out of the park after also making the jump from acting and writing on TV. Queen and Slim (Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya) are ordinary law-abiding citizens who, after an okay Tinder date, get pulled over by a racist cop who decides to create a life-or-death altercation over a missed turn signal. After the unreasonably angry cop escalates the situation, unnecessarily searches the car, and shoots Queen in the leg, Slim ends up grabbing the cop's gun and killing the officer in self-defense. The two decide they have no choice but to evade law enforcement to survive. At the film’s heart are powerful, too-true themes about Black people’s constant search for freedom, even in modern society. In Queen and Slim’s case, their entire trip together is a relentless quest for freedom, and they have a really good run until the bitter—and iconic—end.JENNI MOORE
Various locations

Terminator: Dark Fate
If nothing else, Dark Fate has one thing going for it: Sarah Connor. Linda Hamilton is back, which means there's a Terminator movie worth watching again. Well, it's worth watching, I guess, if you, like me, have devoted entirely too much of your ever-shrinking life span to thinking about terminators. For everyone else, Dark Fate's appeal—which largely hinges on seeing Hamilton, Arnold, and various bloodthirsty murderbots back in action—might be limited. Deadpool director Tim Miller does a lot of things right: His action sequences are messy but intense; he knows to let Hamilton, with her wry eyebrows and smoke-scratched voice, steal scenes whenever she feels like it; and he somehow pulls off the insane-sounding task of making a Terminator movie that's legitimately, consistently funny. But at the end of the day, Dark Fate is another sequel that tries, with mixed success, to reboot a rusty series, and several of the attempts it makes to feel current land with a wet thud. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Wide release

Zombieland 2: Double Tap
The problem with comedy sequels is that it's hard to tell the same joke years later, but funnier. Despite the ravages of time and changing tastes, filmmakers must suplex the lightning back into that bottle. But despite lurching into theaters a full decade after the original, Zombieland: Double Tap avoids those pitfalls while delivering a suitably zany Zombieland experience with the easy charm of an off-brand Mike Judge picaresque. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone all return to banter and blast zombies, and their wry camaraderie speaks a seemingly genuine desire to play in this viscera-splattered sandbox again (rather than, as with many long-delayed sequels, simply the desire for a new beach house). Added to the mix are a spate of goofy newcomers, including a delightfully unapologetic flibbertigibbet (Zoey Deutch) and a pair of dirtbag doppelgangers (Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch). It's more a live-action cartoon than a serious entry in the zombie canon, but as a low-key genre comedy, it totally works. BEN COLEMAN
Regal Lakewood Stadium 15

Also Playing:

Our critics don't recommend these films, but you might like to know about them anyway.

21 Bridges

Charlie's Angels

Downton Abbey

Last Christmas

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Midway

Playing with Fire

When Harry Met Sally