This weekend, Natalie Portman shines as former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, while the rest of the new releases struggle to keep pace. Portman and “Jackie” are the clear class of the group, without question. Aside from that, it’s slim pickings for the most part, as last weekend’s releases continue to expand as well. Definitely make time for “Manchester by the Sea” if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s right there with “Jackie” among the year’s best. Check out more on the new releases below, and be sure to see as much as you can. It’s that time of year, so show your local cinemas some love!
Best Bet This Week
“Jackie” (Fox Searchlight)
One of the very best films of the year, and everything you heard about Portman is true. She is absolutely amazing here, rivaling her previous career best work in “Black Swan.” Pablo Larrain has an expert eye, utilizing her perfectly. It’s a cold movie, but a brilliant one. At worst, it’s one of the five best films of 2016 so far. It earns that high praise, too. Furthermore, it will almost assuredly be a big Academy Award player. All this makes it a must-see film and one of the highest recommendations this column has ever put forward. Don’t miss this film.
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 88%
Oscar Hopes – A big contender across the board, with Natalie Portman possibly the eventual frontrunner in Best Actress
Screen Count – 5 Screens (Platform Release)
Also Opening of Note
“Incarnate” (High Top Releases)
The latest Blumhouse horror production is an Aaron Eckhart exorcism tale. Oddly, he’s yet another Oscar hopeful with a potential dog of a film opening right around when voters will be watching his prestige fare. There’s no telling if “Bleed for This” or “Sully” will get him a Best Supporting Actor nomination or not, but “Incarnate” won’t help. Long delayed, it finally sees the light of day, hoping to make a quick buck against more indie-minded competition. Horror fans might opt to check this out, though it seems pretty disposable. Fans of Eckhart can defer to either of his supporting turns for something a bit heartier.
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 29%
Oscar Hopes – Nope
Screen Count – 1,500 Screens
“Man Down” (Lionsgate Premiere)
Filmmaker Dito Montiel has sort of been dismissed since he broke out with “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” and that’s a shame. He’s been branching out of late, with this latest outing probably his most ambitious yet. Montiel is the type of director you never truly value, right up until he knocks you out of the park. That won’t be the case here, as the few reviews up so far haven’t been too positive, but it’s coming. He has a masterpiece in him; we just have to wait it out. For now, a curiosity like this will just have to make do.
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 13%
Oscar Hopes – No
Screen Count – Limited Release
“Things to Come” (IFC)
The other big Isabelle Huppert release this year (the other being “Elle“), this is a quiet drama, which has also gotten really tremendous reviews. In fact, this is actually the better received of the two, though the less likely Oscar contender. Huppert is incredibly consistent, as evidenced by these projects. This one is less baity, that’s all. Fans of her work will clearly enjoy it. Beyond that audience? Doubtful, if we’re being honest. Furthermore, “Elle” could swallow the buzz up this month, in regards to Huppert. Still, if you dig her or the types of film she generally stars in, don’t miss this one.
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 100%
Oscar Hopes – Unlikely
Screen Count – Limited Release
“Best and Most Beautiful Things” (First Run)
“Bobby Sands: 66 Days” (Independent)
“The Duelist” (Columbia Pictures)
“Run the Tide” (Orion Pictures)