This Week at the Movies: ‘Suicide Squad,’ ‘Nine Lives,’ and John Waters’ ‘Multiple Maniacs’

  • The week’s biggest movie is, of course, Suicide Squad, DC’s latest “Hey, we can have a movie superhero universe tooooo” plea, and it’s about a desperate as that sounds – combining the hero rally of The Avengers, the wacky pop songs of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the grim stupidity of Batman v. Superman. Oh, and Jared Leto clearly put far more energy into crafting a “crazy Method actor” narrative than actually, y’know, acting. More on that here.
  • As bad as Suicide Squad is, at least they screened it for critics; the people behind Nine Lives, in which overcommitted businessman/bad dad Kevin Spacey is turned into a cat, are hiding it from critics like the third-tier Sandler movie it sounds like. So we just reviewed A Talking Cat!?!.
  • Out this week in limited release: Ira Sachs (Love is Strange, Keep the Lights On) directs Little Men, a modest but moving story of gentrification, class, and the friendship between two boys. Terrific performances abound, especially from the two young men at its center; read more in this month’s indie guide.
  • Also in arthouses is Neither Heaven Nor Earth, French filmmaker Clément Cogitore’s masterful story of an how an infantry search party in the midst of the Afghanistan conflict turns into a powerful existential journey. More in the indie guide.
  • But the real must-see of the week, if you’re lucky enough to be near it, is a movie that’s 46 years old. John Waters’s Multiple Maniacs, his first feature with sync sound, has always been difficult to track down; thanks to the efforts of Janus Films (yes, the distinguished reparatory releasing company and Criterion partners), it has been painstakingly restored and re-released, which is a bit of a hoot for a movie this disreputable. Read about it in the indie guide – and keep an eye out for our interview with Mr. Waters next week.