If you're one of the few people not seeing Spider-Man this weekend, your limited-release and Netflix options have enough to fill the weekend. Other options, not so much.
You're going to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this weekend, because you don't really have a choice.
The sequel to 2012's franchise reboot is the only movie opening wide Friday, and is the second after Captain America: The Winter Soldier in this year's slow trickle of blockbusters before the dam breaks and we get the whole deluge (which is sooner than you think). ASM 2 appears to be along the same lines as its predecessor, but it suffers from the hiccups that come with being the second in a rapidly expanding franchise. As The Wire's David Sims writes, ASM 2 is fun, "but it's also over-stuffed with plot and consequently struggles to invest the audience in any of it, since there's so much to get through and so many future films and spinoffs to set up." Between Peter, Gwen Stacy, Electro, Harry Osborn turned Green Goblin, and Rhino showing up, there's a lot going on in this movie, which has become par for the course with superhero movies – there's a reason they all have a two-hour-plus runtime lately. But as mediocre ASM 2 may be (remember the last time a Spiderman movie tried fitting in three villains?), you'll still probably see it, because you need to if you're going to see the third film and whatever other movies they're cooking up for this franchise.
In Limited Release
Thankfully, you have much more variety with limited releases this week. Hitting the most theaters is Walk of Shame with 50 or so, which seems like one of those films where the title came first, and everything else later. Still, it stars Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, and Gillian Jacobs, so if the plot is insufferable, at least the cast isn't. For more serious fare, there's the immigration documentary Documented; period-drama Belle, which opens in four theaters and might be a bit of a coming-out party for its star Gugu Mbatha-Raw; or Ida, a Polish film that focuses on a young nun who discovers the details of her parents' death and which has an impressive Rotten Tomatoes score so far. Slate's Dana Stevens calls it "hauntingly beautiful." If you want to see a critically great film this weekend, Ida's your movie.
But there is also a movie opening called Friended to Death and yes, it is about Facebook. Ryan Hansen plays a mustachioed Facebook addict who fakes his own death to see how many people like – and "like" – him. We honestly can't believe this is a real film. It looks like a joke movie Kyle would star in during a third season of Party Down. Like Jumping Boys, but worse, because it's real. Watch the trailer:
Video on Demand
New to On Demand this week are three movies that are notable mostly for their mediocrity, and one truly awful action flick. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is based on a James Thurber short story, has Ben Stiller directing, producing and acting, probably should've been better than it is, and split critics. Labor Day is the latest from director Jason Reitman, starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Unfortunately, it continues the tradition of every Reitman film being worse than the last. And then we have The Legend of Hercules, which I honestly forgot came out this year. It's 3 percent RT rating tells you everything you need to know.
Streaming on Netflix
Did you miss Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut Don Jon in theaters? Well now the porn-laden flick is streaming on Netflix. It's a good enough movie for JGL's first, but it tries getting poetic about sex and love at the end which makes the whole thing feel too preachy. Your other new-to-streaming options include The Benchwarmers starring Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder (remember when he was in movies?), a new season of the Discovery Channel's Goldrush, and Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was on Netflix Instant a few years ago and has apparently returned. It's Banksy's Oscar-nominated documentary, and it's a good watch even if you don't know the first thing about street-art.
Movies on TV
HBO is premiering We're The Millers at 8 p.m. Saturday. It's probably best known as the movie where Jennifer Aniston plays a stripper and pretends to be a family with Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, and Will Poulter. There will apparently be a sequel. On Showtime at 9 p.m. Saturday is History of the Eagles. It's a documentary about the band, so you know what you're getting into.