This Week at the Movies: ‘Z for Zachariah,’ ‘Queen of Earth’

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This week’s wide releases are pretty much the kind of thing you’d expect for the last weekend of August: No Escape, wherein a white family must flee from a foreign country and its evil foreigners, and We Are Your Friends, which is somehow a movie that exists where Zac Efron plays an EDM DJ. Luckily, there are other options–all available from the comfort of your own home.

  • The best new movie of the week is Craig Zobel’s Z for Zachariah, a searing and thought-provoking parable, loosely based on Robert C. O’Brien’s YA novel. It’s a tense, smart movie, with thrilling performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine, and (especially) Margot Robbie. (In limited release and on demand.)
  • Also very good: Alex Ross Perry’s shattering Queen of Earth, with Elisabeth Moss doing some of her finest acting to date, and another impressively enigmatic turn by Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice). Our review is in the August indie round-up; also check out our report from Moss and Perry’s recent Film Society of Lincoln Center talk. (In limited release and on demand.)
  • Bob Byington’s 7 Chinese Brothers is pretty lightweight stuff—a slender, meandering story of slacker (Jason Schwartzman) and his dog—but it’s got plenty of the absurdist humor and devil-may-care attitude of Byington’s previous work. Also reviewed in this month’s indie guide. (In limited release and on demand.)
  • Also on a few (a mercifully few) screens and on demand this week is Zipper, in which Patrick Wilson plays a lawyer who becomes addicted to porn and hookers. It’s got all the subtlety and nuance of a ‘30s cautionary tale like Reefer Madness; your film editor walked out of its Sundance premiere, but hey, if you’re looking for a really hilarious (if unintentionally so) comedy this weekend, it’ll fit the bill.