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Need a movie recommendation for the weekend? Here are three of them

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in What If, a charming romantic comedy
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in What If, a charming romantic comedy
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

It's Saturday night, which means that you, like many Americans, might head out to the movies, if only to get a break from the week you just had or even just to leave the house.

But what should you see? We've combed through the movies playing in theaters and come up with these three options:

For those who want romance: What If

It's not the world's most sophisticated movie, but What If is one of the most charming romantic comedies in years. Daniel Radcliffe (whom we interviewed about this role) and Zoe Kazan have tremendous chemistry, and the film actually finds a neat way to avoid falling into the "friend zone" trap, where the lead male character acts like it's so difficult to just hang out with the lead female character and not get to have sex with her. These two are legitimately friends. And then there are the hints of something more. It's a formula as old as storytelling itself, but there's still a lot of juice left in it.


Michael Fassbender plays Frank. Yes, that's him in there. (Magnolia Pictures)

For those who want something offbeat: Frank

The most notable thing about Frank is that its ultra-handsome star, Michael Fassbender, spends the entire film as the title character, a musician who wears a giant mask over his face and refuses to remove it. The film's story, such as it is, involves a young man who gets involved in Frank's band, then in the arguments over whether to take the band mainstream or continue rattling along as a weird, underground collective.

That already marks this one as slightly different from the usual multiplex fare. But if the enormously positive reviews are any indication, this is also a surprisingly thoughtful look at how creativity and mental illness can go hand in hand, which would make it an oblique way to honor the legacy of Robin Williams (who loved offbeat projects like this).

Get On Up

Chadwick Boseman plays James Brown. (Universal Pictures)

In case you missed it... Get On Up

No one will confuse Get On Up for the future of movie making. It's mostly a very traditional, very straightforward biography of musician James Brown. But sometimes "very traditional, very straightforward" is all you want, and James Brown was a fascinating figure.

The real reason to see this movie is for the performance of Chadwick Boseman, who's electrifying. Boseman is marking himself as a star to watch, and there's even talk of him being nominated for an Oscar for this performance. Unfortunately, the movie opened opposite Guardians of the Galaxy, so it was roundly ignored. But if you opted for Guardians over it that weekend, it might be time to circle back around to this one.