What to watch Valentine’s Day weekend: J.Lo’s ‘Marry Me,’ Gal Gadot in ‘Death on the Nile’


This Valentine’s Day weekend brings a bunch of new cinematic love stories, from a wedding party gone murderously awry to Jennifer Lopez marrying Owen Wilson. (On screen, of course. Calm down there, Ben Affleck.)

Kenneth Branagh captains a starry new adaptation of an Agatha Christie murder mystery, with Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer as newlyweds and a killer loose on their honeymoon abroad. Lopez and Wilson tie the knot in a romantic comedy about a pop singer and her unexpected beau, while Charlie Day and Jenny Slate help each other win back their exes in a new Amazon Prime rom-com.

Don’t like the lovey-dovey stuff? Zoë Kravitz avoids bad guys in an HBO Max thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh, and Liam Neeson’s back in action-hero mode for his latest effort.

Here’s a guide to new movies that’ll satisfy every cinematic taste, plus some noteworthy theatrical films making their debut on demand and with streaming services:

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If you live for lavish whodunits: ‘Death on the Nile’

Branagh, who directs and stars, crafts an intriguing backstory for his awesomely mustached super-sleuth Hercule Poirot. Too bad it’s surrounded by a lackluster murder mystery. The 1930s-set adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic features an Egyptian honeymoon cruise turned deadly for a wealthy newlywed couple (Gadot and Hammer), a massive suspect list (with everyone from Letitia Wright to Annette Bening to Russell Brand), too much exposition and a convoluted, rushed ending.

Where to watch: In theaters

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If you’re a J.Lo superfan: ‘Marry Me’

Lopez doesn’t have the best track record for romantic comedies (“Gigli,” anyone?) but there’s fun chemistry between her and Wilson in this enjoyable, ear-worming trifle. When mega pop star Kat (Lopez) learns her musician boyfriend (Colombian singer Maluma) cheated on her right before their planned nuptials during a concert, she instead decides to say yes to divorced math teacher Charlie (Wilson), who happens to be holding a “Marry me” sign. They hit it off, though both have to figure out how they fit in each other’s very different life.

Where to watch: In theaters and on Peacock

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If you need a good paranoia thriller: ‘Kimi’

A love letter to Hitchcock and, no fooling, “Home Alone,” Soderbergh’s tense pandemic-era drama stars Kravitz as an agoraphobic Seattle tech worker named Angela who works on improving a company’s Alexa-like at-home voice service. When she hears a recording of what sounds like a violent crime being committed, Angela reports it to her bosses, which leads to her having to leave the house and run for her life. It’s a slick modern update of an old-school type of thriller, and Kravitz looks downright superheroic seeking justice sporting blue hair and a COVID-19 mask.

Where to watch: HBO Max

If you’re missing your ex: ‘I Want You Back’

In the delightfully unconventional rom-com, Slate and Day are endlessly charming as Emma and Peter, two lovelorn strangers who meet and become “sadness sisters” after they’re both dumped. They hatch a plot to reunite with their exes (Scott Eastwood and Gina Rodriguez) by sabotaging things with their new partners (Clark Backo and Manny Jacinto), though naturally things do not go as planned. It’s a mostly refreshing movie filled with horrible decision-making and “Little Shop of Horrors” tunes.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

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If you’re a fan of empowering teenage tales: ‘Tall Girl 2’

The fairly formulaic coming-of-age sequel returns the best aspect from the 2019 original: 6-foot-plus star Ava Michelle. In the first film, Jodi taught her bullies a lesson, gained confidence and found a boyfriend in her lifelong pal (Griffin Gluck). Now, the newly popular girl faces self-doubt starring in the school musical but discovers a new love interest (Jan Luis Castellanos).

Where to watch: Netflix

If you yearn for a romantic whimsy: ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’

Based on the Jandy Nelson young adult novel, the fantastical and soulful teen drama stars Grace Kaufman as Lennie, a teen clarinet prodigy struggling to move on after the sudden death of her sister. Questioning everything and unable to play like she once did, Lennie finds new hope (and possibly something more) with a guitar-playing classmate (Jacques Colimon). They make literal musical magic together, yet Lennie’s also drawn to her late sibling’s boyfriend (Pico Alexander) by their shared grief.

Where to watch: In theaters and on Apple TV+

If you’re a Liam Neeson completist: ‘Blacklight’

He doesn’t kill a whole bunch of people but Neeson’s back on his action game in this so-so thriller, starring as an obsessive-compulsive FBI agent who extracts colleagues from sticky and dangerous situations but is also thinking of retirement to spend time with his granddaughter. When a young operative (Taylor John Smith) goes rogue and claims to have uncovered a government plot to kill civilians, the old man reaches out to an investigative journalist (Emmy Raver-Lampman) to find out the truth. If nothing else, your dad will love it.

Where to watch: In theaters

If you believe in ghosts and/or love: ‘The In Between’

A cheeseball teen-movie take on “Ghost,” the supernatural love story centers on young photographer Tessa (Joey King) who’s having trouble moving past the traffic accident that took the life of her boyfriend Skylar (Kyle Allen) and put her in the hospital with a fractured heart. You don’t have to be psychic Whoopi Goldberg to see where this is going, as strange circumstances lead Tessa to believe that Skylar’s trying to reach her from the afterlife in a drama that’s actually got style and a haunting quality undone by emotional manipulation.

Where to watch: Paramount+

Also on streaming

  • The Oscar-nominated documentary “Summer of Soul,” director Questlove’s chronicle of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, has been streaming on Hulu but is now on Apple TV and other on-demand platforms.
  • The comedy “Red Rocket,” a comeback of sorts for former MTV VJ Simon Rex (who plays a porn star returning to his Texas hometown), is available on demand.

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