1. The Legend of Tarzan (Warner Brothers, 3,561 Theaters, 109 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 35% Fresh [104 Reviews]): Tarzan strikes me as a concept that was once popular but will never be as popular again, no matter how anybody tries. And it had a pretty long run of being popular, from its creation in 1912 to the late 1960s, the character dominated books, films, comic strips, comic book, radio and television.
But all attempts to introduce the character to modern audiences seem to fall flat. My theory is that this is because Tarzan is, by necessity, trapped in the past. A baby getting lost in the jungle only works in an age with no cell phones, computers, or mass media. And since it is stuck in the past, it is harder for modern audiences to make a connection.
Anyway, this latest reboot involves a gentrified Tarzan returning to the Congo on a diplomatic mission. But it turns out that it is just a trap that puts him and his family in danger.
FBOL Head Honcho Rich Drees has seen the film, and you can read his review here.
2. The BFG (Disney, 3,357 Theaters, 117 Minutes, Rated PG for action/peril, some scary moments and brief rude humor, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 73% Fresh [154 Reviews]): Okay, let’s get this out of the way. This film has a horrible name (it stands for Big FRIENDLY Giant, and all of you should get your minds out of the gutter). But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have the makings of a great film.
Back in February, I listed this film as one I was looking forward to, and that feeling only increased after I introduced the Roald Dahl book to my daughter. I believe Oscar-winner Mark Rylance will be excellent in the lead role, and Steven Spielberg is a legend at portraying whimsy and magic on film, which this story has in droves.
The story involves a little girl who befriends a big, friendly giant. Together, they work to save the world from the giant’s kin, who have a habit of eating humans.
3. The Purge: Election Year (Universal, 2,796 Theaters, 105 Minutes, Rated R for disturbing bloody violence and strong language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 56% Fresh [68 Reviews]): I have to say that I am fascinated by this film. The first film was a low budget film examination of one family dealing with a night where all crime is legal for 12 hours. It was a hit, and a franchise was born. The scope of each movie grew as the examination of class struggles became more acute.
This film centers on presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell)who lost her family to the Purge and has vowed to abolish it. This doesn’t sit well with the powers that be who mark her as a target of assassination on Purge night. It’s up to Sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), a man who has experience with the Purge himself, to keep her safe until morning.
Reviews of the series have improved with every entry. If they keep budgets low and keep exploring themes that resonate with the real world, this franchise could have a long and successful life.