1. Trolls (DreamWorks/ Fox, 4,060 Theaters, 92 Minutes, Rated PG for some mild rude humor, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 75% Fresh [81 Reviews]): I have to admit it, I am not a fan of the troll dolls. Not that I should be. I mean, I think I missed the trend by either being too old or too young for them (depending which incarnation of the doll you are talking about) but I just thought they were ugly dolls with bad hair that took up space and little else.
But it appears I might be in the minority. Because the dolls are so popular that they are getting a CGI film from DreamWorks almost 60 years after their debut.
The story is about two plucky trolls who venture into the world to keep their fellow trolls from being eaten by monsters called the Bergen. Of course, the rescue does not go off without a hitch, and mayhem ensues.
2. Doctor Strange (Disney, 3,882 Theaters, 115 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 91% Fresh [181 Reviews]): It almost seems like Marvel is starting over with this film. Unless something miraculous happens, we are approaching the end of the Iron Man/Thor/Captain America era, and Marvel is turning to new heroes to keep the franchise going.
They definitely have picked a strong character to start their new era. The good Doctor has one of the most interesting backstories in comics, with lots of pathos and redemption built in, and they have the perfect actor playing him too.
What will be interesting to see is how well the film does at the box office. It has received better reviews that Trolls, but that film is in far more theaters. If this film doesn’t win the weekend, wags will start crowing about the death of the comic book film…again. You can read Rich’s review of the film here.
3. Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate, 2,880 Theaters, 132 Minutes, Rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 88% Fresh [104 Reviews]): Mel Gibson is a daring and talented director. He can tackle subjects that other director can’t and find something in them for everyone to relate to. Under ordinary circumstances, his taking on the true story of a conscientious objector during World War II who became a decorated medic that saved 75 lives would be something I would rush out to see.
However, in real life, Mel Gibson is a bit of a head case, especially when drink is involved. There have been numerous incidents of him getting drunk and spouting off homophobic, racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic remarks. He claimed after the fact on more than one occasion that booze was to blame, and he was essentially shunned by Hollywood after his last debacle. This film is his returning to Hollywood’s good graces.
But has he suffered enough? And is there anyway to separate artist form the art? We’ll see this weekend.