Two very different new releases this week. Let’s get to the more action-packed of the two first.
1. The Fate of the Furious (Universal, 4,311 Theaters,132 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 65% Fresh [149 reviews]): The gang of criminals-turned-government agents run by Dom Torretto (Vin Diesel) have always considered themselves a family. Which makes the betrayal of the crew by Dom even that much more hurtful. Now the team have to partner with one of their greatest enemies to get Dom back.
That’s just the right amount of melodrama to hang all the fast races with pretty cars and over the top stunts upon. One of the things that make this franchise a success is that it knows its formula and knows how to work within its boundaries.
Another good thing is that it keeps adding big name stars to pump up the proceedings. This time around, it is Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron.
2. Gifted (Expanding to wide release, Fox Searchlight, 1,000 Theaters, 101 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some suggestive material, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 64% Fresh [77 reviews]): There are films that are called three-hankie movies due to their ability to make you sad. This films seems like a “go to Costco and buy a pallet of bulk Kleenex” kind of movie.
Chris Evans plays Frank, a man who has been appointed guardian over his niece, Mary (McKenna Grace), after his sister killed herself when Mary was six-months-old. Now Mary is attending school and showing the same genius-level affinity for math that her mother did. Mary is offered the chance of going to a school for gifted students but Frank would prefer Mary have a normal, stress free childhood. His mother, Mary’s grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) disagrees. A custody battle ensues.
It is good to see Evans playing something where he doesn’t have to wear spandex, but the film seems like one to go to if you really like having your emotions manipulated for an hour and forty-five minutes.
And I have to make mention that I get a kick out of Marc Webb’s work on (500) Days of Summer being mentioned in the ads incessantly. is that because Fox Searchlight also put that film out, or is he trying to forget The Amazing Spider-Man ever happened.
Next week will be a big week for new releases, with a whopping five films entering wide release. I better start writing now.