This week in new releases, we have a cartoon, a horror film, a biopic and a black comedy. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which is which.
1. Cars 3 (Disney, 4,256, Theaters, 109 Minutes, Rated G, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 64% Fresh [80 Reviews]): Whenever I see a Cars film on the schedule, I feel depressed. I feel sad because a potential better movie was put on hold so they could work on this one.
It’s safe to say that the Cars franchise is the dimmest star in the Pixar universe. The first film was essentially Doc Hollywood with anthropomorphic cars. Then, instead of building on that, they made the second film a spy caper. That would be like turning Hannah Montana into a stripper with a heart of gold.
Now, they are back to telling stories with the cars as athletes motif. The film covers that widely covered territory of an athlete trying to capture a little bit of glory by beating a younger, stronger competitor though new training techniques and trying to become smarter.
So, the question you must ask yourself is do you take your kid to see this film, or simply pop Rocky 3 in the DVD player.
2. Rough Night (Sony/Columbia, 3,162 Theaters, 101 Minutes, Rated R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and brief bloody images, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 53% Fresh [66 Reviews]): Five college roommates from different walks of life reunite for the bachelorette party for one of them, the staid, reserved Jess (Scarlett Johansson). The good times roll up to the point where they kill a male stripper. That’s when there differences start to drive them apart and their shared experiences are relied on to keep them together.
Female driven films have shown they can embrace raunchiness, but it is exciting to see them tackling dark humor as well.
The concept isn’t all that new (Very Bad Things immediately comes to mind) but the cast is full of funny women. Should be good if you like these kinds of films.
3. All Eyez On Me (Lionsgate/Summit, 2,471 Theaters, 240 Minutes, Rated R for language and drug use throughout, violence, some nudity and sexuality, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 19% Fresh [16 Reviews]): If ever there was an artist from the rap world who cried out for a biopic, it would be Tupac Shakur. He only lived to the age of 25, but he has enough life experiences to fill up 15 biographies.
From being the son of Black Panther Party members to moving from alt-party rap group Digital Underground onto a “Thug Life” solo rap career to becoming embroiled in the East Coast/West Coast rivalry that took his life, his story was an interesting one.
It also was a tricky one to portray in a two hour movie. He was complex, not an angel but not entirely a sinner either. Striking the right, honest balance is tough. The reviews seem to indicate that they didn’t get that balance right.
4. 47 Meters Down (Entertainment Studios, 2,300 Theaters, 89 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense peril, bloody images, and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 51% Fresh [35 Reviews]): Sharks have to rank right up there with zombies, serial killers and vampires as the most popular horror film antagonists. What I love about that is that it really shouldn’t be. Sharks should be one note killers with no personality and nothing new to add. But Hollywood finds ways to make it fresh.
Jaws, of course, started the trend off. Deep Blue Sea gave us genetically altered sharks. Open Water gave us divers stranded on shark-infested waters. The Shallows showed one swimmer stranded on a buoy not far from shore, yet with too many sharks to make a break for it. And this one shows one of those shark cage tours gone wrong, with the sightseers trapped at the bottom after the cable to the cage breaks.
I think this is a novel take on the genre. It would be interested to see where the filmmakers go with it.
Unless there is More Than Meets The Eye, next week’s new releases will belong exclusively to the shape-shifting robots.