The new releases this week include horror, revenge and threesomes. So, a wholesome weekend at the movies.
1. Happy Death Day (Universal, 3,149 Theaters, 96 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence/terror, crude sexual content, language, some drug material and partial nudity, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 68% Fresh [56 Reviews]): Groundhog’s Day has become the new Die Hard. After the latter film came out, a number of films came out with plots where one person faced great odds in one static set piece. Speed became Die Hard on a bus. Under Siege became Die Hard on a boat. Passenger 57 became Die Hard on a plane, and so on.
But more and more films are using Groundhog’s Day‘s “living the same day over and over again gimmick as its selling point. This film is the third in four years (after Edge of Tomorrow and Before I Fall) to have its protagonist suffer from that malady.
This time around, the concept has a slasher film meets comedy bent. Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is a college student who is reliving her birthday over and over again. That would be great if she didn’t end up being killed at the end of it. The only way to break the loop is to solve her murder before it happens.
Comic book fans! If you need another reason to see this film, it is written by former comic book writer Scott Lobdell.
2. The Foreigner (STX Entertainment, 2,515 Theaters, 114 Minutes, Rated R for violence, language and some sexual material, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 56% Fresh [61 Reviews]): Everyone knows that Jackie Chan is a legend. But I imagine that most of the people who have that belief have only seen at most half his films. Most of that legend comes from his work in the Chinese cinema, and only the die-hards would have seen most of his films there.
But every so often, Chan does a film in the West that really lets us know why he is called a legend. This film seems to be one of those kind of films.
Chan plays the father of a woman killed in a London terrorist attack who pursues vengeance for her. Originally considered a kook, his particular set of skills quickly makes him a major threat. The bad guy never see what hits them.
3. Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (Annapurna Pictures, 1,229 Theaters, 108 Minutes, R for strong sexual content including brief graphic images, and language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 87% Fresh [84 Reviews]): The DC Comics characters are so great and one of the reasons why is because even the story of their creation is film worthy. Yes, you can make movies out of how Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman came into being, although the latter is the obvious choice to go first for reasons you will soon see.
The film details William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), psychologist and creator of the first lie detector, as he tries to get his idea for a comic book superheroine off the ground. Using the pen name Charles Moulton, he struggles to get his creation, Wonder Woman, published. Along the way he is inspired and encouraged by his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston (Rebecca Hall)…and their live in paramour Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote).
And here is where the controversy comes in. Christie Marston, William’s granddaughter, has been quite vocal on social media calling the film a pack of lies. While the fact Marston had relationships with both women due them both carry his children, the bone of contention seems to be the film’s show of a sexual relationship between Elizabeth and Olive, which Christie Marston’s camp believes the is no evidence of having happened. So take that into consideration when you see this movie.
Next week, new releases showcase a unstoppable disaster come at us intending to wipe us all out. Yes, that means that Tyler Perry will be releasing another Madea movie.