The week’s new releases feature intriguing casts in two films dealing with extreme changes in their lead character’s lives. One is played for laughs, the other, well, let’s start with that one.
1. The Circle (STX Entertainment, 3,163 Theaters, 110 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for a sexual situation, brief strong language and some thematic elements including drug use, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 22% Fresh [37 Reviews]): Mae (Emma Watson) lands the job of a lifetime at The Circle, a tech/social media firm. She takes to her job and rises up the ranks, impressing its CEO, the charismatic Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks).
Mae’s success leads her to become involved in Bailey’s secret project–creating a total lack of privacy in order to make the world a better place. She becomes one of his test subjects and let’s her life become constantly monitored. Will she find out that Bailey’s dream is really a nightmare? Or will she be swayed into becoming Bailey’s disciple.
The film is full of great actors playing against type (including Bill Paxton, in what would become his final role) and has a timely subject. But those reviews are horrible. Could something with this much going for it really turn out that badly?
2. How to Be a Latin Lover (Pantelion, 1,118 Theaters, 115 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude humor, sexual references and gestures, and for brief nudity, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 43% Fresh [7 Reviews]): Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) is a Latin lover who woos rich, older women to become a kept man. Things go good for a quarter century until his wife (Renee Taylor) trades him in for a newer, younger trophy husband.
Maximo is forced to move in with his sister Sara (Salma Hayek) and his nephew Hugo (Raphael Alejandro) while he scouts for his next conquest. In the process, he finds out there is more to life than marrying well and being rich.
Derbez was the start of 2013’s surprise hit, Instructions Not Included, and he is surrounded by actors such as Kristen Bell, Rob Riggle, Rob Lowe and Racquel Welch. However, the film wasn’t released to critics (which is why it only has 7 reviews as I write this) which is never a good sign. Right now, it might be the better choice from a review perspective, but I’d give it time until more reviews come in.
Next week, the new releases promise to do a little good, do a little bad.