Each year, the tentpoles get bigger and bigger. With Vin Diesel and his crew of gearheads-turned-secret-agents back at it with a $250 million eighth installment, almost no other movies dare open against it.
The sole wide release this weekend is ‘The Fate of the Furious‘. Vin Diesel reprises his role as Dom Toretto, the leader of a racing/techie gang that throws around the word “family” so often that if you played a drinking game involving its usage, you’d be dead from alcohol poisoning before the final act. The latest sequel takes the remaining cast members (following Paul Walker’s tragic death) and pits them against Dom, their big brother figure who’s been seduced back to the dark side by a villain who has secretly been the mastermind behind the last few installments. Charlize Theron plays that role. With the help of Kurt Russell, The Rock, and a new force-fed character played by the uncharismatic Scott Eastwood, Dom’s family (comprised of Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris and Nathalie Emmanuel) must work faster and furious-er to bring him home. The story is just as stupid as the last two installments, but it’s also just as fun as the franchise has ever been.
Although two other CGI-animated family flicks are at the top of the box office charts these days, Open Road is pushing ‘Spark: A Space Tail‘ out to 350 screens. As if there weren’t enough movies about anthropomorphic teenage animals… well, this is another one, only this time about monkeys. Three of these rascals will save a planet from an evil bad guy. Although it features the voice talent of Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank and Patrick Stewart, the movie comes to us from a no-credit director and writers with unsavory credentials.
Bleecker Street is quietly opening its new action-adventure drama ‘The Lost City of Z‘ on four screens ahead of a wider release in the coming weeks. The ensemble drama tells the true story of Percival Fawcett, a British explorer who went missing in the Amazon rainforest during the early 20th Century after finding proof of a lost civilization that was far more advanced than anyone knew. The cast includes Sienna Miller, Charlie Humman, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Angus Macfadyen.
Expanding to 1,000 theaters is last weekend’s well-received drama ‘Gifted‘. From the gifted director of ‘(500) Days of Summer’ and starring the charming-as-always Chris Evans, I highly recommend checking it out if high-octane mindless action isn’t your thing.
[Ed.: Phil may have a theatrical review or two roll in later today, but the staff is taking Friday off for the holiday. That means no Roundtable this week. We’ll see you back here on Monday. -JZ]