Weekend Movies: All Shook Up

Mirror, Mirror, looking sleek, how many bad movies are out this week?

Four years ago, two live-action adaptations of ‘Snow White’ were released. One, ‘Mirror Mirror‘, was one of the worst movies of 2012. The other, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘, happened to be a pleasant surprise. Due to the success of the latter, it’s no shock that Universal jumped on a sequel. However, the studio didn’t count on the lead actress and the married director stirring up a scandal by jumping on one another. Instead of getting a standard follow-up movie, a team of bad writers (whose collective works include ‘The Hangover Part II’, ‘Identity Thief’ and ‘Hercules’) was assembled to take the movie’s secondary character and write a by-the-numbers, part-prequel/part-sequel that’s absolutely brain-dead.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War‘ kicks off with a much-too-long intro that’s set prior to ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’. We learn the origin of the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), as well as that of the evil queen Ravenna’s twisted sister (Emily Blunt). The Huntsman’s wife (Jessica Chastain) is also introduced. Just when the prequel story feels like it’s ready to unfold, a cheesy wrench is thrown in the gears and the story jumps to after the events of ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’. Because Kristen Stewart couldn’t be brought back, we follow the Huntsman on a mission to stop another evil plan involving the iconic mirror. As if written sequentially scene by scene, there’s neither any setup nor payoff for anything that happens in the movie, which ultimately makes ‘Winter’s War’ a tension-less bore that would have been better suited as a direct-to-Blu-ray release with D-list actors. Charlize Theron returns in a minor role as Ravenna, while a body-double plays Snow White for one scene in Stewart’s absence.

After that, arriving on 401 screens is Tom Hanks’ latest drama, ‘A Hologram for the King‘. Just as he did in ‘Bridge of Spies’, Hanks plays a stranger in a strange land who attempts to achieve something big despite the huge cultural differences. Attempting to make up for his career failures, his goal is to sell a new holographic technology to the king of Saudi Arabia.

Amazon Studios is bringing an original picture to 381 screens. ‘Elvis & Nixon‘ tells the true story of the iconic musician’s meeting with the notorious President at the White House in 1970. Playing out like a historical comedy, Elvis is played by the brilliant character actor Michael Shannon and Nixon is played by Kevin Spacey. Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville and Colin Hanks co-star.

As if this year didn’t already have enough of them, another musician bio-pic is opening this weekend. Zoe Saldana portrays Nina Simone in ‘Nina‘, which focuses on the singer’s career and relationships. David Oleyowo, Mike Epps and Keith David co-star. RLJ Entertainment has not revealed the screen count for its release.


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