This loaded weekend offers a whole lot to choose from – a whole lot of nothing. Pixar has another cash-grab sequel that’s not only going to bait your children’s attention, but will leave them clamoring for the movie’s accompanying merchandise. Which revenue stream will yield the most profit is beyond me, but what I’m almost certain of is that none of the other new movies this weekend will be well-accepted.
Pixar fans have begged for an ‘Incredibles’ sequel for years, yet the faltering Disney studio has decided to give us not one, but two ‘Cars’ sequels instead before delivering what we really want. Correcting some sins of the past, ‘Cars 3‘ steers clear of the annoying comedic relief character that was mistakenly placed in the limelight for ‘Cars 2’. Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) returns as the lead and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is only a side character this time. While the first movie imitated ‘Doc Hollywood’, the new one is an automotive take on ‘Rocky IV’. When McQueen starts to lose his lead to up-and-coming youngster racers, he goes back to the basics to find himself and rebuild his skills and esteem. Unfortunately, the franchise only proves to get more boring with each installment, so if your kids are anything like my six- and four-year-old daughters who went to the screening with me, get ready for restless children.
Based on its trailers and the fact that it wasn’t screened for press in my region, I’d expect our second wide release of the weekend to have a rough time at the box office. However, last year’s ‘Bad Moms’ killed it. Looking to capitalize on the same demographic, ‘Rough Night‘ just might stand a chance. The ensemble dark comedy stars Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer and Zoë Kravitz as a group of friends whose drug-fueled bachelorette party goes south when they accidentally kill a male stripper in their luxury hotel room. Although everything about it would make you think otherwise, this actually isn’t a female remake of ‘Very Bad Things’.
The next wide release is the Tupac Shakur bio-pic ‘All Eyez on Me‘. The drama has supposedly been in the works since 2011 in order to get the rapper’s life story complete and accurate. Also not screened for press in my region (which isn’t too surprising since studios don’t think my region cares much about films led by black actors), I can’t chime in on it. However, the reviews out there don’t paint a pretty picture of the 140-minute film.
The fourth and final wide release of the weekend might have stood a chance if it wasn’t for ‘The Shallows’ tackling a similar scenario just one year ago. ‘47 Meters Down‘ stars Mandy Moore and ‘Vampire Diaries’ alum Claire Holt as sisters vacationing in Mexico just to get away from a recently-ended bad relationship. Wanting to live on the edge, the two hire a guy to take them deep into the ocean on his shady boat so they can climb into a rusty cage and be lowered into shark-infested waters. Seeing the poor condition of the boat and equipment, it’s no surprise when the crane system gives out and drops the caged girls to the ocean floor 47 meters below. (How deep is that in feet?) Feeling like a weightless version of ‘Gravity’ set underwater, you may want to skip this one unless you’re a lover of Shark Week. It’s got nothing on ‘The Shallows’.
Between ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’, ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ director Colin Trevorrow opted to pump out an indie drama that Focus has placed on 575 screens. ‘The Book of Henry‘ tells the story of a kid with a secret plan to save a girl from her abusive father. ‘Midnight Special’ child actor Jaeden Lieberher stars as Henry. Naomi Watts plays his single mom. Sarah Silverman, Dean Norris, Lee Pace and former ‘SNL’ cast member Bobby Moynihan co-star.