Both of this weekend’s big new movies use simple male names for titles. So, which name do you like more: Max or Ted? To follow this trend, next week’s release of the previously-titled ‘Terminator Genisys’ will henceforth be known as ‘John’.
The widest of this weekend’s new releases is the sequel to Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Ted‘, the 2012 Mark Wahlberg flick that unexpectedly became the high-grossing R-rated non-sequel of all time. After ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ flopped last year, MacFarlane is trying to make a comeback with ‘Ted 2‘. Although Mila Kunis doesn’t return for the follow-up, Wahlberg does as the crude teddy bear’s thunder buddy. We start off seeing Ted and Tami-Lynn’s wedding, then cut to a year later when the couple are at each other’s throats. Thinking that it will cure their marital problems and teach them to be in love again, they decide to have a child – only Ted doesn’t have the parts to create a human child. This is where the episodic journey begins. From sperm donations and adoption attempts to courtroom drama and Comic-Con geekiness, the story is all over the place. Making up for the incoherent plot are countless hilarious jokes. On multiple occasions, I missed several lines of dialogue beneath prolonged audience laughs. Movie references and cameos abound.
The second wide release is family drama ‘Max‘. A Marine unit is broken apart in a tragic event in Afghanistan that leaves one soldier dead and his trusty canine partner Max wounded and traumatized. To help the dog recover, he’s adopted by the younger brother of his fallen partner. In family flick fashion, Max is not only healed by the family, but the family is healed by Max.
For the first time since 1997, Alan Rickman has stepped behind the camera to direct the delightful-looking period piece romantic comedy ‘A Little Chaos‘. In this broad cast, Rickman plays King Louis XIV. To beautify the palace of Versailles, he brings in two romantically charged landscape artists (Kate Winslet and Matthias Schoenaerts). Passion, drama, scandal and a promising Stanley Tucci ensue. Focus Features is only pushing ‘A Little Chaos’ onto 83 screens, but if it does well we’re certain to see it expand soon.
Years ago, ‘Entourage’ featured a great story arc about the disastrous production of a movie about drug lord Pablo Escobar. In the series, the film bombed. Based on the angle that ‘Escobar: Paradise Lost‘ takes, it looks like this production will flop too. From a first-time director, the main character in ‘Paradise Lost’ isn’t even Escobar (Benicio Del Toro), but a Canadian tourist (Josh Hutcherson) visiting Colombia to surf. When he meets a local girl who seems like his dream girl, he gets more than he bargained for. You see, she’s Pablo Escobar’s niece. Cue the dramatic music because this relationship is about to get extremely complicated.
That brings us to the final noteworthy release of the week, a documentary that has me aching for the day it opens here in Salt Lake City. Warner Bros. is only opening the inspirational tear-jerker ‘Batkid Begins‘ on four screens, but I can’t imagine it being long before it gets up to at least 800 screens nationwide. In November 2013, five-year-old Miles Scott was battling leukemia. As every kid does, he dreamed of being a superhero, specifically Batman. His parents saved his Make-A-Wish for when Miles really needed it. When the call was issued, thousands of people from all over the globe rose to the occasion to turn San Francisco into Gotham City for a day and fulfill his wish of fighting crime as Batman for one day. I dare you to watch the trailer without tearing up.