Weekend Movies: Spring Awakening

The biggest noisemaker in March was a movie from February (‘Black Panther’), so it’s nice to close the month with something big and fun. Of course, I’m not alluding to Tyler Perry’s latest drama, nor to the new faithsploitation sequel. I’m talking about Steven Spielberg’s ’80s nostalgia porn.

Nerd culture thrives this weekend with the massive 4,200 screen debut of ‘Ready Player One‘. Set in the not-too-distant future, the late creator of an online Virtual Reality universe has left an Easter Egg within his vast system for any player to find. Whoever discovers it first will become the owner of the company behind it. In the tech-heavy dystopic future, anyone and everyone is hunting for the egg, including a greedy corporation willing to spend its endless resources in order to obtain it. The story follows an average underdog kid who feels a personal connection with the system’s deceased creator. Inside the gaming world, the sky is the limit, so pop culture icons spend more time on-screen than the film’s actual cast, which includes Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance. If you’re ready for some all-out fun, then summer has arrived early this year.

Instead of pumping out back-to-back Madea Halloween movies, Tyler Perry is back with an R-rated, non-Madea movie at 2,000 locations. The thriller ‘Tyler Perry’s Acrimony‘ stars Taraji P. Henson as a faithful wife who snaps when her husband’s lying and cheating ways come to light. Now furious, things are about to get violent. Based on the trailer alone, I get the feeling that Perry is going for an M. Night Shyamalan twist on this one. Let’s see if he can pull it off.

Opening against it on 1,688 screens is the sequel ‘God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness‘. The story follows a congregation whose church, which is located on a university campus, burns down in a fire. The mourning churchgoers look to rise from the ashes, but the university leaders decline their request to rebuild and push the church off the property. The members must learn to stand together, which leads me to believe that this installment is getting political (or even more political than the last couple). The distributor of the ‘God’s Not Dead’ franchise funnels all advertising money directly into the production, reducing overhead and creating a business model that allows the faith-based community to spread the word about the movie. As such, none of these movies has been screened for press. I’ll let you tell me if this one is any good.

[Editor’s Note: The blog will take tomorrow off for the Good Friday holiday. That means we’re giving the staff a break from doing a Roundtable this week. We’ll be back on Monday with our regular Blu-ray Highlights coverage. -JZ]


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