Weekend Movies: No Matter What, At Least Dev Patel Is Having a Good Week

This mixed bag of a weekend offers three new movies in wide release, each of which will only appeal to a certain demographic with a specific taste. What tastes would those be? Bad taste, geek taste, and fluffy sweet taste.

Sony’s movie takes the most amount of screens this weekend. Surprising, the R-rated sci-fi action flick ‘Chappie‘ is opening in more than 3,200 locations. Neill Blomkamp started strong with ‘District 9‘, but totally blew it with the trainwreck ‘Elysium‘. Now, Blomkamp returns to his roots with Johannesburg-set ‘Chappie’. With the same structure as ‘District 9’ and many elements borrowed from ‘RoboCop’, the film tells the story of a defective police robot that’s given new programming which enables artificial intelligence. Raised by a trio of slum-dwelling criminals (played members of the rap group Die Antwoord), the childlike robot tries doing the good that his creator (Dev Patel) instilled in him, but a mullet-donning military engineer (Hugh Jackman) has plans to complicate things with violence, pain and destruction.

Hitting 2,800 locations is Fox’s so-called comedy from the people who gave us 2013’s ‘Delivery Man‘. It doesn’t feature any robots, but it’s surely stiff and robotic. Vince Vaughn leads ‘Unfinished Business‘ alongside Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco. The trio form their own business in the movie’s opening. Set one year later, their company has yet to see a sale and is about to go belly-up. The only prospect on the horizon is a strong one that will save their business, but they’ll have to go on an around-the-world business trip for it. Nick Frost, Sienna Miller and James Marsden also appear in this generic R-rated mess that features everything you can imagine, except laughs.

Debuting just north of 1,400 screens is Fox Searchlight’s ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel‘. Even though I really enjoyed John Madden’s first ‘Marigold Hotel‘, when I learned of the sequel, I said, “Of all movies, why make a sequel to that?” When I screened ‘Second Best’, I found out why: Because the sequel brings back all of the characters, charm and delight from the first. Most sequels strive to do that and fail, but this one nails it out of the gate. The entire cast – including Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Dev Patel (in his second movie opening this weekend) – return with sub-plots of their own that all revolve around the potential creation of a second hotel location and the owner’s upcoming wedding. Richard Gere joins along in for the second chapter.

Opening in limited release is the comedy ‘Road Hard‘. Co-written, co-directed and starring Adam Carolla, it tells the story of an actor whose movie and television careers have died off, so he’s forced to go back on the road as a stand-up comic in order to provide for his family. In co-starring and cameo roles, expect to see David Alan Grier, Jay Mohr, David Koechner, Howie Mandel and plenty of other people from within the biz.


  1. I’m not participating in this fight either – but if I was, I’d simply point out that some are able to appreciate the finer things in life. And I happen to be one of those people

  2. With all the recent reviews of CHAPPIE and the prerequisite slamming of ELYSIUM that seems to go with each review, I went back and watched ELYSIUM last night. Ummm… not sure what the issue is here, and it looked it really good in 4K. Sure its not DISTRICT 9, but I wonder how the reviews of ELYSIUM would’ve been if DISTRICT 9 had not existed for it to be compared against. Its like when a band releases a CD and every CD after that is judged against the first CD and anything new can never live up to the first one. But, every once in a while you randomly hear a song you are not familiar with it and you like it, until you realize who sings it and you start judging it against their previous work.

    If I had randomly turned on the TV and saw ELYSIUM without knowing anything about the director or filmmaker and had nothing preconceived to judge it against. There is no way I am turning this movie off and watching something else. I would be hooked. Of course, as soon as you saw the setting of Johannesburg you probably guess the director pretty quickly.

    M Night gets the same treatment. He toiled away for years to make SIXTH SENSE and there were zero expectations, of course it is a great movie. After that he had short timelines and a lot of second guessing and movie companies getting involved. I went in HELL blind and loved it, I didn’t know for months that was one of his movies. I even back to see if his name was at the beginning because I never saw it pop up.

    As soon as a filmmaker is marketable everything changes, and studios are watching.

    I have to admit the CHAPPIE trailers don’t make me want to go see it. But, I will see it at home eventually I am sure.

    • Chris B

      The problem most people have with Elysium (myself included) is the lazy writing and gaping plot holes. Oh, and the incredibly heavy-handed politcal commentary doesn’t help either. It looks great, sounds great…but is still a pretty mediocre (some would say bad) movie.

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