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.