The only serious competition for the four-week-old ‘Black Panther’ this week is one of Disney’s own movies. However, the critically panned kids’ flick is unlikely to dethrone it. Three other wide releases also take the stage, but none of them stand much chance either.
If you thought Disney learned its lesson after the less-than-impressive family fantasy ‘Tomorrowland’, think again. The studio just Tomorrowlanded (yes, I turned the title of that bad movie into a verb) a beloved kids’ fantasy book with a dreadful screenplay and misguided execution. Acclaimed director Ava DuVernay took on ‘A Wrinkle in Time‘, but didn’t seem to have a clear concept or vision. After their scientist father (Chris Pine) has been missing for four years, his two children and a random kid they meet in the street follow three quirky otherworldly beings (Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling) across space and time to bring him back. Oddly, although science is what stranded him, fantasy, positive thoughts and love just might unlock the path to bringing him back.
Each of the weekend’s other wide releases will storm 2,400 screens. The first is ‘The Hurricane Heist‘, an action caper from the guy who gave us the first ‘The Fast and the Furious’, the first ‘xXx’ and ‘Stealth’. A group of thieves played by Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace and a bunch of other no-names attempt to pull off a seemingly impossible ‘Italian Job’/’Fast Five’ heist in the middle of a wicked hurricane. Think of Christian Slater and Randy Quaid’s ‘Hard Rain’ – only bigger, wetter, windier and (hopefully) without jet-skis. Not screened for press, it’s safe to assume that Entertainment Studios’ latest isn’t all that entertaining at all.
2008’s ‘The Strangers’ was a pretty decent horror flick that Hollywoodized a disturbing true story. Unfounded on anything true, the writer of ‘The Forest’ and the director of ’47 Meters Down’ bring us an unwarranted ten-years-later sequel, ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night‘. Instead of taking place in a secluded home, this drawn-out home invasion tale takes place in a secluded trailer park. Christina Hendricks is the only notable name in the cast. Also not screened for press, I get the impression that it’s better suited for streaming services than first-run theaters.
Lastly, Aussie Nash Edgerton directs ‘Gringo‘, a black comedy that strives to play in the same leagues as ‘Snatch’. Although it doesn’t quite get there, the movie’s still quite good. David Oyelowo leads the ensemble cast as an everyday guy who plays by the rules until he loses everything in a single day. He then decides to break the rules and set into motion an international scheme that will extend farther than he could have imagined. Kidnapping, contract killers, dangerous extractions, drug smuggling, cartels, affairs, standoffs and shootouts will all come into play in this Mexico-set picture. Nash’s brother Joel Edgerton, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Sharlto Copley and Thandie Newton co-star.