When the majority of this weekend’s new movies look pretty good, it’s going to be difficult deciding what to see. Even though there appears to be clear winners and duds in this mix, you’ll definitely want to do some homework on critical response and word-of-mouth before making a decision.
The widest release of the weekend is Tom Cruise’s ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back‘. Although the first ‘Jack Reacher’ was an absolutely badass action flick oozing with style, it barely found a domestic audience in theaters. Most viewers didn’t discover its awesomeness until it hit Blu-ray and TV. We can thank international audiences for boosting its theatrical run enough to warrant another chapter in the cinematic adaptations of Lee Child’s book series. This round follows the off-the-grid drifter on a mission to uncover crooked Army officials and the shady mastermind puppeteering them.
Unfortunately, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie never came back for ‘Never Go Back’. In his place, we get Edward Zwick, a filmmaker who, honestly, has a pretty shoddy track record. ‘Never Go Back’ doesn’t help his cause. Functioning at about half-speed of what the original film pulled off, it doesn’t feel quite right. The throwback stylistic charm is entirely missing, and the movie feels like just another crime drama. It isn’t terrible, but it has a generic vibe.
The next widest release is ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘. Considering how bad the 2014 ‘Ouija’ was, I’m quite surprised that Universal decided to make it a franchise. The PG-13 prequel takes us back to the 1960s home of a single mother and her kids. When one of them plays with a ouija board, her body is co-inhabited with an evil spirit. Although it was easy to get in, the small family will have a hard time getting it out.
Yes, that plot sounds extremely similar to ‘The Conjuring 2’. Taking that and the fact that the first movie was terrible, I have no desire to see ‘Origin of Evil’. However, word on the street is actually quite good. Currently sitting at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, this just might be worth checking out.
In Fox’s ensemble action-comedy ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses‘, Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher play a boring suburban couple whose marriage is lacking some spice. When the Jones couple – played by Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot – move in across the street, all of that changes. Fisher suspects them of not being who they say they are, while Galifianakis forms a bromance with his new buddy. Far too much time is wasted building non-existent suspense leading up to a reveal that we already know from having seen the TV spots. Surprise, the Joneses are actually spies! After 45 minutes, the truth comes out and all hell breaks loose. The first half of the movie is an absurd bore, so when it finally finds some humor and fun in the second half, it’s already too late. The ads make the movie look better than it is. Enter at your own risk.
Finally, Tyler Perry is back with another Madea movie. (Wouldn’t ‘Another Madea Movie’ make a great title for one?). This one’s called ‘Boo! A Madea Halloween‘. I can’t stop laughing at the punctuation in the title because it sounds like someone is booing at the fact that there’s a Madea Halloween movie. This time, the character tries to foil the plans of mischievous neighborhood kids and has to deal with all sorts of scary evil in the process. From the synopses I’ve read, this sounds like Madea’s version of ‘Ernest Scared Stupid’.