Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Weekend Movies: Vicious Circle

September rolls ahead with several new movies, two of which are likely to help this record-breaking month become even more lucrative.

It’s been several weeks since a big kids’ movie was released. Given that this week’s bears the Lego brand, it’s almost a sure thing. In addition, Fox delivers the sequel to one of Matthew Vaughn’s global comic book hits, and the folks at Entertainment Studios (a poorly named distributor that I’d never heard of) must not have gotten the memo that they’re opening an R-rated horror movie in the massive wake of ‘It’. In addition, two specialty titles with great potential are getting limited roll-outs that begin now.

Without surprise, the widest of the new releases is ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie‘. While the first two Lego movies capitalized on pop culture, this one attempts to capitalize on the brand’s existing Cartoon Network series ‘Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu’. The story follows a group of teenage ninjas who save their island city daily from a ridiculous villain who just-so-happens to be the estranged father of the ninja’s team leader. When emotions get involved, the ninjas struggle and a moral-filled story ensues. Without as much creativity and pop culture comedy, ‘The Lego Ninja Movie’ is a so-so entry to the Lego franchise. The voice cast of the TV series has been replaced with somewhat notables Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Justin Theroux and Olivia Munn.

Matthew Vaughn directed three prior comic book movie adaptations (‘Kick-Ass’, ‘X-Men: First Class’, and ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’). For the first time, he returns for a sequel. ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle‘ picks up shortly after the first one left off. Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is not only a successful and cavalier spy, he’s dating the princess from the end of the first movie. When an unknown cuckoo drug lord (Julianne Moore) targets the homes and workplaces of every one of the Kingsmen, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) have to call on the fallen agency’s American cousins, called the Statemen, to get the job done. ‘The Golden Circle’ runs a little long and isn’t as tight as the first ‘Kingsman’ movie, but it’s still a whole lot of fun. Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum (in a very small role) join the mix.

Haven’t filmmakers learned that technology-based horror movies are never a good idea? From the writers and director of nothing you’ve ever heard of, let alone seen, comes ‘Friend Request‘. An actress that you’ve never heard of plays the coolest kid in a college clique that unknowing accepts a social media friend request from a demon. This new “friend” is a jealous one that wants her all to itself and starts killing her real life friends. Entertainment Studios is somehow getting the movie out to 2,550 screens this weekend.

From the writer of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and the directors of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ comes ‘Battle of the Sexes‘, which Fox Searchlight is releasing on 20 screens. Emma Stone and Steve Carell lead this comedic ensemble bio-pic about two of the biggest tennis players of the 1970s going head-to-head for a televised boys-versus-girls match. The ensemble cast also includes Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Bill Pullman, Chris Parnell, Alan Cumming and Sarah Silverman. With good reviews, you can expect it to expand quickly over the next few weeks.

While last year’s Boston Marathon bombing movie ‘Patriot’s Day’ sensationalized the tragedy, David Gordon Green attempts to take an intimate approach to the terrifying event. In ‘Stronger‘, Jake Gyllenhaal plays real-life survivor Jeff Bauman, a bystander who lost both legs in the bombing and had to adjust to normal living following the attack. The cast includes Tatiana Maslany (‘Orphan Black’) and Miranda Richardson.

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