Movies Opening Friday
Filmed in Mexico as a remake of the 2009 Indian coming-of-age drama 3 Idiots, now shown in Spanish with English subtitles. Directed by Carlos Bolada, and stars Alfonso Dosal, Christian Vasquez, German Valdez and Martha Higareda. Two nerdy friends and their arch rival from college go in search of a long lost buddy who disappeared on graduation day.
PG-13: Rude humor, strong language Movies 16.
Captain Underpants: The Epic Movie 3-D/2-D
George (Kevin Heart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch) are mischevious fourth-graders who prank teachers, especially their mean principal, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms). When Mr. Krupp threatens to put the boys into different classes, they hypnotize him with a cereal box ring, making Mr. Krupp believe he is Capt. Underpants, their fictional comic hero. Capt. Underpants causes trouble around town. Keeping his identity secret, our hero fights a new super villain looking to rid the world of laughter. Directed by David Soren.
PG: Mild rude humor Premiere Cinemas, Alamo Drafthouse, Movies 16, Stars &Stripes Drive-In.
In June of 1944, Britains Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Brian Cox) tries to stop the Ally invasion of Normandy, fearing a repeat of the disastrous 1915 Gallipoli invasion where hundreds of thousands of soldiers were slaughtered on the beach. Through stress, hardship and a long war, Churchill is falling apart, with only the support of his wife, Clementine (Miranda Richardson). Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky.
PG: Thematic elements, war images, smoking, language Movies 16.
Wonder Woman 3-D/2-D
Diana (Gal Gadot) is the warrior princess of the Amazons, trained in war and isolated on the island Themyscira. She meets a US military pilot (Chris Pine) who crashes his plane and tells her of the massive war raging in the world.Diana leaves her home to fight for Earths future. This is how she discovers her powers and true calling as Wonder Woman.
PG-13: Violence and action, suggestive content Premiere Cinemas (includes IMAX and D-Box), Alamo Drafthouse, Tinseltown 17 (includes XD), Stars &Stripes Drive-In.
Movies Continuing This Week
Kerns Rating: H 1/2
This awful feature film adaptation of an awful television series is one of the more crude, insulting, tasteless and predictable films one definitely should avoid, yet barely escapes one-star hell. Despite all that goes wrong, honesty compels me to admit that I laughed each time one of the films six screenwriters gift-wrapped another one-liner with which Dwayne Johnson could insult Zac Ephrons boy-band looks. No doubt actress Kelly Rohrbach was cast for her jiggle factor, but give her credit for refusing to let her character wallow in that as she refuses to purposely embarrass somewhat portly admirer Jon Bass, the only Baywatch male lifeguard who keeps his shirt on. Director Seth Gordon is not willing to bypass any possible opportunities to make thinking audiences cringe. Johnson risks his reputation as one of Hollywoods most well-like celebrities just by making a joke of profanities and references to male extremities. The male sex organ is played for laughs with characters living and dead, and Ephron reveals more than once why his character, a disgraced Olympic swimmer performing community service on the Baywatch beach, became saddled with the nickname Vomit Comet. Ewww. Worst performance honors go to Priyanka Chopra, whose poor acting draws attention to a criminal venture that could have been foiled by Moose and Squirrel. David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson are given cameos, it would appear just because.
R: Language, crude sexual content, graphic nudity Premiere Cinemas, Alamo Drafthouse, Tinseltown 17, Movies 16, Stars &Stripes Drive-In.
Beauty and the Beast
Kerns rating: HHH 1/2
Busy adapting animated hits into live action films, Disney thus far has enjoyed more hits than strikeouts. For example, Kenneth Branagh cast Lily James as Cinderella (2015) and delivered a gorgeous romantic fantasy, and Jon Favreaus brilliant The Jungle Book (2016) deservedly earned Academy Award attention. Musical veteran Bill Condon was tasked with humanizing Beauty and the Beast, 1991s Oscar-nominated, animated fairy tale. His adaptation boasts beautiful imagery, ranging from a castle in winter to an older, smaller Paris seen from afar, and entertains overall with many scenes and characters relying on computer-generated images. Much of Dan Stevens Beast is CGI, though, those are his penetrating eyes, and his ballad attracts tears. The story still finds an enchantress transforming an arrogant prince into a beast until he can learn to love, and be loved in return. Arriving to possibly break the spell is Belle. Emma Watson is splendid as the French woman from a nearby provincial town; like Emma Stone in La La Land, Watson is a better actress than singer. Luke Evans steals his scenes as narcissistic hunter Gaston, intent on marrying Belle. A song and dance by Evans and Josh Gad (as gay admirer LeFou) is a highlight. Yet there is so much magic missing within enchanted household objects candelabra, clock, teapot and all the rest especially when compared to their animated inspirations.
PG: Action violence, peril, frightening images Premiere Cinemas.
The Boss Baby 3-D/2-D
Kerns rating: H 1/2
One hopes for more from animated efforts. Alas, some sneak by quality control. I fought to stay awake during the boring Boss Baby, in which, once again, babies are created in unconventional ways. Here, some are products of Baby Corp., and a special formula is mandatory for those babies in middle management who desire to skip infancy and maintain adult intelligence. But try explaining why parents do not seem to mind when their newborn arrives via the front door. Oh well, Alec Baldwin provides the voice of a baby who arrives to investigate a mysterious boom in puppy popularity. His older brother Tim (voiced by Miles Bakshi), 7, questions a baby brother who can talk and wears a business suit, but they soon decide the best way to be rid of one another is to work together. Eventually, the film looks to Elvis impersonators for laughs; meanwhile, villains threaten to incinerate Tims parents, and a creepy Men in Black reference erases memories of those involved. Hows that for family fun? You may wish you also could forget sitting through this. Tom McGrath directs.
PG: Mild rude humor Premiere Cinemas, Movies 16, Stars &Stripes Drive-In.
The Case for Christ
Husband and wife are pitted against each other when Lee Strobels (Mike Vogel) promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune in 1980 leads him to try and disprove the claims of Christianity. This happens while his wife Leslie (Erika Christensen) has found faith in Christ. Based on the book by Lee Strobel and directed by Jon Gunn.
PG: Thematic elements including medical descriptions of crucifixion, smoking Movies 16.
Kerns rating: HHH
It would be nice if explanations were provided and the story made sense, but writer-director Nacho Vigalondo teases us with an entertaining so-called monster movie that speaks more to societys gender issues. Anne Hathaway delivers a funny, and surprisingly tough, performance as New York alcoholic Gloria who is initially amused to discover she is connected to a skyscraper-tall monster that is terrorizing the citizens of Seoul, South Korea. After being dumped by boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens, aka The Beast), Gloria returns to her home town and opts to work at a bar super decision by an alcoholic owned by Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who has had a crush on her since childhood. He has personality issues of his own and, while Gloria was horrified to learn that her monster has killed thousands of Koreans, Oscar just doesnt care. When he becomes connected to a giant robot in Seoul, he blackmails Gloria into staying with him by threatening to kill more innocents. By the time Sudeikis goes over the top with his buddies in his own bar, he has stopped being close to a believable character. The film is a bizarre original, and some also may love the comic book-driven happy ending, waiting until the drive home to shrug their shoulders.
R: Language Alamo Drafthouse.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Based on the ninth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. When summer vacation begins, Greg (Jason Ian Drucker) has to go on a road trip. On their way to his grandmas 90th birthday celebration, Greg encounters crazy antics and hilarious hijinks as he takes the road trip off course by aiming for a video game convention. Directed by David Bowers.
PG: Rude humor Premiere Cinemas, Tinseltown 17.
Maddy (Amanda Sternberg) is a 18-year-old forced never allowed to leave the protection of a hermetically-sealed environment within her home because she has an immunodeficiency that makes her allergic to almost everything. Olly (Nick Robinson), the boy next door, falls for her. She grows desperate to experience the more stimulating outside world, not to mention the promise of her first romance. Their decision to be together could risk her life. Stella Meghie directs the film adaptation of a young adult novel by Nicola Yoon.
PG-13: Thematic elements, sensuality Tinseltown 17, Movies 16.
The Fate of the Furious
Kerns rating: HHH
One may not encounter a nuttier, more nonsensical movie all year. Director F. Gary Gray he of The Italian Job and Straight Outta Compton fame may have asked, How many cars can I destroy? before turning script pages and realizing that, with CGI help, he could have fun not just with fast cars, but also a jet and a submarine. The only thing missing is the late Paul Walker, and even his characters spirit was bound to make itself known. As if this movie does not have enough stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Tyrese Gibson, to cite just those with shaved heads let it be known that an array of spoilers deliver near-inconceivable casting, and surprises challenge fans to think back to prior F&F films to put the pieces together. Try counting how many times Diesels Dominic Toretto said that family is what drives him. Somehow that cannot change, even after international terrorist Cipher Charlize Theron, nastier here than in Mad Max Fury Road forces Dom to go rogue and betray his wife (Michelle Rodriguezs Letty), crew and friends. The film opens with Dom and Letty enjoying a Cuban honeymoon which, naturally, must include a street race. From here, Doms crew of one-time street racers end up stealing an EMP, try to protect a surveillance system and wander from Germany to Russia in search of more car-flipping, submarine-jumping, heat-seeking missile-racing action. Johnson, resembling a walking steroid, also earns chuckles when coaching his daughters soccer team. Topping James Wans 2015 blockbuster Furious 7 probably was impossible, and everyone involved here goes way over the top while trying.
PG-13: Violence and destruction Premiere Cinemas, Stars &Stripes Drive-In.
Kerns rating: HHHH
McKenna Grace may be the most delightful child actress since Dakota Fanning broke our hearts by growing up. Grace is a whirlwind of emotions as Mary, a 7-year-old math genius who has fun solving mathematical puzzles andalso sings the praises of a one-eyed cat named Fred and knows who really cares about her. Her grandmother and mother shared the same math prodigy gene and, before mom leaves, she forces her brother Frank (Chris Evans) to promise to become Marys guardian and make sure she has a childhood that every little girl should be allowed to enjoy. The promise is easy to keep until Mary heads to first grade at a public school, where she cannot hide her boredom no matter how much Frank hoped she could. It isnt long before those who never cared about Mary begin prying her away from Frank and the home she knows, certain that the right and proper thing is to refine her devotion to math over potential childhood fun. Evans, best known as Marvels Capt. America, shines as a loving guardian wanting to do the right thing, if only he can figure out what that is. Director Marc (500) Days of Summer Webb also has experience with superheroes, aka The Amazing Spider-Man. Here, he impresses by dodging traps set by predictable sentimentality. Lindsay Duncan and Jenny Slate are well-acted opposites as Marys grandma and first grade teacher, respectively, and Octavia Spencer just keeps improving, this time as a doting neighbor. Gifted is that rare movie that, despite its manipulative moments, touches hearts. It made me weep, it made me smile, and thats reason enough to recommend it.
PG-13: Thematic elements, language, suggestive material Movies 16.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 3-D/2-D
Kerns rating: HHH
A disc- dancing Baby Groot saves sequences more than once in an overwritten sequel that spells minor disappointment in the Marvel Comics Universe. Many will be pleased just by the reintroduction to charismatic title characters Chris Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill, Zoe Saldana as warrior Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Bradley Cooper providing the voice of machine gun-wielding raccoon Rocket, and with Vin Diesel making certain that I am Groot can mean just about anything. However, rather than these five linked even tighter as family/partners/guardians, director James Gunn introduces biological detours and plot diversions that make far less sense than having the characters work as a team. In terms of biological issues, sibling issues between Gamora and Nebula are reduced to nothing more than dad always liked you best issues. More time is devoted to Peter leaving the team after being approached by Ego, as played by CGI-enhanced Kurt Russell as a god claiming to be his dad . Why risk everything by referring to the murder of a mother who left Peter his tapes of 1970s radio hits, and does so shortly after Russell and Pratt play catch with a blur orb as though imitating a Field of Dreams father and son reunion? Then again, why would Pratt even make such a leap after finding a family, including a father figure in Yondo, the Ranger/marauder who reared him and taught him how to survive. One wants to take advantage of fun with primary characters, but time and again important moments are telegraphed far in advance for no good reason. After the film ends, Gunn insists on inserting five additional scenes within the closing credits. This sort of overkill pays no dividends.
PG-13: Sci-fi action and violence, language, suggestive content Alamo Drafthouse, Tinseltown 17, Movies 16 (includes XD), Stars &Stripes Drive-In.
How to Be a Latin Lover
Having made a career of seducing rich older women, Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) marries a wealthy woman. Twenty-five years later, his 80-year-old wife dumps him for a younger man. He moves in with his estranged sister (Salma Hayek) and her nerdy son Hugo (Raphael Alejandro) and uses his nephews crush on a classmate to reach his next target billionaire grandmother Celeste, played by Raquel Welch. The film was written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo.
PG-13: Crude humor, sexual references and gestures, nudity Premiere Cinemas.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 3-D/2-D
Kerns rating: H
The latest cinematic take on King Arthur from director Guy Ritchie sets a new low. One wonders if studios would finance future stories about the Arthur legend. Yes, it has been written that Ritchies King Arthur: Legend of the Sword laughably is meant to be the first in a series of six or seven movies. Go figure. Ritchies tale finds Arthurs father, King Uther Pendragon (little more than a cameo by Eric Bana), immediately betrayed and murdered by his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law), who sacrifices even his own true love for weapons of dark magic that guarantee him the crown. The child Arthur escapes downstream in a skiff, to be found and reared by prostitutes with maternal instincts. Older Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up a street rat content to pickpocket and steal, while also protecting the brothel in which he was reared. Martial arts training helps. He has no desire for the crown even after pulling Excaiber from the stone. Law tries, despite a script that has him slice off a prisoners ear and talk into it (shades of Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs). Even Law is transformed into a bigger, blacker CGI figure for a final battle. Ritchies music video training is reflected in quick cuts, cross-cutting and a loud score. Hunnam hardly appears to care, and Astrid Berges-Frisbeys character, a supportive mage, feels like a crutch. The end result is boring.
PG-13: Violence and action, suggestive content, strong language Premiere Cinemas, Tinseltown 17.
The loyalties of a teenage graffiti artist (Gabriel Chavarria) in east Los Angeles, who has painted murals on the hoods of lowrider cars to help his criminal brother (Theo Rossi), are tested. He is caught between his fathers obsession with lowrider culture, his ex-felon brother and his need for self-expression. Directed by Ricardo de Montreuil.
PG-13: Language, some violence, sensuality, thematic elements, drug use Movies 16.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 3-D/2-D
The fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean finds pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) pursued by undead nemesis Capt. Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his Spanish Navy ghost crew, all of whom having recently escaped the Devils Triangle. Jacks only hope lies in locating the legendary Trident of Poseidon, which is capable of controlling the seas; without it, Sparrow cannot even sail. Finding this ancient weapon requires Jack to work with a beautiful astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) and sailor Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. After being absent from the preceding film, look for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley to make cameo appearances as Will and Elizabeth, respectively. Keep an eye on the films jail guards, as well, as Sir Paul McCartney is said to make a brief appearance as Jack Sparrows uncle. Co-directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg.
PG-13: Violence, suggestive content Premiere Cinemas, Alamo Drafthouse, Tinseltown 17, Movies 16, Stars &Stripes Drive-In.
Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) is dumped by her boyfriend the day before their vacation to an exotic getaway in South America. Attempting to salvage the vacation, she invites her extremely cautious mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) to join her in paradise. The trip doesnt go as planned and the mother-daughter duo must set aside their differences to escape a dangerous and outrageous jungle adventure.
R: Crude sexual content, nudity, language Premiere Cinemas, Tinseltown 17, Movies 16.
Kerns rating: HHH 1/2
In director Doug Limans hands, a low budget war movie with only two visible living characters, reveals the aura of a near-supernatural presence. Liman, who excelled with films ranging from The Bourne Identity to Edge of Tomorrow, makes viewers feel Iraqi heat and sand, isolation and ever-present wind as soldiers hope to complete a mission after their president said the war was won. Staff Sgt. Shane Matthews (Army sniper played by John Cena) and spotter Sgt. Allen Ize Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) check out a massacre of eight American oil pipeline contractors by an unseen Iraqi sniper. Matthews, having hunkered down in rubble and sand for more than 20 hours, is positive they are alone. Hes wrong. Soon one man is wounded in the open, maybe bleeding out, while the other barely reaches the cover of a crumbling wall, with dwindling water. A shared frequency on a damaged radio allows the enemy, perhaps legendary sniper Juba/Ghost with 75 American kills, to form a verbal cat-and-mouse game. In so many ways, the film belongs to Taylor-Johnson, ably communicating ingenuity and fear, giving in to past sin and then determined to find where Juba must be hiding. Yet unlike the shark in Jaws, this monster is never revealed. Tension and fear are generated by Laith Nakli with only his voice. Liman also films a brave, if controversial, ending that viewers may perceive as either elevating or something worse.
R: Language, war violence Movies 16.
Star ratings, reviews are by A-J Media film critic William Kerns.
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Four films open Friday in Lubbock movie theaters, including ‘Wonder Woman’ – LubbockOnline.com