Welcome to a new feature for 2017: weekly film previews. First up: January 6 (obviously).
Let’s bitch it out…
There’s something for everyone this first weekend of 2017 as Kate Beckinsale returns to the latex outfit that ushered in puberty for countless fanboys, a children’s classic get the big screen treatment and an “hidden” awards season gem expands to go wide. Read on.
Underworld: Blood Wars (Wide)
- Cast: Kate Beckinsale (Brokedown Palace), Theo James (The Inbetweeners Movie), Tobias Menzies (Casino Royale) & Charles Dance (Alien3)
- Official synopsis: The next installment in the blockbuster franchise follows Vampire death dealer, Selene (Beckinsale) as she fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (James) and his father Thomas (Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.
- Best suited for fans of: CGI violence and leather
- Is it worth your time? If you’re a fan of slightly undercooked genre franchises, this is likely your most anticipated jam of 2017 until Milla Jocovich dons her Alice costume for the final installment of Resident Evil. For most people, however, this fifth entry of the Underworld franchise is probably evidence of Hollywood’s propensity for dumping subpar films in the first month of the year
A Monster Calls (Wide)
- Cast: Sigourney Weaver (Working Girl), Felicity Jones (Spiderman 2), Lewis MacDougall (Pan) and the voice of Liam Neeson (The Grey)
- Official synopsis: A visually spectacular drama from acclaimed director Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible), based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel. 12-year-old Conor (MacDougall) attempts to deal with his mother’s (Jones) illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that explore courage, loss, and faith.
- Best suited for fans of: Later Harry Potter books, Charlotte’s Web and Where The Wild Things Are
- Is it worth your time? Absolutely. There’s Oscar buzz for Felicity Jones’ performance and fans of the novel rightfully feel that Bayona has done right by the source material. It’s not quite the tear jerker that some will have you believe, but the visuals alone are worth the trip to the multiplex.
Hidden Figures (Wide)
- Cast: Taraji P. Henson (Date Night), Octavia Spencer (Insurgent), musician Janelle Monáe and Kevin Costner (The Postman)
- Official synopsis: Hidden Figures is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
- Best suited for fans of: Historical feel good films, The Imitation Game
- Is it worth your time? Absolutely. There’s Oscar buzz for Spencer who is her usual amazing self (though strangely little for Henson, who is essentially the film’s defacto lead). After last year, it is clear that there’s a ton of work to be done exploring how diverse groups have contributed to the history of the United States.
That’s it for this week. Stop by next Friday for previews of Mark Wahlberg’s re-team with director Peter Berg (Patriots Day), a few “meh” action flicks with Jamie Foxx and Ben Affleck and two really bad looking horror films (one of which is actually meant to be a horror film).