'Justice League' and 8 Things to Watch This Weekend

2:45 PM 11/16/2017

by Ashley Lee and Jackie Strause

The highly anticiapted DC superhero movie invades the box office, while Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay cater to a different audience with 'Wonder.'

'Justice League'
'Justice League'
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment
  • Justice League

    In theaters

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.,

    Joss Whedon steps in for Zack Snyder to direct the DC ensemble superhero movie, which features Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Jesse Eisenberg and Willem Dafoe. The Warner Bros. movie follows the events of 2016's Batman v. Superman, as Batman and Wonder Woman team up to face a common enemy.

    Despite the onscreen villain, the greatest threat to the movie might end up being movie critics, whose reviews are incredibly mixed (the film currently sits at 43 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). THR's review said the script "less resembles deft narrative scene-setting than it does the work of a bored casino dealer rotely distributing cards around a table." The movie, he complains, is so un-involving that "you get the feeling it was a chore to make, so it's a chore to sit through, too."

  • The Star

    In theaters

    Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Keegan-Michael Key and Oprah Winfrey lend their voices to the faith-based Sony film, following a small but brave donkey who breaks free from his daily grind at the village mill and, along with a handful of stable animals, follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the first Christmas. Timothy Reckart directs the animated telling of the Nativity story.

    THR's review warns that the movie is "more sitcom than sermon ... which combines spirited voice work and a soundtrack by Christian and secular pop acts in a mildly irreverent, suitably non-flashy package that's more serviceable than inspired. It's up for debate whether processing a Bible story through movie formula reduces or expands its appeal. ... The adaptation emphasizes the humanist-mystical rather than the explicitly religious, delivering a Christian story in a way that's generic enough to entertain beyond the choir."

  • Wonder

    In theaters

    Dale Robinette/Lionsgate

    Room breakout Jacob Tremblay stars in the family film as Auggie Pullman, a young boy who was born with a facial deformity and is attending a mainstream school for the first time. Stephen Chbosky directs the Lionsgate drama, adapted from R.J. Palacio's novel and also starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Mandy Patinkin and Daveed Diggs.

    THR's review says, "Wonder brings an upbeat openheartedness to tough questions. Its lessons in compassion and self-acceptance are treacle-free, and however movie-shiny the story's world of economic comfort and prep school, those lessons pack a universal punch. ... [It is] speaking directly to kids, not around them, while exploring their points of view. Writer-director Stephen Chbosky, who previously adapted his coming-of-age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower to the screen, has a feel for the turning points that shape the tween and teen years — turning points that are, in this case, heightened by exceptional circumstances."

  • Mudbound

    Netflix, limited theaters

    Courtesy of Sundance

    Set in the rural American South, the Netflix drama revolves around two men returning home from combat to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after World War II. Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks and Mary J. Blige make up the ensemble cast of the Sundance hit, directed by Dee Rees and based on the 2008 novel by Hillary Jordan.

    The timely movie is a "densely textured, populous narrative, which is given novelistic room to breathe and a slow-burn intensity that builds to a shattering conclusion," says THR's review. "The movie packs a lot in, giving robust dimension to the characters, plot threads and themes that count. Its powerful depiction of simmering racial tensions in the Jim Crow South of the 1940s, exploding into horrific violence, should boost its profile as a prestige release, the drama fueled by sentiments still troublingly relevant in contemporary America."

  • Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

    Netflix, Friday; Limited theaters

    Documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton explores how Jim Carrey lost himself during a method acting process of playing the late comedian Andy Kaufman for the 1999 biopic Man on the Moon. Jim & Andy explores Carrey's acting process through interviews with the actor now and never-before-seen video footage from the set, filmed nearly 20 years ago.

    "I suddenly saw after I came back to myself that there really isn't a self to come back to. At least not one that's worth coming back to, once you step outside of it," the actor said of returning to "Jim" after letting go of Andy (he required the cast and crew to refer to him as "Andy" during filming, or alter-ego "Tony"). "That was the incredible thing about this film. It is a really important moment of realization, of awakening, that I didn't realize at the moment, but as time went on afterwards, I realized that the awakening had begun to the idea of there not being a self."

  • The Punisher

    Friday, Netflix

    Courtesy of Netflix

    Jon Bernthal's Daredevil alter ego steps into a starring role in the highly anticipated Marvel spinoff series. Bernthal first played Frank Castle in the second season of Marvel's Daredevil and this gritty and violent adaptation of the popular comic book series centers on the former Marine as he becomes engulfed in a military conspiracy. Deborah Ann Woll also reprises her Daredevil role, along with other castmembers including Ben Barnes and Jaime Ray Newman.

    THR's review says the series is "far better than Iron Fist" and calls the stand-alone "a tight, brutal six-episode story of revenge stretched exhaustingly and inexcusably over 13 hours." Brush up on the story's villains and heroes here.

  • Night of Too Many Stars

    Saturday, 8 p.m. on HBO

    A slew of comedians have signed up to perform on HBO’s all-star autism benefit special, Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism Programs. The show, hosted by Jon Stewart, will feature a mix of sketches, short films and stand-up performances, including appearances by Stephen Colbert, Abbi Jacobson, Jordan Klepper, Hasan Minhaj, John Mulaney, Olivia Munn, John Oliver and Adam Sandler. The show will be presented live from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.

  • Search Party

    Sunday, 10 p.m. on TBS

    Courtesy of Macall Polay/TBS

    TBS' critically praised comedy returns for its second season with Dory (Alia Shawkat) and her friends dealing with the fallout of season one's finale. With the group's secret still looming large, their paranoia also grows and relationships will fray. The entire second season will release over Thanksgiving week, with two new episodes rolling out every night for five days. THR's critic describes the show as an "ambitious, simultaneously off-putting and addictive mystery-comedy."

  • American Music Awards

    Sunday, 8 p.m. on ABC

    Getty Images

    The 45th edition of the annual American Music Awards air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, where hoards of music stars will descend for anticipated performances. Selena Gomez returns to the stage and Christina Aguilera will pay tribute to Whitney Houston with music from The Bodyguard soundtrack. Other performers include ‚ÄčAlessia Cara, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes and P!nk. The show will be hosted by Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross, whose mother, Diana Ross, will also be performing and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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