From strikingly vivid colors to a raunchy comedy playing it too safe, here's what to expect in this weekend's movie lineup.
In this weekend's box office lineup, the rivaling teams of Angry Birds return to the big screen and join forces to defeat a common enemy, two Hollywood icons' daughters make their film debuts and a young man finds his voice in the hit songs of Bruce Springsteen.
Angry Birds the Movie 2, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Blinded by the Light are just a sample of what's hitting theaters this weekend.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette, The Second Sun, End of the Century and Driven are titles also coming to the big screen.
But whether audiences want the raunchy antics of Good Boys or the beautiful silence of Aquarela, critics with The Hollywood Reporter can help them determine which flicks are worth a watch.
When a new, purple-plumed threat comes into the scene, the birds and pigs of the Angry Birds franchise come together, angrier than before, for The Angry Birds Movie 2.
The follow-up to the 2016 original boasts the voices of Peter Dinklage, Maya Rudolph, Nicki Minaj and Awkwafina and Leslie Jones, who plays the menacing Zeta.
The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Dalton writes that with the combination of its near-garish look and functional, often witty, writing The Angry Birds Movie 2 presents something for everyone.
"It still ticks plenty of lightweight fun boxes for its prime target audience of younger children, with just enough adult humor to keep parents from yawning, too," Dalton notes.
Corinne Foxx and Sistine Stallone, daughters of Jamie Foxx and Sylvester Stallone, respectively, face off with blind sharks in their film debut, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.
The second film in the 47 Meters Down series, director Johannes Roberts takes the shark-infested plot of the first and moves it to the underwater ruins of Mexico. Foxx and Stallone, along with Brianne Tju and Sophie Nélisse, surrounded by the predators, must navigate their way out of the ancient ruins before they turn into shark bait.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged yields the same results and "easy scares" as the 2017 film despite different circumstances, writes The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore.
Viewers will have to set disbelief aside to enjoy the movie, but the film ends with something much worse than a shark attack, DeFore warns: "The film ends with a bad joke, and that joke gets worse a couple of times — shark-flick parody bad — before it's over."
Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha returns to spearhead Blinded by the Light, starring Viveik Kalra.
Chadha's latest directing-screenwriting endeavor revolves around Javed, a Pakistani teen who deals with both Thatcher's xenophobic England and growing pressures from his conservatively Pakistani family. In hopes of finding his own voice, Javed tunes into the classic songs of Bruce Springsteen.
Playing the torn teen is Viveik Kalra, who The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore says "radiates enough guileless enthusiasm to carry viewers past the film's rough patches."
The film, which premiered at Sundance, never fully breaks its music-heavy scenes into musical numbers, but doesn't come off as realistic, DeFore writes.
Blinded by the Light has its corny moments, but all the campy scenes rings true simply because "they're overwrought in the true way that falling hard for a song or a band can be," DeFore says.
In Gene Stupnitsky's Good Boys, three middle-schoolers are anything but.
The boys, played by Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon, find themselves fighting with frat boys, outwitting security guards and crossing highways in an attempt to attend a kissing party.
In his review for the film, The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore dubs the Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen-produced flick a "nearly one-note comedy."
Good Boys finds comedy in misunderstood words and children with some of the less wholesome aspects of adult life. The film brings out real laughs but fails to realize its true comedic potential, no thanks to Stupnitsky's direction.
"Williams, who looks like he's sitting on a powder keg of comic potential, gives the film's most engaging performance, but several other kid thesps are underutilized or made vanilla by the film's direction," DeFore writes.
Cate Blanchett plays a neurotic, yet genius architect who goes missing in Richard Linklater's Where'd You Go, Bernadette.
The Hollywood Reporter film critic Toddy McCarthy writes that the movie, with constant tone shifts, is as erratic as its titular character.
Based on the 2012 novel by Maria Temple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette sees serious topics like neurosis and Bernadette's boredom undercut with cutesy scores and comedy. But it isn't until the architect goes missing that the movie picks up, he writes."From this point on, the journey becomes a more interesting one, serious but with an eccentric, unorthodox feel entirely dictated by the unusual titular figure," McCarthy notes.Though Linklater's film takes its material from Temple's work, it departs and simplifies the story, which might let down some of the book's fans, McCarthy writes. But the combination of the actors' work and Linklater's direction might be enough of a payoff."The main actors, and the kind of quiet, offbeat notes Linklater is able to draw out, provide some compensation, and the fact that this is the first American dramatic film ever to be partly filmed on the seventh continent will at the least guarantee it a footnote in cinema history," he said.
In Victor Kossakovsky's Aquarela, water in all its forms shines as the film's only star.
The film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, takes an immersive look at the impressive forms and beauties of water in all shapes and sizes, writes The Hollywood Reporter's Leslie Felperin.
Though Aquarela is far different from other movies in the weekend lineup, given it doesn't feature human actors, it shares a story nonetheless, she writes.
"Water becomes airborne, rainbow-making droplets that evolve into clouds that will redistribute water back into the ecosystem. In other words, your basic, classically cinematic, circular, three-act structure," she notes.
Mads Brugger returns with his documentary Cold Case Hammarskjold, which The Hollywood Reporter critic Daniel Fienberg calls a "funny, crazed take on the mystery investigation drama."
The documentary follows Brugger as he makes his way to Africa to learn about the circumstances of Swedish economist Dag Hammarskjold's death. The economist died in an airplane crash in 1961, but soon after rumors arose about the intentionality of his death.
The narrative can feel complicated, Fienberg says, but even despite the natural complexity that comes with Hammarskjold's death, the convoluted parts can just be a result of Brugger messing around.
"On a purely literal level, Cold Case Hammarskjold is using absurdity to capture the very real challenges of cracking any cold case or getting to the truth at the heart of any conspiracy theory," he writes.
Joo-hwan Kim's The Divine Fury fails to serve up the scares, horror and excitement it promises with its unique story, writes The Hollywood Reporter critic John DeFore.
A famous MMA fighter, played by Seo-joon Park, finds himself covered in mysterious scars and wounds only to learn from a doctor that a demon is inflicting pain on him. He teams up with exorcist (Sung-ki Ahn) to take on his toughest opponent yet: the devil.
Despite the highs and lows Park's Yong-hoo experiences, the actor's work fails to impress, says DeFore.
"Park finds neither brooding anger nor engaging bewilderment in Yong-hoo as the character grapples with what's happening to him."
For DeFore, the bottom line on The Divine Fury is that it "slogs toward the inevitable moment when, after some hokey visions of his father in the afterlife, Yong-hoo accepts the Lord's mysterious ways and decides to kick some ass on His behalf."
Lee Pace, Jason Sudeikis, Corey Stoll and Judy Greer star in Driven, Nick Hamm's telling of John DeLorean's downfall.
Hamm's film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, sees Pace as the American engineer and inventor and it shows his downfall through the eyes of his neighbor, Jim Hoffman, played by Sudeikis.
"This a pretty entertaining period comedy that could appeal to older audiences, with the clever casting of Guardians of the Galaxy star Lee Pace as DeLorean and Jason Sudeikis as Hoffman serving as possible marketing hooks that could reach a slightly younger crowd," writes The Hollywood Reporter critic Boyd van Hoeij.
Van Hoeij praises the film for its easy-to-follow portrayal of the engineer's fall, as well as its fleshed-out female leads, but also lauds its leading actor.
"Pace gets the steel-edged charisma of the silver-locked man just right and it’s fascinating to see him go from living the Southern California high life to becoming increasingly desperate when his company runs into cash-flow problems," he writes of Pace. "The beauty of Pace’s performance is that it not only depicts the man but also the ambiguity that creeps in because he’s seen from Hoffman’s point of view."
In his review for Lucio Castro's feature debut End of the Century, The Hollywood Reporter critic Keith Uhlich writes that the film is "an erotic, emotional imagining of a Grindr hookup as memory palace."
During a vacation in Barcelona, two men meet, spend some time together and realize they met each other twenty years before, when they were both still closeted. Juan Barberini stars as Ocho, a poet from New York and Ramon Pujol plays Berlin native Javi.
The film hops through time to share the relationship of its two protagonists, but as confusing as it may be for viewers, Uhlich writes that it might be for the better.
"End of the Century is at its best whenever Castro keeps things thematically and temperamentally woozy," writes Uhlich. "It's a mark of the writer-director's generousness that, in the third act, he gifts his two protagonists some bittersweet wish-fulfillment, though it feels oddly conventional given everything that's preceded."
The Hollywood Reporter film critic Frank Scheck writes that he has only one word to describe Jennifer Gelfer's feature debut The Second Sun: "schmaltz"
The film, which follows the romance that kindles between Max (John Buffalo Mailer) and Joy (Eden Epstein) in the heat of the Holocaust, uses the 20th century tragedy as a backdrop for "cheap melodrama," Scheck writes.
But using the Holocaust as narrative device isn't the only thing Scheck finds fault with. The film, which runs at a brief 77 minutes, boasts a "high cheesy dialogue-to-minute ratio," which makes it feel more like a "terrible" play rather than a movie.
"Despite their best efforts, both Mailer and Epstein are unable to make their characters remotely convincing," he writes. "It would take actors on the order of Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro to pull off this sort of stilted, stagey material."