In Theaters This Weekend: 'A Dog's Way Home,' 'Replicas,' 'The Upside' and More

3:27 PM 1/13/2019

by Jasmyne Bell and Alexandra Del Rosario

Moviegoers can also catch the biopic 'On the Basis of Sex,' which is expanding its theater count.

From left: A Dog's Way Home,' 'Replicas,' 'The Upside'
From left: A Dog's Way Home,' 'Replicas,' 'The Upside'
James Dittiger/Sony Pictures; Replicas Holdings, LLC; Courtesy of STXfilms

With the new year comes a new lineup of movies hitting the theaters.

Felicity Jones portrays a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On the Basis of Sex, which is set to expand its theater count Friday.

More of this weekend's releases include The Upside, a comedy starring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston, and Replicas, a sci-fi thriller starring Keanu Reeves. Coming out alongside these films is A Dog's Way Home, an adventurous successor to its heartwarming counterpart, A Dog's Purpose.

Read on to see what critics for The Hollywood Reporter thought about this weekend's titles.

  • 'A Dog's Way Home'

    Release Date: Jan. 11

    When a chipper puppy named Bella, voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard, loses her way and gets separated from her owner, Lucas, she finds herself on a 400-mile adventure trying to find her way back home.

    THR critic Frank Scheck writes that the second film adaptation of a W. Bruce Cameron novel delivers a narrative that effortlessly, yet unsurprisingly, pulls at heartstrings. "The film pretty much packs every canine cliché imaginable into its running time, but one look into the soulful eyes of its four-legged star will melt all but the coldest of hearts," he wrote.

  • 'On the Basis of Sex'

    Release Date: Dec. 25

    Expanding its theatrical release from 112 theaters to about 2,000, On the Basis of Sex recounts the rise of one of the most notable Supreme Court Justices in American history: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The film, initially released on Christmas Day, features Felicity Jones as the young, ambitious Ginsburg overcoming sex discrimination and advocating for gender equality and a spot among the nation's leaders.

    THR's Todd McCarthy criticizes director Mimi Leder's first theatrical feature for its watered-down portrayal of the legal icon: "The dramatic approach here is clear, efficient and entirely on-the-nose, with little time for anything that might distract from the hagiographic effort in play. Its sole purpose is to ennoble and proclaim a hero, which its subject almost certainly is. But it makes for notably simplified drama."

  • 'Replicas'

    Release Date: Jan. 11

    Keanu Reeves takes on the role of Will Foster, a disturbed, mourning scientist, in Jeffrey Nachmanoff's latest film. In this sci-fi thriller, a neuroscientist works toward transferring human consciousness into a database when his family dies in a catastrophic accident.  When he forms a plan to secretly clone their bodies, he discovers that he cannot bring them all back to life; he must choose.

    "Replicas manages to be perversely entertaining for its fast-paced first half, if only because of the sheer absurdity of its storyline. But it eventually devolves into tedious thriller tropes, including Will and his family being pursued by bad guys, wearing identical black suits, who look like they're auditioning for a road company of Reservoir Dogs," THR's Frank Scheck in his review of the movie.

     

  • 'Sgt. William Gardner'

    Release Date: Jan. 11

    Fraught with physical and mental consequences of his time in the Iraq War, the titular character of Sgt. Will Gardner embarks on a cross-country motorcycle adventure to take back control of his life. Max Martini, known for roles in Saving Private Ryan, 13 Hours and Pacific Rim, not only took up the leading role, but also wrote and directed the film. 

    THR critic Frank Scheck writes that Martini's film, though well-intentioned, falls short as a drama: "Although some individual scenes make a strong impression, the film suffers from narrative choppiness and serious credibility issues. Its blending of reality and fantasy is clumsy at best, nearly incomprehensible at worst."

  • 'The Upside'

    Release Date: Jan. 11

    An unexpected friendship develops between an affluent quadriplegic and his caretaker in The Upside. The U.S adaptation of the French film The Intouchables stars Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman.

    THR critic Jordan Mintzer notes that the pic, despite its increased moments of humor, lacks originality: "On the downside, director Neil Burger (Limitless, Divergent) and writer Jon Hartmere have done little to transform the sappier and more problematic aspects of Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's box-office hit. For sure, they've found a way to put some better jokes in there, but otherwise they've simply changed locations — from Paris to Manhattan, and from the Paris banlieue to the Bronx — and kept the same stereotypical vision of an unemployed black ex-con showing a bitter millionaire quadriplegic how to get his mojo back and laugh about it in the process."