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Teenage superheroes, aliens and cops are headed to theaters this weekend in Power Rangers, Life and CHiPs. Also in theaters are Woody Harrelson in Wilson, jazz documentary I Called Him Morgan as well as basketball drama Slamma Jamma and The Leveling.
Read on to find out what The Hollywood Reporter‘s critics are saying about the weekend’s new offerings (as well as which film will likely top the weekend box office).
The Power Rangers are back on the big screen — color-coded power suits and all — after 20 years. RJ Cyler, Dacre Montgomery, Ludi Lin, Naomi Scott and Becky G star as the five teen superheroes that — along with the help of Bryan Cranston and Bill Hader’s characters — can protect the planet from a power-hungry alien invader (Elizabeth Banks). THR film critic Justin Lowe writes in his review that director Dean Israelite “orchestrates a vastly more complex array of characters, action set pieces and technical resources for a combined effect that maintains dramatic tension even while teetering on the brink of excess.”
Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson star in Daniel Espinosa’s sci-fi thriller where a journey to find new life on Mars turns into one of survival. A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station are suddenly placed in a life-threatening situation where they must destroy a replicating extraterrestrial before it hits Earth. THR film critic John DeFore writes that the “Alien-derived creature feature may” suffocate in the anticipatory atmosphere surrounding Alien: Covenant, and the PR boost from this unmerited closing-night SXSW slot shouldn’t help much. Insatiable genre fans who do buy a ticket will likely send lukewarm responses back to the wait-and-see crowd.” Read the full review here.
Dax Shepard and Michael Pena star in the big-screen remake based on the popular ‘70s cop show chronicling the shenanigans of two California highway patrolmen originally played by Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada. THR film critic Frank Scheck writes in his review that the original ‘70s show “shines as a beacon of excellence compared to the big-screen redo.” Sheck adds, “A puerile combination of raunchy sex comedy and bland action vehicle, CHIPS will likely manage the difficult feat of simultaneously alienating fans of the original series and newcomers who will wonder why a buddy cop comedy displays so much homosexual panic.” Read the full review here.
Woody Harrelson is the lonely, neurotic and honest grouch Wilson who attempts to take another shot at life and connect with his estranged teenage daughter. Based on the novel by Daniel Clowes, Wilson learns of his daughter after tracking down his ex-wife (Laura Dern) and sets out to spend time with her, which includes beating up her bullies at the local mall and taking her on kiddie rides with her mother. Judy Greer, Margo Martindale and Cheryl Hines also make appearances in the film. THR film critic David Rooney writes that the film “boasts some funny vignettes but fails in the crucial test of making us care much about the title character.” Read the full review here.
I Called Him Morgan
The iconic jazz career of trumpeter Lee Morgan is explored in Kasper Collin’s second feature documentary where stunning visuals combined with Morgan’s extensive repertoire tells his story of touring with greats including the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers before developing a cocaine addiction and later being shot dead by his wife. THR film critic Boyd van Hoeij writes in his review, “Though not as masterful as that work, Morgan should nonetheless rake up quite a few festival miles, please niche distributors and (re-)introduce a larger audience to the amazing work of Morgan, one of hard-bop jazz’s true geniuses. The story also is iconic and drama-filled enough to potentially appeal to producers of fiction films.”
River Rain’s basketball drama follows a college slam dunk star (former Harlem Globetrotter Chris Staples) who was wrongly sentenced to prison for six years and must now repair his relationships and his career. The film features appearances by former NFL player Michael Irvin, former MLB player Jose Conseco and slam dunk champion Rafal Lipinski. THR film critic Frank Scheck writes in his review that the film “hits its emotional points in a blunt, heavy-handed fashion that may resonate with some viewers.”
The drama, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, follows a young vet’s rigid relationship with her father after she returns home due to her brother’s unexpected and tragic death.
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