Why Him? leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e December 23rd 2016

Why Him This weekend there are six new films out for you to choose from: potential comedy in Why Him?, possible engaging sci-fi in Passengers, drama in Collateral Beauty, Korean War drama in Operation Chromite, children’s comedy in Monster Trucks, and Bruce Willis action in Marauders.

Oh, and some of these films aren’t out until Monday (Boxing Day), so check press for details, as they say. Note: by doing so, it means their ‘weekend’ gross take will actually last a full SEVEN DAYS from Boxing Day up until New Year’s Day.

Why Him? That’s the question being asked by Ned (Bryan Cranston).

He’s the father of Zoey Deutch, and as the trailer begins, stating how a father will do anything for his daughter as she grows up, although he’s overprotective, and the last thing he wants is for her to find the love of her life in the boorish and over-tattooed Laird (James Franco), a hugely inappropriate oaf with no filter on his mouth. So the fact they’re about to get married fills Ned with dread.

Written by John Hamburg and Ian Helfer, the former also directing (and who wrote films such the ‘Meet the Parents‘ trilogy, so you can see where this one is going), the film also stars Adam Devine, Megan Mullally and Keegan-Michael Key, and looks like a very amusing comedy as Cranston and Franco square off against each other, but I hope it doesn’t go the way over many US 15-rated comedies, these days, like Bad Neighbours and Dirty Grandpa, where the full version only gets released on Blu-ray, when it reeally should be shown in the cinema.

Either way, I’ve seen several trailers for this movie, now, and it makes me wonder if they’ve shown all the good stuff already, so there’s nothing worth paying to see? As a result…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

Passengers refers to Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men Apocalypse) and Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) as Rosie and Jim… I mean, Aurora and Jim, travelling on the Starship Avalon, on a 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet known as the “Homestead Colony”, transporting 5,259 people, but… it has a malfunction in two of its sleep chambers.

As a result, two hibernation pods open up 90 years early, and it’s the hot one and the hairy one, and what a surprise that they fancy each other! Whodathunkit?

Directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), from a script by Jon Spaihts, the film also stars Laurence Fishburne, Jamie Soricelli and Aurora Perrineau, and… at first I thought it could be okay, as long as it’s not too Hollywoodified. You can never tell with films like this. It looks like an indie-style idea, but on a Hollywood budget.

That said, we soon had the pointless hype of videos of Pratt and Lawrence trading insults as a laugh. I didn’t get that, and it seemed to indicate that the movie was so bad – and that they have to con everyone away from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – that they had to boost the audience in that manner.

I also find Chris Pratt movies rather a disappointment, after The Magnificent Seven and Jurassic World. Guardians of the Galaxy was enjoyable at times, but it wasn’t brilliant, and was, ultimately, overhyped. As for Jennifer Lawrence, I know her best for the Hunger Games series, and they were average at best. I also tried Winter’s Bone, but found that to be more “Winter’s Bore”.

So… while the setting looks ideal for the big screen, I’ve been put off by the hype, and also the fact that it’s come out at a time (just before Xmas) when everywhere will be packed full of annoying people buying rubbish that they’ll ditch on Boxing Day.

Hence, on balance…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

Collateral Beauty

Retreating from life after a tragedy, Will Smith questions the universe following a tragedy by writing to Love, Time and Death, which connects us all, as he says we long for love, we need more time, and we fear for death. Given how he starts getting the real elements visiting him (are they real, or a dream?), he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.

Directed by David Frankel, from a script by Allan Loeb and also starring Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Peña, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris and Keira Knightley, this looks dreadful and tedious.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Operation Chromite

American General Douglas MacArthur (Liam Neeson) sends eight members of the Korean Liaison Office, led by a South Korean Navy Lieutenant (Lee Jung-Jae) on a secret mission far behind North Korean lines to carry out Operation “X-ray”. This covert operation must succeed so that MacArthur can launch the daring Incheon Landing Operation.This is a fictionalized version of the historical CIA/military intelligence operation “Trudy Jackson”, part of Operation Chromite.

This looks like it could be a decent film, although it’s long been delayed coming to the UK as it was released in the US back in August.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Monster Trucks stars Lucas Till (X-Men Apocalypse) as the stupidly-named Tripp, a man looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into (a bit like living in Stockport).

He’s a high school senior and builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, he may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend. (and for “may”, read, “he will”).

Directed by Chris Wedge from a script by Derek Connolly, the cast also includes Jane Levy, Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper, Danny Glover and Frank Whaley (Pulp Fiction), and it looks a lot of fun – certainly more than I expected.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Marauders is another in a long line of daft Bruce Willis action flicks, most of which seem to be ho-hum (especially Extraction) but there’s always a new hope for each one that comes along.

The plot centres around an untraceable group of elite bank robbers, chased by a suicidal FBI Agent who uncovers a deeper purpose behind the robbery-homicides.

Directed by Steven C Miller, who recently made… Extraction… oh dear…, and from a script by Michael Cody and Chris Sivertson, the film also stars Christopher Meloni (I Am Wrath, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Adrian Grenier, I thought it could be worth a watch before I knew who the director was… Still, I go into each film with an open mind… even if Extraction went straight to DVD.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.


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