Dearest readers, I wish I had better news to give to you, but we are still in the midst of a new movie slump in theaters. Maybe it's my recent binging of A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, but I feel that I must inform you that if you are looking for happier tidings, you should look elsewhere. Do not despair however, I have the feeling we are very quickly heading into better titles in February and then a very exiting March!
The two new wide releases are Rings and The Space Between Us. I have not seen either of these titles, but they have been summarily dismissed by critics at large. BMD (Birth.Movies.Death.) called Rings terrible and said that "death would be a relief." You can read Evan Saathoff's review HERE. Instead of watching Rings, you are probably better off checking out Sadako v. Kayako, the new Japanese film that squares off the girl from The Ring vs the evil mother from The Grudge. It's playing in select theaters, available for rent from the various VOD services, and streaming for free from the Shudder subscription service. I'm sure it will be chock full of ghosts who crawl around in a creepy fashion and have long, dark hair covering their faces.
I don't have any better news about The Space Between Us. This movie had a truly terrible trailer that has tormented me in theaters for the last 8 months. I'm glad the film is finally out so I don't have to sit through that trailer one more time. J. R. Kinnard from PopMatters describes the film as "just a bad movie about a Martian and his girlfriend playing hide-and-seek from some space cops." You can read his review HERE. Save your money and skip this film.
All of my recommendations from last week should still be available in most theaters, so you are advised to check these movies out, if you haven't already: Arrival, Elle (listen to my warning about the subject matter), Hidden Figures, Jackie, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Rogue One, and Split. Here are my new picks for this weekend:
Neruda - Telling a tale that is part truth and part fantasy, this film brings us along for a ride as communist poet Pablo Neruda is on the run from the Chilean government. Neruda is directed by Pablo Lorrain, who also gave us Jackie last year. Luis Gnecco plays Pablo Neruda and Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) plays the federal agent tasked in capturing the poet. Have there ever been any other poets who were public enemy #1?
Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back - If you don't know the name Stephen Chow, you need to stop reading this article immediately and check out Kung Fu Hustle (available for rent or purchase on VOD or streaming from STARZ). That's my favorite film from Chow and my second favorite of his would be Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons. Funny and visually-inventive, this 2013 film was yet another very entertaining film to add to his already impressive filmography. If you haven't seen it yet, go check out the first installment of Journey to the West on Netflix right now. Then you'll know if you want to see the sequel this weekend.
Approximately 4 years later, we get the sequel - Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back. While not directed by Stephen Chow, he is credited as the writer and producer. Tsui Hark, no slouch of a director either, has taken over directorial duties on this one. While the early reviews have made it clear that Chow's guiding hand is missed, I still am very excited to see this movie and have plans to do so this weekend. I may write it up in a later blog entry. To wet your whistle, I'm gonna drop in the trailer right below here.
So that's Now Showing for this weekend. See something you liked this weekend? Let us know below.