NEW THIS WEEK
When Jim (Chris Pratt), a traveler in suspended animation on a spaceship, wakes up decades before he was supposed to, he has to make difficult decisions. Together, he and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) try to balance their budding romance with their new mission: saving the lives of their fellow passengers.
We Said: “Unquestionably, how much weight one puts behind Pratt's mechanic Jim Preston and his indefensible actions will determine the level of enjoyment. For me, Passengers is the most purely enjoyable sci-fi movie of the season. It's not Arrival, which tickles the brain in ways few movies can, but Passengers has an undeniable cool factor and a pair of stars in a romance hotter than a thermal reactor.” Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Set in 1950’s Pittsburgh, garbageman Troy (director Denzel Washington) continues to harbor resentment toward the racist systems that stymied his baseball career. Meanwhile, his long suffering wife Rose (Oscar winner Viola Davis) is still putting her family’s needs above her own… until she reaches her breaking point, in this Academy Award winning film of August Wilson's classic play.
We Said: “While much of the film takes place in the Maxsons' backyard, only occasionally does it feel stagey and a little stiff. It's the strength of the talented cast that carries Fences to greatness, and every time Denzel and Viola square-off it's us who are left breathless in their wake. The film is a true labor of love, with Denzel fulfilling [Playwright August] Wilson's wish to have the story adapted by a black filmmaker. You can tell he and the entire cast took that responsibility seriously, assuring Fences is as emotionally raw on screen as the stage experience.” Rating: 4 out of 5
After losing what was most important to him, an ad executive (Will Smith) loses all interest in his life. When he starts to write letters to the concepts of Love, Time, and Death, his friends concoct a complex plan to help him.
We Said: “There will be frowning! Oh so much frowning in Collateral Beauty, an overly sentimental, unintentionally hilarious weeper that arrives like an ugly Christmas sweater over the holidays. […] Tears are jerked, heartstrings plucked trampled, and the performances are sincere all around. Mostly the cast is asked to cry rivers of tears but there are brief moments of levity […] Collateral Beauty isn't without emotion; far from it. There's simply too much of it for things to play out as easily as they do. That's not how life works. The dominoes just don't fall that way.” Rating: 2.5 out of 5