Weekend Openings: A bold sci-fi sequel and more

This week, we have one of the bigger sequels of the summer coming to theaters, along with a surprising good horror movie, an under the radar dramedy, and plenty more. It’s another weekend with a solid crop of films to discuss, which is somewhat of a treat in these leaner summer months. Nothing will likely blow you away, but there’s choices, and that’s something. Depending on when you’re reading this, reviews of a few of them might already be out, but this column will clearly let you know where I stand on each title. Anyway, let’s get going!

Best Bet This Week

star-trek-beyond-trailer-yelchin-pine-choStar Trek Beyond

I’m a fan of this new installment in the franchise. My review goes into detail, but I’ll simply say here that this is like a stretched out version of a classic episode of the original television series. What really works here is the chemistry between the cast, the spirit of exploration that’s held throughout, and it’s surprising optimism. Since it’s also one of the last performances from the tragically departed Anton Yelchin, it’ll be noteworthy for that as well, but on its own, this is just a very good sequel that manages to stand tall this summer. I’m sure it will do well, and trust me when I say that it deserves to. A fourth installment is inevitable.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 89%
Oscar Hopes – Various technical categories
Screen Count – 3,928 Screens

Also Opening of Note

absolutely-fabulousAbsolutely Fabulous: The Movie

I remember the television show, at least to some degree, but I never made it to a screening. Reviews have been decent enough so far, which leads me to think that fans of the program will be more or less satisfied. I was curious, but it just never wound up happening, screening wise. I doubt it will be anyone’s first choice this weekend, but if you’re looking for added or alternative options, this could be one to keep in mind. To use a phrase that I come back to fairly often…you could clearly do better, but you could also probably do worse.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 67%
Oscar Hopes – Highly unlikely
Screen Count – 313 Screens (Platform Release)

thumbnail_24450Don’t Think Twice

The sophomore feature from comedian turned filmmaker Mike Birbiglia is really quite good. I slightly preferred his debut autobiographical tale (Sleepwalk With Me), but this one, which I saw back at the Tribeca Film Festival, is slightly more mature and has a fantastic ensemble. Birbiglia is sort of a poor man’s Woody Allen in a way, so it makes sense that I’d dig his work. My colleagues have gone all in for this one too, with it having the rare 100% score from Rotten Tomatoes, so take that into account as another feather in its cap. This is the second best option this weekend in my humble option, which hopefully stands for something.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 100%
Oscar Hopes – Probably too small
Screen Count – Limited Platform Release

Ice-Age-Collision-course-4Ice Age: Collision Course

I haven’t seen any of these animated outings, so now is probably not the ideal time to do so, especially with the reviews that the newest one has received. It was never a franchise that my fellow critics fell over themselves to praise, but this one has been really savaged. That makes it an easy one to stay away from, though if you’re a fan, I’d hardly tell you to not go. That, my friends, is completely up to you. Just know that I won’t be joining you and the critical word is fairly dreadful. Make of that what you will.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 11%
Oscar Hopes – Outside shot at Best Animated Feature
Screen Count – 3,992 screens

5s1pfajgcdrabacpm3cbasue5wpvrkgLights Out

Also a review of mine that’s up now on the site, I was rather pleasantly surprised by this horror movie. It’s all in the execution, and here, the filmmaker believes in his story, so the film is imbued with a seriousness that elevates the potential terror. It’s well done jump scares, more or less, but it has enough to appeal to all sorts of fans of the genre. If you don’t like fright flicks, I doubt this will have any interest for you, but if you do, it’s worth looking up. I suspect it’ll be a bit of a hit, so while it doesn’t set itself up for a sequel, don’t be shocked if a brand new franchise has been born.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 81%
Oscar Hopes – Nothing to speak of here
Screen Count – 2,818 screens

The Rest

Beta Test
Childhood of a Leader
Don’t Worry Baby
The Seventh Fire
Train to Busan

What will you be watching at the movies this weekend? Discuss in the comments!