This week, Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart paired up for one of 2019’s popular comedies with “The Upside.” The rest of the slate today is somewhat lacking, putting the spotlight even more so on this A-list effort. Read on for more.
PICK OF THE WEEK
A remake of “The Intouchables,” this buddy comedy was an unexpected box office hit. A more demanding turn from Kevin Hart than usual, aligning the comedian opposite Bryan Cranston generated some major chemistry as well. Reworked somewhat from the original, there’s still ample laughs and smiles to be found here. The Hollywood Reporter found themselves taken by Cranston and Hart’s characters:
There’s something so disarming about Phillip and Dell’s relationship that you’re gradually sucked into it without asking too many questions.
“The Upside” gets by on the charm of Cranston and Hart. They take this vehicle to crowd pleaser status. Fans of the original won’t get much new here, but anyone who enjoys these actors sure will.
Special Features: Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $108,252,517
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “Aladdin,” the pick today is, of course, going to be the original animated classic. “Aladdin,” which is one of the most revered of Disney’s 1990’s filmography, offers an iconic voice performance from Robin Williams, and was unlike anything that animation had seen before. Roger Ebert especially made the connection of how much he elevated the material:
Robin Williams and animation were born for one another, and in Aladdin they finally meet.
Any excuse to watch the original is a good, especially just for Williams alone.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title, “The Upside”:
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
The animated franchise comes to an end with this third installment. “How to Train Your Dragon” always lived somewhat in the shadow of Pixar’s efforts, though this capper for DreamWorks proves that there’s more than one powerhouse in animation. Variety praised the emotions inherent in this final outing, writing:
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” packs the emotional heft of the dozen or so years it has taken to get this far, tracking the loss of one parent, the discovery of another, and several momentous lessons in bravery and loyalty along the way.
Fans of the series will undoubtedly want to pick this one up. Under the radar, the trilogy has shown itself to be one of the better animated efforts out there.
Box Office: $160,226,875 (and counting)
“The Image Book”
Legendary filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard dabbles in experimentation once again. Last year at the Cannes Film Festival, the film received a special award, in part for it’s unclassifiable genre, unlike anything else out there. The AV Club notes its singular nature in their positive take:
Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book is as dense and alienating as anything the iconoclastic director has made this century.
Godard devotees certainly should be curious.
Box Office: $94,153
“Isn’t It Romantic”
Romantic comedies tend to present the idealized versions of love. That can make audiences swoon, though it can also result in the rolling of eyes among jaded viewers. “Isn’t It Romantic” attempts to please both sides of that genre coin. According to our take here on the site, star Rebel Wilson and company were up to the task:
Romantic comedy is a genre that practically begs to be lovingly mocked, and Rebel Wilson is the right woman for the job.
A fine option for romantic comedy fans and detractors alike.
Box Office: $48,791,187
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Let the Sunshine In”
The only title coming to Criterion today is a rare recent release, “Let the Sunshine In,” which opened in 2017. Directed by Claire Denis, starring Juliette Binoche and Gérard Depardieu, the film examines romance with a stark eye and some dark humor. “Let the Sunshine In” offers a mix that arguably only Denis could have pulled off. The Collection pitches it like so:
Two luminaries of French cinema, Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche, unite for the first time in this piercing look at the elusive nature of true love, and the extent to which we are willing to betray ourselves in its pursuit.
Fans of Binoche and/or Denis would do well to pick this one up.
“13 Reasons Why: Season Two”
“Call the Midwife: Season Eight”
“Detention: The Complete Series”