Don’t freak out, Weekend Wisdom readers! You’re not hallucinating. Nor did you get drunk, pass out, and miss all of Thanksgiving day. It’s still only Wednesday but I’m coming at you early this week because it’s that one week a year where we get to unapologetically stuff our faces silly while giving thanks to everyone and everything that touched our lives in a good way this past year. But because of this scared annual holiday, movie theaters are getting this week’s two big new releases on Wednesday so I’d be remiss to wait until Friday to give you the lowdown.
And even though the box office this weekend will likely still be dominated by Katniss Everdeen and Company, there will be two brand new sequels fighting it out for second place.
The more “mature” of the two is Horrible Bosses 2 – a sequel to the 2011 hit Horrible Bosses starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis, and Charlie Day as three dudes trying to pull a fast one on their not-so-pleasant employers. All three are back for the sequel as are Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey but the cast grows further with the additions of Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, and one my personal favorite actors: Christoph Waltz.
The trailer promises more hijinks and scheming similar to the first film but so far critics aren’t impressed with this second entry. It currently sits with a positively rancid Tomatometer score of 30% with most critics calling it unfunny, vulgar, and a waste of such a talented cast. We’ll have our own Workprint review of the film up shortly but approach this one with caution.
On the other end of the spectrum is Penguins of Madagascar. This animated comedy is a spin-off of the popular Madagascar series featuring the beloved penguin characters taking on the role of spies for a top secret organization. In other words, this is probably only gonna work for the youngest of audiences.
Now typically, the Madagascar films have been sold on their big star roster of voice talent but it just so happens that the penguins have always been voiced by a group of the films’ directors and editors. Luckily, Dreamworks Animation didn’t fire these guys for the sake of marketability. Instead, they’ve thrown in the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch (does this guy ever take a day off?!), John Malkovich, and Ken Jeong as new characters to the series.
The film currently teeters on the brink of being Fresh or Rotten with a 64% score on the Tomatometer with most critics calling it fun for kids but a bit lacking for anyone over the age of 5. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
What Else is New?
Those of you reading this in either New York or Los Angeles will also have the option of seeing one of this year’s major awards hopefuls as it hits four theaters on Friday. This film is none other than the Alan Turing biopic, The Imitation Game, starring – you guessed it – Benedict Cumberbatch!
You can read my full review of the movie by clicking HERE but in short it is an extremely well made film about one of history’s most painfully underrated heroes. But it is also a film that plays it a little too safe. Many of the World War II-aspects feel rehashed from every other film about that era that you’ve ever seen and some of the things that make Alan Turing so unique are only dealt with in the most basic of ways. With a braver filmmaker and screenwriter behind the scenes this probably could have been something truly special rather than the kind of film people will throw awards at right now and then forget completely 6 months from now.
All that being said Cumberbatch’s performance is excellent and the film is probably worth seeing for that alone.
Don’t Feel Like Leaving the Couch?
So this is the part where I usually give advice on what’s new to watch at home this week for those of you who don’t feel like going to a movie theater. Well….this week I can’t do that. At least not for Friday.
You see, there’s a little movie coming out next year called Star Wars: The Force Awakens and well…it’s kind of a big deal. And this Friday Director J.J. Abrams will be unleashing the very first teaser trailer for the film in select theaters! It’ll only be 88 seconds long but honestly, only a few brief glimpses of Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie back together on the big screen is going to be enough to make the collective geek community die a little inside from pure ecstasy. I already see myself hyperventilating about it. Won’t you join me?