It's no accident that "Ready Player One" opened on Easter weekend, as this movie is obsessed with Easter Eggs. Not the kind one paints and puts in a basket, but little bonuses hidden in various forms of media. The characters in the film are on the hunt for an Easter Egg that gives them control over a virtual reality empire, but more importantly the film itself is full of Easter Eggs designed to delight those nostalgic for pop culture from the late 70's through 90's.
2013's "Pacific Rim" was a movie about giant robots called Jaegers that fought giant city-leveling monsters called Kaiju. Yes, the story was officially about the human pilots of the Jaegers and their quest to save the world, but the appeal of these movies has always been giant robots at war with giant monsters. Now comes "Pacific Rim: Uprising," a sequel where the Jaegers fight both Kaiju and other Jaegers, so... its existence is justified?
There's a rule among movie buffs that there has never been a decent live-action adaptation of a video game. Not a single one. A scant few detractors will defend the original "Resident Evil" or "Mortal Kombat" movies, but even then the arguments are rarely more passionate than "it works as a guilty pleasure." The Angelina Jolie-led "Tomb Raider" movies from the early 2000's are certainly no exception to this rule, though the 2001 original is the highest-grossing video game movie of all time.
Last week I reviewed "Red Sparrow," a spy movie with a typical spy movie plot. All of the characters had their own agenda, loyalties kept flip-flopping around, and there was a lot of confusion over who could and couldn't be trusted. The plot of that movie was way easier to follow than that of "A Wrinkle in Time," the new kids' movie from Disney.
"Red Sparrow" is a movie that never stays the same quality for very long. It'll seem clever and intricate for a few scenes and then do something stupid. It'll be bland and meandering for a bit and then pull out something tender or well-thought-out. I suppose that such an inconsistent film is better than a consistently bad one, but I'll admit there were times where it would have been more convenient to write this off as a bad film and just check out.
"Game Night" sees its characters playing one of those elaborate role-playing games that's spread out over several miles and involves a full company of actors. I'm weary of movies with this kind of premise because of the inevitable twist: at some point, we're going to learn that everything that's been happening is all part of the game. It's the same thing with movies about con artists, magicians, or people who meddle in dreams.
We were first introduced to T'challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) two years ago in "Captain America: Civil War." A prince from the fictional African country of Wakanda, T'challa ascended to the throne when father the king was killed during a peace conference. His thirst for revenge led to the apparent creation of the Black Panther persona, and though he was certainly gifted athletically, it looked as though his "powers" were mostly royalty-based, similar to how his MCU colleague Tony Stark's "powers" are mostly money-based.
I don't blame the birds for chirping or the fish for swimming. I don't blame February for being cold or a romantic restaurant for being booked up on Valentine's Day. So I can't say I blame the third and final "Fifty Shades" movie for being awful. Of course it's awful. That's what these movies do, they spend two hours being awful. There's no pleasant surprise here, but there's not really an unpleasant surprise either. The best thing I can say about this movie is that it isn't like "Boo!
"Winchester" opened on a bad weekend, and I mean that on two fronts. The first is that it's the weekend of the Super Bowl, so the movie can kiss its Sunday evening audience goodbye. The second is that we're only four weeks removed from "Insidious: The Last Key," and the movies are awfully similar. For starters, they share an actor - Angus Sampson plays a blowhard ghost chaser in the "Insidious" movies, here he plays a construction worker. And there's no denying the similarities between the fair-haired authoritative older women, played in "Insidious" by Lin Shaye and here by Helen Mirren.
"Maze Runner: The Death Cure" really missed out on the "YA book series set in a dystopian future" bandwagon. That trend essentially ended when "The Hunger Games" went out with a relative whimper in 2015. Or maybe it was when the third "Divergent" movie bombed so horribly in 2016 that the fourth movie was postponed indefinitely. This movie would have been considered a pathetic straggler if it had opened in 2016 or 2017 like it was supposed to, and then star Dylan O'Brien suffered an injury that severely delayed production.