It's been over two years since we've seen Thor (Chris Hemsworth), which seems like forever in Marvel Cinematic Universe time. He missed the dissolution of The Avengers in "Captain America: Civil War" and the rise of several new superheroes. We missed a lot with him as well. He broke up with his girlfriend and got himself imprisoned by a fire demon. The demon wants to bring about Ragnarok, or the destruction of Thor's home planet of Asgard, which essentially means the end of everything Thor holds dear.
I had never seen any of the "Saw" movies prior to "Jigsaw." The first seven films all came out before I was doing this column regularly, and I had no desire to pump money into a franchise that promoted unapologetic gore. That isn't to say I didn't do my research in preparation for this film. I knew that the action would be based on elaborate traps devised by John "Jigsaw" Kramer (Tobin Bell). I knew that his motivation is to make people who have disregarded human life in the past find new respect for it... if they survive.
Tyler Perry has been writing, directing, producing, and starring in movies about his Madea character for over ten years now. So how is it that this movie is so incompetently made? If this were a first-time filmmaker, I could maybe chalk the film's painfulness up to inexperience or a lack of resources. But as this is Perry's 17th directorial effort, and these movies do well enough that he can easily arrange financing, I don't feel unreasonable in saying that "Boo 2! A Madea Halloween" is simply the work of a hack.
Tree (Jessica Rothe) is having an unhappy birthday. She wakes up in the bed of a stranger named Carter (Israel Broussard). Carter's roommate says something disrespectful. She gets hassled by an environmentalist. She's being stalked by an ex. She lives in a sorority house run by a judgmental bully. She's annoyed by her own roommate (Ruby Modine) and throws the special cupcake she made into the trash. She's late for class, but she's off the hook because she's having an affair with the married professor.
If I could describe 1982's "Blade Runner" in one word, it would be "hypnotic." Director Ridley Scott crafted a world of eerie calm, one where flying cars and public shootouts were so casual that they blended in perfectly with their environment. A "blade runner" detective named Deckard (Harrison Ford) was assigned a case where he was to kill four disgruntled androids called Replicants. Surely he was in danger, and the case would go on to greatly affect his existence, but his only distress initially was over his inability to enjoy a bowl of noodles.
"American Made" is the story of a street-smart everyman who does some shady dealings and finds himself rich beyond his wildest dreams, but at the cost of his soul. He engages in fleeting fun and excitement that he finds increasingly unfulfilling. He can't enjoy the life he's built for himself because he's always on the verge of being brought down by good guys and bad guys alike. His family, who served as the reason for him to strive for that life in the first place, hates him.
When we last left Eggsy (Taron Egerton), he had completed his transformation into a Kingsman; going from aimless slacker to dashing British secret agent. He had saved the world, avenged his murdered mentor Harry (Colin Firth), and even gotten a girl, granted not his likeable fellow agent Roxy (Sophie Cookson) but the Swedish princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom). He's still dating Tilde in "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," which is funny in and of itself considering the controversial hookup from the first film did not seem like it would lend itself to long-term happiness.
"American Assassin" stars Dylan O'Brien as CIA asset Mitch Rapp. The paperback-based Rapp is an action hero akin to Jack Ryan, Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne, and I'll even throw James Bond in there. O'Brien is best known for the "Maze Runner" series, a teenagers-in-a-dystopian-future franchise akin to "The Hunger Games," "Divergent," and "The Host." All he needs now is an unimaginative superhero film and he'll be the king of late-to-the-party knockoffs.
The box office has been in a bad place lately. Last week didn't bring much in the way of new wide releases other than the pathetic "Leap!" This week there were no new wide releases at all. Nada. Nothing wanted to open on Labor Day weekend. This lack of competition allowed the slowly-growing "Wind River" to mosey its way into the Top 3 at the weekend box office. The movie isn't some skyrocketing small-time gem, but it's one of the better options from the doldrums of August.
"Leap!" is an animated kids' movie that teaches the lesson that if you work hard and practice every day for years... you're a sucker. Just be a natural and cut to the front of the line. Elle Fanning voices Felicie, an aspiring ballerina in 19th-century France. She and her inventor best friend Victor (Nat Wolff) escape their rural orphanage and its surly supervisor (Mel Brooks) and run off to Paris so they can follow their dreams.