Best new movies this month
A deep-sea submersible part of an international undersea observation program has been attacked by a massive creature, previously thought to be extinct, and now lies disabled at the bottom of the deepest trench in the Pacific with its crew trapped inside. With time running out, expert deep sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor is recruited by a visionary Chinese oceanographer, against the wishes of his daughter Suyin, to save the crew and the ocean itself from this unstoppable threat: a pre-historic 75-foot-long shark known as the Megalodon. What no one could have imagined is that, years before, Taylor had encountered this same terrifying creature. Now, teamed with Suyin, he must confront his fears and risk his own life to save everyone trapped below bringing him face to face once more with the greatest and largest predator of all time.
Fulfilling humankind’s urgent need for cuddly stuffed bears in the marmalade-sweet wake of Paddington 2, Disney’s live-action-animation hybrid Christopher Robin—starring the hunny-loving Pooh—is big-hearted yet unexciting. While the newly imagined adventures of the grown-up Christopher (Ewan McGregor, a long way from Trainspotting) and his amiable childhood pals from Hundred Acre Wood place journeyman director Marc Forster straight back into enchanting Finding Neverland territory, this mid-20th-century tale doesn’t quite summon the same magical, childlike wonder. Still, there is ample sweetness here for especially young kids and enough nostalgia for adult devotees of A. A. Milne’s beloved stories. Channeling Hook’s workaholic ex-Peter Pan, Christopher unhappily cancels his countryside travel plans with his loving wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and precocious daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), to toil overtime for his notoriously brutal employer, Winslow Luggage. Unexpectedly reuniting with the ever-hungry Winnie and the rest of the lovable clan over a weekend (sarcastically gloomy Eeyore, enthusiastic Tigger and the fearful Piglet, among them), Christopher remembers life’s simple pleasures and rekindles his youthful spirit. He learns an especially important lesson about family when Madeline teams up with the loyal critters to save her dad’s job by delivering him a misplaced briefcase. Startlingly basic for a film jointly written by team that includes brainy indie auteur Al
If you’ve seen the first Mamma Mia!—that most wholesome tale of uncertain paternity—you’ll probably have a solid idea of how the sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, will play. There are postcard-ready landscapes, airy romances, and a whole lot of ABBA tunes sung with gusto, if not finesse, by movie stars. It all makes for an intermittently pleasant summer diversion, but a preposterous screenplay filled with wild coincidences and lines like “I’m gonna make some memories” ensures its status as frustrating kitsch. Like its predecessor, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is proudly schmaltzy, wearing its musical theater influences on its sleeve. Still, watching all those forced music cues isn’t always fun. The most novel part of the film is its use of flashbacks: The story is threaded with scenes of Meryl Streep’s character Donna, the fun-loving bohemian matriarch, as a young woman. Lily James’s performance as the young Donna is warm, and while the cutting between the present and the past is often syrupy, it keeps the movie bustling along. These flashbacks build up the paternity story that was at the center of the first movie and it’s noteworthy that while the conceit is built around Donna having affairs with three different men and becoming pregnant and uncertain as to the identity of the father, there’s no slut-shaming here. The film is like a sanitized fairytale: Everyone is positive, and the three potential fathers all get along. Even the classic evil maternal figure (as embodied
In Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania 3, Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury monster cruise ship so he can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else's vacation at the hotel, and the rest of Drac's Pack cannot resist tagging along. The monsters are all having a great time, indulging in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to colossus sized buffets and exotic excursions, but then the unexpected happens as Drac falls for the intriguing-yet-dangerous captain of the ship. Balancing family, friends, and a budding romance might just be too much, even for the most powerful vampire.
Part horror yarn, part political parable, the Purge franchise is a fascinating one, each film serving up grisly episodes from the conceit (12 government-sanctioned hours of legal crime). It began as a take on class, then took on race, and increasingly each time, politicians. This prequel, with its Trump-baiting promotional campaign and overt references to real-world events within—one handsy psycho goblin is screamed at for being a ‘pussy-grabbing motherfucker’—is not subtle. But subtlety is not a friend of these films. The timeline is bewildering but prescient. The first film, released in 2013, was set a few years in the future, informing us that the first purge took place in 2018. And now we have that first purge, indeed in 2018, reflecting current happenings more keenly than ever. Staten Island plays host to this inaugural, experimental event, in which residents are financially incentivized to stick around for the night, and paid yet more to actively participate (ie kill people). The idea, the public is told, is mass soul-cleansing. A social catharsis. Nobody quite buys it, least of all the ruling party the NFAA, who announces that "the American dream is dead", promising a rebirth. There is, of course, more sadistic stuff at play. This film realizes the conceit more wholly than its predecessors, and for an hour or so feels properly nightmarish as we ride along with purgers and protectors, notions of good and bad, right and wrong blurred and distorted. James DeMonaco, who
"Crazy Rich Asians" follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Golding), to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick's family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country's wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick's arm puts a target on Rachel's back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick's own disapproving mother (Yeoh) taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can't buy love, it can definitely complicate things.
After David Kim (John Cho)'s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter's laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter's digital footprints before she disappears forever.
Since igniting the punk movement with ex-partner and Sex Pistols' manager Malcolm McLaren, Dame Vivienne Westwood has been redefining British fashion for over 40 years, and is responsible for creating many of the most distinctive looks of our time. The film blends archive, beautifully crafted reconstruction, and insightful interviews with Vivienne's fascinating network of collaborators, guiding us on her journey from a childhood in postwar Derbyshire to the runways of Paris and Milan. This is an intimate and poignant homage to one of the true cultural icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand's integrity, her principles and her legacy in a business driven by consumerism, profit and global expansion.
Denzel Washington returns for a sequel soon to take its place in the Denz-spoiltation canon alongside The Equalizer and Man on Fire: yes, it’s sure to a violent, glossy exploitation movie but having Denzel in it will somehow make it all okay. The man is a walking moral compass. This time out he’ll be killing the men who targeted an old friend (Melissa Leo).
In a visceral modern thriller from the director of Lone Survivor, Mark Wahlberg stars as James Silva, an operative of the CIA's most highly-prized and least-understood unit. Aided by a top-secret tactical command team, Silva must retrieve and transport an asset who holds life-threatening information to Mile 22 for extraction before the enemy closes in.