Coming Soon Trailers: John Wick 2, LEGO Batman.
A busy winter weekend has 3 wide release features and 8 (!) Video on Demand titles.
I hope you caught up on all of the Oscar nominated films on VUDU this weekend, because your dance card is about to fill up. The LEGO Batman Movie hopes to keep the momentum The LEGO Movie created alive, before throwing it all away with a NINJAGO movie this fall. 50 Shades Darker is back to be our critical whipping boy (and to like it.) And Keanu Reeves is set to steal my heart and popcorn money again with John Wick 2, the anticipated sequel to his surprisingly amazing 2014 action film.
On the homefront, we’re up to our eyeballs in VOD. And guess what? It almost all looks good! There’s plenty of horror, some drama, and even a Sci Fi flick about space exploration. If all of the Hollywood sequels aren’t your cup of tea, or you’re snowed in with this damn east coast blizzard, then you’ve got plenty waiting for you to stream this weekend.
John Wick 2.
After the events of the first movie, former hired killer John Wick is drawn back into the assassin world when a former colleague attempts to take over the organization.
See It?: Dear lord, Yes!
The first film was filled to bursting with excellently choreographed action, though the plot was a touch iffy. That being said, I liked the world and characters it established. That set-up looks like it will pay off in the sequel. With the assassin’s secret society under attack, we can also hope for some more threatening antagonists. As before, the action sequences look top notch, making this an engaging action flick even for those not invested in the series. Or Keanu. For shame on you. Cannot wait for this baby.
50 Shades Darker.
A hunted and harried Christian Grey attempts to reunite former lover with Ana Steele, but Steele has matured. She now dictates the roles of their sexual games. Things are going well for them until those seeking to destroy Grey find them.
See It?: Skip It.
The original 50 Shades movie was a critical disaster, but satisfied fans of the property. It looks like the sequel is taking that tactic and running with it. It doesn’t look like they’ve tinkered with the formula in the slightest. Your reaction to this movie is going to be predicated on your engagement with the franchise. If you liked the books (generous term) or movie, you’re going to be fine here. If you thought them trashy, you’re going to want to avoid this one.
The LEGO Batman Movie.
LEGO Batman is confronted with the truth that he has no friends or close allies, since his tragic past has made him into a recluse. Alfred, Robin, and Batgirl all come to his aide, forcing him to realize that he has a new family that is willing to help him fight his enemies.
See It?: Rent it.
In what is becoming a theme this week, how you view this film is very much tied to how you feel about its predecessor. The madcap pop-culture spewing comedy style of The LEGO Movie is alive and well here. My gripe is that it seems to lack the deep bench of diverse characters the first film had. Batman was, after all, pretty much just comic relief in the first, and not even the best of the comic relief (that was Princess UniKitty, you heathens.) The first movie also had a wider variety of pop-culture fodder to draw from. I just don’t see this film being able to sustain the humor for a full run time.
Video on Demand.
Deadly Virtues: Love. Honor. Obey.
A home invasion takes a personal turn. The criminal has targeted the wife in an abusive relationship, not only for his sick desires, but also to force her to face her domestic abuser.
See It?: Yes, with caveats.
Basically, see this instead of 50 Shades Darker. This film looks to play on violence, consent, and sexuality in a more subversive and less titillating manner. May not be your cup of tea, but if you were going to see the former, see the latter instead.
Five families with god-like power exiled one of their own, preferring to live in secrecy. In modern times, the rebellious youth of the exiled family return to take vengeance, but may have underestimated their own fleeting powers.
See It?: No.
There is some visual flare here that is intriguing, as well as some “The Craft“-style posturing…but it is just dogging Twilight too hard. Looks like a cheap knockoff instead of trying to be its own animal. Add some chintzy last gen CG to the list, and it’s one to skip.
A young man, desperate to find out about the mother he never knew, discovers that his father was once in love with another man. Now that his father is dying, he must confront his own feelings of guilt over his father’s decisions.
See It?: Wait for a sale.
The cinematography looks solid, and the acting has moments of strong emotions, but critical reception is that the film is uneven and heavy handed in places. Give it a shot when the price comes down.
A young woman moves her brother with cerebral palsy to a cabin that is closer to the institute where he receives care. Along with a group of friends, they set about renovating the place, only to discover arcane symbols all over. Yup, the house is full of unclean spirits. These spirits invade the group and turn on each other. Guess there’s no honor among demons.
See It?: Yes?
This film is heavily influenced by The Evil Dead. As big fans of that series, I would really like to be on board. Of course, an homage can become a sloppy copy-cat fairly easily, so only venture into this cabin in the woods if you like that over-the-top gore of those movies.
Beyond the Edge.
A pair of astronauts, one a pilot one a researcher, are aboard an experimental ship, headed to the edge of the universe. Their 13 year journey had hoped to span the vastness of space, but they have instead created a ripple in time. Repeated visions of death and failure plague the researcher, but is it really a glimpse of possible futures, or madness?
See It?: Yes!
A claustrophobic Sci Fi yarn about time, space, and madness? Starring Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers)? Yes, please. Sure, it looks a bit hokey in spots…but I’m down any day of the week for that combination.
A horse ranch in danger of foreclosure and a group of inmates desperate for a second chance find a path out of trouble when they team up to rehabilitate a group of wild horses. A ruthless activist (Sharron Stone) who wants all horses to be released into the wild attempts to destroy the ranch, through any means necessary.
See It?: Yes.
A nice drama with some solid acting and an interesting plot. There is a touch of melodrama, but it seems like this will be an entertaining rental.
Don’t Hang Up.
A pair of internet pranksters have the tables flipped on them by a psychopath. He uses their methods against them, forcing them to make impossible choices about which of their friends and family live or die, all while giving them instructions on the phone. If they hang up, everyone dies.
See It?: Yes.
I think we have a winner here. One part Scream, one part SAW, with enough of its own character to make it novel. No glaring defects in the trailer, this one looks good to go.
A young woman moves into a Gothic apartment building, hoping to find answers about her friends, former tenants, who are now missing. She instead finds a building filled with terror.
See It?: No.
The trailer seems messy and unfocused. There seems to be a theme of victimization, but it’s murky at best. The characters aren’t interesting, and the aesthetic seems to be people getting thrown through the air over and over again in dark and drab interiors. No thank you.