Friday, January 1, 2016

A Look at Winter/Spring 2016

Last year saw Hollywood unable to reverse the trend of the first months of the new year bringing the public terrible new offerings at the theater. Most bombed badly or suffered low response and fair to mediocre reviews. Then you had Fifty Shades of Grey, which received boffo business but was quickly spit out by theatergoers once word of mouth spread and people actually read the reviews for a change. Disney was finally able to right the ship with a pointless yet popular remake, which then later led to the hyped-up release of Furious 7 and a more stable box office.

So what about 2016? Well, unless you have been off the grid, Hollywood really, really wants to change up their strategies and are premiering several big time releases early, including two in the usual dumping grounds of January!

Let's check out and go thoroughly through all of the offerings coming out in the first four months of 2016.

January 8 is the first weekend of the year where a brand spanking new film will come; today (January 1st) sees the wider expansion for Tarantino's The Hateful Eight and a couple of foreign releases, including the surprise re-release of Studio Ghibli's Only Yesterday, which is a total godsend. Anyway, most of the attention of this weekend will be on the wide expansion of The Revenant, which is not receiving any Oscar attention at the moment, save for Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, due to some fair to mixed reviews. Gee, the guy who gave us Birdman made another failure? Color me shocked. Oddly, the sole new wide release film comes to us from Gramercy Pictures, which is just so odd and a foreboding early sign for the picture itself. The Forest sees Natalie Dormer playing a dumb girl that enters into the infamous Aokigahara Forest, aka the Suicide Forest, in Japan to locate her twin sister. Bland boos occur. It looks like total crap but could be the better film this year that touches on the mysterious location; the second one will be coming up hopefully at some time this year. The few limited releases start with The Masked Saint, which sounds like a sorta American take of Tiger Mask, as a small town pastor uses his past pro wrestling talents to become a masked vigilante. It's getting notable press coverage for it being the very last film to star Roddy Piper. IFC Films is giving one theater (most likely its NYC theater) for Tim Blake Nelson's Anesthesia, a hyperlink movie where several people are affected by the violent mugging of a college professor. Also available is The Treasure, a Romanian comedy where a man is hired by his next-door neighbor to dig up the man's backyard for buried treasure, and Amitabh Bachchan returns to his crime film roots with Wazir.

January 15 will likely be dominated by the film that has been dominating TV, movie theaters, and the internet. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is the latest from love-him-or-hate-him Michael Bay. Released this early in the year solely to be the next Lone Survivor or American Sniper and get a major boost by war-hunger and America-loving audiences, the films follows the true accounts of 6 military contractors as they try to defend American diplomatic compounds in Benghazi during and after a terrorist attack. There will be a lot of glorification going around to make a person sick but I honestly am looking forward to it. As stated, we don't really see a lot of war films nowadays and since Kathryn Bigelow hasn't returned from her slumber, you have to make due with this. Plus, Chuck Hogan handled the script, which is a nice treat. Competing against the R-rated drama and will be #2 in the weekend returns will be Ride Along 2, the unwanted sequel to the 2014 cop-comedy starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Hart himself has been floundering lately, with two bombs to his name last year, and I don't see a major positive response to this. Since dads and their sons will be partaking on a red-blooded steak this weekend, moms will have to be chaperoning the tikes into seeing Norm of the North, an ugly-looking 3D animated flick that sadly gives Rob Schneider his first lead performance in a theatrically released film in a long time. Schneider voices the titular protagonist, a polar bear that is displaced from the Arctic and hanging out in New York, New York until a generic environmental conflict sprouts up. Pity to those moms who will have to sit through it. Meanwhile, the art and independent theaters will be stinking up their joints with some extremely questionable fare. The Benefactor sees Richard Gere ruining newlyweds Theo James and Dakota Fanning with a proposition. Band of Robbers is the gonzo film of the week, as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are all grown up yet are somehow living in modern times and looking for some lost treasure. And Benicio del Toro and Tim Robbins slum it in A Perfect Day, a throwaway drama involving aid workers in a violence-plagued nation.

January 22 presents to us The Boy, a movie where Lauren Cohan from The Walking Dead is hired by an old British couple to babysit a porcelain doll. Gee, what lame scares will spawn from this dumb idea? It also doesn't helped that it sounds like a even more straighter version of an infamous Lifetime movie called Invisible Child. Look that one up and definitely check out We Hate Movies' take on it. The 5th Wave is surprisingly a sci-fi movie based on a YA book series; you wouldn't really know that because the producers aren't really proclaiming it, especially since the YA movie movement is likely on it last legs at the moment. Chloë Grace Moretz, a great actress who sadly hasn't become a movie star that people will buy tickets for, plays a teen girl on the run with her brother, after a series of deadly attacks by an invading alien force has nearly wiped out the planet. A great Redbox movie, not so much for a cinema visit. Dirty Grandpa may be the top new earner for this weekend due to the huge amount of publicity Lionsgate has been pushing out. Robert DeNiro plays, well, the dirty grandpa. He forces his grandson Zac Efron into driving him to Spring Break, mere days before the latter's wedding. The plot is incredibly generic (fiancee Julianne Hough assuredly will be a shrew) and the laughs about an old man being a debaucher will be lame. On the other hand, Audrey Plaza as a raunchy spring breaker and Ellen Page-doppelgänger Zoey Deutch as Efron's love interest. On the more dirtier second hand, DeNiro getting some tail. Spew! China will be dominating the limited market this weekend with two big-time releases. Monster Hunt was a humongous success story last year, becoming China's highest grossing film of all-time and even beating Furious 7. Not to be confused with a similarly named popular Japanese video game series, the film involves some unlikely human guardians to a displaced and pregnant Queen of the Monsters as they fight off racist humans and evil monsters alike. The CGI may not hold up, as per usual with China's attempts, but look likes popcorn fun. Donnie Yen returns for Ip Man 3, the final entry in the trilogy and finally brings in Bruce Lee into the story. Also, Mike Tyson is in the cast for some strange reason. Now as for limited American fare, you have a badder selection. Mojave has Oscar Issac stepping into the shoes of Rutger Hauer, as he plays a homicidal drifter that encounters depressed artist Garrett Hedlund. Somehow, according to The Departed screenwriter turned first-time director William Monahan, these two look the same; I guess all white male Minnesotans like Guatemalan Americans. Who knew? Exposed has Keanu Reeves slumming away in this pointless police thriller. Jacob Gentry, director of The Signal, returns with Synchronicity, a not-very-promising sci-fi movie involving a time machine, romantic betrayals, and a flower. And then there's Monkey Up, a sure-to-be dreadful animal movie from the guy who gave us the Buddies franchise and last year's dog wrestling movie Russell Madness.

January 29 has Kung Fu Panda 3 coming out way too earlier than its previous two entries. Taking place some time after the cliffhanger of the previous film, the story follows Po as he's reunited with his birth father (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and birth land, all before another one-off baddie comes to test his might. I loved the first Kung Fu Panda but the sequel severely burned me and I didn't care for the Nickelodeon series. Dreamworks is well aware how the franchise has been floundering here in the States due to their greedy hands so it looks like they want to get this over with already. How else do you explain the trailers and TV spots that hammer down on the same stupid four jokes and offer up nothing else? Disney is countering Dreamworks with another one of their good ole true life movies with The Finest Hours. Chris Pine and Casey Affleck star in a story about sea rescuers that heroically push into deadly weather to save crew members from two sinking oil tankers. I would mock it but I am a total sucker for this type of Disney movie. I'm also intrigued by how they are pushing Holliday Grainger as a new movie star. If you are desperate or have no sense of taste, you and the rest of the American idiots can go see Fifty Shades of Black, Marlon Wayans' parody of Fifty Shades of Grey. Boy, that is sure to suck hard. Jane Got a Gun wobbles into the home stretch after years of production hell, including multiple resignations by the cast and crew. Natalie Portman returns to the silver screen as a tomboyish widow who asks the help of former fiancee Joel Edgerton in stopping a deadly group of outlaws led by Ewan McGregor. The Weinsteins must see something in it, since they are forging ahead with a wide release at the start. Too bad westerns don't always work in this modern climate unless they have a big star, a big director, or an interesting premise. Nothing much in the limited market this week: Greater is a forgettable sports movie about college football walk-on Brandon Burlsworth and Saala Khadoos is a forgettable Indian sports movie where a former boxer teaches a woman the art of targeting punches to the head.

February 5 kicks off the new month with Hail, Caesar!, the latest from the Coen Brothers. Josh Brolin leads off an all-star cast as a fixer in the Golden Age of Hollywood that may be in over his head when a Cary Grant-like movie star (George Clooney) is kidnapped by a mysterious group dubbed The Future. I'm very intrigued by the sheer amount of old school glamour and the goofy attitude but the previews have not been very helpful in explaining the Coens' true motives with the picture. I do hope it does better at the box office compared to its competing rival Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is sure to bomb upon release. Produced and released way too late to capitalize on the once popular spoof book, the film shows what would happen if the Bennet sisters were ass-kicking zombie hunters during the time of their tumultuous courtships. I tried to read the book but found myself too bored to continue but what made it work is how Seth Grahame-Smith weaved Jane Austen's original text into his stylized horror-comedy take. Once on screen and being given to unqualified hands (Burr Steers, whose last film was Charlie St. Cloud), all of that is removed in order to push another dark, gloomy and humorless horror-action flick. Would I take it over The Choice, the newest Nicholas Sparks adaptation that also will not do well? No, because at least this romantic fluff has a dog as a main supporting character. This movie centers around Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer hanging out in North Carolina and falling in love. The pathetic title is pretty obvious to figure out. The limited releases only really boil down to two movies: Regression, the long gestated horror movie with Ethan Hunt and Emma Watson, and Eisenstein in Guanajuato, whose title is self-explanatory if you're a film buff and is helmed by film buff favorite Peter Greenaway.

February 12 is the start of the Valentine's Day weekend and, well, it frankly kinda sucks. Deadpool has been on the lips of every comic book fanboy but I really don't see it being a hot commodity with general audiences. An attempt to rewrite history and alleviate the damage to the character after his appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds returns to the role of Wade Wilson, a man dying of cancer who goes through dangerous experimentation, only to come out of it with superhuman abilities, an ugly body and a meta-infused style of humor. I'm not big into Deadpool as I once was but again, I do see this movie doing pretty poorly among those who are not into comic book culture. Plus, the fan base is most likely going to ruin it by illegally downloading it instead of paying for a ticket, as per usual. Next up is Zoolander No. 2, a sequel to a 15-year-old comedy. Derek and Hansel return to take part in a super sexy spy adventure where they must battle with Benedict Cumberbatch and encounter a certain old opponent. Ben Stiller often surprises me with his non-family films but I really don't have much energy for this one. How To Be Single is the only suitable film for this holiday weekend, as Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann and Alison Brie go through the wild world of dating in NYC. May blow up in its own face but it's the only film here I'm more interested in. The biggest film of the limited releases is Where To Invade Next, the newest film from over-the-hill provocateur Michael Moore. Though hailed by some major critics last year, I roll my eyes at this feature-length film of a sequence from Bowling For Columbine: Moore goes around all of Europe and skewers his segments in order to comment how their policies and ways of living is totally better than America's current ways. I gladly would rather sit through Providence, a romantic indie that is completely silent. A24 releases Atom Egoyan's latest Remember, where Christopher Plummer plays a dementia-stricken old man who sets out to find the man who killed his family during the Holocaust. Always a winner with that subject. Meanwhile, Katie Holmes stars in Touched With Fire, a paint-by-numbers indie involving two people falling in love in a mental hospital. And lastly, there's A War, Denmark's nomination for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film.

February 19 lets Race run to its heart's content. Newcomer Stephen James stars as Jesse Owens, the Olympic star who famously ran in front of Der Führer at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. I understand the double meaning of the title but I still keep getting it confused with the recent David Mamet play. I also kinda wish it was instead called "Race Owens Race", which only pro wrestling fans will get a chuckle from. All that being said, I look forward to it, even despite it being directed by Stephen Hopkins, the guy who did Predator 2 and Lost In Space. Speaking of the 90s, Kevin Reynolds directs his first film in a decade and it looks like Christian crap. Risen has Joseph Fiennes playing a Roman centurion who is sent by Pontius Pilate to investigate the possible resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing really going on for the limited releases this weekend. Viral sounds like a basic found footage horror film involving a deadly virus. Despite the casting of Michael Kelly, this is being handled by the duo who did Paranormal Activity 4. Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer is some random Mexican sex comedy involving, what else, a man finding a boyfriend for his wife. The possibly fruitful movie from these lame offerings is Neerja, an Indian biopic about a real-life flight attendant who helped save passengers during a terrorist hijacking.

February 26 is one of those weekends where the good and bad really stack up against each other. First up is Gods of Egypt. Do I really need to explain about this one? Alex Proyas, who sadly hasn't made a great film since the 90's, directs this epic failure involving the fantasy battles between Egyptian gods and their human servants. When the trailer hit the web, nothing but venomous bile flowed to the surface. The film looks like absolute crap and practically everybody lamented the total white-washing going on throughout the cast. Destined to play considerably on the Syfy Channel after losing a ton of money. Looking to counterbalance this tower of shit is The Witch, a horror film that was all the rage at last year's Sundance Film Festival and surprisingly is given a straight wide release. It chronicles a Puritan family as they encounter demonic phenomenon and slowly break down in the middle of the wilderness. Sure to be a top contender for Best Horror Film of the Year. Next up is Eddie the Eagle, which sounds like a bad animated film but is actually a comedic take on the life of Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, a famed British ski jumper. Looks promising, especially for a British release. Triple 9 puzzles and worries me. It has a complicated plot involving corrupt cops and a criminal crew and how they are blackmailed by the mob into pulling off a heist while some of them act as a distraction by killing a cop, aka the code number for a "Officer Down". It's also from John Hillcoat, who's last two films were too sour to swallow and not very good at all. In select IMAX theaters and on their own platform, Netflix finally releases Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, the sequel to famed 2000 marital arts movie.

March 4 is overfilled with five new wide releases, which feels like a record of some kind, especially for March. Disney welcomes us to Zootopia, the latest animated feature from their own production studio and the latest film to overshadow the once golden child Pixar. Their marketing strategy remains the same: barely give away any of the plot, showcase some cute snippets, and have a trailer that is entirely a short jokey segment. I am very intrigued by its colorful world and its possible Midnight Run storyline, so it is worth a shot to see it even with a theater full of annoying kids. Big boys and fathers can instead go see London Has Fallen, which just looks like pure crap. I'll gladly defend Olympus Has Fallen any day but this sequel is, well, absolute sequelitis. The President is in danger again but now running all over London with his trusted bodyguard Gerald Butler from a new group of terrorists. The trailer shows that it has the same beats of the first one, while removing all of Die Hard elements that made it fun, and covered the holes with some really bad CGI. This forgettable action flick will be competing against another terrorist-themed film, but one that is an intentional comedy. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot has Tina Fey acting as a war correspondent during the war in Afghanistan and getting into some hijinks. I love Fey but this is a total pass unless the laughs are really worth it. Me Before You finally comes out, allowing Emilia Clarke to fall for disabled Sam Calflin in the film adaptation of the popular Jojo Moyes novel. Nepotism is in full effect with the last of the wide releases. Alfonso Cuarón's son Jonás co-writes and directs Desierto, a thriller set on the Mexico-America border where Gael García Bernal and others must run and hide from a gun-toting Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It did alright at last year's Toronto Film Festival, where it was noted as an enjoyable B-movie. You could venture to the art theater to see The Wave, a foreign disaster movie and Norway's Oscar hopeful for Best Foreign Language Film, but you would rather spend your money on Knight of Cups, the long-awaited new film from Terence Malick. This time around, the visionary director looks at the hollowness of Hollywood. Sounds totally banal and pretentious already!

March 11 has to a skip weekend. It has to be. I am confounded by Columbia releasing The Brothers Grimsby for everyone to take in. Mark Strong and Sacha Baron Cohen star as separated twins who grow up to be a super spy and a soccer hooligan respectively and finally meet up under dubious and dangerous circumstances. I will say the trailer makes it look like fun but maybe as a matinee or a rental, not as a big-time release. The Other Side of the Door is basically a stupid remake of Godsend and also an early rip-off of the delayed film Before I Wake (more on that below): A couple is still grieving over the loss of their son and when the mother opens the door to the world of the dead, an entity in the form of their son pops out. Let it bomb. Valencia is another lame horror offering, where a woman is trapped inside of a dark cellar and informed that she survived a nuclear fallout. Not much else about it other than that. The Young Messiah seeks to earn some of that early Easter money, as it follows the fictitious story of how a 7-year-old Jesus found out about who he really is. I say fictitious because it is based on a book by Anne Rice. The sheep can enjoy it or pass it over, just like that Mother Teresa movie nobody went to. The oddest one of this bad bunch has to be Coco, a hip-hop musical directed by RZA that's about an aspiring female slam poet. No word at all about it and I highly believe it will miss its wide release (despite being backed by Lionsgate) and become a dreaded MIA movie. The limited released movies also have a bad line-up. Eye in the Sky is a drama about drones starring Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul. Like its preceding military movies about this very subject, it will likely be forgotten fast. And Hello, My Name Is Doris is a grody dramedy where Sally Field tries to romance Max Greenfield. Perfect for your desperate parents.

March 16 is the special Wednesday opening for Miracles From Heaven, Sony's second attempt at earning a ton of money with cheap Christian films. Eerily similar to their own Heaven Is For Real, thus meaning I will certainly hate it, the film recounts the "true story" of how a girl with an intestinal disorder fell off a tree, blacked out and was cured. The end. Honestly, why do you need to see this, especially in theaters?! Everything's right there in the trailer! Don't get suckered in by Jennifer Garner!

March 18 offers up a big bait-and-switch. The Divergent Series: Allegiant sounds like an adaptation of the final novel in the Divergent franchise but it is actually "Part 1"; "Part 2" is labelled as Ascendant and comes out in mid 2017. Yep, the makers refused to see the low box office returns of their own dumb YA series and/or notice how the double part strategy doesn't always work. Mockingjay couldn't even overcome the latter pitfall so what makes you think this will? This pathetic movie is the only new wide release and the only film brave to try to take any money they can before next week's one-sided victory. The smaller markets, however, receive better fare to digest. Midnight Special is Jeff Nichols' strange sci-fi project, where he once again teams up with his muse Michael Shannon. Moving way past his usual forte of dark human stories, this flick has Shannon trying to protect his gifted son from the government and an evil cult. For those you don't want to be depressed, The Little Prince is an French animated film that combines computer and stop-motion animation. Though it is loosely adapted from the seminal novella of the same name, it has earned high praise and good business abroad. Here in America, it seeks to win over some lucky hearts and help fill in theaters that have empty 3D screens. Finally, there's The Bronze, that stupid Sundance comedy that was caught up in the drama during the Relativity Media debacle.

March 25 rolls out the red carpet for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I and many others don't know why anyone would want to see it when Warner Bros. already spoiled the entire movie, and its misleading title, with a trailer that left everyone online baffled and disgusted. That just has to be better than Man of Steel in some small way or else it once again proves that Warner Bros. and Zach Snyder have zero clue in making superhero films. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is the only counter-programing for the weekend but anyone with a right mind will avoid it. The sequel to the 2002 comedy that nobody wanted save for Nia Vardalos, it follows how now Vardalos must contend with her rambunctious daughter and another Greek wedding to plan out. I think I will be better off re-watching that pathetic short-lived TV series, where John Corbett turned into a fat guy. The Disappointments Room is also expected to come out wide but, as with last week's The Bronze, this is caught up with Relativity Media and may not be released. The art patrons could feast on I Saw The Light, the delayed music biopic where Tom Hiddleston plays Hank Williams, but they likely saw and heard the bad buzz it got last year.

April 1 gives us the biggest April Fool's prank ever: releasing a sure-to-be awful sequel to an awful Christian film! God's Not Dead 2 had people howling with its comical trailer, showing how Melissa Joan Hart gets caught up with the drama of teaching Christianity in a public school and even having Judge Ernie Hudson breaking a gavel after many cries of "Order!" I can't wait to see it and see if it is "good" enough to make it onto a certain type of list. For the more sane adults, there's Collide, a car thriller where "it" boy Nicholas Hoult and "it" girl Felicity Jones get tied up on the Autobahn with some drug smugglers. The film is created by Eran Creevy, who three years ago delivered the British action fest Welcome To The Punch, so expectations are above normal levels. Rings, the second sequel to a j-horror adaptation everyone has moved on from, is expected to come out after much delays but surprise, surprise, still no marketing or word on it. NY and LA get a juicy thriller with Green Room, the latest from Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier. Also know as the movie where Patrick Stewart is a skinhead leader, the tense movie follows a low-rent punk band that is trapped in the titular place in a bar after witnessing a hate crime. Additionally, Miles Ahead is set for release this weekend, where Don Cheadle plays legendary jazz musician Miles Davis.

April 8 brings a sheer rush of adrenaline with Hardcore Henry. Stupid name, right? Apparently, this is the new title for the movie Hardcore, which was all the rage (good and bad) at TIFF. Shot entirely in the first-person perspective, the video game-inspired flick has Sharlto Copley engaging in violent and destructive behavior as a newly christened cyborg. Could give you a total headache or be amazing. While the boys will be chiefly at play with the one with the guns, the female demographic will be high for The Boss, a Melissa McCarthy vehicle where she plays a Martha Stewart-like villain who seeks to return to good graces. I'm a supporter for McCarthy but when she's not with talented people like Paul Feig, her films tend to be disappointing to bad. Also to consider, this is being handled by her husband Ben Falcone, who's last film was the critical and audience misfire Tammy. Before I Wake comes out to be quickly shuffled out mere weeks later, as no one really wants to see a generic horror movie involving a kid whose dreams come deadly true. Possibly making a way-to-early consideration run for the Oscars, or just quietly being given a small release to make less noise, Jean-Marc Vallée's Demolition features Jake Gyllenhaal as a grieving widow who decides to move on from his despair by destroying his house. I don't have any faith in it as it looks like a totally flavorless indie.

April 15 has Disney taxing the general public with the new hot blockbuster on the market. The Jungle Book comes right after the surprisingly bountiful haul of Cinderella and is being handled by Jon Favreau. He has been quite middling with big budget projects since the rousing success of 2008's Iron Man but he bounced back with his personal project Chef. I'm satisfied with the film already, simply for the fact that Mowgli is being played by Indian boy. Oh look, another unwanted sequel starring Ice Cube: Barbershop: The Next Cut hides its third entry marker and the fact it's following up a movie that came out 14 years ago by giving roles to Nicki Minaj and Tyga. Like Michael Ealy, I'm out on this. Megaproducer Jason Blum tries to revive a dead property with Amityville: The Awakening. Completely shocking to me, this is somehow the 14th entry in this franchise! Making matters worse, talented actors like Bella Thorne, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Thomas Mann, and Kurtwood Smith are in the cast. Please just stay asleep, you dumb house! Criminal looks to be a snore-fest; how else to explain its tumultuous journey for a release date? The beleaguered film tells an action thriller tale where the CIA imbues the dead memories of one of their top agents into the body of a man on death row. An asinine Bourne clone from the guy who put everyone asleep with The Iceman. Art and indie fans can rejoice in their theaters with Everybody Wants Some!, Richard Linklater's latest project after dropping Boyhood on an unsuspecting public. More in line with his treasured film Dazed and Confused, it follows a group of college baseball players in the 1980's. Can't wait to check out the soundtrack!

April 22 has a blockbuster that tries to fight fire with fire, as The Huntsman: Winter's War will try in vein to combat the Disney juggernaut by wholeheartedly stealing from Frozen. This prequel to Snow White and The Huntsman, thus justifying the decision to bring Charlize Theron back, follows how Chris Hemsworth became The Huntsman and how he used to work for The Ice Queen, aka Not-Elsa aka Emily Blunt. But then it apparently turns into a sequel as it jumps ahead in time and has The Ice Queen and The Wicked Queen (who got better) ready to conquer the world. Huh? Couple this confusing plot with the fact that the film is directed by the guy who did the visual effects of the first film and you have yourself a recipe for disaster. I would rather hang out with Key & Peele's weird vehicle Keanu, which is evidently about about some guys who pose as a street gang in order to rescue a cat. On second thought, maybe I should just avoid the theaters this weekend.

April 29 ends the season first with Ratchet & Clank, the video game adaptation of the first entry in the franchise by Insomniac Games. I do really, really wish it was Sly Cooper instead here but I'm glad that the Wombax and his cuddly robot friend get to shine on a bigger platform. Sadly, it will be overshadowed and lower in the box office totals by Mother's Day, Garry Marshall's newest entry in his audience-baiting, TV-filling holiday franchise. You know the drill: a bunch of storylines that intersect at some points and bawdy humor. And in closing, we have Same Kind Of Different As Me. What the hell is this? It's based on some kind of memoir by Ron Hall about a cotton slave who's saved from his dire circumstances by a rich white man. What made you think this would be a good idea, Paramount?

My Top Picks of Winter/Spring 2016

1. The Witch
2. Green Room
3. Hail, Caesar!
4. Zootopia
5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
6. Ratchet & Clank
7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny
8. Hardcore Henry
9. The Finest Hours
10. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Of course, there are some films not mentioned here or included because I frankly had a hard time determining their release time frame or have no interest in talking about them right now. Also to remember, there is the ever present possibility that any of the featured films will later be delayed.

I hope your movie experiences will be as good as mine, but probably less cynical.

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