Alice Through the Looking Glass
(USA) In this sequel to Tim Burton’s 2010 hit Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter find themselves once again in Wonderland. It’s another visual stunner and an enjoyable film, despite the drawn-out storyline and Disney cheesiness.
A Bigger Splash
(Italy/France) Rock star Marianne Lane
(Tilda Swinton) and her photographer boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) escape to a remote island on holiday. But when they’re joined by her ex Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter, played by Dakota Johnson, things start to heat up. Despite moments of slightly iffy writing, this gorgeous movie holds up to the complexities of its source material.
Cold War 2 (Hong Kong) See review, above.
Fifty Shades of Black
(USA) Not an official sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey”—you’ll have to wait until 2017 before Mr. Grey will see you again—but a spoof starring Marlon Wayans (“White Chicks”),
Kali Hawk (“Bridesmaids”) and Fred Willard (“Anchorman”). Unfunny and offensive is right: Fifty shades of fucked up that we wouldn’t recommend to anyone. (No Stars)
(South Korea) From director Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy”) comes a tale of a con man in 1930s Korea hoping to seduce an heiress for her money and the pickpocket he hires to be her handmaiden who ends up falling in love with her. A sensuously woven tale with nuanced characters by a master filmmaker. Independence Day: Resurgence
(USA) The sequel to 1996’s “Independence Day” brings former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) and scientist David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) back together, along with a new generation of unreasonably beautiful scientists and pilots including our very own Angelababy. What’s different from the last one, you ask?
Well, they killed off Will Smith’s character because he’s too expensive, plus the entire fight with the grotesque aliens is silly and corny.
The Jungle Book
(USA) The beloved 1967 Disney cartoon gets a CG/live-action makeover and they’ve packed the screen with star A-listers. Bill Murray voices Baloo, the lovable bear; the Bengal tiger baddie, Shere Khan, is played by Idris Elba.
This remake won’t replace the original, but with stunning jungle landscapes and heartwarming characters, it comes close.
The Legend of Tarzan
(USA) Tarzan, played by Alexander Skarsgård (TV’s “True Blood”), returns back to the Congolese jungle with his wife Jane Porter (Margot Robbie) after a life of aristocracy in London. While it was entertaining to watch a shirtless Skarsgård swinging through the jungle with amazing CG gorillas, the story depicts a tired and retrograde white colonialist fantasy where a hot white dude can save an entire jungle.
(UK) Simon Pegg and Lake Bell are the leads of this rom-com which starts with the cutest of meet-cutes: a mistaken woman on a blind date, a perfect date, the heartfelt reveal, an unanticipated reaction, and in between, high-flying highs, desperate lows, and a drunken meltdown to boot.
The Man Who Knew Infinity
(UK) Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons star in this biopic of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a mathematician who quickly rises from his poor Tamil Brahmin family in Madras to become one of the most brilliant innovators of formulas and theorems in pre-war Cambridge, with the help of an English professor (Irons). Stand-out performances and strong source material take this cookie-cutter biopic to the next level.
The Nice Guys
(USA) Writer and director Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) is back with another winding tale of mystery in the neo-noir shadows of gritty porn-addicted, disco-driven 1977 Los Angeles. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play a mismatched pair of misfit PIs looking to uncover the truth behind the death of an adult film star and the disappearance of a young girl.
Now You See Me 2
(USA) Following up 2013’s “Now You See Me,” a band of professional magicians/ bank robbers is goaded into their biggest heist yet by tech genius Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe). Magic buffs will be dazzled by the tricks, but the rest of us will be more intrigued by the Macanese backdrop, plus a significant cameo by pop star Jay Chou.
The Secret Life of Pets
(USA) What happens to our favorite furballs when we leave the house every day? A beloved dog Max (Louis CK) is taken out of domesticated bliss to the sewers in New York after his owner adopts a new dog. The team behind “Despicable Me” brings us a modern and comedianstuffed callback to “Aristocats” and “An American Tail.” The Secret Life of Pets is charming, funny and endlessly exciting.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
(USA) The Ninja Turtles are back, and this time they’ve got their work cut out for them: First they’ve got to defeat mutant nemeses Bebop and Rocksteady, and then join April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to defeat an alien invasion led by supervillain Krang (Fred Armisen).