By Rick Davis
Hot of the success of Beauty and the Beast, Emma Watson follows that hit with The Circle, co-starring Tom Hanks. Based upon the book of the same name, The Circle is a sci-fi thriller about a young woman (Watson) hired to work for the world’s largest and most powerful tech & social media company. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company’s founder (Hanks) to engage in a ground-breaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and even her own personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity. Also starring John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy), Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood) and Patton Oswalt, it is produced by Hanks and his company Playtone, which made the likes of Cast Away, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma Mia. It also features the final film role for the late Bill Paxton.
I think the most exciting newcomer this weekend is The Lost City of Z, based upon David Grann’s nonfiction best seller telling the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment, the determined explorer returns to the region time and again in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925. Fawcett is portrayed by Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy and also stars Sienna Miller (American Sniper), Robert Pattinson (Twilight) and Tom Holland (the new Spider-Man). It looks likes an exciting adventure that will please audiences that like gripping dramas but may even appeal to fans of Indiana Jones.
Spark: A Space Tail is an animated movie set on the planet Bana, which was laid waste by the power-mad General Zhong thirteen years earlier. It is up to Spark and his colourful animal friends reclaim their planet and stop the evil Zhong from harnessing the power of an ancient beast and conquering the universe. Although Spark is independently produced by Canadian writer-director (and nephew of director David Cronenberg), it features the voices of Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart and Hilary Swank.
On the subject of independently produced Canadian films, Maudie is showing at Landmark Cinemas Grand 10. It is the story of Canadian Maud Lewis who was afflicted by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, she spent her early life dismissed for what was presumed to be her limited ability. However, her colourful paintings, made on surfaces ranging from beaverboard to cookie sheets, established her as one of our country’s premier folk artists. Lewis is portrayed by Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins and fellow nominee Ethan Hawke plays her husband Everett Lewis.
And finally at the Grand 10 is Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, a Hindi (with English subtitles) fantasy/drama, the sequel to one of the most successful Indian films of all time.
The Circle is a sci-fi thriller starring (left to right) Tom Hanks, Emma Watson and Patton Oswalt.