The first of the four new movies this week is Fantastic Four, a reboot of the Marvel super-hero team that was last seen on the big screen less than a decade ago.
I would not say the last incarnation, (which featured Jessica Alba and future Captain America Chris Evans) was “much-maligned,” but it was not embraced by critics and many fans even though both movies were successful at the box office. The reboot features a new origin story and a new cast of stronger actors, including Miles Teller (Whiplash), Kate Mara (Netflix’s House of Cards), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot). Writer/director Josh Trank (Chronicle) is said to take advantage of the strong cast and has created more complex characters and a deeper story that serve as the basis of the revived series. In fact, a sequel is already in the works and set for release in two years with talks of a crossover with X-Men.
Meryl Streep continues to show her range in the musical comedy-drama Ricki and the Flash as a woman named Ricki, who left her family to become a successful rock star in a band called The Flash. However, in the twilight of her musical career she looks towards returning to the family she left behind and make amends as her daughter is getting married. This movie looks entertaining for many reasons, mainly because of the musical performances and the relationship between Streep and 80’s heartthrob Rick Springfield, but also because of co-stars Kevin Kline as Ricki’s ex-husband and Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer as her on-screen daughter. However, the most interesting aspect of this movie is that it is collaboration between writer Diablo Cody (Juno) and director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia).
Shaun the Sheep is likely yet another movie from the stop-motion auteurs at Aardman Animation (Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit) that deserves to be seen by a larger audience that it is actually going to get. Based upon the British television series, Shaun is a mischievous sheep who decides to take a day off from the farm he lives on and goes to the city. However, when he accidentally brings the Farmer and the rest of the flock with him, it is up to Shaun to get everybody safely back to the farm. With humour that is said appeal to both kids and adults, hopefully this one will find the audience it deserves.
Australian actor Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings) makes his writing and directing debut with the psychological thriller The Gift, in which he also stars as a creepy character determined to disrupt the lives of a happy couple. Jason Bateman (Identity Thief) and Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3) star as Simon and Robyn, the couple whose relationship goes into crisis mode when an acquaintance from Simon’s past starts revealing a terrible secret from his past through a series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts.
Please note: because of the holiday, not all movies have been confirmed and are subject to change.