Hugh Jackman's final performance ever as Wolverine will surely be the big draw at the box office this week, but it's not the only film hitting theaters. The ensemble comedy "Table 19," the religious drama "The Shack" and the mystery "Before I Fall" also open this weekend.
Here are reviews of the movies opening on Friday, March 3, 2017:
"Table 19" is the worst kind of ensemble comedy, in that it isn't nearly as funny or clever as it thinks it is, and that it squanders what should have been a fun gathering of talented actors and comedians. Anna Kendrick stars as Eloise, who was just demoted as Maid of Honor to her best friend's wedding after breaking up with the bride's brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell). She is relegated to Table 19 at the wedding reception, the table occupied by all of the "random" guests that don't share a real close relationship to either the bride or groom. There is the squabbling couple, The Kepps (Craig Robinson and Lisa Kudrow), an awkward sex-crazed teenager (Tony Revolori), a strange convict (Stephen Merchant) and the boisterous childhood nanny of the bride (June Squibb). The entire film feels contrived and almost none of the situational comedy is all that funny nor believable...that's quite disappointing considering the cast, and that the film was written by Jay and Mark Duplass, who created the charming HBO series "Togetherness" and who have written better films, like "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" and "Baghead." The idea of this film - the shenanigans that could take place when a group of different strangers unite at a wedding - could have and should have been a great premise for a comedy, but you'll be sorry if you RSVP to this complete buzz-kill. If you like scenes where people trip, fall out of their chairs, or accidentally smash into the wedding cake, then you might enjoy "Table 19." Otherwise, you should know that sometimes there is a reason a film sees release this time of year. Grade: D-.
Genre: Comedy. Run Time: 1 hour 29 minutes. Rated PG-13. Starring: Anna Kendrick, Wyatt Russell, Tony Revolori, Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb. Directed by Jeffrey Blitz (“Rocket Science”).
Based on the USA Today best-selling book of the same name, by author William P. Young, "The Shack," is a heavy-handed Christian film about a man trying to come to terms with a horrible tragedy. Sam Worthington stars as Mack Phillips, a good, faithful servant, husband and father of three, who takes his children camping in the woods. An unspeakable catastrophe occurs when his youngest daughter goes missing and is feared dead. This challenges Mack's faith in God and he returns to the scene of the crime in order to try to make sense of his new world. That's where he discovers a mysterious shack, inhabited by a friendly woman, Papa (Octavia Spencer), a man (Avraham Aviv Alush) and an Indian princess (Sumire Matsubara), and the three send Mack on a soul-searching journey that may or may not yeild answers as to what Mack is looking for. Let's be real: If you consider yourself a devout Christian, or deeply spiritual or religious, then "The Shack" will likely win you over...considering the genre, this is a well-done and at times, a beautifully rendered film. But to those that are not born-again, "The Shack" is likely going to strike you as over-the-top cheesy, and as another hokey "message film." Yes, "The Shack" is preaching to the choir, but if you're in the church by choice, you'll be moved...but if you unknowingly wandered in, you'll be restlessly waiting for the end credits to roll. Just because I fit in the latter category, doesn't mean there isn't something special about "The Shack" for others. Grade: C+.
Genre: Drama, Fantasy. Run Time: 2 hours 12 minutes. Rated PG-13. Starring: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw, Amelie Eve, Sumire Matsubara, Graham Greene, Avraham Aviv Alush, Radha Mitchell. Directed by Stuart Hazeldine ("Exam").
Also opening this week: "Before I Fall," starring Zoey Deutch and directed by Ry Russo-Young.
Next week reviews include: "Kong: Skull Island."