"Zombieland" and Eddie Murphy both make long-in-the-works comebacks this week
New in Theaters
"Zombieland: Double Tap"
"Zombieland," released in 2009, offered a welcome comedic twist on the zombie genre, along with one of the all-time great film cameos. A decade later, the original cast returns, though early reviews suggest that time has made the premise a bit stale.
Watch the trailer:
File this Chinese, based-on-a-true-story action flick under "Nope," at least for this guy. (I already loathe flying, so I don't need to sit through a tense two hours of 100-plus passengers fearing for their lives following an airplane windshield failure.)
"Dolemite Is My Name"
Eddie Murphy stars as the titular character in this blaxploitation throwback, which marks the beginning of the actor/comedian's comeback tour. (He's recently done a number of high-profile interviews, and he announced both a new comedy special and a sequel to his much-loved 1988 film, "Coming to America," due next year.)
“Brittany Runs a Marathon”
For Brittany, it’s not so much about the physical transformation as it is taking steps into a healthier version of adulthood, one in which her self-image gets the makeover. In a nutshell, she learns how to love herself. (And, yes, there’s even a Lizzo appearance on the soundtrack.) (3 stars)
It’s certainly got tear-jerker moments, but this is largely a feel-good farewell to fans. I can’t imagine there are many going in cold the way I did, but if you enjoy earnest British-ness, like me, this one’s a winner. (3 stars)
Under a backdrop of organized crime turf wars and corrupt cops, Leo and Yuri find themselves embroiled in a violent struggle. Oh, and they fall in love along the way, obv. Despite director Takashi Miike’s obvious ability to disturb, “First Love” is his version of a light-hearted romp. Set at a breakneck pace and sprinkled with violence (that’s often slapstick), it’s certainly among the most purely entertaining things he’s done. (3 stars)
“Hustlers” is a familiar rise-and-fall crime caper concept with some layers, and it manages to say a lot without being preachy. In fact, it’s so consistently entertaining, funny and flashy, you might not even get some of the messages. (4 stars)
“Joker” is also sure to be one of the most divisive movies of the year. Reactions will range from calling it a classic to calling it trash, and there’s a case to be made for everything in between. But it’s a movie where, at least to this critic, the ambitions and audacity outweigh the flaws. (5 stars)
Renee Zellweger dives deep into Garland’s last days. Addiction to alcohol and barbiturates have rendered Garland wildly unpredictable and undependable as a performer, a factor that also led to her decline in Hollywood years prior. Zellweger captures both the gigantic personality of Garland and her deep vulnerability. The performance is plenty big, but she also thrives in the small moments. (3 stars)