2/26 – 3/11
“Coco” is the most recent release from Pixar, and it is a delight. The story follows a 12-year-old Miguel, an aspiring musician. He steals a guitar from a tomb so he can perform at a Day of the Dead concert, only to find that he has been cursed as punishment for stealing from the dead. Now he must find a way to get back to the land of the living, and along the way, learns about history, culture and memory.
The movie was widely praised for its respectful depiction of Mexican culture, accomplishing the too-rare feat of paying respect to a culture instead of stealing it. It’s a fun, entertaining movie that has a little more to say than the usual animated flick and is definitely worth seeing.
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”
3/5 – 3/25
Four high-schoolers are assigned to clean up the school after receiving detention, find a copy of the board game Jumanji, and are sucked into the reality of the jungle game. They have to stop a big-game hunter from getting a special jewel (“The Jaguar’s Eye”) which will give him control over all the animals if they want to get back to their world. And, in true “alternate video game reality movie” fashion, they have three lives, and if they die in the game they die in real life.
You should know what you’re getting into from the poster — Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Dwayne The Rock Johnson all clad in reasonable jungle adventure gear and Karen Gillian wearing not a lot of anything. This won’t be one for the history books, and you won’t strain anything following the plot, but there are some amusing moments scattered throughout.
The Procrastinator is also showing the original “Jumanji,” starring Robin Williams, on 3/22.
“Pitch Perfect 3”
3/19 – 4/1
The Bellas are aca-back, pitches. Set two years after “Pitch Perfect 2,” the third movie finds the Bellas graduated and working in dead-end jobs. They reunite on the spur of the moment to enter in another competition, and encounter some humorous obstacles along the way — but you’ll never guess whether everything ends well or not.
Okay, so the “Pitch Perfect” movies have never been known for their fantastic writing or plot, but so what? You don’t go to these movies for anything but to have a blast, and the third installment in the series delivers. The film was eviscerated by critics, which was fair; the film is mostly just copy-pasting the previous two without a lot of new tricks. If you enjoyed the first two though, and need a break from papers and projects and tests and all the rest of it though, it’s an enjoyable way to relax for a few hours.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
3/26 – 4/8
The third Star Wars movie released since Disney bought the franchise, “The Last Jedi” is the best film the new owners have delivered.
Rey has found Luke and must persuade him to assist in stopping The First Order, still lead by Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren. Fan-favorites Poe and Finn are still around and up to trouble, and joined by several fun, new characters — both original and ported over from the Extended Universe.
Like “Rogue One” before it, “The Last Jedi” succeeds by managing to both stay true to expectations of what a Star Wars movie will be and subverting those expectations. You think you know what to expect when Poe leads an attack on a Dreadnaught (a starier, destroyier Star Destroyer), when Rey gives Luke his old lightsaber and asks for training, or when Luke squares off with Kylo in the film’s climax, only to be surprised.
This movie was controversial, and left many longtime Star Wars fans disappointed. These are not valid criticisms, however. Some people are unhappy Star Wars is finally taking small steps towards realism in casting (there are more women and non-white characters than in other Star Wars films), and others are upset Luke finally gets to be a three-dimensional human instead of a cardboard cutout of a Hero Figure. In fact, Luke’s struggle with his own legendary status is one of the film’s finest plot points.
“The Last Jedi” elevates the franchise to new heights and is recommended to anyone.