Skip to content

Nostalgia is in! Between the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast and the cinematic reboots of Power RangersChips, and Kong, cinema continues to find inspiration in the pop culture of yesteryear. Yet, this week’s #1 succeeds in taking us forward, instead of backward.

#1: LIFE

Synopsis: Astronauts (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds) aboard the International Space Station are on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As members of the crew conduct their research, the rapidly evolving life-form proves far more intelligent and terrifying than anyone could have imagined.

Dominating this week’s MoviePass Member Top 5 is the sci-fi thriller, Life, which claims 26.83% of member check-ins. Though, it tops our list, it currently maintains the #4 spot at the domestic box office where it is outranked by Beauty and the Beast, Power Rangers, and Kong: Skull Island. On a $58 million budget, the film has earned $28.7 million to date.

Critically, the star-studded Life has received relatively positive reviews with a 65% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Michael O’Sullivan of The Washington Post writes, “While this ever-more-nerve-racking game of cat-and-mouse is well calibrated by director Daniel Espinosa, the film’s real interest derives from the human interactions.” It’s definitely worth noting that Espinosa has experience in the thriller genre with films such as the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds headlined Safe House and the Swedish hit, Easy Money. So, Espinosa is equally matched by a cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson. On the other hand, Richard Brody of The New Yorker calls the film a, “blandly but frantically cautionary tale about the dangers of the quest for knowledge .” Regardless of the reviews, if the scary unknown appeals to you, then we’d recommend you strap in for Life.

#2: POWER RANGERS

 Synopsis: Five ordinary teens must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

Claiming the #2 spot on our list is Power Rangers, the cinematic reboot that stirs intense feelings of childhood nostalgia. With 20.25% of member check-ins, the film held its own against our top pick, Life. However, the domestic box office tells a more victorious story for this superhero quintet. In fact, during its opening weekend, Power Rangers’ main competition was not Life, but rather another family favorite, Beauty and the Beast, which did, indeed, maintain its top ranking. Yet, with a gross of $40.5 million, Power Rangers still performed well among moviegoers. Add to it, $18.7 million in overseas earnings and you’ve got a worldwide gross of $59.2 million on a $100 million budget.

Obviously, a film like Power Rangers is made more for the fans than the critics. And with an 81% audience score, the movie definitely maintained loyalty and dedication to its base. At the same time, critical reviews lean more on the negative side with a 45% score on Rotten Tomatoes. In a positive review of the film, Emily Yoshida of Vulture writes, “as cash grabs go, this one is delightfully unconcerned with coolness, neither shying away from its chintzy roots nor ironically embracing them.” On the other hand, Matt Maytum of Games Radar writes, “It’s a meh climax to a reboot that feels misguided.” Sheesh. Well, if you love reminiscing about the good ol’ days when the biggest argument amongst your friends was which Power Ranger you wanted to be, take a fresh trip down memory lane with this remake!

#3: CHIPS

Synopsis: Jon Baker and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello have just joined the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles, but for very different reasons. Baker is a former motorbike rider who’s trying to put his life and marriage back together. Poncherello is a cocky, undercover FBI agent who’s investigating a multimillion dollar heist that may be an inside job. Forced to work together, the inexperienced rookie and hardened veteran begin clashing instead of clicking while trying to nab the bad guys.

Debuting on our list is the reboot of the 1970s television series, Chips. Earning 10.38% of this weekend’s check-ins, the film offered another dose of nostalgia to MoviePass members. It experienced less favoritism at the domestic box office, where it debuted at #7, earning $7.6 million. To date, it has a worldwide gross of $9.4 million on a $25 million budget.

What’s interesting about Chips is that it is written and directed by actor, Dax Shepard. Known for his role as Crosby Braverman in the hit television show, Parenthood, Shepard has also starred in several feature length films such as Baby Mama, Employee of the Month, and Let’s Go to Prison. And though it’s interesting to see him behind the camera, this definitely isn’t his first time in the director’s chair. He previously directed the film, Hit and Run, as well as an episode of About a Boy and Parenthood. So, how o the critics feel about his current feature? Well, not good.

Among critics, Chips holds a 19% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Todd VanDerWerff of Vox writes, “it’s never enough of any one thing to gain momentum,” referring to the film’s jagged, inconsistent tone. On the other hand, Stephen Schaefer of The Boston Herald seems to have enjoyed the film, writing, “Never cynical, old-­fashioned in its reverence for stuntmen doing stunts and not a digital effects machine, “CHiPS” takes the high road.” If you’re in the mood for a few laughs, we say, give Chips a chance!

#4: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Synopsis: Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.

At #4 on our list is the most enchanted fairytale of them all: Beauty and the Beast. Claiming 9.83% of member check-ins, the live-action remake has fallen from its top spot on our list. However, it is killing the worldwide box office! In its second weekend stateside, the movie has earned $88.3 million, bringing its domestic gross to approximately $317 million! Overseas, the movie has grossed $374.4 million for a grand total of approximately $691.4 million on a $160 million budget!

So how has the film faired critically! Pretty well, as you would expect. It currently holds a 71% score on Rotten Tomatoes with an 86% audience score. In a positive review of the feature, Anthony Lane of The New Yorker writes, “the sheer dexterity is overwhelming, and only the sternest viewer will be able to resist the onslaught of such thoroughly marketed magic.” Again, did we expect any less of Disney? Yet, David Sims of The Atlantic gives the film a less than glowing review, stating, “With the new Beauty and the Beast, Disney has ripped a jewel out of its casing and set it in something far more elaborate; the effect is garish rather than nostalgic, frustrating rather than memorable.” In any case, if you can use a little magic in your life, you won’t go wrong with Beauty and the Beast. 

#5: KONG: SKULL ISLAND

Synopsis: Scientists, soldiers and adventurers unite to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. Cut off from everything they know, they venture into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery soon becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape from a primal world where humanity does not belong.

Rounding out our MoviePass Member Top 5 is the epic adventure flick, Kong: Skull Island. Claiming 4.17% of weekend check-ins, this member favorite maintains a spot on our list for the third week in a row. It also holds a strong grasp at the domestic box office where it earned $14.4 million this past weekend. To date, the film has grossed $392.4 million worldwide on a $185 million budget.

Since it returns to our list, we’re all well aware that the film has received generally positive reviews, with a 78% score on Rotten Tomatoes. In a positive review, Christopher Orr of The Atlantic writes, “while it doesn’t quite hit all its marks, it is a mostly amusing diversion that boasts some truly exceptional visuals.” On the other hand, Jason Bailey of Flavorwire writes, “It’s the kind of filmed product that feels focus-grouped and conference-called to death.” Ugh. We’ve said it before and we’ll saw it again: you should never miss an opportunity to see a giant monster on a giant screen! These are words to live by!

IN THEATERS THIS WEEK

The weather is just getting warmed up and so are we! This weekend, we’re looking forward to another live-action remake: The Ghost in the Shell. Then, we’ll settle in for the period drama, The Zookeeper’s Wife and finish things with the animated feature, The Baby Boss. 

Scarlett Johansson plays The Major in Ghost in the Shell from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures in theaters March 31, 2017.GHOST IN THE SHELL

Synopsis: In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: a human who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that she has been lied to, and her life was not saved. Instead, it was stolen.

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE

Synopsis: The time is 1939 and the place is Poland, homeland of Antonina Zabinski and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski. The Warsaw Zoo flourishes under Jan’s stewardship and Antonina’s care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck. The Zabinskis covertly begin working with the Resistance and put into action plans to save the lives of hundreds from what has become the Warsaw Ghetto.

THE BOSS BABY

Synopsis: A new baby’s arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator — a wildly imaginative 7-year-old named Tim. The most unusual Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) arrives at Tim’s home in a taxi, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. The instant sibling rivalry must soon be put aside when Tim discovers that Boss Baby is actually a spy on a secret mission, and only he can help thwart a dastardly plot that involves an epic battle between puppies and babies.

Make yourself heard!