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Far be it from us to judge anyone’s New Year’s Eve plans. Honestly, watching a film in a comfortable theater is probably a better idea than enduring massive crowds in an attempt to party hop. Though, we do wonder: during a weekend without any major film releases, what do people see? With the Golden Globes around the corner, MoviePass members opted for a couple of films that will be on the red carpet this Sunday, January 8th.

passengersgif#1: PASSENGERS

Synopsis: On a routine journey through space to a new home, two passengers, sleeping in suspended animation, are awakened 90 years too early when their ship malfunctions. As Jim and Aurora face living the rest of their lives on board, with every luxury they could ever ask for, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction… until they discover the ship is in grave danger. With the lives of 5000 sleeping passengers at stake, only Jim and Aurora can save them all.

Claiming 10.65% of this weekend’s check-ins, the sci-fi adventure, Passengers, maintains its #1 position on the MoviePass Member Top 5. Domestically, the film earned approximately $15.5 million, this weekend, giving it a #3 ranking at the box office. To date, the feature has grossed roughly $60.6 million, on a $110 million production budget.

Overall, Passengers has been the subject of negative critical reviews, though audiences seem to enjoy the fantasy flick. On Rotten Tomatoesthe movie has a score of 31% among critics. However, with an audience score of 69%, the average user rating is 3.7/5 among the 33,346 ratings counted. The film’s critical reception is surprising, mainly because headliners, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, are two of the biggest stars in the industry. When you add Morten Tyldum–director of the Oscar nominated The Imitation Game and the internationally acclaimed thriller, Headhuntersto the mix, you have, what would seem to be, a recipe for success. Yet, the film hasn’t managed to garner the critical praise that its high caliber deserves.

One of the more positive reviews of the feature comes from theartsdesk.com, who gives it 3/5 stars stating, “This isn’t 2001: A Space Odyssey, or even The Martian, but it’s an entertaining movie offering some chewy food for thought.” Last week, we also mentioned a glowing review from Empire Online. So, we’d caution you not to be discouraged, especially since so many of your fellow MoviePass members have enjoyed the film. Just check the app for their reviews!

tumblr_oe62zxpli71qa3emao6_540#2: FENCES

Synopsis: Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, Troy creates further tension in his family when he squashes his son’s (Jovan Adepo) chance to meet a college football recruiter.

Accounting for 10.31% of member check-ins, the Denzel Washington helmed Fences, comes as a close second to this week’s #1Similar to Passengers, the cast of the period drama is also of high caliber. In fact, they’re of legendary status, having won several acting awards across different media–film, television, and theater. Stars Viola Davis and Denzel Washington, won Tonys for their portrayal of Troy and Rose Maxson, in the 2010 Broadway production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play. So, this cinematic adaptation has all of the right components to make it a critical success. In fact, both leads are nominated for 2017 Golden Globes and Oscar buzz already surrounds the feature.

Domestically, Fences earned $10.1 million, this weekend, giving it a #5 ranking at the box office. To date, the feature has grossed $32.4 million on a $24 million budget. Critically, the drama holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 95% with an audience score of 80%. Among the glowing accolades is that of People Magazine which states, ” [Washington and Davis’s] performances, both prior Tony winners and now nominated for Golden Globes, will be remembered as two of 2016’s very best.” And with the Globes steadily approaching, now may be a good time to use that MoviePass card to see Fences. 

source-12#3. LA LA LAND

Synopsis: The story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. With modern day Los Angeles as the backdrop, this musical about everyday life explores what is more important: a once-in-a-lifetime love or the spotlight.

With 9.76% of this weekend’s check-ins, La La Land continues to climb our MoviePass Member Top 5 list, and with good reason. The film has garnered strong critical opinion before its soft release on December 9th. With 8 Critics’ Choice wins and 7 Golden Globe nominations, La La Land is the front-runner in the awards race. Its Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% further emphasizes its strength this season. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of the A.V. Club writes, “the purity of Chazelle’s intentions shines through; taking happiness and fantasy…as his themes, he’s created a heartfelt romance, set against the backdrop of an idyllic Los Angeles.” With such strong praise, director Damien Chazelle has managed to create the perfect follow-up to his 2014 success, Whiplash

At this weekend’s domestic box office, La La Land earned $9.3 million, giving it a #7 placement on the chart and bringing its total gross to approximately $37 million. Worldwide, the musical has made $64.85 million on a $30 million budget. And with all of the awards hype surrounding the film, we’re interested in seeing how these numbers climb.

giphy-33#4: SING

Synopsis: Dapper Koala Buster Moon presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. An eternal optimist, and a bit of a scoundrel, he loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he takes one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. Five contestants emerge: a mouse, a timid elephant, a pig, a gorilla and a punk-rock porcupine.

Claiming this week’s #4 spot with 8.77% of member check-ins, is the family animated movie, Sing. With a star studded cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Scarlett Johansson, the vibrant film earned $41.4 million at the weekend box office, where it came in 2nd place, this holiday weekend. To date, Sing has earned $180 million stateside, with a worldwide gross of $277.8 million. It helps that the film features over 60 iconic pop songs. So, if all else failed, at least there would be some great music.

Luckily, all else has not failed and Sing has managed to garner solid critical reviews with a 69% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Jackie K. Cooper of The Huffington Post writes, “Any movie that is full of fun, packed with great voices, and sends you out of the theater feeling good about life is A-okay with me.” So, if you’re in the mood to be moved (emotionally lifted and physically dancing), then Sing is a promising choice.

source-10#5: WHY HIM?

Synopsis: During the holidays, loving but overprotective Ned (Bryan Cranston) travels to California to visit his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) at Stanford University. While there, he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward boyfriend Laird (James Franco). Even though Laird is a billionaire, Ned disapproves of his freewheeling attitude and unfiltered language. His panic level escalates even further when he learns that Laird plans to ask for Stephanie’s hand in marriage.

Rounding out this week’s MoviePass Member Top 5 is another comedy, of the more mature sort. With 8.50% of weekend check-ins, Why Him? has maintained a spot on our list, though it has fallen three rankings. At the weekend box office, the comedy earned $9.5 million, bringing its domestic total to $37.56 million on a $38 million budget. Worldwide, the film has grossed $51.9 million with $14.35 million made from overseas ticket sales.

The feature hasn’t faired particularly well among critics. With a 40% score on Rotten Tomatoes, a main criticism of the film appears to be its all-too-familiar storyline. Yet, in a glowing review of the movie, Wendy Ide of The Guardian writes, “if the film drags a little at the end, it’s perhaps because the film-makers were enjoying the company of these characters as much as the audience undoubtedly will.” So, if you’re a James Franco or Bryan Cranston fan, in the mood for a few laughs, you may want o take a chance on Why Him? 

IN THEATERS THIS WEEK

The first weekend of the year brings an assortment of film goods. While a couple of limited release movies expand their run, another film brings us a known character with a new story thread.

Hidden FiguresHIDDEN FIGURES

Synopsis: Three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.

A Monster CallsA MONSTER CALLS

Synopsis: 12-year-old Conor, dealing with his mother’s illness, a less-than-sympathetic grandmother, and bullying classmates, finds a most unlikely ally when a Monster appears at his bedroom window. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth.

underworld-blood-warsUNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS

Synopsis: Death dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) must fend off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the vampire faction that betrayed her. Joining forces with allies David (Theo James) and Thomas (Peter Andersson), she embarks on a quest to end the eternal war between the two races, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

 

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