This week’s MoviePass Member Top 5 includes something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. We’ll let you guess which is which, but mainly, we just wanted to emphasize the assortment of films that make our list. From spies to Disney princesses and a bad santa, our members have seen it all.
Synopsis: Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard) are World War II operatives who never reveal their true identities. After falling in love during a risky mission, they hope to leave all that double-dealing behind them and start new lives. Instead, suspicion and danger envelop their marriage as both husband and wife become pitted against each other in an escalating, potentially lethal test that has global consequences.
At the top of this week’s MoviePass Member Top 5 is the Brad Pitt-Marion Cotillard thriller, Allied. Claiming 15.43% of member check-ins, Robert Zemeckis’s World War II drama narrowly defeated Disney’s Moana. However, this victory was not mirrored at the domestic box office where Allied debuted at #4 with a gross of $13 million. When examining the film’s performance, it’s worth noting that it was up against some pretty heavy competition. With titles such as Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts exercising a tight grip on the box office top 5, it would be a challenge for any new release to assert itself in the ranking. And lukewarm reviews don’t help.
Despite an A-list cast, Allied currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 62%. On Metacritic, it holds a Metascore of 60 and of the 43 reviews considered, 22 are positive, 18 are mixed, and only 3 are negative. Among some of the more positive reviews is Time Magazine’s which states, “Allied is a fascinating and novel experiment, sophisticated in a different way: Zemeckis uses technology to elicit the feeling we get when we watch old favorites.” So, if gorgeous movie stars and stunning theatrical sets sound appealing, then you should definitely give Allied a chance.
Synopsis: An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.
At a close second, with 14.45% of member check-ins, is the highly-anticipated, Disney animated feature, Moana. Domestically, the film dominated the Thanksgiving weekend box office, with a total of $55.5 million. According to The New York Times, Moana “collected about $81.1 million at domestic theaters over the five-day holiday weekend, enough to rank as the second-best Thanksgiving opening on record.”
Critically, Moana has garnered immensely positive reviews with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 98%! Among the praise is that of Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers who gives Moana 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. The film’s strong performance should come as no surprise. After all, everyone loves to see another princess added to Disney’s slate, especially if she is strong and courageous. To illustrate this point, The Verge states, “The Disney-heroine formula isn’t just a standard feel-good underdog story, it’s specifically a story about how determination and good intentions count for more than experience and age.” At the same time, star-power may also play a roll here, with the world’s highest paid actor and this year’s Sexiest Man Alive, Dwayne Johnson, voicing the demigod Maui, who accompanies Moana on her quest. Overall, if you feel like a little family bonding this holiday season, we’d definitely recommend taking the little ones to see Moana. (You could also go by yourself. We won’t judge you).
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
At #3 on this week’s MoviePass Member Top 5 is last week’s favorite, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. With a total of 10.42% of member check-ins, the latest installment in J.K. Rowling’s magical world still holds strong, despite newcomers such as Allied and Moana. Domestically, the film holds the #2 ranking, with a weekend gross of $45.1 million. To date, the film has earned $473.7 million, worldwide, on a $180 million production budget.
On Metacritic, the film holds a Metascore of 66. Of the 50 reviews considered, 33 were positive, 15 were mixed, and only 2 were negative. In a rave review of Fantastic Beasts, The Guardian gives the film, 5/5 stars, stating, “That entertainment enchanter JK Rowling has come storming back to the world of magic in a shower of supernatural sparks – and created a glorious fantasy-romance adventure.” Wow! If you’d like a little more insight into the tech behind this magical cinematic world, check out our Directors & Cinematographers piece on the film.
Synopsis: Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.
For the third week in a row, Arrival maintains a spot on our MoviePass Member Top 5. During its third weekend in theaters, the film claimed 6.05% of member check-ins. Domestically, it holds the #5 ranking with a weekend gross of $11.3 million. To date, the film has earned $93.3 million on a $47 million budget. We, personally, never get tired of talking about Arrival. We even wrote our own review because despite, a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93%, enough great things can’t be said about this movie. At the same, we welcome those opinions that run contrary to our own. Regardless, we’re sure that it’ll stick around this awards season, so we urge you to see it, if you haven’t already.
Synopsis: Fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) teams up with his angry little sidekick, Marcus, to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. Along for the ride is chubby and cheery Thurman Merman, a 250-pound ray of sunshine who brings out Willie’s sliver of humanity. Mommy issues arise when the pair are joined by Willie’s horror story of a mother, Sunny Soke, who raises the bar for the gang’s ambitions, while somehow lowering the standards of criminal behavior.
Rounding out this weekend’s list is the sequel to 2003’s mature Christmas comedy, Bad Santa. Earning 5.96% of member check-ins, the film performed slightly better than The Edge of Seventeen (5.75%) which claimed last week’s #2 spot. Domestically, Bad Santa 2 has had a rough experience at the box office, where it debuted at #7 with a gross of $6.1 million. Compared to its predecessor, the film has not faired well. To put it in context, Bad Santa (2003) debuted at #5 during its opening weekend, but it had an opening gross of $12.3 million, more than double that of Bad Santa 2. The first film in the series also had a stronger critical reception with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 78%, while Bad Santa 2 currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 25%. Despite the return of some of the old cast–Billy Bob Thornton, Brett Kelly, Tony Cox, and Octavia Spencer–and the addition of new cast mates such as Christina Hendricks and Kathy Bates, the film has been the subject of overwhelmingly negative reviews. One of the more positive reviews comes from Creative Loafing which states, “the attention to cheerful vulgarity defines both movies, meaning that plenty of laughs can be found in this flagrantly foulmouthed follow-up.” There’s no doubt that a mature, vulgar holiday film, definitely mixes things up. So, if you’re in the mood for a little comic relief, maybe Bad Santa 2 will provide some much needed laughs.
IN THEATERS THIS WEEK
This week offers a diverse assortment of films, many of them a bit more low-key than what we’ve seen in recent weeks. To fuel our awards season excitement, the first film on our list is Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as the glamorous Jackie O. Then, we’ll be sure to see Man Down starring Shia LaBoeuf, Kate Mara, and Gary Oldman. Afterwards, we’ll venture into thriller territory with the horror film, Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhart, then the indie gem, Always Shine.
Synopsis: A grieving Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) examines her husband’s (John Carroll Lynch) legacy as the nation mourns his death.
Synopsis: When U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer (Shia LaBeouf) returns from Afghanistan, he finds the place he once called home is no better than the battlefields he fought on overseas. Accompanied by his best friend, a hard-nosed Marine whose natural instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later, Gabriel searches desperately for his estranged son and his wife, leading to a suspect who has vital information about their location.
Synopsis: An exorcist (Aaron Eckhart) taps into the subconscious mind of a tormented boy (David Mazouz) who’s possessed by a demon.
Synopsis: Two women, both actresses with differing degrees of success, travel north from Los Angeles to Big Sur for a weekend vacation. Both see the trip as an opportunity to reconnect after years of competition and jealousy have driven a wedge between them. Upon arrival at their isolated forest retreat, the pair discover that their once intimate friendship has deteriorated into forced conversations, betrayals, petty jealousies, and deep-seated resentment.