This week’s MoviePass Member Top 5 brings plenty of new film fare. Between action packed adventure with The City of Lost Z and The Fate of the Furious, as well as comedy and intrigue, this week’s list, as always is pretty diverse. So, let’s jump in!
#1: THE CIRCLE
Synopsis: Mae Holland (Emma Watson) seizes the opportunity of a lifetime when she lands a job with the world’s most powerful technology and social media company. Encouraged by the company’s founder (Tom Hanks), Mae joins a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes soon starts to affect the lives and futures of her friends, family and that of humanity.
Earning the top spot on our list (by a landslide, might we add) is the science fiction drama, The Circle. This star-studded film (Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega) claims 25.82% of this weekend’s member check-ins. At the domestic box office, the film debuted at #4, earning $9.32 million on an $18 million budget. This gross gives the film a theater average of $2,947.
Critically, The Circle has not faired well. With a 17% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Giving it a C- score, Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly writes, “The Circle is a movie wrestling with real ideas we should all be concerned about, but it’s doing it with one arm tied behind its back.” On the other hand, rummaging through the bad reviews, you’ll find a few that give the film praise. In fact, giving it 3/4 stars, Thelma Adams of The New York Observer calls the film, “slick, glossy, and star-driven.” So, is the film tight and compelling, or is it restrained and underdeveloped? Let us know your thoughts.
Synopsis: After his mother’s death, a young street magician (Jacob Latimore) turns to dealing drugs at parties to support his little sister. When she is kidnapped by his supplier, he uses his sleight of hand and keen intelligence to find her.
Claiming the #2 spot on our list is the Blumhouse Production, Sleight, which earned 8.72% of member check-ins. We previously wrote about Blumhouse’s “low risk, high reward” formula where they finance low-cost films, which often create a considerable profit. Luckily, Sleight is no exception to the rule. On a micro-budget of $250,000, the film has already grossed $1.69 million in its opening weekend, debuting at #14 domestically. To put this gross into perspective, the film has a theater average of $2,991, greater than that of The Circle. Considering that it only opened in 595 theaters, you can see that there’s solid interest in this indie feature.
Critically, the film has been relatively well-received with a score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. In a positive review of the movie, Robert Abele of The Wrap writes, “Nothing about the overall trajectory of “Sleight” (which Dillard wrote with Alex Theurer) is going to surprise you. But then again, Dillard understands that the pleasure in familiar stories is in how enjoyable the journey is, and how involved the audience can get in the hero’s plight.” On the other hand, Peter Debruge of Variety writes, “Perhaps Dillard is too young or green to escape the recycled clichés that constitute the bulk of his script (co-written with Alex Theurer), and yet, charitably speaking, “Sleight” shows potential.” Ouch? If it helps, the film did play at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. So, clearly, it’s got something go for it.
#3: HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER
Synopsis: Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) gets the surprise of his life when his wealthy, 80-year-old wife dumps him for a younger car salesman. Forced out of his mansion, he must now move in with his estranged sister Sara (Salma Hayek) and her nerdy but adorable son Hugo (Raphael Alejandro). Anxious to return to the lap of luxury, Maximo hatches a scheme to seduce a widowed billionaire (Raquel Welch) and live the high life once again.
At #3 this week is the comedy, How To Be a Latin Lover. With 6.62% of member check-ins, the film is only slightly outranked by the #2 entry on our list. Domestically, the film debuted at #2, earning approximately $12 million among 1,118 theaters. So, impressively enough, the feature has a theater average of $10,750!
Critically, the reviews are pretty polarizing with a 50% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Kimber Myers of the Los Angeles Times, gives the film a positive review writing, “Its humor is broad, but most of the jokes work for the intended audience — with a few even breaking through to more resistant viewers.” On the other hand, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of A.V. Club gives the film a C- stating that the film is “cheaply mawkish and too damn long.” If you’re having a hard time deciding whether or not to swipe your MoviePass card, viewers seemed to enjoy the movie, with an audience score of 82%.
#4: THE LOST CITY OF Z
Synopsis: At the dawn of the 20th century, British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon, where he discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment, which views indigenous populations as savages, the determined Fawcett, supported by his devoted wife, son, and aide-de-camp, returns to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case.
Maintaining a spot on our list is the critically acclaimed James Gray feature, The Lost City of Z. With 5.95% of member check-ins, the film claims the #4 spot this week, down 2 slots from its #2 placement last week. Domestically, the film holds the #12 ranking earning $1.73 million during its third weekend in theaters. It’s also expanded its reach to an additional 252 theaters for a count of 866. To date, the feature has earned $4.84 million worldwide.
As we previously mentioned, The Lost City of Z has been the subject of generous critical acclaim. With an 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the action/drama had its world premiere as the Closing Night film at NYFF 2016. Among the numerous glowing reviews is one from Richard Roeper of The Chicago Sun Times who writes, “this is the type of adventure that transports you to a world so exotic and lush and mysterious and dangerous, it feels as though we’re on a different planet.” On the other hand, Josh Bell of The Las Vegas Weekly gives the film 2.5/5 stars writing, “The title of writer-director James Gray’s The Lost City of Z promises something a lot more fantastical than the movie delivers, and the dull restraint that Gray relies on is a poor substitute for all-out jungle madness.” Again, we’re inclined to go with festival acclaim on this one.
#5: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS
Synopsis: With Dom and Letty married, Brian and Mia retired and the rest of the crew exonerated, the globe-trotting team has found some semblance of a normal life. They soon face an unexpected challenge when a mysterious woman named Cipher forces Dom to betray them all. Now, they must unite to bring home the man who made them a family and stop Cipher from unleashing chaos.
Rounding out our MoviePass Member Top 5 is the global phenomenon, The Fate of the Furious, which claims 5.20% of this weekend’s check-ins. It’s hard to miss the buzz stirred by this film. After all, it bested movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to claim the highest grossing weekend title. During its third weekend in theaters, the eight installment in the franchise still claims the #1 spot at the domestic box office, earning $19.39 million this weekend. To date, the feature has earned approximately $1.7 billion worldwide on a $250 million budget!
Critically, well, the film is solid, with a 66% score on Rotten Tomatoes. David Sims of The Atlantic writes, “The Fate of the Furious offers everything you might want from the series.” On the other hand, Sara Stewart of The New York Post gives the film 2/4 stars writing, “Despite the competent direction of F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton”), the eighth installment of the series spends a lot of time spinning its wheels.” Let’s be honest: do critical reviews matter with this series? We’d argue not.
IN THEATERS THIS WEEKEND
We’re all looking forward to the same film: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The excitement is so overwhelming, that we’re just gonna watch the first one on repeat until the weekend. Then, we’ll be sure to see two Tribeca Film Festival faves: The Lovers and Chuck. Finally, we’re finishing up with the Laura Poitras doc, Risk.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
Synopsis: The team struggles to keep its newfound family together as it tires to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage in the outer reaches of the galaxy.
Synopsis: With their marriage on the brink of collapse, two cheating spouses (Debra Winger, Tracy Letts) develop a spark between them that suddenly reignites their passion.
Synopsis: He was the pride of Bayonne, N.J., a man who went 15 rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali. But before all of that, Chuck Wepner was a liquor salesman and father with a modest prizefighting career whose life changed overnight when, in 1975, he was chosen to take on Ali in a highly publicized title match. It’s the beginning of a wild ride through the exhilarating highs and humbling lows of sudden fame, but what happens when your 15 minutes in the spotlight are up?
Synopsis: Filmmaker Laura Poitras gains unprecedented access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his team for six years.