Your time is valuable and at the end of a long week the discretionary time must be spent to maximum value. In order to help narrow choices down on the film and television front, every Friday we’ll give you the rundown of your options and an educated guess as to which ones make the most sense. There is a very complex formula involved. Usually that formula includes us watching the things and then telling you if they’re good. OK, we admit it’s not exactly the recipe for Coke, but we’re trying to help.
I predicted the box office returns for these films last Sunday but that was before a blizzard threatened to keep a fifth of the country indoors. Onward!
On the Screen
Director: Dan Mazer
Stars: Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, Julianne Hough, Jason Mantzoukas, Danny Glover, Dermot Mulroney
In all honesty this is probably not going to be a great movie. It seems a little late to the party and a lot of the big moments in the red band trailer below seem more about putting filthy words into Robert DeNiro’s mouth more than creating complex jokes.
But stranger things have happened and Zac Efron proved adept with Neighbors so you just never know. This should win the weekend, especially if the Thursday preview numbers hold up. The film pulled in $660,000 in its first showings.
The Verdict: If you need to leave your brain in the car and need some crazy dumb fun this may be just what the doctor ordered.
The Fifth Wave
Director: J Blakeson
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Gabriela Lopez, Bailey Anne Borders, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff
The latest YA sensation in waiting or the latest in a line of opportunistic failures? Judging from the release date and lack of buzz this appears to be the latter but the source material is actually quite good and history is filled with surprise movies from the January release slate.
If the cocktail of War of the Worlds, V, They Live, Independence Day, and Body Snatchers connects there’ll be a new franchise to follow but here’s hoping it’s at least a decent couple of hours in the theater.
The Verdict: I’m betting the 6th wave involves the shredding of contracts.
Director: William Brent Bell
Stars: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, James Russell
This one has a fighting chance. It’s one of those great “under the radar” type of projects that plays on things everyone finds creepy and takes a subtle and classical approach, if the trailer is any indication. The Boy features Lauren Cohan from The Walking Dead and a creepy boy doll. Here’s the trailer:
The Verdict: The reviews so far haven’t been exceptionally encouraging but one can never underestimate the value of a scary doll.
On the Tube
Stars: Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Luke Arnold, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Tom Hopper
High production values, tons of action, and a unique foothold in the TV market has kept Black Sails flying. The presence of Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller gives the show some big screen credibility and Toby Stephens in the leading role makes for a pretty viable bit of entertainment.
The Verdict: It’s not a binge watch sort of show but it has some merit.
Stars: Kieran Bew, Lolita Chakrabarti, Elliot Cowan, Laura Donnelly, Gísli Örn Garðarsson, Edward Hogg, William Hurt
A beautifully shot take on the famous poem rides in on a crest of positive buzz and some fun casting choices. We already told you five reasons to watch the show and if you need any more one cannot overstate how great it is to see William Hurt on a show like this.
The Verdict: Sounds like a good one.
Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi
Perhaps it’s been too long for this franchise to still carry the weight it once did. The fact is simple, though. Without The X-Files many of our favorite shows would have never existed. Just imagine if Vince Gilligan had never been given a chance to earn his stripes. Reviews for the first episode have been extremely negative but the buzz is that the other five are quite good. Fingers crossed.
The Verdict: It’s The X-Files. If that’s not enough for you I don’t know what to say.
Happy hunting! We’ll catch up with you on the other side and see how it went.