Your time is valuable and at the end of a long week, the discretionary time must be spent to its maximum value. In order to help narrow choices down on the film, television, and gaming fronts, every Friday the Weekend Preview will give you the rundown of your options and an educated guess as to which ones make the most sense.
At the Movies
Steven Spielberg takes a swing at bringing Roald Dahl‘s classic novel to the big screen. Movie magic has always been the strongest weapon in Spielberg’s filmmaking arsenal, and though this will end up getting buried thanks to Finding Dory, it still looks to have a good chunk of charm and whimsy. We can always use more of that in our lives. Reviews have been on the favorable side of mixed, so this is probably going to be a flick that has legs a few years down the road.
The Verdict: Spielberg rarely disappoints. This will be worth a watch, but only go if you’ve got the kids with you.
The Legend of Tarzan
Director: David Yates
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz
Current RT Meter: 34% Fresh
My box office prediction last Sunday: $29,000,000
Nick’s box office prediction: $33,000,000
I’ve been predicting this movie’s downfall ever since the first poster was released. Will audiences reveal me to be the idiot I likely am? I actually want to like this movie as I’m a fan of pulpy adventure, but I don’t think general audiences are very interested in Tarzan anymore. Even the negative reviews say that this film is more modern in its thinking and approach, so maybe there will be some meat to pick off these bones. Director David Yates more than proved his directorial talent with his contributions to the Harry Potter franchise, so this could at least be a tasty handful of eye candy.
The Verdict: I’d wait to rent this so you can reenact that famous Tarzan yell in the privacy of your own home.
The Purge: Election Year
Director: James DeMonaco
Stars: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson
Current RT Meter: 61% Fresh
My box office prediction last Sunday: $31,000,000
Nick’s box office prediction: $27,000,000
The success or failure of The Purge: Election Year will either justify or refute the crippling depression that 2016 has thrown me into. There’s never been a more appropriate time for a film like this to bank on the cynicism, anger, hatred, and pessimism that our political climate has cultivated. Removed from that — that’s hard to do when you look at what 2016 has given us in entertainment — this entry in the franchise feels meaner, darker, and less subtle than ever. Is that going to translate into box office dollars? I want to believe it won’t but there’s a reason I predicted that this will be the biggest earner of the new releases this weekend.
The Verdict: If you need some violent catharsis and despondent satire, this Bud’s for you, America.
On the Tube
Syfy has made a conscious effort to return to serious programming that reflects their namesake, and Dark Matter is certainly in that wheelhouse. However, it looks a little flat compared to other Syfy projects like The Expanse and their miniseries adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. The shadow of Battlestar Galactica still looms large over the network, and Dark Matter can’t help but look cheap when you stack them up against each other. However, it’s a sci-fi action show that isn’t purposefully campy or insultingly nerdy. That’s always a plus in my book.
The Verdict: Looks like good comfort food for sci-fi enthusiasts. Still, it won’t heal the wounds of Caprica‘s cancellation.
Denis Leary’s aging rock star dramedy returned last night, but I’m sure you all have newfangled digital ways of watching it. That is if you’re even interested. The show has had a middling response and isn’t making much of splash this second go-around. It’s an obvious vanity project for Leary and maybe that’s shining through a little too hard for audiences. Granted, he was great on Rescue Me and I’m sure the clout he gained from that project helped get Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll off the ground, but there doesn’t look to be much life in this one.
The Verdict: Watch Preacher instead.
For the Gamers
Limbo was one of the most beautiful and haunting games in recent memory. Developer Playdead has returned with Inside, a spiritual sequel of sorts that looks even more entrancing. Puzzle platformers are a particular favorite of mine since they hearken back to older games like Oddworld, but Inside will definitely make an impression thanks to its stark art style.
The Verdict: Forget all that triple-A crap that you’re told you must love. This is what gaming should be.
I’m usually on board for a sci-fi action RPG, but The Technomancer looks like such a rote entry in an already stagnating genre. The setting is generic, the characters are one-note, and the gameplay looks more tedious than exciting. Reviews haven’t been kind and I doubt that there’s a hidden gem behind this by-the-numbers looking game.
The Verdict: Play Inside.