Tag Archives: opening

Opening: ‘The Monkey King 3’

dfn-monkey-king-3-300The Monkey King 3 is the third in a series, based on the classic Journey to the West. The source material is well-known to Chinese audiences, which allows the filmmakers to feature their own riffs amidst the comic misadventures.

It’s a historical action fantasy, with the emphasis on fantasy, colorful costumes, and extravagant 3D action. This installment focus on “Ladyland,” a region where only women live, enabling a fresh set of stereotypes to be exploited. Aaron Kwok returns as the Monkey King, though much of the story follows his monk companion (Feng Shaofeng) and the temptations of love between the merry group of travelers and the dominant women. And yes, those extravagant fighting scenes!

Soi Cheang once again directs, and he has a good handle on the series, balancing the action with comedy and romance. The Monkey King 3 is a step down from the previous installment, but the series’ willingness to play around with well-established formulas is refreshing in itself, especially for Western audiences.

The film opens today at the Cinemark Legacy in Plano.

Opening Wide: ‘Self/Less,’ ‘Minions,’ ‘The Gallows’

Three films are opening wide in theaters throughout Dallas tomorrow. Are any of them worth your dime?

  • Self/Less. Ben Kingsley is a wealthy New York real-estate developer who is dying. Then he hears about a company that promises the transference of consciousness to a lab-grown body. Presto, gizmo, he dies and wakes up in the body of Ryan Reynolds. Cool, right? Eh, not so much. Director Tarsem Singh (The Cell) makes many pretty pictures before the thoughtful tale devolves into a second-rate thriller. Reviewed at TwitchFilm. Recommended with reservations.
  • Minions. The silly tiny supporting characters in the Despicable Me movies get their own starring roles in a new animated adventure. Advance word has not been positive, though it definitely sounds like very young children will relate.
  • The Gallows. Teenagers, school, found footage, something horrible from the past has come back, and so forth. The found-footage approach has become wearisome to me, but I’m curious to hear how this one turned out.

Opening: ‘The Lazarus Effect,’ ‘Focus,’ Plus 8 Indies

Olivia Wilde in 'The Lazarus Effect'
Olivia Wilde in ‘The Lazarus Effect’

Opening Friday, February 27

    • The Lazarus Effect. Olivia Wilde dies and is then resurrected, to the misery of her fellow scientific experimenters. With Mark Duplass and Evan Peters. Wide release.
    • Focus. Will Smith and Margot Robbie in con-man adventure. Wide release.
    • A La Mala. A comedy from Mexico about a woman who helps her best friend test out her fiancee’s fidelity. Hmm, this sounds familiar. Wide release.
    • Human Capital A drama from Italy about two families and a tragic accident. Angelika Dallas.
    • Maps to the Stars. David Cronenberg looks at Hollywood. With Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, and Robert Pattinson. Look Cinemas.
    • Out of the Dark. Newly-arrived in Colombia, a married couple (Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman) discover their daughter is in mortal danger due to … ghosts? The movie is better than it may sound. with Stephen Rea. Studio Grill Spring Valley.
    • Red Army. An acclaimed documentary about the famed and fearsome Soviet Union national hockey team. Angelika Dallas, Cinemark West Plano.
    • Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal. A Chinese New Year’s confection from director Peter Pau. Cinemark Legacy.
    • Timbuktu. Academy Award-nominated drama about a cattle herder and his family. Landmark Magnolia, Angelika Plano.
    • What We Do in the Shadows. A horror-comedy mockumentary from the very funny and talented duo behind Flight of the Conchords. Advance word is positive. Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.

Opening: ‘The Duke of Burgundy,’ ‘Leviathan,’ and More

'The Duke of Burgundy'
‘The Duke of Burgundy’

Opening Friday, February 6

  • The Duke of Burgundy (d. Peter Strickland) A style-soaked drama about a woman and her lover. Texas Theatre.
  • Jupiter Ascending (d. The Wachowskis) A science-fiction adventure. With Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum. Wide release.
  • Leviathan (d. Andrey Zvyagintsev) Corruption rules a small town in Russia. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.
  • Love, Rosie (d. Christian Ditter) Platonic best friends separate to attend college, then realize they may be in love. With Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. AMC Mesquite.
  • One Small Hitch (d. John Burgess) Romantic comedy and a fake wedding. Studio Grill Spring Valley.
  • Seventh Son (d. Sergey Bodrov) Epic fantasy, starring Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, and Julianne Moore. Wide release.
  • SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (d. Paul Tibbit) Antonio Banderas stars in this live-action/animated adventure. Wide release.

Opening: ‘Blackhat,’ ‘Little Accidents,’ ‘Winter Sleep,’ and More

Chris Hemsworth in Michael Mann's 'Blackhat'
Chris Hemsworth in Michael Mann’s ‘Blackhat’


  • Blackhat (d. Michael Mann) Chris Hemsworth stars as an imprisoned computer hacker who is unleashed to tackle a threatening new virus. In wide release.
  • Little Accidents (d. Sara Colangelo) Secrets and lies in a small mining town haunted by disaster. With Elizabeth Banks. Texas Theatre.
  • Paddington (d. Paul King) A friendly bear comes to life and makes a new home with a British family. With Colin Firth and Sally Hawkins. In wide release.
  • Spare Parts (d. Sean McNamara) Hispanic high school students start a robotics club. With Alexa PenaVega, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Lee Curtis, and George Lopez. In wide release.
  • Vice (d. Brian A. Miller) Thomas Jane investigates serious allegations against a pleasure resort populated by robots and run by Bruce Willis in a sci-fi action-thriller. AMC Grapevine Mills.
  • The Wedding Ringer (d. Jeremy Garelick) Josh Gad is a hapless groom who calls upon professional best man Kevin Hart for guidance. In wide release.
  • Winter Sleep (d. Nuri Bilge Ceylan) The Turkish master filmmaker examines a small hotel and the husband and wife who run it. Angelika Dallas.

Opening: ‘National Gallery,’ ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain,’ ‘The Better Angels’

Tsui Hark's 'The Taking of Tiger Mountain' at Cinemark Legacy (Well Go USA)
Tsui Hark’s ‘The Taking of Tiger Mountain’ at Cinemark Legacy (Well Go USA)


  • The Taking of Tiger Mountain (d. Tsui Hark) Set in 1946, this wartime drama pits multiple sides against each other, all in quest of a strategic mountain post. Not being familiar with the battle nor the players, I found it a challenge to keep track of the heroes and villains, but the film is rarely static, which means it’s easy to sit back and get caught up in the visual experience. (Being familiar with Tsui Hark’s past work helps; I’ve often been baffled by elements of his storytelling , which is usually rescued by his ability to orchestrate action sequences.) Granted, the effects work is not always top-rate, but, again, by the point that became an issue, I was already captivated for whatever unfolded on screen. Again, it’s a pleasure to see Tsui’s ability to stage and assemble action sequences remains strong. The film is playing an exclusive engagement at Cinemark Legacy in Plano; it’s a smaller auditorium, but features good sound and projection, and the stadium seating is fine. The English subtitles are well-timed and easy to read.
  • National Gallery (d. Frederick Wiseman) The new documentary by master filmmaker Frederick Wiseman explores the famed museum in London. Texas Theatre.
  • The Better Angels (d. A.J. Edwards) Abraham Lincoln’s childhood. With Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger, Brit Marling, and Wes Bentley. Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art.
  • The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (d. Tom Harper) Sequel to 2012 gothic horror piece takes place four decades later, as a group of children are evacuated from London during World War II to the apparent safety of a mansion in the rural countryside that, they soon learn, is still haunted by a vengeful ghost. In wide release. Reviewed at Twitch Film.