Chappie: In which Neill Blomkamp, director of District 9 and Elysium, dishes out more of the socially relevant sci-fi. (Hey, remember when that phrase would have been redundant?) This time, the king of futuristic metaphors presents us with the case of Chappie, "the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself." And I think we all know who that's supposed to represent: Rand Paul! Will Chappie help humanity save itself from robots whose intentions are far less noble? Or will his stance on medical marijuana doom him in the early animatron primaries? You'll be glued to the edge of your seat, even if Chris Matthews is already sitting in it! (R)
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was one of those pictures marketers might classify as "AARP indie": little films with enough appeal to an older, mainstream audience that they end up qualifying as blockbusters within their own, narrower milieu. (See also: King's Speech, The.) Since the aim of these films is to echo the methodology of top-shelf Hollywood, it's no surprise to see that sequel-itis is now part of the mix as well. In Marigold 2 (why not just make it obvious, huh, fellas?), soaring occupancy rates spur entrepreneur Sonny (Dev Patel) to open a second establishment. Not since the successor to Peter Weller's android lawman was christened "Robocop 2" have we seen a story/title match that was so winkingly meta. Coming next year: Lego Marigold, for all game platforms! (PG)
Unfinished Business: Who says corporations aren't people? They're the star of every movie Vince Vaughn makes. Unfinished Business is more comedy for the "job creators," with the principals of an American concern encountering all manner of setbacks while on a professional trip to Europe. That's keeping your finger on the pulse, Vince: You always wanna make sure your mainstream entertainment is pitched to the makers, not the takers. 'Cause God knows those fast-food workers can never find time to go to the movies in between minimum-wage protests. (R)
What We Do in the Shadows: Wouldn't it be great if somebody made a movie that was a spoof of the whole latter-day vampire craze? OK, they technically did already. Five times. And called it Twilight. But wouldn't it be great if we got a parody of the parody? Thank New Zealand, exporter of What We Do in the Shadows – a mockumentary that's a kind of This Is Spinal Tap for the sparkly set. Learn the ins and outs of the undead lifestyle – or should that be deathstyle? – in a send-up that was toothsome enough to snag the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival. And really, who knows living death better than the Canadians? (NR)
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