OPENING THIS WEEK
CHiPs What worked for 21 Jump Street has to work for Ponch and Jon ... right? We'll see based on the market reaction to this action-comedy remake of the '70s TV series, in which our heroes in the California Highway Patrol have to bring down a dirty ex-cop who now leads a car theft ring. If I remember my gangsta rap correctly, this is hardly the most pressing issue surrounding Los Angeles law enforcement. And writer-director-star Dax Shepard didn't exactly set the world on fire with his last film, 2012's Hit and Run. Then again, he only co-directed that one, and I'm one of the few people in the world who's always up for a viewing of Let's Go to Prison. So maybe I'll end up among the elite group of folks who download this thing legally? Added inducement: The supporting cast includes Ed Begley Jr. as "WASP driver." (R)
Life Somehow, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds ended up in this apparent Alien wannabe about crew members on the International Space Station who have to fend off a malevolent Martian entity. Two years from now, you'll watch the first 20 minutes of it on Reelz before you realize it isn't Passengers. And then you'll switch over to FX for the first episode of Feud: Reince and Steve. (R)
Saban's Power Rangers How to keep a release slate straight in your mind: Of the 6,000 seemingly identical sci-fi flicks you had to sit through trailers for when you saw Dr. Strange, this one distinguished itself by being by far the shittiest-looking. Not only is it yet another reboot of a franchise that was a pure Japanese fire sale in the first place, but now the titular heroes have been modernized in a most novel way: They were all bullied before they got their powers! Not as bullied as they're going to be when the reviews come in, I'd wager, despite the presence of slumming co-stars Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks. Honestly, the only way to do this thing right would be to pull footage from the original series and add snarky voice-overs a la What's Up, Tiger Lily? If only that hadn't been done already 30 years ago on USA's Night Flight. (And boy, talk about things that are crying out for a reboot ...) (PG-13)
Wilson Those of us who recognized Steve Buscemi's Seymour as the real hero of Ghost World should be all but salivating at the prospect of another curmudgeonly Daniel Clowes antihero coming to the screen. This time, it's Woody Harrelson who gets the privilege of hauling himself around the frame and inveighing against all of the indignities and indecencies of modern life. Some reviewers are already declaring that Clowes' contrarian scenarios are starting to feel forced and out of step with 21st-century sensibilities. That's probably pretty alarming if you consider Variety and The Hollywood Reporter your last line of defense against fustiness. As Seymour would say, "What are ya, hypnotized?" (R)
The Belko Experiment The pitch: It's Office Space meets the ferry scene in The Dark Knight! But set in South America, to pull in the DREAMers! At a nonprofit in Bogota, employees are forced to murder one another in order to save their own lives. (And you thought the Trump budget was going to be brutal.) Writer James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) dropped out of directing because he was going through a divorce at the time, and didn't want to fill his head with thoughts of people slaughtering those close to them. Let's just say we all have our own different ways of dealing with things. (R)
Kedi A documentary about the thousands of homeless cats who roam the streets of Istanbul. (Dammit, this is the sort of thing Mike Flynn could have really helped with, if only we had let him finish his work!) Fun facts: 1. The filmmakers developed a special technology for filming the cats at their own level close to the ground; and 2. The seven specific felines profiled in the finished film were selected from an initial pool of 35. I can't tell you how much I want that to be a reality series. (NR)
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