Opening in Orlando: The Boss Baby, Ghost in the Shell, and more

Opening in Orlando: The Boss Baby, Ghost in the Shell, and more


The Boss Baby What a great idea ... for a four-second gag on 30 Rock. But instead of getting that Werewolf Bar Mitzvah feature we've been owed for donkey's years, we have to settle for this story of a paranoid 7-year-old who envisions his new baby brother as a high-powered business type. The joke here seems to be that lead voice actor Alec Baldwin is doing a riff on Jack Donaghy, which is one character portrayal too late: For this thing to really capture the cultural moment, it would have to include Melissa McCarthy as the newborn's PR agent. The plot turns on a secret battle between babies and puppies, which is just another sign DreamWorks knows what it's doing, given how much commercial hay there is to be made of the widespread public enmity toward small, adorable dogs. Still, I'm kind of hoping The Boss Baby is a hit, because I really want to refer to its sequel as The Terrible Two. (PG)

Ghost in the Shell Hope you held your fire over Iron Fist, because here comes the whitewashing controversy of our time. Not since Jonathan Pryce met Miss Saigon has there been as much deserved uproar over the casting of a white actor as an Asian character. Seriously,

Scarlett Johansson as the face of the most celebrated Japanese cross-media juggernaut that isn't Godzilla? She isn't even a brunette! (Most of the time!) Our pals at DreamWorks – who are really having themselves quite the week – have been hauling out everyone they can find who was involved with original manga and anime to explain why this case of occidental tourism isn't such a terrible idea. (This is probably a good time to remember that Dave Gibbons campaigned for the Watchmen movie.) The key defenses are, shall we say, creative ones: 1) Johansson is the original cyberpunk! (Think they have her confused with Billy Idol); 2) The character she's playing is mostly a cyborg, so there's really no reason she has to be Japanese (You know, just like there's no longer any reason your next-door neighbor has to be a Muslim); and 3) Having a Caucasian performer out in front will ensure that the movie brings attention to the franchise, and thus to Japanese culture in general, that they otherwise never would have enjoyed. (Tell me about it! If not for the North American box office phenomenon that was The Great Wall, I personally would have no idea what to order at P.F. Chang's.)

So yeah, I guess you could say I'm on the fence about it. (PG-13)

The Zookeeper's Wife Jessica Chastain stars in this portrait of a real-life couple who transformed a Warsaw zoo into a haven for potential victims of the Holocaust. FUN TRIVIA: The same historical material provided the foundation for the 2011 Matt Damon vehicle We Bought a Jew.  (PG-13)

Also playing:

American Anarchist A documentary about the seminal underground publication The Anarchist Cookbook, and the headaches it has caused its apparently now-repentant author, William Powell. If you ask me, he should have stuck to solving mysteries with Myrna Loy. (NR)

Slamma Jamma After being jailed for a crime he did not commit, a young man finds a new path by competing in a slam-dunk basketball competition. Includes supporting performances by everybody you'd associate with a movie about hoops, like Michael Irvin and Jose Canseco. (PG)

Song by Song Terrence Malick's latest is a character study set against the backdrop of the Austin music scene, with lead performances by everybody you'd associate with that environment, like Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender. Appropriately, given the subject matter, the film debuted a few weeks ago at South by Southwest; somewhat less appropriately, it arrived here last Friday to almost no fanfare. (Get it?) So there's a good chance this weekend's run here could be its swan song. (GET IT NOW?) (R)


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