Opening in Orlando: The Predator, A Simple Favor and more

The Predator
The Predator

THIS WEEK: The Predator Talk about a title becoming unfortunate in the wink of an eye. This sequel/reboot had to have an entire scene removed at the 11th hour when it became known that actor Steven Wilder Striegel is a registered sex offender who once served six months for having inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl. And when I say "became known," I mean to the rest of the cast and to 20th Century Fox, because writer-director Shane Black had known about it all along and cast Striegel anyway, to give an old pal a break. Black told the LA Times that Striegel had merely been "caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous" – a curious way to characterize an ongoing email communication in which you tell your young victim there's no one on earth you'd rather have sex with (among other innocuous topics that healthy, well-adjusted adults discuss with children on the reg). Forget the Alien; the adversary this Predator needs to encounter is a swift kick in the ass. (R)

A Simple Favor The latest from director Paul Feig is a comedy/mystery in which a blogger (Anna Kendrick) investigates the disappearance of her affluent friend (Blake Lively). To promote the film, Lively pulled off the modern-day celebrity's equivalent of going missing: She deleted all of her Instagram posts. I'd suggest she was actually trying to cover up a torrid online affair with Steven Wilder Striegel, but she probably skews a little old for that. (R)

Unbroken: Path to Redemption Christian audiences were miffed that Angelina Jolie's 2014 Unbroken glossed over the conversion of World War II POW Louis Zamperini to Christianity. So that's the focus of this spiritual make-good of a sequel, which shows how Zamperini's soul was saved via his attendance at a Billy Graham Crusade. Naturally, Jolie had nothing to do with the new film, nor did any of the original cast. Instead, Path comes to us from Pure Flix entertainment and director Harold Cronk, subjecting the nation's multiplexes to their second dogmapic collaboration in as many weeks. Two wide releases in just eight days? It must be the work of the devil. (PG-13)White Boy Rick Young actor Richie Merritt plays Richard Wershe Jr., who became the youngest FBI informant in American history at the age of 14. (Yep, just old enough to hang around with Steven Wilder Striegel!) After the bureau was done with him, Wershe turned to dealing coke and ended up serving a 30-year possession sentence; he's currently doing additional time in the state prison in Lake Butler for his involvement in a stolen-car ring. See, James Comey? Nothing good comes of working with the FBI. (R)

Also playing:

Madeline's Madeline Sundance 2018 breakout star Helena Howard plays a young woman who becomes dangerously immersed in her work with an experimental theater troupe. As a sometime theatrical producer and playwright myself, let me just say this about the concept of performers taking their work too seriously: Don't I wish. (NR; playing at Regal Winter Park Village Stadium 20 & RPX)