click to enlarge Early Man

Early Man

Opening in Orlando: Black Panther, Early Man and more 

Black Panther Week after week, the projected box office for this season’s most important movie has been adjusted steadily upward, reflecting the public’s increasingly obvious preoccupation with Marvel’s greatest hero of color. I mean, you don’t get to be the target of an 8chan hate campaign if you’re nobody, right? Yet still the industry is going to be taken by surprise come Tuesday, when the film’s actual take eclipses all expectations – not just among African-Americans, but, I'll wager, in some lily-white communities as well. Although I do find it funny that the movie is being classified as a beneficiary of the Presidents’ Day weekend – as if anybody out there is saying, “What do you want to do Saturday to honor Grover Cleveland, baby? Hey, I know: **Black Panther**!” This is a Valentine’s date movie, dammit! (Or at least I’m trying harder than hell to make it be, for reasons that are maybe 50 percent woke. Hit me up, sistas!) (PG-13)

Detective Chinatown 2 In its native China, the first **Detective Chinatown** proved more popular than … I don’t know, let’s say “currency manipulation.” The hometown crowd really took to the pairing of a police academy reject and a sleazy hustler. So all it took was transplanting the action to the United States and adding some Anglo actors for the sequel to earn an American release – and one that’s even being promoted in advance, not just dropped into theaters with the barest whimper at the last minute. So if it does nothing at the box office anyway, we’ll just have to blame unfortunate scheduling. Thanks, T'Challa! (R)

Early Man The great Nick Park hasn’t directed a theatrical feature since **Wallace and Gromit in Curse of the Were-Rabbit**, which was one of the best films of 2005. So there’s no way I’m going to say anything negative about his return to the game with **Early Man**, a stop-motion romp through prehistoric times. Okay, maybe one thing: This whole business of showing humans coexisting with dinosaurs is just going to encourage the homeschoolers, especially if the film doesn’t specify that prehistory was more than 6,000 years ago. I guess I shouldn’t be too touchy, because Park is a brilliant artist and **The Flintstones** did the same thing. I just wonder how many parents who are going to take their kids to **Early Man** still think Fred was a real guy. (PG)

Also playing:

Becks An unexpected breakup sends a lesbian singer-guitarist straight to the couch of her straight-laced mother (Christine Lahti). See, if she were a drummer, she would have been there already. (NR)

La Boda de Valentina A romantic comedy about a woman whose relationship choices are compromised by her scandal-prone family of Mexican politicians. Back home, she’s known affectionately as “La Ivanka.” (R)

The Insult The enmity that spirals out of control after a Lebanese Christian has an unfortunate exchange with a Palestinian refugee becomes a metaphor for the seemingly eternal conflict i/n the Middle East. “Hey, isn’t there somebody missing from that equation?” you ask. Don’t worry, the Jews put up the completion bond! (R)


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