Ben Stiller Dakota Johnson

Some Movies to See this Weekend, February 12, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016 Rob Samuelson

The new releases this weekend seem to be a bit of a crapshoot. There are reasons to believe in each and they could all fail in spectacular fashion. On the balance, it appears to be a promising weekend nonetheless. Let's see what the movies have in store for us.

Director: Tim Miller
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Karan Soni, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand

An R-rated (anti-)superhero movie is an interesting concept, particularly with the budget it appears 20th Century Fox and Marvel threw at this one. Deadpool is known to be pretty violent and it looks like they want to do that justice without watering everything down. However, it still looks downright annoying. Ryan Reynolds is doing a variation on his Van Wilder “ain't I a stinker?” persona in all the trailers. Self-awareness is something we should all strive for, but when something is so relentless in its pursuit of “look how naughty and silly this all is” humor, it grates. I hope those moments are spaced out in the movie itself, but it looks a little exhausting.

How to Be Single
Director: Christian Ditter
Writers: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein, Dana Fox
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, Alison Brie, Damon Wayans Jr., Anders Holm

This one looks pretty easy-going. A year after Dakota Johnson reached the attention stratosphere in Fifty Shades of Grey, plus a bunch of other small roles peppered throughout 2015, she returns to the silly and nervous comedy that made her such a joy to watch on the sadly forgotten Fox sitcom Ben and Kate. As the title suggests, she is single, living in New York, and not sure of how to proceed until Rebel Wilson's extrovert enters her life. It's a simple “learning how to live life at its fullest” narrative that you will likely be able to predict at every turn, but the comic chops and general charm of everyone in the cast is nothing to scoff at. These are likable and talented people doing relatable things, heightened to zany proportions. That's worth checking out.

Zoolander 2
Director: Ben Stiller
Writers: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, John Hamburg
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell

After a number of decades-later sequels last year – terrific ones like Mad Max: Fury Road and Creed, plus not-so-good ones like Jurassic World – Ben Stiller saw the time was ripe to bring back his dim bulb of a model character, Derek Zoolander, for another adventure. This time around, he's aging and washed up, appearing on hacky game shows to retain whatever foothold he has on fame. But it turns out the world's most beautiful people are being murdered with his patented “Blue Steel” facial expression, so Derek and his best friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) have to investigate. It's all big, dumb fun from the looks of things, much like the original. Plus there's always the chance Stiller can direct it all to the hilarious summit he did in 2008's Tropic Thunder, which could very well be the funniest comedy of the last decade.  

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