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Some Movies to See This Weekend: March 18, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016 Rob Samuelson

This is a goofy weekend at the movies, one that has a low probability of generating something excellent. A plodding series continues, there’s another religious-themed release, and a mean-looking comedy heads to many theaters, as well. Let’s see what’s in store for us.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Jeff Daniels

When the last installment of the Divergent series, Insurgent, came out last March, I worked in a movie theater. Any movie I wanted to see, I could catch it for free. I utilized this privilege quite often. I did not bother to use it for Insurgent. This should tell you something about my feelings toward the first Divergent, the equivalent of plain yogurt in dystopian fiction trappings. The best thing that could be said about it is that it’s barely adequate as entertainment. I would suggest a more apt description that it’s incomprehensible.
And now there’s a new one. It has Jeff Daniels in it. It appears the filmmakers behind this one understand that there are colors other than gray and blue in the world. These are promising signs. Shailene Woodley is intermittently strong as an actress, although it would be nice to see her return to the liveliness that she had in The Descendents rather than the Ambien-addled heroism she has in these movies. You never know.

Miracles from Heaven
Director: Patricia Riggen
Writer: Randy Brown
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson, Brighton Sharbino

Watch that trailer. Look at it! That is bug nuts insane. From the false sense of security at the beginning when a character literally says, “This is a good life,” to terrible diagnoses for the main couple’s daughter to a tree-climbing incident that turns into a miracle cure. In effect, “falling 30 feet from a tree and hitting your head” might become the new “falling backwards over a trash can” cure popularized in the episode of The Simpsons when Homer opens a chiropractor business in his garage.

It sounds goofy and weird. Visually, it looks like a Nicholas Sparks movie. This could be one of the kookiest movies of the year.

The Bronze
Director: Bryan Buckley
Writers: Melissa Rauch, Winston Rauch
Starring: Melissa Rauch, Haley Lu Richardson, Gary Cole, Sebastian Stan, Thomas Middleditch

This is the one with the strongest likelihood of goodness from the weekend. There’s a bitterness to the comedy about a former Olympic gymnast in small-town middle America coasting on her bronze medal from a decade earlier. She treats everyone like garbage and she dresses like she should be recruited to join the Power Rangers rather than dressing like an adult pushing 30 and figuring out what to do with the rest of her life.

Yes, pretty much every beat of the movie is shown in the trailer, from her seeing her old trainer to taking on coaching duties of another up-and-comer and eventually growing as a human being. But that formula exists for a reason. If the jokes are funny enough and based on the characters’ particular idiosyncrasies, the formula is perfectly enjoyable.

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