Andy Samberg Emilia Clarke

Some Movies To See This Weekend: June 3, 2016

Friday, June 03, 2016 Rob Samuelson

Hollywood is hitting the variety sweet spot this weekend, at least theoretically. The studios are doing their best to appeal to every possible person, with a romance, a pop culture satire from Saturday Night Live veterans, and a sequel to a reboot of a beloved -- if not necessarily good -- property from a generation ago.

Me Before You
Director: Thea Sharrock
Writer: Jojo Moyes
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Vanessa Kirby

This one is designed to make you cry. If it succeeds, it will have done its job. Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) is hired as a caregiver for a recently paralyzed man (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s Sam Claflin), and he’s pretty much given up. But she sees that there is still a spark in him somewhere deep down. She begins to bring out his inner romantic by taking him to a concert and generally doing the “falling in love” thing. But there’s also a slow-motion “running through a hospital while in tears” moment in the trailer, so look out, because very few good things can come of that. So there you have it: tragedy, two unnaturally attractive people coming together, and something bad happens anyway. Prepare yourself.

To be clear, that above paragraph is not meant to come off as sarcasm. Formulaic movies can be great, and the little I’ve heard about Me Before You is enthusiastic. So if a desire for romance hits you this weekend, there’s a pretty solid-looking option for you in Me Before You.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Directors: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Writers: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Starring: Andy Samberg, Imogen Poots, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph

The Lonely Island guys, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, are back on the big screen. The former Saturday Night Live digital short creators last made a film together in 2007, with Hot Rod. This time they are going back to their musical roots by doing a musical mockumentary in the style of 2011’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. The possible speed bump there would be the “2011” in the preceding sentence -- Popstar looks a little outdated before it even arrives in theaters. But these guys have been consistently funny over the last decade or so, and it should always be noted that trailers aren’t necessarily good barometers of a movie’s quality.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Director: Dave Green
Writers: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Stephen Amell, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Tyler Perry

Like many (most?) millennial men, I spent a large portion of my childhood consuming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-related entertainment. I had all the toys. I can still sing the little league-inspired Pizza Hut commercial jingle that played at the beginning of the VHS of the original 1990 Turtles movie (“I play riiiiiight field…”). My dad’s weird hippie-biker car painting buddy crafted a mural of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Splinter on my bedroom wall. Despite all that, I did not see the 2014 reboot, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is not because of any lame “it ruined my childhood” arguments -- I just thought it looked pretty rough.

But there’s something about this one that gives me a slight hint of interest. The trailer’s use of Run-D.M.C. is fun, and the movie is unafraid to become a full-on cartoon, with the cinematic introduction of the animated series’ Bebop and Rocksteady, an anthropomorphic hog and rhino, respectively. If a movie wants to have that kind of fun, I support it. I may not see it on opening weekend, but it’s not about to make me immediately roll my eyes like the would-be “gritty” entry from a couple years ago.

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