Chris Pratt Denzel Washington

Western Remakes, Flying Baby Deliverers, and Uplift: September 22's New Movies

Friday, September 23, 2016 Rob Samuelson

It’s another busy and eclectic weekend at the movies, with a big action-adventure flick based on several classic films, an animated family picture that might actually be palatable for the older members of the family, and a piece of uplifting cinema starring two of the best young leading actors around. Check ‘em out.

Photo credit: The Magnificent Seven/Facebook

The Magnificent Seven
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Richard Wenk, Nic Pizzolatto
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is a perfect movie by itself, but it has also proven to be one of the most malleable stories throughout the decades. Now, Seven Samurai’s adaptation, The Magnificent Seven, is itself being remade by the Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. A fun cast, from Denzel Washington to Chris Pratt to Haley Bennett to Vincent D'Onofrio, join together to fight a cruel band of villains who are subjugating the town (led by Peter Sarsgaard). Violence is a guarantee, as are quips and sandblasted masculinity.

Despite all the praise he’s received for Training Day over the years, Fuqua is also the guy who made The Equalizer, which was abysmal. The Equalizer is much more recent, too. So, you know, be wary.

Directors: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Writer: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Andy Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer

It always stinks when an industry folds. Market pressures and disruptive technologies make things tough out there for those trying to make money, much like the storks of Storks. They have been forced out of the baby-delivering racket and now they have to deliver non-human packages to make ends meet. But then there’s a spark of hope, a glimmer of finding one’s purpose, when a baby shows up to the storks’ place of business.

The storks, played by the likes of Popstar’s Andy Samberg, have to bring the baby to its parents. It becomes a quest with adventures out the wazoo. It appears to have an adult-friendly quality to its children’s film core.

Queen of Katwe
Director: Mira Nair
Writer: William Wheeler
Starring: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o hasn’t been a female lead in a movie since she won her Oscar for 12 Years a Slave. That is a humongous shame, despite all the fun she brought to her Star Wars: The Force Awakens character. But now she plays the mother of a teenage girl (Madina Nalwanga) who becomes a chess whiz and changes her family’s life with the help of her teacher, played by Selma’s David Oyelowo.

Despite the potential for drippy feel-good vibes every live action Disney movie has, Queen of Katwe’s two main adult cast members are as good as it gets. And heck, maybe some goofy sweetness wouldn’t be such a bad thing given the terrible state of the world in this election season.

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