Ted 2
Ted 2 is so committed to the bit of wanting to recognize the personhood of its titular teddy bear that they’ve posted a change.org petition (with at the time of writing a little over 10K signatures from a bunch of marks, I’m sure). In Ted 2’s universe, everyone is more concerned with the civil rights of a talking teddy bear who tries to jerk off Tom Brady with Mark Wahlberg. And fuck off about lightening up, it’s just a movie; it’s a difference between a high wire satire and having a teddy bear getting “covered in rejected black guys’ sperm” while remarking “You’re like a Kardashian!” This goes without saying but Seth MacFarlane has burned all the goodwill for bringing Cosmos back a long time ago.

The Military Entertainment Industry Complex’s version of Air Bud, wherein a trained dog assisting marines in Afghanistan comes back stateside after his handler dies. After being adopted by his handler’s family, Max works through his trauma and becomes best friends with the family’s teenage son. Boy and his dog is an easier sell than kid’s dad comes back from Afghanistan wounded and must readjust to tending to a country that doesn’t care for his father’s sacrifice. What if we found out this is an accidental prequel/reboot to 1975’s post-apocalyptic film A Boy and His Dog starring Don Johnson?

Starring Thomas Haden Church, Robbie Amell, Lauren Graham, Luke Kleintank, and Jay Hernandez. Directed and cowritten by Boaz Yakin (who also directed Remember the Titans).

Big Game
Samuel L. Jackson and planes make their long awaited reunion after their big debut together in Snakes on a Plane (no the Helicarrier in Avengers 1/2 doesn’t count). Sam Jackson (playing the President of the United States because that’s how we’ve been fantasy booking it for years) gets shot down over Finland, and his only lifeline is a thirteen year old boy spending a night in the woods only armed with a bow and arrow. Eurotrash B-movie heaven. A throwback to 80’s and 90’s action-adventure films.

Also starring Onni Tommila, Felicity Huffman, Victor Garber, Ted Levine, Jim Broadbent, and Ray Stevenson.

Batkid Begins
The first in The Dark Batkid trilogy*, hearts will swells a million times over. The documentary relives that one fateful day in November 2013 where then five year old Miles Scott, the kid who wanted to be Batman for a day ended up getting San Francisco transformed into into Gotham City with help from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and San Francisco. It’s the feel good car crash pileup of popular culture, human interest stories, and the not awful side of the human spirit.

*false, but be on the lookout for the dramatic recreation of the event starring Julia Roberts!

Magic Mike XXL
Magic Mike XXL doesn’t come out until next Wednesday but like hell am I going to miss out on writing about this prior to its release. The first Magic Mike (directed by Steven Soderbergh, who bowed out of sequel duties. Greg Jacobs taking the helm) was moody and meditative, and the sequel is sans the pretense of things like pathos or a narrative spine, which is okay! Ignoring all of the character development (trust me, it was there) of the first Magic Mike (Regular?), we find our intrepid speedo slingers on a road trip from Tampa to Myrtle Beach for a stripping convention. Fuck it, bring on Donald Glover (including C-Tates, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, and Kevin Nash) to the cast, and it’s Jon Favreau’s Chef but with more dong.

Infinitely Polar Bear
Mark Ruffalo plays a different kind of Hulk in this indie-bait family drama, as a manic depressive father (The Incredible Sulk?) trying to help raise his kids while his wife Zoe Saladana goes to school while keeping his own manic-depressive episodes in check. Mental illness, along with the biopic about people of note (making Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy a twofer) are a great way for actors to show range, and bunt at the low-hanging fruit of dramatic stakes. Unfortunately in the real world, mental illness can suck. It can be quiet and menacing without having it being scored by a quirky indie band du jour. I’m not saying that every portrayal of mental health in media needs to be a PSA wrapped up in a barely competent interpretation of the screenwriting book Save the Cat! that’s all about representation and stigma reduction, though. I’m saying that watching this trailer gave me St. Vincent (the Bill Murray movie, not force of nature musician) flashbacks – vaguely idiosyncratic faux-indie movie with well-known Hollywood stars hot to trot for Sundance (St. Vincent was a goddamn slog to get through). And Lord knows I love me some Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saladana.

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