Won’t You Be My Neighbor? examines the life and work of Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers, who was the creator and star of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on public television (PBS) from the years 1968 to 2001. He invited children to come into his home, sing them a song, make them feel safe as he imparted life lessons, then whisked them off to the Land of Make-Believe to further explore metaphors of understanding before he saw them off to the rest of their day. Rogers followed the career path to television as an alternative to pursing his Presbyterian ministry, primarily because he perceived that the level of silly and, to some degree, harmful entertainment that feeds the minds of youth on television was contributing to a culture of uncaring and self-centered youth who were seen as only vessels to toward whom to sell consumer products. Rogers felt that television could also be used as a medium in which he could do the most good if he were to use it as an educational and inspirational tool, especially in entertainment that he felt would best shape the minds of future generations to come.
In this puppet/human effort directed by Brian Henson, son of Muppets creator Jim Henson, Bill Barretta voices the top puppet character known as disgraced burnout Los Angeles-based private investigator Phil Phillips, who has to get to the bottom of a series of murders among the stars of a decades-old television show with a puppet cast of actors called, “The Happytime Gang”. Melissa McCarthy gets the top human role, playing police detective Connie Edwards, Phil’s former, now estranged, partner in crime-fighting from his days on the force, who joins in to reluctantly assist. Even if the characters look like Muppets, it’s a very raunchy, ultra-violent effort not meant for children.
RKSS return after their Turbo Kid to deliver yet another throwback to the 1980s in the mystery-suspense-horror flick, SUMMER OF 84. A quartet of boys go out in search of a serial killer of teenage boys (just like them) that they feel could be the cop that lives in their very own neighborhood, and seek to find the evidence needed to bring him to justice. The further they go out, however, the more exposed they are to becoming the next victim in their manhunt.
Constance Wu stars as Rachel Chu, who essentially serves as our best surrogate for the story, the daughter of a single Chinese immigrant mother, who rose above her station to become a professor of Economics at NYU. Her current boyfriend is a man names Nick Young (played by Henry Golding), who, for over a year since they’ve been dating, has never divulged to her that his family back home in Singapore is insanely wealthy. The cat has to be let out of the bag, however, when Nick asks Rachel to attend the wedding of his best friend in Singapore, where he also plans to pop a question of his own after she meets the family. However, Nick’s stern mother, Eleanor, disapproves of trying to pursue what one wants in life independent of the family wishes, so Rachel’s pursuit of her own career, and Nick pursuit of love beyond his class, ruffles more than a few feathers among his family, friends, and the rest of the rich and famous they socialize among. John M. Chu directs, with supporting roles for Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, and Ken Jeong
Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon star in this buddy comedy about two best friends who end up embroiled in a spy assassin plot when some terrorists come looking for them for information that Kunis’ most recent boyfriend, who she didn’t know was a secret agent, may have in his possessions. Laughs, thrills, and action are promised, but does it deliver?
A big shark and Jason Statham are the big draws to THE MEG, in which a rescue team of humans must try to survive, and eventually take on, a prehistoric shark of gargantuan proportions that threatens everyone off of the coast of China. Jon Turteltaub directs this PG-13 action-horror hybrid that some compare to the JAWS and JURASSIC PARK series, or, at least, its low-aiming sequels.
Denzel Washington returns to exact some brutal vigilante justice on the predators of the world in this follow-up to the 2014 hit, the first sequel in the veteran actor’s long and varied career. In this one, he seeks to avenge the murder of one of his old friends from his black ops days, only to find that he has to battle with forces that may outgun him at every turn. Melissa Leo co-stars in Antoine Fuqua’s intense actioner.
The sixth film in the franchise sees Ethan Hunt trying to recover some plutonium before it gets employed by a ruthless anarchist terrorist group out to shake up the world order through detonating these bombs in the the world’s most revered religious meccas. Tom Cruise gives hit his all, amid a fine supporting cast and some of the best technical crew in the business. ROGUE NATION’s Christopher McQuarrie returns to deliver one of the most satisfying entries in the series and one of the best action films of the year.
The fourth film in the Purge series is a prequel to the other three, as The First Purge shifts directors to Gerard McMurray, though retaining James DeMonaco’s services as screenwriter. This one showcases the trial run’ experiment that led to the Purge, as the alt-right government seeks to cure societal ills by finding a way to eradicate crime throughout most of the year, mostly by sweeping house and trying to get rid of the nation’s poor. Social commentary abounds in this franchise that is sometimes marketed, and perhaps mis-marketed, as a horror series.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in this high-rise thriller, playing a security consultant for the Pearl, the world’s largest building in Hong Kong, set to open to the public soon. While in the mostly empty building, it gets taken over by terrorist out to steal money from its billionaire owner, and to pin the blame on Johnson, who is staying there with his family. Now he has to clear his name, rescue his family, and save a building from being destroyed, all single-handedly. Neve Campbell co-stars in this film written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber.