What to Watch in the Theater:
Dark Phoenix (PG13) opens today. The latest (and apparently last) installment in Fox’s X-Men franchise serves as an origin story for Jean Grey. Taking place several years before the very first film, this one features the younger version of the cast, previously seen in later movies featuring the earlier timeline. Confused? Except for some establishing flashbacks to 1973, the bulk of this movie takes place in 1992. The younger X-Men are now teachers, and we see them becoming a cohesive team of superheroes, on call to help America as needed. An accident in space amplifies Jean’s powers, causing her to lose control more often and hurt people she loves (again). But wait! If Jean (Sophie Turner) isn’t have enough inner turmoil, here’s Jessica Chastain as an alien villain, to complicate the plot and provide a reason for an epic fight scene on a speeding train. The story has moments of emotion and action that make the film entertaining enough, but it just doesn’t fit into the franchise well.
Our rating: 4 out of 5
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (PG) opens today. Everyone’s favorite animated pets return in this sequel, with some new additions of course. We get three separate storylines here. A very stressed-out Max visits a farm with his family. Gidget is charged with protecting his favorite toy while he’s gone, and it falls into the wrong hands. Snowball, as alter ego Captain Snowball, meets a new friend who needs his help rescuing another animal. This movie is funny and charming, and it’s great to see each character’s story arc and how they work together. The new characters, including Tiffany Haddish as Daisy, and Harrison Ford as Rooster, are great additions to the ensemble. This is a great one for the whole family.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5
What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Chasing Happiness (not rated) is streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime. This is the Jonas Brothers documentary you never knew you needed. Whether you’re a longtime fan, a new fan, or really just never knew about the JoBros, this is an interesting watch. We get to see how they started in showbiz as young kids, and became a singing group. As they revisit their childhood neighborhood, we learn about the important ties that were broken along the way, and how they persevered through many challenges. This film answers many questions about why they stepped back from the spotlight as a group, ultimately breaking up and pursuing their own projects, and why they’ve now chosen to reunite as a band.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5
Always Be My Maybe (PG13) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This rom com is a fresh and funny take on the relationship between childhood best friends who lose touch and then rediscover their love for each other as adults. Celebrity chef, Sasha, and small-town band member, Marcus, meet up again as the former is set to open a brand new restaurant in her hometown of San Francisco. The backstory part sweetly sets up this relationship for us, and it’s easy to see why these two must reconnect, even as they’re fighting it along the way. In some ways predictable, it’s still a relatable, comedic movie that will make you smile. The side characters are just as fun as the leads, with Keanu Reeves reminding us that comedy is something he does really well, despite the much darker roles he’s done recently.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5
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In honor of the Jonas documentary, Chasing Happiness, check out our blast-from-the-past interview with Frankie Jonas here.