“Kung Fu Panda”
Playing April 11 – April 24
Light hearted and fun, “Kung Fu Panda 3” does not take any risks, but it does keep the charm of the previous films. Whether that is a positive or not is really up to the viewer. It definitely plays to the audience it was created for and, while that would normally be a bad thing, going in with that mindset helps.
Our hero Po must once again use his kung fu to save the day by training other pandas in the art of fighting to stop an ancient evil. If this sounds familiar it’s because it is the same story from the first movie. While it will make you laugh, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Playing April 18 – May 1
Bringing Star Wars back from the disastrous prequels was certainly a challenge. Luckily, director J.J. Abrams managed to pull it off. While “The Force Awakens” may follow the same plot as “Star Wars: A New Hope,” that doesn’t stop it from being a refreshing new piece of sci-fi to bring the series back.
Our two protagonists are Finn, a former storm trooper who goes rogue after realizing that he is basically working for the space Nazis, and Rey, a young woman who is desperate for adventure and longs to get off the planet she is stranded on. After they escape their desert planet they make their way to the rebel base where they plan to destroy Death Star 2.0. If you want to return to a time when Star Wars was good, then “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is a great way to spend a couple hours.
“The Hateful Eight”
Playing April 25 – May 6
Tarantino isn’t known for his subtlety, and “The Hateful Eight” is proof of that and more. It’s ridiculously violent, it has amazing social commentary, and it has the best Kurt Russell performance since “Big Trouble in Little China.” The story is a classic whodunit with a bit of a twist: eight strangers are holed up in a cabin and one of them is lying about their identity. The star-studded cast spends three days weeding out the liars and killing them in a very Tarantino fashion. If there is any downfall to this film it would be the rather abrupt ending. You spend the entire film expecting there to be this really satisfying ending like “Django Unchained” or “Inglourious Basterds” but it never seems to come. That being said, the journey to the end is so enjoyable that it more than makes up for the lacking ending.
Playing May 2 – 6
In a world where we are waiting for the next Marvel movie so we can spend all our money on more superhero merchandise, here comes a film that knows it’s a film and is just as tired of those goody two shoes Avengers movies as you are. “Deadpool” takes the genre and it gives other superhero movies some major grief with jokes that will delight both movie fans and casual viewers. Not since the Dredd movie have we seen a comic book movie put itself out there like “Deadpool.” While it is yet another origin story (and, amusingly, also a Marvel property), it is not ashamed to admit it and mock itself. In a self aware masterpiece you would have to have a serious problem not to go see this film.