Is “Rogue One” number one? “La La Land” loopy? “Collateral Beauty” a beast? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Is "Rogue One" number one? "La La Land" loopy? "Collateral Beauty" a beast? FOX 4's Russ Simmons has your answers in this week's Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

 

1) ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (PG-13)

Walt Disney

From a slightly longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we now have "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" a prequel that provides an immediate setup to the 1977 original. Wanna know how the Death Star came to be? Here's your answer.

Felicity Jones stars as a reluctant rebel, a part of a ragtag group that tries to get the plans for the planet killer to the leaders of the rebellion. Naturally, the eye candy is plentiful and the action is nearly non-stop. Problem is, there really aren't any characters for us to care about.

Hardcore "Star Wars" fans will still want to take it all in, but everyone else may consider it a step backward in more than just time.

Shawn says in many ways better than 'The Force Awakens.' Just wish the movie didn't depend so much on the nostalgic factor.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

 

2) LA LA LAND (PG-13)

Lionsgate/Summit

Are American audiences ready for a full-blown movie musical about struggling performing artists in Los Angeles? I hope so, because “La La Land” is easily one of the best movies of the year.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are splendid in this magical romantic comic drama that was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, the man behind last year’s terrific jazz movie, “Whiplash.”

“La La Land” is smart, poignant, tune-filled and funny. Those who love old-time musicals will be in heaven and those that don’t…will probably like it anyway. “La La Land” is a real gem.

Shawn says it starts off rather slowly but “La La Land” finishes strong. Beautiful and charming. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are a delight to watch.

RUSS: 5 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

 

3) COLLATERAL BEAUTY (PG-13)

New Line Cinema

A terrific cast has gotten mired in a well-meaning but misguided dramatic mess called “Collateral Beauty.” Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Pena and Naomie Harris do their best to make a sappy script palatable.

Smith plays an ad executive who has shut down emotionally after a grievous personal loss. His co-workers hire actors to play love, time and death in an attempt to shake him out of his funk. Only a cast this good could make a premise this odd seem remotely believable.

Shawn says it’s moving and interesting. The premise isn't all that original but Will Smith pulls you in with an incredible performance.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

4) BEST WORST THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED (Not rated)

Abramarama

RUSS

This wistful documentary is about the making of the notorious 1982 Broadway flop, “Merrily We Roll Along,” which almost destroyed the acclaimed partnership of composer Stephen Sondheim and director Hal Prince. Lonny Price, who was a member of the original cast, interviews many of the folks who survived the disaster, including fellow cast members Jason Alexander and Jim Walton as well as the show’s creators. This is a must-see for hardcore Broadway fans. Others may wonder what the fuss is all about.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK:

"“Beyond the Gates” is 1980s-style throwback horror film about an alternative universe in a VCR board game.

 

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