Is “Pacific Rim: Uprising” a downer? “Midnight Sun” illuminating? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Will a big budget sequel prove to be a monster at the box office? Does it matter? Russ and Shawn give the lowdown on a Hollywood spectacle, a tear-jerking teen romance and a dark political satire, all new in theaters this week!

1) PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING (PG-13)

Universal

RUSS

Like the giant monsters and rock-‘em-sock-‘em robots it features, the $150 million spectacle “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is very big, very loud and very dopey. Unlike the 2013 original, this sequel doesn’t have Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro at the helm. Plot-wise, it’s a bit like Godzilla meets Transformers. While “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is marginally better than the last Transformers movie, that's damning with faint praise.

SHAWN says, “If you set yourself free it’s a fun movie. If you take things too seriously, it will frustrate you. Love the young fresh talent especially John Boyega.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

2) MIDNIGHT SUN (PG-13)

Open Road

RUSS

“Midnight Sun” is an Americanized remake of a 2006 Japanese teen tearjerker. Bella Thorne plays a 17-year-old suffering from a disease that that makes her so sensitive to sunlight that only a little exposure could be fatal. On a nighttime break, she falls for a hunky high school swimmer, played by Patrick Schwarzenegger.

You can see all the gears working in this shamelessly manipulative melodrama. Its only saving grace is a likable cast, including KC’s own Rob Riggle, which makes the mawkishness bearable.

SHAWN says plays like “Twilight” lite except without the cool vampires. There are plenty of eye-rolling moments and sappy pop songs.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags

 

3) THE DEATH OF STALIN (R)

IFC Films

“The Death of Stalin” doesn’t sound like the title of a knee-slapping farce, but that’s just what it is. This darkly cynical political satire comes from British writer/director Armando Iannucci, the man behind TV’s political comedy, “Veep.” Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor and a crack cast of British actors reenact the backstabbing power struggle that took place when Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin died in 1953. For contemporary audiences, drawing parallels between this story and the Trump administration is unavoidable.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK:  “I Kill Giants” is a drama about a misunderstood teen who fantasizes about being a giant killer. “Pyewacket” is a horror film about a teen who puts a death curse on her mother. “Paul, Apostle of Christ” is a Biblical drama about Paul’s time in prison and his friendship with the apostle, Luke. James Faulkner and Jim Caviezel star. Claire Foy stars in “Unsane,” a mental illness drama from director Steven Soderbergh. “Oh, Lucy” is a comic drama about a Japanese woman who falls for her English instructor, played by Josh Hartnett. Zoey Deutch stars in “Flower,” a dark comedy about the struggles of a rebellious teen. “Sherlock Gnomes” is a computer animated comedy that is a sequel to the 2011 movie, “Gnomeo and Juliet.”

 

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