Years after jumping down the rabbit’s hole, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland to find the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) in an emotional downturn and mourning for the loss of his family. But, in order to bring the hatter back to his normal spry self a journey across the seas of time and a consultation with Time personified (Sacha Baron Cohen) will be necessary. The journey will not be easy and Alice, having not lived in Wonderland forever, is the only hope; meanwhile, Queen Iracebeth (Helena Bonham Carter) has plans of her own to right the past and return to power. Walking the razor fine line across time will take all of Alice’s skill to maneuver, but what if she’s already too late? Built on the foundation of Lewis Carroll’s books Director James Bobin takes the helm from Tim Burton on this leg of the journey to create an extension of Wonderland that fits nicely with 2010’s Alice in Wonderland and actually creates a more cohesive product. Visually the art department and computer animators continue to create amazing sights and awe, but for those looking for true to form words and writings from Carroll, you’ll have to keep searching, this is still a story merely based on the themes of Carroll’s books, and while perhaps not as vapid as it’s predecessor, it’s heart and core are still a bit thin. On the positive, despite the film largely being about the Mad Hatter, Bobin successfully manages to keep the film off of Depp’s shoulders allowing some of the other star power to carry the load, a definite improvement. Score from Danny Elfman is nicely married to this film as well, this go round showing his growth and depth as a composer. Bottom line, family fun as a matinee wouldn’t be too far to go this Holiday weekend. Alice Through the Looking Glass is rated PG.
The year is 1977 and Hollywood is about to be turned upside down as two private investigators Jackson Healy and Holland March (Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling) end up getting paired together on an unlikely case; porn star Misty Mountains’s (Murielle Telio) suicide and the disappearance of the semi mysterious Amelia Kuttner (Margaret Qualley) could have larger implications for not only Los Angeles but also Detroit. Will our heroes get to the bottom of this mystery or will they be silenced by evil henchmen, and what about March’s precocious daughter Holly (Angourie Rice)? Exploring the buddy cop dynamic Director and Co-writer Shane Black has effectively developed a period appropriate story to which congratulations are in order; however, for those looking for a challenge to the age old good cop/bad cop whodunit story structure, sadly the search will have to continue, we’re not mining new territory here. But, making the ride enjoyable, performances from Crowe and Gosling keep the mood light, albeit not a laugh riot, but enough comedy stitched in throughout to float audiences from one action beat to the next. Just a shade long in run-time, nearly two hours, perhaps one more pairing down could have quickened the overall pace? Still notable for mindless matinee entertainment, The Nice Guys is rated R.
Financial News Network host of the stock tipping program Money Monster, Lee Gates (George Clooney) is brought into the line of fire, literally, when a disgruntled viewer (Jack O’Connell) sneaks on set with the intent of exposing fraud in the financial system. Backed into a corner and pressed for time it’s now up to Producer/Director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) and her team to find out what dirty dealings financial group Ibis Clear Capital did to lose 800 million dollars in one day in order to end a hostage situation with catastrophic potential. Directed by Jodie Foster, big money is square in the cross hairs again, this time looking towards the corrupt nature of a few as opposed to the system as a whole with a solution and justice found in real-time, perhaps a little too convenient, but thrilling none the less. Solid performances from the ensemble make this roller coaster seem even that much more plausible, and, told in a brief 98 minutes, welcome’s are not overstayed either. Looking for that suspenseful fix with a dash of humor you’ve come to the right place. Worthy of at least a matinee, Money Monster is rated R.