The Incredible, Tragic Life Of Toyota\'s Most Important Test Driver

By William Kerns A-J Media Entertainment Editor

MOVIES OPENING FRIDAY

Book Club

A heartfelt comedy about four successful women in their 60s. Diane (Diane Keaton) is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage. Vivian (Jane Fonda) enjoys her men with no strings attached. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is still working through her decades-old divorce, and Carol's (Mary Steenburgen) marriage is in a slump after 35 years. The lives of these four lifelong friends are turned upside down after reading British author E.L. James' controversial and erotic "Fifty Shades of Grey" for their book club, catapulting them into a series of outrageous life choices. Bill Holderman makes his directorial debut, with costars including Richard Dreyfuss, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Wallace Shawn, Alicia Silverstone and Ed Begley Jr..

PG-13: Sex-related material throughout, and for language — Alamo Drafthouse, Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

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Deadpool 2

One critic already has called this the best film sequel since "The Godfather Part II." He even sounded serious. At the least, this new view of superhero/antihero exploits and fourth wall interruptions by Deadpool/Wade Wilson -- the disfigured Merc With a Mouth, as portrayed by Ryan Reynolds -- has been embraced by most as just as funny as the original. Deadpool utilizes new powers, fights bigger odds, and still finds work through a hitman's-only dive bar called Sister Margaret's. He hasn't lost beautiful girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), but almost dies when he rescues young mutant Russell (Julian Dennison) from cyborg Cable, played by James Brolin -- now attacking a youth (and Deadpool) after faring pretty well as Thanos in "The Avengers, Infinity War." (One has to love Reynolds' DC Universe zinger from the film's trailer.) At least Deadpool is aware he needs help, although he does not appear picky choosing his personal X Force. Among others, Zazie Beetz as Domino, with luck as her super power. (Well, I'm going by the trailer on that, which also shows Deadpool approve a friendly stranger with no powers.)

R: Strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material — Premiere Cinemas (includes IMAX and D-Box), Alamo Drafthouse, Tinseltown 17, Movies 16 (includes XD) and Stars & Stripes Drive-In.

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RBG

At age 84, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsberg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior's rise to the nation's highest court has been largely unknown, even to her biggest fans, until now. "RBG" is a revealing documentary exploring Ginsberg's exceptional life and career. Co-written and co-directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West.

PG: Some thematic elements and language — Alamo Drafthouse.

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Show Dogs

After a failed attempt to recover a stolen baby panda, macho but lonely Rottweiler police dog Max (voice of Ludacris) reluctantly teams up with a human FBI agent named Frank, played by Will Arnett. A hot tip leads Max and Frank to Las Vegas for the world's most exclusive and prestigious dog show. To find the panda, Max must go under cover as a contestant to get the lowdown from fellow canines. With help from their new friends, the crime-fighting duo now must foil another kidnapping plot and rescue other valuable animals from a gang of greedy smugglers. Other vocal talents involved: Jordin Sparks as a Border Collie names Daisy and Max's love interest, RuPaul as Persephone, Gabriel Iglesias as a pug names Sprinkles, Shaquille O'Neal as Karma, Stanley Tucci as Phillippe, and Alan Cumming as Dante. Direction is by Raja Gosnell, who directed two Scooby Doo pictures and most recent two Smurfs movies.

PG: Suggestive and rude humor, language and some action -- Premiere Cinemas, Tinseltown 17, Movies 16 and Stars & Stripes Drive-In.

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MOVIES CONTINUING

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Avengers: Infinity War (3-D/2-D)

Kerns rating: Four stars

Perhaps not the best film delivered about the Marvel Comics Universe. On the other hand, one cannot disregard what brothers/directors Anthony and Joe Russo accomplished with the first chapter of this cinematic war. As depressing and sad as the film's conclusion may be -- no spoilers here, but suffice it to say that more Avengers than expected appear to perish -- viewers are urged to recall Dr. Strange's conclusion about possible winning strategies after time traveling millions of times into the future. (Not to mention future sequels already planned for Black Panther, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Superman and more.) Still, the Russos keep the story lively, at times funny and always interesting, even while juggling dozens of characters. The movie runs two hours and 40 minutes; not only are viewers never bored, but most stay in their seats to watch the Marvel teaser that follows final credits. Josh Brolin delivers a gripping motion capture performance as Thanos, a massive, brutal enemy who feels he is doing the right thing to appease an overpopulated universe. Thus, Thanos battles the Avengers for all six Infinity Stones and, should he be successful, will have the power to wipe out half of the universe with a fingersnap ... his personal takeoff on the rapture. The Avengers place past Civil War disagreements behind them, working together throughout to at least stop, and hopefully kill, Thanos. Casting works with the possible exception of actor Peter Dinklage, born with a form of dwarfism, seen as a giant. Tom Holland may earn the most smiles as Spider Man, and kudos to the Russos for taking time to explore relationships. The rapture-like death sentences are hard hitting. "Infinity War" and its sequel were film back-to-back, with the sequel arriving in 2019.

PG-13: Intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references — Premiere Cinemas, Alamo Drafthouse, Tinseltown 17 (includes XD) and Stars & Stripes Drive-In.

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Blockers

Kerns rating: Three stars

High school seniors and best friends Julie (played by Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon) make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night, and comedy results. Responding irrationally with no respect for their children's privacy, three overprotective parents interpret their text emojis. Parents Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) become determined to stop their daughters from sealing any sexual deals, although credit Hunter (and screenwriters Brian and Jim Kehoe) for interpreting that one girl likely is not as determined as her friends. Hunter is, at least for a while, a more understanding parent than one expected from this character. While the film respects the students, there can be no comedy unless the older generation must learn painful or embarrassing lessons via zany roadblocks, such as Cena being fooled into a different sort of beer chugging contest. Not every joke or gag works; laughs can be inconsistent -- and by the time one parent is trapped under a bed, originality gives way to sit-com humor. Performances are solid, though, and Kay Cannon fares just fine in her directorial debut. Forgettable fun.

R: Crude and sexual content, and language throughout, drug content, teen partying, and some graphic nudity — Premiere Cinemas and Tinseltown 17.

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Breaking In

Kerns rating: Two and one-half stars

Viewing more black women as film heroines, be it Gabrielle Union here or Halle Berry in last year's abduction thriller "Kidnap," is a step forward. Give Union credit for a strong performance as a mom determined to rescue a daughter and son held prisoner by dangerous ex-cons shortly after arriving at her crooked father's mansion. True, the music telegraphs scenes, dialogue borders on silly and one is surprised by the Latin psychopath stereotype, as interpreted by Richard Cabral, introduced. The film opens with a grizzly murder on the street, with a head stomp somewhat reminiscent of "American History X." Never mind that her father's assets might be frozen by the court; in the non-reality of cinema, Shaun plans to settle dad's estate, unaware that four ex-cons are inside seeking his safe. While the thieves, a makeshift crew led by smooth-talking Billy Burke, argue too much, Shaun never gives up on her children, even when blocked by a security system. Get used to a friend or loved one arriving at inopportune moments. The trailer gives away the ending by sharing a one-liner, which is nothing new. But director James McTeague does the best he can with the script, and Union makes the story watchable.

PG-13: Violence, menace, bloody images, sexual references and brief strong language — Premiere Cinemas, and Movies 16.

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Chappaquiddick

Kerns rating: Three stars

As headlines in the summer of 1969 celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing, Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy hopes they can hide his fall from grace. The story focuses on a possibly inebriated Kennedy (played in purposely low-key fashion by Jason Clarke) driving his car off an unlit bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. As his car submerged, Kennedy swam to safety. That much is known. He made no attempt to save his passenger, 28-year-old employee Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara), viewed drowning in what Mara depicts as nightmarish fashion. Kennedy sleeps through the night, not contacting authorities until after the accident is discovered the next day. Director John Curran taps into accounts documented in the inquest from the 1969 investigation. Screenwriters paint Kennedy as morally reprehensible. The only advice given by family patriarch Joseph Kennedy (Bruce Dern) is: "Alibi!" Ted Kennedy compounds mistakes with horrible decisions. He initially lies about who was driving, fooling no one by faking a concussion by wearing an unnecessary neck brace to Kopechne's funeral. The film does raise questions about expectations placed on Kennedy, even as Clarke depicts the senator as a fawning coward undeserving of sympathy. Just as shocking: a cover-up team of Kennedy family supporters, debating which lies can keep Ted a future presidential candidate. Ed Helms stands out as the one relative and staff member losing respect for the man and the process.

PG-13: Thematic material, disturbing images, some strong language and historical smoking — Movies 16.

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I Can Only Imagine

Based on a true-life story that inspired the chart-topping song that brings hope to so many.

PG: Thematic elements including some violence — Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

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I Feel Pretty

Renee Barrett (played by Amy Schumer), an ordinary woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis, wakes from a fall suddenly believing she is the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet, despite looking the same she always has looked. With this newfound confidence, she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen if and when she realizes her appearance never changed? Aidy Bryand and busy Phillips play Renee's best friends Vivian and Jane, respectively. Michelle Williams plays Avery, Renee's stunning cosmetics company boss; and Emily Ratajkowski is Mallory, the woman Renee always admired for her good looks. Rory Scovell is cast as Renee's love interest, Ethan. The film is co-directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein.

PG-13: Sexual content, some partial nudity, and language — Premiere Cinemas, Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

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Isle of Dogs

Kerns rating: Four and one-half stars

Director Wes Anderson delivers yet another cinematic jewel, not to be forgotten in the race for Best Animated Film. Excellent stop-motion animation results in a clever, funny and touching story, but leave it to Anderson to make underlying statements about a need for a crusading press and dangers of governmental corruption in the process. Set in a near-futuristic Japan, where, after an epidemic, executive decree finds all canine pets in Megasaki City captured and exiled to a vast garbage dump called Trash Island. For political reasons, the first dog banished is Spots, a protective pet loved by 12-year-old owner Atari Kobayashi, orphaned nephew and ward of the mayor. Atari immediately takes off by himself in a miniature Junior Turbo-Prop aircraft. He makes it across the river to Trash Island, where he begins searching for Spots. Soon, he is assisted by a pack of new mongrel friends. And how did even Anderson land this incredible vocal cast: Bryan Cranston as Chief, Edward Norton as Rex, Bob Balaban as King, Bill Murray as Boss, Jeff Goldblum as Duke, Frances McDormand as Interpreter Nelson, Scarlett Johansson as Nutmeg, Harvey Keitel as Gondo, F. Murray Abraham as Jupiter, Yoko Ono as a scientist, Tilda Swinton as Oracle, Fisher Stevens as Scrap, Liev Schreiber as Spots, Courtney B. Vance as the narrator and Ken Watanabe as the head surgeon. I'd love to see it again.

PG-13: Thematic elements and violent images — Movies 16.

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Life of the Party

After being dumped by her husband, Deanna (played by co-writer Melissa McCarthy) turns regret into a life reset by going back to college. She also winds up at the same school as her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon), who is decidedly not comfortable with this plan. Deanna, being called Dee Rock, plunges headlong into the campus experience. She is an outspoken student embracing freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, and finds her true self in a senior year no one could have predicted. Direction is by McCarthy's real life husband (and co-writer) Ben Falcone, who also directed her in "The Boss." Maya Rudolph plays Christine, Deanna's neurotic best friend.

PG-13: Sexual material, drug content and partying — Alamo Drafthouse, Movies 16 and Stars & Stripes Drive-In.

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The Miracle Season

Kerns rating: Two stars

Predictable, if sweet, melodrama recalling how teammates and friends of Iowa volleyball star Caroline Found rallied to come from behind when playing a championship match in her honor after a tragic (off screen) death early in the film. Storytelling better suited to television.

PG: Thematic elements — Movies 16.

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Overboard

Kerns rating: Three and one-half stars

The smartest thing producers did was utilize casting to break down borders, casting Mexican movie star Eugenio Derbez in one of the lead roles -- because he carries the film on his back, making even a familiar story funny again. Hard to believe: Thirty years have passed since Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell starred in director Garry Marshall's romantic comedy "Overboard." This remake, co-written and directed by Rob Greenberg, keeps the same story, with a gender-switch. This time the rich amnesiac is male, not female. The story: Spoiled playboy Leonardo (played by Derbez), a member of Mexico's most wealthy family, falls off his yacht after partying too hard and awakens on the Oregon coast with amnesia. Single, working class mom Kate (Anna Faris) -- wanting revenge after being humiliated by the man -- convinces him that they are married, that he is father to three children and that he works manual labor. Forced to work for the first time in his life, Derbez's character slowly settles in and earns respect from his family and co-workers. But his billionaire family is hot on his trail. Faris is solid, but the script introduces Derbez as a terrific comic talent, able to win laughs via delivery or physical approach.

PG-13: Suggestive material, partial nudity and some language — Premiere Cinemas and Tinseltown 17,

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A Quiet Place

Kerns rating: Four stars

In just 90 minutes, this virtuoso horror film grabs viewers and simply dares them to look away from the screen. At times, this works as a near-silent picture. One of the best things about "A Quiet Place" is that it makes viewers care about each character, who are haunted by more than the truly creepy aliens who appear to have wiped out much of humanity, attacking only what they HEAR at blinding speed. No, these characters are haunted by grief, by personal guilt, by questioning decisions. John Krasinski directs and also plays father Lee Abbott, trying to protect his pregnant wife Evelyn (real wife Emily Blunt), daughter Regan (excellent deaf actress Millicent Simmonds) and frightened son Marcus (Noah Jupe). Try remembering the last time no one was peeking at a cell phone during a movie, too nervous that they would miss something important. Wondering all the while if anything at all can really kill even one of these ugly aliens ... and also make it stay dead. Sound design is brilliant; we quite often worry most when we hear nothing at all.

PG-13: Terror and some bloody images — Premiere Cinemas, Alamo Drafthouse, Tinseltown 17, Movies 16 and Stars & Stripes Drive-In.

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Rampage (3-D/2-D)

Kerns rating: Two stars

Dwayne Johnson has fun transforming science fiction into live action cartoons -- here, fighting a gigantic gorilla (his buddy, George), along with an enormous wolf and crocodile when he is not advising officials to, "Evacuate Chicago." On the roof of a skyscraper, he also dreams up an idea to climb into a helicopter with no tail and "glide" down the building amid the rubble to the street when the building is leveled. Emerging, of course, without a scratch. Jeffrey Dean Morgan provides the occasional smile as a southern FBI agent who comes around to Johnson's way of thinking, no doubt hoping better scripts are in his mailbox at home. Feel free to turn off your brain and go with the flow.

PG-13: Sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language and crude gestures — Premiere Cinemas, Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

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Sherlock Gnomes (3-D/2-D)

John Stevenson directs this computer-animated comedy. Following a string of garden gnome disappearances, Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) turn to legendary detective Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp) to solve the case of missing friends and family. Other featured voices include Chiwetel Ejiofor as Gnome Watson; Mary J. Blige as Irene, Sherlock's former girlfriend; James Demetriou as Moriarty; Michael Caine as Lord Redbrick; Maggie Smith as Lady Bluebury; Ashley Jensen as a plastic garden frog with a Scottish accent; and Ozzy Osbourne as a garden deer.

PG: Some rude and suggestive humor — Premiere Cinemas.

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Super Troopers 2

When a border dispute arises between the United States and Canada, the Broken Lizard comedy troup of Super Troopers are ordered to establish a Highway Patrol station in the disputed area. Having been fired for their previous shenanigans, former Vermont Highway Patrol officers Thorny (played by Jay Chandrasekhar, who also directs) , Farva (Kevin Heffernan), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), Foster (Paul Soter) and Mac (Steve Lemme) get a shot at redemption from Capt. O'Hagan (Brian Cox) and Gov. Jessman (Lynda Carter). The wacky quintet must provide law enforcement for a French Canadian town called St. Georges Du Laurent, Quebec that may actually be on American soil. Their unconventional methods soon get put to the test when they encounter the smarmy Mayor Guy Le Franc (Rob Lowe), mischievous Mounties, a smuggling ring and a 1,300-pound bear.

R: Crude sexual content and language throughout, drug material and some graphic nudity — Premiere Cinemas and Stars & Stripes Drive-In.

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Tully

Kerns rating: Three and one-half stars

Screenwriter Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman, who met while making 2007 comedy "Juno," provide harder edges by exploring post-partum depression. Cody reigns in her comic instincts without asking them to disappear. Yet with secrets at hand, she almost gives the whole shebang away. The story belongs to Marlo, introduced by Charlize Theron as a wife and mother physically exhausted and, with minimum sleep, pushing it mentally -- and then gives birth to her third child. She also worries about a son (Asher Miles Fallica as Jonah) who might be within the autism spectrum. Marlo's brother (Mark Duplass) tries to help her rest by paying the salary of a "night nanny," but she is reluctant to open her home to a stranger, at least until candle-burning fatigue sees her reach for the phone. The new night nanny, Tully -- splendid work by Mackenzie Davis -- is almost as magical as a contemporary Mary Poppins. She's great with the children, helps with cooking and cleaning while Marlo sleeps, and gradually becomes an unexpected BFF whom Marlo relies upon. Until the moment when, like Poppins, Davis says it is time to leave. Theron honestly expresses a bleary-eyed, overweight exhaustion, yet is resurrected, even daring, while influenced by Davis. Worth seeing for one of Theron's best performances. Blame Cody if secrets seem to be revealed early.

R: Language and some sexuality/nudity -- Movies 16.

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Ratings, from one to five stars, and reviews are by A-J Media film critic William Kerns.

Source : http://www.lubbockonline.com/news/20180517/kerns-look-for-deadpool-sequel-to-take-charge-as-top-ticket-seller

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