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New in Theaters January 27: A Dog's Purpose, Gold, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

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By Chris Kavan - 01/26/17 at 06:37 AM CT

While 2017 hasn't had the most glamorous of openings, last week truly gave us a win thanks to the performance of M. Night Shyamalan's Split. This week brings us three new films to add to the mix - the emotional A Dog's Purpose - which faces controversy that could affect its outcome, the purported final film in the Resident Evil franchise and another people you love-to-hate drama in Gold. In addition, thanks to the Oscar nominations both La La Land and Moonlight look to expand and capitalize on their popularity. We'll see how close things are and if Split can maintain a decent second weekend amidst the competition.

A DOG'S PURPOSE Until very recently, I would have said that A Dog's Purpose, with its emotional core, about the multiple lives of a dog trying to reconnect with its original owner, would be a shoo-in for the box office crown. However, things for A Dog's Purpose has taken a darker turn when video was posted of a German Shepherd on set looking to be forced in to a pool against its will and also going under for a short period. PETA has been all over this footage and called for a boycott while various people involved with the film (including the author of the novel and one of the producers) have come out trying to provide context and both decrying and defending the actions. Granted, the studio, in part, is trying to scramble and save face but it's too bad, as the film seems like a truly compassionate film when it comes to man's best friend. The film stars Josh Gad (as the voice of the various dogs) along with Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson, Peggy Lipton, Logan Miller, Juliet Rylance, Luke Kirby and Pooch Hall. I still think the film will probably win the weekend, but I also think the bad press is likely to temper the expectations. Still, I expect plenty of tissues to be broken out as it looks like a weeper.

GOLD Gold looks to follow in the steps of recent films like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short in which we follow a prospector (Matthew McConaughey) who teams up with a geologist (Edgar Ramírez) in order to find gold in the jungle of Indonesia. Now, that sounds like a setup for some kind of comedy/adventure type film, but make no mistake - this is cut-throat all right - but not in the way you think. McConaughey's Kenny Wells must navigate something much more difficult than a jungle - he must contend with backstabbers, politicians, criminals and people he can hardly stand that he calls friends. Now, Gold also looks a lot like a watered-down version of Wolf of Wall Street (and when you're going up against Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio... well, it's hard to compete with that). I guess director Stephen Gaghan took some inspiration but also has some big shoes to fill. Gold looks competent and entertaining but I also don't think it looks like it's going to break out. I predict good but not great results for the film.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER The Resident Evil video games have been going strong since 1996 (and just released the latest game earlier this week) while the film series started in 2002 and has enjoyed a solid run. Based on the title, this appears this is going to be the last film in this series (but final doesn't always mean final - Friday the 13th anyone?). Milla Jovovich is once again front-and-center as the enhanced Alice - who is now one of last survivors of humanity following Umbrella Corporations successful zombie outbreak that has ravaged the world. The Final Chapter picks up immediately following the events of Retribution - which is funny, as Retribution came out over four years ago. I have seen most of the Resident Evil - but haven't 'seen Retribution as of yet. As far as I'm concerned, while the series started off strong - and echoed the games somewhat but as they went on they just lost their way, becoming much more action and sci-fi oriented and kind of leaving the whole horror part behind. Thus, I am thinking this Final Chapter is going to go out with more of a whimper than a bang.

Those are the new releases coming out this weekend. With Oscars on the mind, it will be interesting to see how the awards contenders stand up the competition and whether Split can make it a decent second week or if all the excitement has been burned off. I'll be back Sunday with the results.


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