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New in Theaters Sept. 14: The Predator, A Simple Favor, White Boy Rick, Unbroken: Path to Redemption

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By Chris Kavan - 09/13/18 at 06:41 AM CT

As The Nun helped scare up a record opening for The Conjuring franchise, The Predator looks to improve upon all the previous films, going way back to 1987, when Arnold Schwarzenegger headlined the proceedings. Otherwise, the box office is going to be filled with a lot of crime as Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively bring A Simple Favor to life while White Boy Rick is a true story about an informant-turned-life-in-prison felon with Matthew McConaughey heading things there. Rounding out the new films is Unbroken: Path to Redemption, that has little to do with the first film outside the title and characters.

THE PREDATOR While we should be talking about how awesome it is to see this actin franchise resurrected after the somewhat baffling AVP mashup, instead most people are talking about yet another controversy as actress Olivia Munn has been very outspoken about a scene she shared with Steven Wilder Striegel, a friend of director Shane Black and, it turns out, also a registered sex offender. Needless to say, when she found out she brought this to attention, the scene was cut, but subsequently the response from much of the cast, as well as Black, has been mostly silence. Thus, many have been focused on this instead of the actual film. That being said, I'm staying out of it - I just want to see some bloody good fun, and it seems Black has a handle on things with a cast that includes the likes of Sterling K. Brown, Keegan-Michael Key, Jacob Tremblay, Trevante Rhodes, Boyd Holbrook, Alfie Allen and Thomas Jane. The basic storyline is that our Predator friends are back - and after quite a few decades have only grown stronger and more dangerous and finally decided they are ready to take down mankind for their new trophies - and a hybrid proves just how deadly the alien species can be. Good thing mankind has a group of crazy soldiers and one scientist to save us all. I mean, the setup is pure action territory - and the trailers I have seen make this look about as insane as said setup. I'm sure it will involve a lot of death and destruction, and will have no problem topping the newcomers, but it remains to be seen how it stacks up against The Nun.

WHITE BOY RICK I love it when true life is more wild and crazy than anything that Hollywood could come up with - because it provides a lot of inspiration for Hollywood to adapt. Granted, truth is stranger than fiction often stretches the truth a bit when it comes to TV or movies, and I have no doubt that White Boy Rick will do the same. But there's nothing wrong, as the story follows young Rick Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) who finds himself becoming an informant for the FBI, even while running a sophisticated drug operation himself in Detroit, ultimately earning a life sentence for drug trafficking. It doesn't help that the people around him, including father Richard Wershe Sr. (Matthew McConaughey), are heavily involved in the drug trade. The cast looks great - with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rory Cochrane playing FBI agents while Bel Powley, Brian Tyree Henry, Eddie Marsan, Bruce Dern, Piper Laurie, Jonathan Majors and RJ Cyler help round out the cast. The story has been explored in the 2017 documentary just called White Boy and I'm guessing the outlandish story-turned-urban legend was just too good to pass up. While it may not challenge the top of the box office, I hope it plays decent and I would be happy to catch it on streaming.

A SIMPLE FAVOR Speaking of crime stories, while not add a bit of humor, secrets, scandal, betrayal, revenge and a dash of romance. Throw that all together and you get Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) who works as a mommy vlogger, who investigates the disappearance of her best friend, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively) in their small town. Aided by Emily's husband, Sean (Henry Golding) she will not stop until she finds the truth - as twisted as things are about to get. Golding already has a hit with Crazy Rich Asians, so he's riding high and director Paul Feig is no stranger to crafting strong, female and often humorous roles.This will probably draw a mostly female audience, but it remains to be seen if Crazy Rich Asians still has a lock on that audience for now. I have a feeling it will suffer a bit, but won't crash and burn.

UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION The first Unbroken was a harrowing tale of survival against extreme odds, following the story of Olympian Louis Zamperini who first survives on the open sea, and then a Japanese POW camp. It was a major studio film and also directed by Angelina Jolie. Now, a followup about what happens after surviving such trauma and returning home and facing personal demons could have been a worthy follow-up, but if you're looking for the same quality and emotion the original film brought, please move along. You see, Path to Redemption is Unbroken in name only. Yes, it once again follows the story of Louis Zamperini but a quick glance will show none of the actors reprise their roles from the original, Jolie has been replaced by Harold Crook and Pure Flix is our new distributor. That's right, Unbroken has been co-opted into a faith-based farce, because Cronk also directed God's Not Dead (and the sequel) along with God Bless the Broken Road (which recently had a disappointing debut) - which, to me, represent some of the worst qualities of the faith-based genre. Look, there can be decent faith-based films, but I find more often than not that these kind of films are more interested in proselytizing than telling a compelling story, and Pure Flix is often guilty of the worst offenses. I have a feeling it's going to do just as well as God Bless the Broken Road, unless some misinformed soul enters this thinking it's a proper follow-up and, if that's the case, I feel bad for them.

There should be a lot of action at the box office and it looks like it will be a fight between two horror films, both part of a larger universe of films. I'll be back on Sunday when we'll find out who will come out on top.


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