By Chris Kavan - 01/07/20 at 08:19 PM CT
First off, I have to apologize as there was an MPAA Ratings Bulletin released the week of Christmas that I totally overlooked. I guess the ratings board doesn't get as good a holiday as I expected. In any case, I will incorporate both that update and the current update into this post. Luckily, I didn't miss too much, as there was a single wide release in that update while this week brings a better mix - horror, romance, action - if you have an itch, there's a good chance it will be scratched somewhere down the line. The new year is upon us - and hopefully the updates will keep coming strong as well.
There are a raft of reboots in the work with old characters starting over. Jumping on this band wagon, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are ready to get back together for one more action-packed adventure in Bad Boys for Life. That's right, Detectives Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) are back in the hot seat dealing with issues both personal and professional as life catches up with them even as they join a newly-created elite AMMO team on the Miami PD with the intent to stop a dangerous cartel, the Armando Armas. The film features quite the eclectic collection with Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Joe Pantoliano, Charles Melton, DJ Khaled, Paola Nuñez and Kate del Castillo all on board. I actually haven't really heard a lot about this, despite the fact it's coming out mid-January. I have a feeling this is going to go over about as well as Smith's Gemini Man, though maybe nostalgia - and a need for action - will drive some more butts in the seats. Granted, it didn't really work for Rambo: Last Blood - so let's hope these Bad Boys have a bit more luck. Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, sexual references and brief drug use.
Let's keep this reboot train rolling, shall we? We're going back to a tale as old as time - no, not that one, I'm talking about a different story. Okay, maybe not as old as time, but H.G. Wells certainly has gotten a lot of miles out of The Invisible Man and Hollywood is going back to that well again - but this version looks a bit different. Handmaid's Tale stalwart Elisabeth Moss plays Cecilia Kass, recent widow to an abusive, controlling ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen)) a scientist who leaves her a good portion of his vast fortune after a supposed suicide. But Cecilia isn't so sure he is dead - and begins to suspect something sinister is stalking her - an evil she can't see but knows is there. Cecilia was aided in escaping that relationship by her sister (Harriet Dyer)) along with childhood friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid) - all who now find themselves in danger. I mean, this seems like an interesting update to the classic sci-fi story, with plenty of modern elements thrown in. I don't know how it will play with audiences, but director Leigh Whannell has proven an writer/producer on several Saw and Insidious films as well as directing Insidious: Chapter 3 and the underrated Upgrade. It's hard to this headlining 2020 - but as far as interesting horror films go, my interest is piqued. Rated R for some strong bloody violence, and language.
Speaking of interesting remakes of existing stories, if Invisible Man adds modern elements to a classic story, wait until you see what they've done with Fantasy Island. I know I'm showing my age here, but I remember the TV show where Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke, and his pint-sized assistant Tattoo (Hervé Villechaize) ran an island paradise where they could make every dream come true - but often what people wished for brought on lessons that would challenge them and change their outlook on life. It was uplifting, kitschy, but uplifting. Now Jeff Wadlow (Cry Wolf, Truth or Dare) is here to make your fantasy a nightmare - one in which the only way to survive is to figure out how to escape. Mr. Roarke is played by Michael Peña, and his guests include the likes of Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Michael Rooker, Ryan Hansen and Jimmy O. Yang. I mean, this looks like a combination between Saw and Final Destination - and crazier than both combined. Still, if any story could support a horror angle, Fantasy Island seems pretty solid. Once again, I'm not seeing this dominating the year, but perhaps horror fans will show up. Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, drug content, suggestive material and brief strong language.
Finally, the film from Christmas week finally gets to make an appearance. And I'm not saving the best for last - this last film combines romance with religious overtones.I Still Believe follows the life of Christian music star Jeremy Camp (Riverdale's K.J. Apa) and the relationship he shared with his first wife, Melissa Henning (Britt Robertson) whom he married after learning a cancer diagnosis would only give her months to live. Look, I realize this is based on a real story and I'm sure it's quite emotional, but I can't believe this won't be sappy as all get-out. I don't think this will push the religious angle quite as bad as the God's Not Dead of this world, but I'm sure it will be present. Gary Sinise is on hand as Camp's father while Shania Twain portrays his mother. Abigail Cowen is Camp's second wife, Adrienne, while Melissa Roxburgh plays his aunt and Nathan Parsons plays a friend. I'm sure it will result in plenty of tears being shed by impressionable, young women in the audience - but I'm just going to shrug and roll my eyes at this - like pretty much every other young romance and/or religious bent film. Rated PG for thematic material.
Those are all the big films from this week and the December - two for one - aren't you lucky? Be sure to check out the extended MPAA Rating Bulletin(s) below:
Rated R for violence/terror and language.
THE ADVENTURE OF A.R.I. - MY ROBOT FRIEND
Rated PG for mild action and some rude behavior.
Rated R for some language.
BAD BOYS FOR LIFE
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, sexual references and brief drug use.
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
Rated R for language, some violence, sexual material and brief drug use.
Rated PG-13 for some violence, bloody images and drug material.
Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, drug content, suggestive material and brief strong language.
Rated R for bloody violence, language throughout, some sexual content and drug use.
Rated R for sexual content and language throughout.
I STILL BELIEVE
Rated PG for thematic material.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELEPHANTS
Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language.
THE INVISIBLE MAN
Rated R for some strong bloody violence, and language.
THE NIGHT CLERK
Rated R for language, some sexual references, brief nudity and violent images.
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD
Rated PG for thematic material and brief violence.
Rated PG-13 for strong language, thematic material including some disturbing images and smoking throughout.
THE ROADS NOT TAKEN
Rated R for language.
RUN SWEETHEART RUN
Rated R for horror violence, bloody images, language, sexual references and brief nudity.
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor.
YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT
Rated R for some violence, disturbing images, sexual content and language.