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New in theaters this week are some adorable rescue planes, some sexy “cloud” shenanigans, Zach Braff’s Kickstarter movie, and of course, the requisite murder and mayhem. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new on the big screen this week.
PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE
I’m all for any children’s film where they play a tune by AC/DC in the trailer (“Thunderstruck,” in this case). This sequel to 2013’s “Planes” (a spinoff of 2006’s “Cars”) finds Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) now a world famous air racer. But when he learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he shifts gears and joins an elite aerial firefighting unit, including veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger, spirited super scooper Dipper, heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie, and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers.
Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero. Directed by Disney vet Roberts Gannaway (Disney TV’s “House of Mouse” and “Timon & Pumba”), the animation is more sophisticated than “Planes,” and the story more appealing, especially given the raging real-life wildfires out west this year. It’s sure to please any kid obsessed with animated vehicles. Julie Bowen, Corri English, Ed Harris, Regina King, Stacy Keach and Jerry Stiller also voice characters.
THE PURGE: ANARCHY
In a world where all crime is legal for one 24-hour period of mayhem and murder each year, one nice young couple hasn’t figured out that taking a drive in an unreliable car right before Purge night starts is a really bad idea. They seek shelter with other innocent victims, including a man who’s planning to use his one night of law-free killing to avenge his son.
This movie is everything found in your worst nightmares, and if you like that sort of thing, here you go. Writer-director James DeMonaco returns for this sequel, which stars Frank Grillo, Zach Gilford, and Kiele Sanchez. Producer Jason Blum has said he’s up for the idea of cranking out new “Purge” movies each year, as he does with his “Paranormal Activity” franchise. Because that’s what the world needs — more violence.
It’s tough to come up with new romantic comedy ideas, so kudos to director Jake Kasdan for reclaiming the magic with this grownup movie. After ten years of marriage and two kids, things just aren’t as passionate as they once were with Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz). To kick things up a notch, they decide to make a video of themselves trying out every position in “The Joy of Sex” in one marathon three-hour session.
Great idea, right? Until they discover that their most private video has somehow made its way into “the cloud” and now everyone knows about it! With their reputations on the line, they’re just one click away from being laid bare to the world, but in their race to reclaim their video, they find that it exposes even more than they bargained for. Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe and Nat Faxon also star.
WISH I WAS HERE
Ten years after “Garden State,” Zach Braff returns to the director’s chair with another comedy-drama, thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign (yep, I threw in my $10). Braff stars as a struggling 35-year-old actor who’s married with children, but still trying to find a direction. While home-schooling his kids, he learns a little something about himself in the process.
Reviews from the film’s Sundance debut were all over the place, with Variety’s Scott Foundas proclaiming it “a cloying compendium of follow-your-dreams platitudes, new-agey spirituality and mawkish, father-son deathbed bonding.” Harsh. If you’re a fan of Braff and don’t mind the naval-gazing, this film is for you. Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Jim Parsons, Joey King, Mandy Patinkin, Donald Faison and Ashley Greene co-star.