This weekend at the movies, we’ve got something from the Conjuring universe (Annabelle Comes Home, starring Mckenna Grace and Madison Iseman), a Beatles-free alternate universe (Yesterday, starring Himesh Patel and Lily James), and a re-release from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Avengers: Endgame, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans). What are the critics saying?
You may be thinking to yourself, “Haven’t we all learned to avoid creepy dolls by now?” The answer, at least according to the movies, is a resounding “No.” Annabelle Comes Home is the second movie (in as many weeks!) we’ve gotten this summer about evil killer toys, but to its credit, it does try to have a little fun with the idea. Set mostly in the home of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), the de facto shepherds of the Conjuring universe, the story revolves around the Warrens’ daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace). When her babysitter Mary Ellen’s (Madison Iseman) grief-stricken friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) arrives to take advantage of the Warrens’ collection of cursed artifacts, she unknowingly sets off a night of terror orchestrated by the titular doll. Critics say Annabelle Comes Home isn’t likely to be considered one of the franchise’s more frightening entries, but it’s a fairly fun romp with some old fashioned scares and a few callbacks for those who have been following along with the series.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Why is Danny Boyle directing a jukebox musical rom-com?” It’s a fair question, considering the director’s previous output, but when you’ve had the kind of career he’s enjoyed, you’re entitled to branch out a bit. That said, the reception to Yesterday so far has been somewhat lukewarm, despite its good intentions. Himesh Patel stars here as Jack Malik, a struggling singer-songwriter who suffers an accident and wakes from a coma to find that the world he now inhibits has conveniently forgotten all about the Beatles. Equipped with this knowledge, Jack passes off the Fab Four’s catalogue of hits as his own to rise to pop stardom, but risks losing his best friend — and potential love interest — Ellie (Lily James) in the process. Critics say Yesterday leans hard into the schmaltzier feel-good aspects of the story (penned by rom-com specialist Richard Curtis), and some of the intriguing questions that arise from the film’s fantastical premise are sadly under-explored. But the film benefits from a great cast, which includes Kate McKinnon as a deadpan record exec and Ed Sheeran in a self-deprecating cameo, and it should be a charming enough diversion for a summer weekend.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Wait, didn’t this movie come out a couple of months ago?” If so, you wouldn’t be wrong, but if you’re a big MCU fan, there’s a strong chance you knew this was coming. The short version of the story is that Kevin Feige and the bigwigs over at Marvel really want to snatch that “Highest Grossing Movie Ever” crown from James Cameron’s Avatar, and they’re just under $40 million away from accomplishing that. Is anything going to be different this time around? Sort of. For starters, lucky moviegoers at select theaters will get a limited new poster for the film, featuring Iron Man’s version of the Infinity Gauntlet. But wait, there’s more! Co-director Anthony Russo will provide an introduction to the film, and it will include both a deleted scene and a sneak preview of the upcoming Spider-Man: Far from Home. Will that be enough to draw moviegoers back to theaters to break the Avatar record? Maybe, probably, but either way, it’ll be back in theaters this weekend.
In its final season, Legion remains a singular piece of visually arresting, mind-bending television that never fails to surprise.
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