This weekend at the movies, we have a belated sequel to a Pixar classic (Incredibles 2, featuring the voices of Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson), some of Hollywood’s funniest fellows trying to touch one another without permission (Tag, starring Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, and Jon Hamm), and a remade blast from the blaxploitation past (Superfly, starring Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell). What are the critics saying?
If you’re going to try and follow up an acclaimed blockbuster, you might as well take your time getting the sequel right — and in animation, where time can stand still forever, you have the added benefit of not needing to rush your cast back in front of the camera. Still, after waiting nearly 15 years for a second installment of The Incredibles, fans can be forgiven a certain amount of impatience; while the creative teams at formerly franchise-averse Pixar dreamed up new stories for the characters in Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc., the ability to return to theaters continued to elude the superpowered Parr family. All that waiting has finally paid off with Incredibles 2, which reunites the original voice cast for a new adventure serving up more of the domestic turmoil, superhero satire, and brilliantly animated action that made the first one such a hit. It’d be tough to improve on the original Incredibles, and critics say that while this sequel doesn’t quite pull off that feat, it comes impressively close, adding yet another acclaimed entry to Pixar’s already estimable filmography. If you were a kid when The Incredibles came out, you might have kids of your own now — and like all the best stuff the studio has put out, the whole family can look forward to enjoying Incredibles 2.
On one hand, it’s easy to believe Hollywood has long since exhausted most of the reasonable possibilities for comedy that exist in movies about grown men acting like boys. On the other, when you’ve got the Wall Street Journal writing about a real-life group of guys who take a month off every year to continue the game of tag they’ve been playing since they were kids, well, it’s awfully hard to resist the temptation to turn that into a film. Enter the descriptively titled Tag, starring Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, and Jeremy Renner as the fellows in question — a talented bunch whose commitment to the story was reflected in the set injury Renner sustained, breaking both of his arms and necessitating some last-minute CGI limb replacements in post-production. It would be wonderful to report that Renner’s suffering came in service of one of the year’s best-reviewed action comedies; alas, the truth is that critics are kinda meh on Tag, which reviews describe as funny and engaging in fits and starts, but ultimately not consistent or committed enough to fully deliver on its premise. Still, this is one talented cast, and even the critical pans say the movie isn’t without its moments, so if you’re in the mood for some arrested development laughs, you may want to check your local listings.
Released in 1972, the original Superfly helped lead the blaxploitation wave with a thoughtful Harlem-set drama about a drug dealer looking for one last big score; the movie’s trappings may look somewhat dated today, but thanks to Ron O’Neal‘s performance as main character Youngblood Priest — not to mention a killer Curtis Mayfield soundtrack — it still feels fresh. It’s easy to understand why music video veteran Director X wanted to take a shot at updating the story, and its themes are just as relevant as they were more than 45 years ago; unfortunately, critics say those themes have mostly been lost in this new version, which is far more focused on style than substance. Starring Trevor Jackson as Priest, the 2018 edition moves the action to Atlanta, but the basic contours of the story remain the same — which is part of why a number of reviews have outlined pundits’ disappointment with the lost social subtext. This Superfly will make its fortune by and by, thanks to Director X’s way with an artfully arranged scene or set piece, but as is so often the case with remakes, the original still reigns supreme.
The Bold Type presents an aspirational yet refreshingly realistic portrait of young women’s careers, friendships and love lives in a big city.
A beautiful slow burn, Strange Angel shoots for the stars, but gets a little lost in its own orbit.
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release