SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Here's a look at a few of your viewing options for this weekend.
Raya and the Last Dragon
"Raya and the Last Dragon" is an Asian-inspired story of a young woman who is forced to embark on a magical adventure to save her people. It's beautiful and smart without being too complex for younger audiences. It is a plea for unity that doesn't stray away from how difficult it can be to put your trust in someone who has been deceptive in the past. (Full Review)
Where to watch: Disney+ Premium, Theaters
Written and directed by Eddie Huang ("Fresh Off the Boat"), "Boogie" is a fairly traditional coming-of-age drama that stands apart because it is centered on Alfred 'Boogie' Chin (Taylor Takahashi), a first-generation Chinese American teen with a promising basketball future. His home life is something of a disaster. His parents are mismatched, his father is in and out of jail for one scheme or another and all their hopes and dreams are placed entirely on Boogie's back.
Boogie isn't the most approachable protagonist. He's brash, arrogant, disagreeable and frequently undermines his own success. Still, he has his reasons and his journey is interesting enough to recommend to those wanting to dive down the rabbit hole of what it means to be a Chinese American.
Where to watch: Theaters
Set in a future dystopia, "Chaos Walking" finds Tom Holland in the roll of Tom, a young man, who lives in a small community where there are no women. There's something in the atmosphere of the planet that Tom lives that enables everyone access to each other's thoughts. Tom's world is turned on its head when he discovers Viola (Daisy Ridley) in a crashed spaceship.
Based on a series of books by Patrick Ness, "Chaos Walking" feels like something that probably works really well as a novel, but doesn't exactly translate to a film. I really enjoyed director Doug Liman's "Edge of Tomorrow," but nothing else has really clicked for me. Here, the sound design is more distracting that it is immersive. The story feels slapped together (the screenplay was worked on by numerous people and there were extensive reshoots when the original version tested poorly with audiences). It's coherent, but only just.
Lionsgate wanted this to be their next Hunger Games. I don't think there's enough here to justify a sequel.
Where to watch: Theaters
Coming 2 America
I wasn't able to work "Coming 2 America" into my schedule this week. The film sees Eddie Murphy returning to his role as Prince Akeem three decades after the original release. The narrative sees Akeem returning to America when he learns that he has a son. Reviews have been mixed. If you're a fan of the original, it's probably worth a look.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
There's also a new animated SpongeBob movie that sees SpongeBob's snail Gary kidnapped (the synopsis actually describes this as snail-napped). Desperate to get Gary back, SpongBob and Patrick set out on an adventure that takes them to The Lost City of Atlantic City.
Where to watch: Paramount+, VOD
I've talked about Robin Wright's "Land" a few times since it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film is now moving to VOD for those of you who had yet to venture out to a theater to see it.
In the wake of personal trauma, Edee Mathis (Robin Wright) abandons her life in the city for a remote Wyoming cabin without electricity. Woefully unprepared to face the extremities of isolation, Edee finds an unexpected mentor in Miguel (Demián Bichir ). "Land" is a beautiful film that explores loss and recovery. [Full Review]
Where to watch: Theaters, VOD
Murder Among the Mormons
The documentary sereis "Murder Among the Mormons" was released on Netflix on Wednesday. The story takes viewers back to 1985 to when a series of bombing took place in Salt Lake City, Utah. The story of Mark Hofmann is one of forgery, excess and murder. It's an incredibly strange tale told incredibly well here by directors Jared Hess ("Napoleon Dynamite") and Tyler Measom ("Sons of Perdition"). (Full Review)
Where to watch: Netflix
The Trial of the Chicago 7
I'm very late to the part on this one but with Awards Season upon us I chiseled out some time to watch director/writer Aaron Sorkin's "The Trial of the Chicago 7." Based on the true story of seven men who were arrested in the aftermath of the1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, the film presents another problematic moment in U.S. history that you're unlikely to learn about in your history classes. Like most of Sorkin's work, the screenplay is sharp and witty. The cast, which includes Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Rylance and Frank Langella, is solid and the pacing is almost perfect as we move through the course of the case. Highly recommended. Timely too.
Where to watch: Netflix