While July 4 weekends are usually filled with barbecues and fireworks displays, it doesn't mean you can't sneak away to the multiplex for a movie -- or two or three! Here is what to look for Independence Day weekend 2016:
The movie that is looking more and more like our immediate future: "The Purge: Election Year"
Say what you will about the first two "Purge" movies (I happen to LOVE them, in that double-fudge sundae, I know this is terrible for me sort of way), but "The Purge: Election Year" is looking more and more like a documentary every day. Frank Grillo returns (after being the emotional core of "The Purge 2: Anarchy") as Leo Barnes, the head of security for a headstrong Senator Charlie Roan, played by Elizabeth Mitchell. The senator is running for president on the platform of ending the annual purge night, much to the chagrin of the oft praised "New Founding Fathers." I really like how the series was able to transition from horror/thriller to high octane action, and I like that each film tackles a different social issue (modern day class system, poverty and politics.) If you have to stomach to handle the premise, I definitely recommend giving "The Purge: Election Year" a chance.
The movie Disney really, really wants you to go see: "The Legend of Tarzan"
I am really on the fence about this movie. On one hand, I have so many fond memories of 1999's animated "Tarzan," on the other hand, this trailer does nothing for me, except reminding me of how good Alexander Skarsgard was in "True Blood," Christoph Waltz was in "Inglourious Basterds," and how Margo Robbie is going to kill it as Harley Quinn in this summers "Suicide Squad." (The movie that is going to save the DC cinematic universe after the less than stellar Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.) If the one thing your trailer makes me do is think of everything BUT your movie, your are going to have a really bad time. There is a very real chance that this movie could make me eat crow, but it has a very large mountain to climb (or tree as it were.)
*While the joke in the title of this section was great, "The Legend of Tarzan" was released by Warner Bros., not Disney.
The movie that left me speechless until the end of the credits: "Swiss Army Man"
Before I begin this discussion, it needs to be said that this movie is not for the squeamish or easily grossed out. This movie is rated R for a reason.
The premise of the movie is simple. Hank, played by Paul Dano, is stranded on an island, and is just about to give up, when a dead (presumably) body Manny, played by Daniel Radcliffe, washes up on shore. What follows is the world's weirdest and somehow sweetest buddy companion movie as Dano teaches his undead friend what it truly means to be alive, reminding himself in the process. The movie lost me in the third act, when we are suddenly inundated with a wealth of new characters, and the films starts to raise more questions that it is willing to answer. When going into the movie, focus on the message of the movie, on the themes and the spot on soundtrack, and let the plot be what it is, something that doesn't really need to be overthought. I wholeheartedly recommend this film to anyone brave enough to watch -- you will not be disappointed.