Director: Liesl Tommy
Stars: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Audra McDonald
Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, “Respect” is the remarkable true story of legendary music star Aretha Franklin’s journey to find her voice in the midst of the turbulent social and political landscape of 1960s America. Jennifer Hudson — handpicked by Franklin herself — headlines an all-star cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Mary J. Blige, Marlon Wayans and Tituss Burgess.
“The Suicide Squad”
Director/Writer: James Gunn
Stars: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena
Armed with high-tech weapons, the government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world — Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others — to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. As they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, it’s up to Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.
While “The Suicide Squad” contains a few returning characters and actors who were also in the 2016 movie — Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and the Task Force X leader, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) — it’s not accurate to think of this as a sequel. “The Suicide Squad” doesn’t waste time recounting what happened in the previous film as the film is laid out as “today’s do-or-die assignment,” meaning, this is just another day in the life of the squad.
Director: Shawn Levy
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi
Inspired by wildly violent open-world video games like “Grand Theft Auto,” “Free Guy” follows a non-playable background character in a video game who is suddenly awoken from his daily bank teller routine and tasked with saving his video game world from being destroyed. It’s like “The Truman Show” meets “Wreck-It Ralph” with some of “Last Action Hero” and “The Matrix” thrown in for good measure. So there’s a lot going on here.
“Free Guy” stars Ryan Reynolds as the film’s main character, a video game bank teller named Guy, and, of course, he brings all his sarcastic charm with him. Jodie Comer plays the badass video game character Molotov Girl, who breaks Guy from his background character routine. She also portrays Millie, the gamer who controls her in the real world. Meanwhile, Taika Waititi plays the douchebag video game creator who is trying to shut the whole thing down. Funny and light, the movie is really not about video games as much as it is about being a person in the world and how you choose to live. ♦