Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams
OPENING THIS WEEK
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Alice through the Looking Glass (PG for fantasy action, scenes of peril and mild epithets) Adaptation of Lewis Carroll's sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland finds Alice (Mia Wasikowska) traveling backwards in time in order to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) from losing his mind. Ensemble cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans and the late Alan Rickman.
X-Men: Apocalypse (PG-13 for violence, action, destructon, suggestive images and brief profanity) 9th installment in the franchise based on the Marvel Comics series finds Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) recruiting a team of young X-Men to prevent a seemingly immortal and invincible mutant (Oscar Isaac) from triggering an extinction-level event. With Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult and Rose Byrne.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Holy Hell (Unrated) Mind control documentary revisiting The Buddhafield, an ill-fated, religious sect located in L.A. in the Eighties which was run by a charismatic cult leader called Michel.
The Idol (Unrated) Against-the-odds biopic about Mohammed Assaf (Tawfeek Barhom), the Palestinian kid from Gaza who used a forged visa to enter Egypt where he proceeded to win the 2013 Arab Idol competition. With Ahmed Al Rokh, Hiba Attalah and Kais Attalah. (In Arabic and Spanish with subtitles)
Jia Zhangke, A Guy from Fenyang (Unrated) Reverentail biopic about Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke unfolding from the perspective of his Brazilian colleague, Walter Salles. (In Mandarin with subtitles)
Ma Ma (R for some nudity and brief sexual references) Character-driven drama, set in the Canary Islands, revolving around a young mother (Penelope Cruz) recently diagnosed with cancer who forges a friendship with a soccer scout (Luis Tovar) who just lost his wife and daughter in a car accident. With Asier Etxeandia, Teo Planell and Anna Jimenez. (In Spanish with subtitles).
Presenting Princess Shaw (Unrated) Prestige biopic about Samantha Montgomery, New Orleans healthcare worker-turned-Youtube singing sensation with the help of a stranger, Kutman, a pioneering composer/musician/video artist located half a world away in Israel.
Unlocking the Cage (Unrated) Animal rights documentary chronicling the efforts of attorney Steven Wise to secure personhood status for primates, elephants and whales.