‘Happy Death Day,’ ‘Marshall’
Courtesy of Open Road Films; Courtesy of Universal Pictures
‘Happy Death Day’ sends Jessica Rothe on a horror ‘Groundhog Day’ loop, ‘Marshall’ targets adults and Jackie Chan is back with action-thriller ‘The Foreigner.’ On Netflix, filmmaker David Fincher releases his highly anticipated serial killers series ‘Mindhunter.’
Happy Death Day
The Universal horror pic, produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse, stars Jessica Rothe as Tree, a college student who relives the day of her murder over and over until she discovers her killer’s identity. Directed by Christopher Landon, the pre-Halloween movie is rated PG-13.
The production only had two days to capture its key scene over and over again. Each time, a carefully choreographed chain of events occurs — a fraternity pledge passes out, a couple gets sprayed with a sprinkler — and Tree soon learns to predict what’s going to happen. And for other parts of the movie, the cast and crew also had to keep track which time loop they were shooting. “The challenge was tracking everything and making sure everything was consistent and was adhering to the rules of a time loop,” says Landon. “We had annoying graphs and charts, but I had written many drafts of the script. I think I ended up writing almost ten drafts. I lived it for a really long time, so I did have a clear, almost baked in knowledge and I felt very comfortable because most of that.”
To American audiences, Chan is best known as one half of buddy comedies like Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon. But his latest English-language release (his first since 2010’s The Karate Kid) is a departure from what domestic moviegoers are used to seeing from the 63-year-old star. “I’ve been working so hard for all these years in the film business,” he told. “I wanted to prove that I’m a good stunt man, I’m a good stunt coordinator, I’m a good director, I’m a good producer, that I can write. Now, I want them to say, ‘That Jackie, he is a good actor.'”
In limited theaters
Chadwick Boseman portrays the titular Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice in American history. As a young NAACP lawyer, he reluctantly teams with a Jewish attorney (played by Josh Gad) to tackle an oft-forgotten case that helped lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement. Reginald Hudlin directs the Open Road courtroom thriller, which also features Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown and James Cromwell.
“It’s a courtroom drama, but it’s also kind of a Western,” explains Hudlin of the movie. “Thurgood comes to town, delivers justice, and then he’s got to go to the next town…. And that’s where his name came from: Marshall. It’s his last name, but it’s also who he is.”
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
In limited theaters
The superhero origin tale recounts how Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston (played by Luke Evans) created the iconic Wonder Woman character in the 1940s. His feminist superhero — who was criticized by censors for her “sexual perversity” — was inspired by two empowered, real-life women: his wife and their lover. Angela Robinson directs the Annapurna biopic, also featuring Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote and Connie Britton.
“These three people went through an awful to stay together and to fight the restrictions of society to keep this love pure,” said Evans of the film.
In limited theaters
Andy Serkis directs the true love story between Robin and Diana Cavendish (played by Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy). The young couple refuses to give up when Robin is struck down by polio at the age of 28, becoming confined to a hospital bed and only given a few months to live. Tom Hollander and Hugh Bonneville are also among the cast of the Participant Media and Bleecker Street release.
The film marks Serkis’ directorial debut. “His background as an actor makes it very reassuring — he understands how hard the rhythm of filmmaking is,” Garfield told THR of Serkis. “It’s also a little-known fact that he’s a fine artist — he’s a painter and a drawer, so his abilities with framing and color and creating beautiful imagery was an amazing thing to witness. He can really do it all, and it really didn’t feel like his first film.”
Goodbye Christopher Robin
In limited theaters
Domhnall Gleeson portrays beloved children’s author creator A.A. Milne, whose son Christopher Robin (played by Will Tilston) inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. The biopic follows the Milne family as they’re swept up in the international success of the books, which bring hope and comfort to England in the wake of WWI. Simon Curtis directs the Fox Searchlight biopic, which also stars Margot Robbie and Kelly Macdonald.
Though the father-son relationship in the film is complicated, Gleeson explained of the author’s bond with his son, “They had a beautiful relationship — they genuinely were good influences on each other’s lives, apart from this one big thing. I was struck by the tragedy and drama of that. It’s about enjoying being around each other while you have the time.”
Friday on Netflix
David Fincher’s highly anticipated Netflix crime drama releases it full 10-episode season. The 1979-set FBI series, executive produced by Charlize Theron, follows two agents in the serial crime unit, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), who set out on a sinister investigative odyssey to discover the brutal answers. Fringe star Anna Torv also stars as psychologist, Wendy.
Based on the 1996 book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, the project is the Seven filmmaker’s first series for the streamer since directing episodes on House of Cards. Review compares the tone to Fincher’s 2007 film Zodiac and says it starts off “compelling” and quickly “reveals itself as a suspense series hinging on after-the-fact investigations into the heads and hearts of known murderers.”
Producer and recurring star Jamie Foxx pulls from his own life for this new Showtime comedy with former Saturday Night Live star Jay Pharoah. In his first TV role since leaving the NBC sketch show, Pharoah turns in a “versatile and charismatic lead performance,” according to review.
The comedian plays Floyd, a content stand-up comic who strives to become “white famous” and transcend color, like Eddie Murphy or Will Smith or Foxx, who makes a cameo in the pilot as himself. “The most ridiculous thing is actually in the first episode,” Foxx teased.