Piolo, ScarJo starrers, Smurfs lead movies opening this week
Northern Lights: A Journey to Love
Directed by Dondon Santos; stars Piolo Pascual, Yen Santos, Tirso Cruz III, Raikko Mateo
Based in Alaska, a Filipino man tries to get to know his child after years of separation. Pascual admits that some scenes reflected his real-life experiences with his grown son. “I could relate to its story,” admits the actor who became a father at a young age. “All I had to do was pull emotions from my own life.” Opens today.
Directed by Ricojohn Amparo; stars John McEarl, Jiane Abalos, Anne Catherine Cubelo
Mystic, who serves as guardian of a necklace given by the sentinels of nature, leaves her four children to continue her mission. Lead star McEarl reports that the director is “a multitasker” who juggles various duties on the set. Amparo owns up: “I was hands-on, to make sure that the film would reflect my vision.” Opens today.
Ghost in the Shell
Directed by Rupert Sanders; stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt
Cyber-enhanced soldier discovers the truth about her past. Commonsensemedia.org remarks: “Looks to be full of graphic violence, intense imagery and racy moments.” Movieweb.com’s Ryan Scott asserts: “There are definitely elements of ‘The Matrix’ … as well as some ‘John Wick.’” Opens today.
Directed by Susan Johnson; stars Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, William Moseley, Jason Ritter
Harvard-educated genius struggles in pursuing relationships, postgraduation. Screen International’s Wendy Ide points out: “Dialogue is sharp and Powley’s comic timing is well-tuned.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Leslie Felperin says: “When it relaxes its didactic grip … it can be quite charming.” Opens today.
Directed by Walter Hill; stars Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub
A rogue surgeon turns a hit man into a woman. Variety’s Dennis Harvey states: “Gracelessly mashes together hardboiled crime-melodrama clichés and an unintentionally funny … gender-change narrative hook.” Movie Mezzanine quips: “Deliciously cheesy, pulpy and trashy.” Opens today.
Smurfs: The Lost Village
Directed by Kelly Asbury; stars Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Mandy Patinkin
Smurfette and pals embark on an adventure through the Forbidden Forest. Flickeringmyth.com’s Matthew Lee notes: “All-animated approach gives the visuals a boundless, kinetic energy.” AVClub.com’s Alex McLevy explains: “Looks to right the course of the dreadful first two films.” Opens Friday.
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