Weekend movie guide: chameleons, fedoras, spells & the ’80s

Movies, Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Industrial Light & Magic’s first foray into the feature-lenth animated film arena hits theatres this weekend with Rango, starring Johnny Depp, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher and Bill Nighy. Chronicling the adventure of a wayward chameleon, Rango is a Western meets hero’s journey meets action/adventure meets mystery. And it’s a damn good time. The storytelling is tight, the comedy is intelligent and, most noticeably, the animation is gorgeous. One of the best animated films of late, sure to be a contender during next year’s award season. Read the full review here.

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt star in The Adjustment Bureau, based on a short story by sci-fi favorite Philip K. Dick. Following politician David (Damon) and dancer Elise (Blunt), The Adjustment Bureau pits these star-crossed lovers against a mysterious organization bent on keeping them apart. The movie explores themes of fate and free will, couched in a well-conceived sci-fi scenario complete with “controllers,” inter-dimensional portals, magic fedoras and destiny-scribed notebooks. The clever concept works well with the impressive acting chops of the two leads; however, the incredibly high-stakes ultimately don’t pay off, with an ending that came all too easily. Read the full review here.

Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler and Teresa Palmer star in Take Me Home Tonight, a fun and light-hearted tribute to the ’80s. With hefty doses of nostalgia mixed with contemporary-minded comedy, Take Me Home Tonight hits the perfect balance, making for a fun ride all the way through. It’s a story we’ve seen countless times before, but the buddy duo of Grace and Fogler (Fanboys) make it fun to watch anyway. Read the full review here.

Beastly is the latest retelling of the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, starring Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four), Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen and Neil Patrick Harris. The movie feels like it belongs on the Disney Channel, due in large part to Hudgens’ painful lack of acting ability. Pettyfer is surprisingly good, but if he continues to take roles like this, he won’t get far. Harris and Olsen shine in their limited screen-time, but are hardly enough to save the movie from its awkward mix of modernism and magic. With gaping plot points, baffling storytelling and mediocre acting, Beastly was an unnecessary retelling of the highest order. Read the full review here.

Read the full reviews for Rango, The Adjustment Bureau, Take Me Home Tonight and Beastly at Pop Goes the Culture. Share it, tweet it, leave a comment!

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About Dustin Diehl

An avid reader, freelance writer, content strategist and traveler, Dustin Diehl is a longtime Nerdvana contributor with sources placed deep in the heart of the Star Wars universe. No Bothans died to bring you this information.