Sequel report

Some follow-up movies (Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back) are considerably better than others (Fifty Shades Darker)

"See Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back! The Monkey King commands it!"
  • "See Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back! The Monkey King commands it!"

First things first: the 2017 San Diego Jewish Film Festival is underway, and runs through the 17th. Film lineup is here. I rather like the cutline: "Our Lives Projected." Between that and the first San Diego Film Week at the Digital Gym, you shouldn't have to take in a single big studio release!

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Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back 4.0

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But if you do, it will probably be a sequel. The big news here is Journey to the West: the Demons Strike Back, one more sign that as Hollywood burns, Chinese cinema rises from the ashes. (And one more: Duckweed, also out this week.) Four stars from Scott Marks! Perhaps consider using it as a back door into the world of The Monkey King (who has two movies of his own!)

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John Wick: Chapter 2 1.0

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The slightly smaller news is John Wick: Chapter 2, which just about everyone likes but me. The first one was such a pleasant surprise: Keanu Reeves as the hit man with a broken heart, tearing through the underworld on a mission only he understands. This one was a silly slog.

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Lego Batman Movie 2.0

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The younger news is The Lego Batman Movie, a sequel of sorts to The Lego Movie and also every Batman movie ever, which had lots of funny parts and very little else. Well, except for the gorgeous set design.

The bad news — quelle surprise — is 50 Shades Darker.

And while I Am Not Your Negro isn't any kind of sequel, it did see a very limited release last week before landing in Hillcrest today. (Ditto They Call Us Monsters at The Digital Gym.) And it does revisit work written some 30 years ago.

My one new release, the Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films, wasn't much to shout about, darn it. I'll try to take a look at the live-action offerings next week.

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