Opening this week:
Bad Boys for Life Years ago, director Michael Bay told the press that the prospect of a third installment in his Bad Boys franchise was iffy at best, simply because he and star Will Smith commanded the biggest salaries in Hollywood. But the studio found a clever workaround: They just cut Bay out of the picture! In his place for this supposed final outing are Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who have never before helmed a major Stateside release, and whose combined salaries are thus presumably equivalent to Martin Lawrence's dry-cleaning bill. Too bad for the bean counters that Smith's take can't be keyed to the performance of Gemini Man, 'cause then they could all afford Pelotons!
So what are we to expect from this highly anticipated and suddenly affordable third installment? Well, the plot finds erstwhile partners Marcus and Mike facing retirement but pursued one last time by a mobster with a grudge against them – which isn't exactly a concept so revolutionary you'd need 17 years to come up with it. And yes, it's been that long, although sometimes the passage of time is better marked in lowered standards than in years: When I saw Bad Boys 2, I thought that human corpses being used as slapstick props was the most inhumane spectacle I had ever witnessed. Ah, yes ... life four Republican National Conventions ago. Anyway, it ultimately doesn't matter how I feel about Bad Boys for Life, since the Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live revealed that the biggest controversy facing black America right now is where along the quality scale the film is going to fall: just above great, or slightly below the greatest ever? Have fun arguing that one, everybody. Just don't trip over any corpses. (R)
Weathering With You Japan's official entry in this year's Oscars is an animated romantic fantasy about a teenager who runs away to Tokyo, where he "lives in isolation and finds a job as a writer." (All together now: Redundant!) As part of his new life, he befriends a girl who seems to be able to control the weather – which is quite the boon indeed in the midst of a particularly rainy season. In Orlando, their relationship would consist of trysts lasting from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m. daily. Director Makoto Shinkai's previous picture, Your Name, is the top-grossing anime film of all time worldwide. Weathering With You, which was released in Japan last summer, is currently No. 6 on that particular chart, so grab a seat for the flick's American bow this weekend if you're interested in making a bit of history. And no, smartass, I don't know if it's supposed to rain. (PG-13)
Chhapaak In this Hindi-language biopic, actor Deepika Padukone plays Laxmi Agarwal, who at age 15 survived an acid attack by a man whose romantic advances she had declined. Which reminds me: What do we all think of Harvey Weinstein's walker? (NR; at Universal Cinemark at CityWalk and XD)
– This story appears in the Jan. 15, 2020, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.