New in Theaters: 'Rio 2,' 'Oculus,' 'Draft Day'

Oculus

To contrast last week’s single release, this weekend brings a sizeable batch of new releases, with a fairly large variety of genre, plot, and quality. That being said, this weekend’s fare is still a great deal better (or at least better-rated) than the vast majority of the last several weeks’ worth of mediocre films.

Our first new release is the sequel to a moderately successful animated film, Rio 2. The cast of the previous film reprise their roles is a new adventure, as Jewel (Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), and their children head to the Amazon, where Blu butts heads with Nigel (Jemaine Clement) and the most terrifying adversary of all—his stepfather. The duo is joined by stars galore, including Kristen Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan, Bruno Mars, and a good many more.

For all the film’s explosive color and big names, it could not impress critics—it currently sits at only 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s your stereotypical lazy animated sequel—it’s a whole lot of gimmicks and show tunes, and not a lot of thought. Still, Box Office Guru predicts as much as $32 million for the film.

On an entirely different note, Oculus, the latest from the makers of the Insidious and Paranormal Activity. The film follows the ill-fated Russell family, which is broken apart by the brutal murders of the parents of Tim (Brenton Thwaites) and Kaylie (Karen Gillan) Russell. Tim is convicted for the murder, although Kaylie suspects that darker forces are responsible. Twenty years later, after Tim is released, the nightmare begins again with hallucinations and visitations from the violent past, all centered around a dark artifact—the Lasser Glass.

Usually, horror films are a source of headaches and brutally honest commentary from critics, but this film actually rated pretty well at 71% on the Tomatometer. The film opts for a more cerebral type of horror than your typical scary movie, which is ultimately what won over critics wearied by incessant sequels to tired franchises and gory films that are more exasperating than scary. It’s predicted to earn around $13 million this weekend.

Finally, we have Kevin Costner’s second try at a blockbuster film this year, Draft Day. Costner plays Sonny Weaver, a general manager with ambitions of jump-starting football in Cleveland when he lands the top pick on draft day. However, his pursuit of these ambitions begins to impact his personal life, and the question of sacrifice must be answered.

This film was also rated fairly well, scoring a 61% on the Tomatometer. While those who aren’t necessarily fans of football or Kevin Costner might find themselves bored by the film, most agree it’s an entertaining watch, owing a lot to Costner’s dry delivery.

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