‘Focus’ and a look at the future

By on March 4, 2015

Finally, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its massive publicity machine has been knocked from the top spot at the box office. Lusting fans helped bring in more than $147 million for Universal, but over the weekend, kink was kicked to the curb by Spongebob Squarepants and his underwater companions — taking the third spot. The top spot was filled by the familiar face of Will Smith.

“Focus,” the 2015 film, is not to be confused with the thought provoking 2001 film with the same name starring William H. Macy and Laura Dern. (It boggles me why production companies put out movies with the same name. Just a little more creative effort could be helpful.) Thought provoking is not necessarily the term used for the “Focus” currently in theaters, but it does make you think-making it a fun movie to watch. Smith plays Nicky, a con man up for one last, grand scam. Enter Jess (Margot Robbie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”), an old flame looking to enter the world of confidence trickery. The plot is intricate enough to keep the viewer guessing, but it’s not the best caper film around. It might just be coincidence Robbie appears in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which set records for profanity because “Focus” is full of bombs. The language actually became kind of distracting. “Focus” is sheer entertainment I’d recommend seeing it if you like sexy action movies with an element of danger.

Will Smith (left) and Margot Robbie play a pair of professional hucksters in this week’s #1 box office film, “Focus.” (Photo from usmagazine.com)

Will Smith (left) and Margot Robbie play a pair of professional hucksters in this week’s #1 box office
film, “Focus.” (Photo from usmagazine.com)

Coming soon…

South African director Neil Blomkamp (“District 9”) reappears after flopping with “Elysium” in 2013. By the looks of it, “Chappie” may not fare any better. The robots-gone-bad movie looks to be part serious action and part tongue-in-cheek comedy. The cast for “Chappie” is intriguing. Dev Patel, made famous by “Slumdog Millionaire,” is paired with Aussie and eternal Wolverine Hugh Jackman. The reason I will definitely see this movie is for the appearance of the Die Antwoord duo of Ninja and Yolandi — Google at your own risk (no children, or even adults without a deep sense of humor, should learn about Die Antwoord).

Speaking of Dev Patel, the actor has two movies opening on the same week. The sequel to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” opens nationwide March 6. The all-star cast is back as Sonny (Patel) looks to open another hotel, which leads to some tricky situations. The film is expected to bring a returning crowd to theaters who helped Blueprint Pictures acquire a pretty good profit the first time around.

Both movies make it to screens just in time to be swallowed up by a sure-fire box office behemoth opening March 13. Disney’s live-action retelling of the princess who lost her glass slipper will surely lock “Cinderella” into the top spot for many weeks. Directed by legendary Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh, “Cinderella” stars the lesser known Lily James as the princess with the evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett). I’ll be drawn to this movie by the appearance of Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. The live-action adaptation kicks off a series of Disney classics retold (if you count “Maleficent” as its own story and not Sleeping Beauty’s). Emma Watson (a.k.a. Hermione Granger) has signed on to be Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” due for a release in 2016. The Hollywood rumor mill speaks of a third live-action film in the making: “The Little Mermaid.” Hmm … I wonder how they are going to do that? We’ll see.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie. 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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