Welcome to the Friday Movie Pile & Zesty Spring Salad Recipes, the column where we tell you about the movies coming out this weekend and also provide a healthy, delicious recipe that you can make at home for your family or pets! Put on your movie pilin’ pants and let’s go.
Pacific Rim Uprising (PG-13, 1:51)
Plot: Remember how those giant monsters were attacking us, so we made giant mind-controlled robots to fight them? Well, I guess it didn’t work, because we’re back at it.
Director: Stephen S. DeKnight, a producer, writer, and director for such TV shows as Angel, Smallville, and Daredevil making his film debut. (Guillermo del Toro, who directed and co-wrote the first Pacific Rim, was a producer on this one.)
Stars: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaney, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day
Buzz: Reaction is mixed so far: 45% of reviews at Rotten Tomatoes are positive, with an average score of 4.9/10 — right down the middle. Story’s about the same at Metacritic: 44/100. A lot of people think it’s OK, but nobody really loves it yet. Here’s my review. (For comparison’s sake, Pacific Rim is 71%, average score of 6.6/10.)
Isle of Dogs (PG-13, 1:41)
Plot: A boy goes looking for his lost dog on a Japanese island where dogs live, called the Isle of Dogs, because the dogs live there.
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: The voices of pretty much everyone: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono, etc., etc.
Buzz: Warning! This is only in New York, L.A., San Francisco, Austin, and Washington D.C. right now. If you don’t live in one of those cities, it sucks to be you. It’ll open in more cities next week. Folks love it so far — 93% at Rotten Tomatoes (average: 8.2/10), 84/100 at Metacritic — though some have reservations.
Midnight Sun (PG-13, 1:49)
Plot: A 17-year-old girl (Bella Thorne) can never go outside during the day because sunlight is deadly to her (no, she is not a vampire, don’t make jokes, this is serious), but she meets a hunky neighbor (Patrick Schwarzenegger) who might be her nighttime boyfriend. Somehow based not on a Nicholas Sparks novel but on a 2006 Japanese film.
Director: Scott Speer (Step Up Revolution, several Ashley Tisdale videos)
Stars: Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle, Quinn Shephard
Buzz: They didn’t screen it for critics till Wednesday night (with a strict embargo), so the reviews are just trickling in. So far, so meh. For what it’s worth, it was shot in the fall of 2015, picked up by Open Road a year later with the intention of opening it in summer 2017, then pushed till now for, one assumes, reasons.
Paul, Apostle of Christ (PG-13, 1:46)
Plot: Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul (James Faulkner) reflects on his ministry back to the bad old days when he was a poop-stirrer named Saul.
Director: Andrew Hyatt (The Last Light, Full of Grace)
Stars: James Faulkner as Paul, with Jim Caviezel as St. Luke. Caviezel also played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, so the Bible Cinematic Universe is getting very complicated.
Buzz: This is a good example of why Metacritic — which converts each review to a score of 1-100 and gives the average — is better than Rotten Tomatoes, which tells you what percentage of reviews are positive but not how positive. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 25% of reviews are Fresh — quite bad. But the Rotten reviews are mostly “it’s mediocre” not “I HATE IT.” (In small print, RT gives the average score: 5.3/10.) Metacritic’s average of 55/100 is a more accurate reflection: a couple of B reviews, and several C’s.
Sherlock Gnomes (PG, 1:26)
Plot: In this sequel to Gnomeo & Juliet (which we will not pretend to have seen), the garden gnomes recruit famed detective Sherlock Gnomes (voice of Johnny Depp!!!!!!!!!) to find some missing gnomes.
Director: John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda)
Stars: Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, James McAvoy, and America’s sweetheart Johnny Depp
Buzz: Paramount didn’t screen this for critics until Wednesday afternoon. Do you know how presumably bad an animated studio film has to be for them not to screen it?! Very, very bad (presumably)! The reviews so far bear that out.
Unsane (R, 1:37)
Plot: Claire Foy is committed to a mental institution and has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, similar to how I just called a fictional character by the name of the actress who plays her.
Director: Steven Soderbergh, continuing to do a poor job of retiring.
Stars: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Sarah Stiles, Amy Irving
- 1 pound medium asparagus
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 10 ounces mixed spring lettuces
- One 1 1/2-ounce piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved into curls with a vegetable peeler
Preheat oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus with the 1 tablespoon of oil and the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Roast asparagus for about 8 minutes, until tips begin to turn brown.
In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the mustard and the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the lettuces with all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Put salad on plates, top with the roasted asparagus and cheese curls, and drizzle the remaining dressing over it.
Source: Food and Wine