Two very different animated features come to local theaters, along with wild fantasy, gung-ho action and wartime comedy-drama.
In Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
(pictured), Tina Fey plays a reporter dealing with the insanity of covering wartime Afghanistan, with the absurdist comedy elements working better than the soul-searching drama. The Japanese animated feature The Boy and the Beast
, about a human runaway who journeys to a land populated by beasts, finds great visual energy to compensate for a familiar kid/mentor dynamic. And Stephen Chow's wild fantasy The Mermaid
soars when it favors manic Looney Tunes energy over the limp romance between a mermaid and the tycoon whose real-estate development might destroy the mermaids' habitat.
MaryAnn Johanson mocks the combination of preposterousness and obnoxious jingoism that permeates the terrorists-gonna-getcha thriller London Has Fallen
Also opening this week, but not screened for press: the supernatural thriller The Other Side of the Door
, about a grieving mother trying to bring her young son back from the dead.
In this week's feature review, the well-intentioned message about prejudice and institutional racism has to carry Zootopia
when its world-building and even its allegory don't always feel particularly well-thought-out.