Summer movie season is officially here, which means audiences can expect a slew of exciting new films to choose from in the coming months. This week is no exception, with several notable movies — from the highly anticipated horror sequel, The Conjuring 2, to the latest video game-inspired flick, Warcraft — set to hit the big screen. Can’t decide which option to buy tickets for first? Here are our staff’s picks for the three best movies in theaters now.
1. The Conjuring 2
In this anticipated sequel, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their respective roles as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits. Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Lauren Esposito, and Benjamin Haigh co-star while original helmer James Wan returns to direct.
Currently holding a 73% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the horror flick has earned OK reviews so far. Most critics agree that though the sequel doesn’t quite live up to that of its predecessor (does any?), the movie is still able to deliver a satisfying ghost story with plenty of spook factor. As The Associated Press wrote, “The horror sequel is a tough thing to pull off in general, and The Conjuring 2 is most certainly one of the better efforts… But, for better or worse, the first movie was just too good and The Conjuring 2 can’t hold a candle to its predecessor.” Regardless, fans of the original or of the horror genre in general won’t want to miss this movie.
Based on the video game series of the same name, the film portrays the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs and takes place in a variety of locations established in the original game. Looking to escape from his dying world, the orc shaman Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) utilizes dark magic to open a portal to the human realm of Azeroth. To protect Azeroth from these hulking invaders, King Llane (Dominic Cooper), the mighty warrior Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), and the powerful wizard Medivh (Ben Foster) must unite. As the two races collide, leaders from each side start to question if war is the only answer.
From the looks of its current reviews, Warcraft hasn’t been able to break the trend of not-so-great video game adaptations. The movie currently holds a low 22% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics calling it “a sluggish and derivative” version of the bestselling game. On the bright side? Director Duncan Jones has a great eye, and it shows via the plentiful visual thrills captured throughout the action epic, which will definitely appeal to diehard Warcraft gamers and fans of the fantasy genre.
3. Now You See Me 2
The Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan) are back for another illusion-filled, mind-bending global adventure. One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in the hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, the sequel has earned mostly negative reviews. With a 34% score on Rotten Tomatoes, critics have called the movie overpacked with “ploys of misdirection” that don’t amount to much in the end. Despite the mixed reviews, the sequel will likely prove plenty entertaining to audiences who enjoy watching a good con.
Follow Michelle on Twitter @Mar8289