After 98 years and at least 48 cinematic adaptations, do we really need another big screen Tarzan? Hollywood thinks so. “The Legend of Tarzan” stars Alexander Skarsgård as the former King of the Jungle, who is conned into returning from Victorian England to Africa by nefarious colonialists. The great cast also includes Margo Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson and Chistoph Waltz and the story has a few unique twists. While serviceable, this adventure flick never quite overcomes its sheen of computer-generated artificiality.
Alexander’s father Stellan Skarsgård plays a Russian mob accountant who attempts to defect in the John le Carré thriller, “Our Kind of Traitor.” Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris play an innocent English couple that accidentally gets swept up in the intrigue. While smart and involving, it’s never quite as riveting as it should be.
“The BFG” is Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s popular children’s story about a Big Friendly Giant who befriends a young girl and protects her from flesh-eating behemoths. Mark Rylance’s motion capture performance is terrific in this whimsical tale that’s loaded with eye-popping special effects. It’s likable, but unusually sluggish for a Spielberg movie.
“De Palma” is an involving documentary about the filmmaker behind hit thrillers like “Carrie,” “Dressed to Kill,” “The Untouchables” and “Mission: Impossible.” Iconoclastic director Brian De Palma chats for 107 minutes about his career sharing stories about Hollywood struggles, inspirations and filmmaking techniques. It’s a must for movie buffs.
Also opening this week, “Swiss Army Man” is a surreal exercise in the absurd about a man stranded on a desert island who befriends a corpse that washes ashore. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliff star. “The Purge: Election Year” is the third entry in the ultraviolent horror franchise. “Nuts!” is a documentary about a Kansas doctor who, in 1917, came up with a unique cure for impotence.