Lawrence, Kansas native Patty Jenkins, the director who steered Charlize Theron to her Oscar-winning performance in “Monster,” takes on her biggest Hollywood project to date with the highly anticipated “Wonder Woman.” Gal Gadot stars as the Amazonian princess who is among the luminaries of the DC Comic Universe. This crackling origin story shows how her rescue of an American spy, played by Chris Pine, led Wonder Woman away from her idyllic island life and into the battlefields of WWI and, ultimately, a confrontation with Aries, the God of War. The production values are terrific and Jenkins breathes enough humor and life into the characters that the nearly non-stop action never becomes too exhausting. “Wonder Woman” may provide just the spark necessary to revive the DC Universe.
On the other side of the cinematic spectrum comes “The Wedding Plan,” an Israeli comedy about an Orthodox woman in her early thirties who decides to plan an elaborate wedding in 30 days, even though she hasn’t landed a groom. While the setup sounds like a standard Hollywood farce, writer/director Rama Burshtein adds some original elements, thoughtful and clever dialogue and elicits a winning performance from her leading lady, Noa Koler. “The Wedding Plan” also provides a unique glimpse into the world of Orthodox Judaism in contemporary Jerusalem.
Also opening this week, Eddie Izzard stars in the British comedy “Whisky Galore,” the story of a cargo ship loaded with tons of booze that ran aground in 1941. “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” is an animated farce about kids who hypnotize their principal and convince him he’s a superhero. Kevin Hart, Ed Helms and Jordan Peele are among the voice cast members. Brian Cox stars as the legendary British Prime Minister in “Churchill,” a biopic that takes place during the days prior to the Allied D-Day landings during WWII.