In our weekly feature we're highlighting three recommendations that debuted this week in movie release history. While we wait for the cineplexes to re-open, pop the corn and open your own home box office for these classic entertainments.
1. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (U.S. Release – May 8, 2019)
The first live action Pokémon movie (now the second most profitable video game movie ever) turns out to be an entertaining family action movie that works for gamers and non-gamers alike. The story has twentysomething Tim trying to track down his missing father Harry in a futuristic city where humans and their Pokémon live in harmony. He's partnered with a cute little Pokémon named Pikachu, whose wisecracking voice only he can hear. To everyone else, his audio sounds just like "pika" or "pika pika."
Since Ryan Reynolds provides the voice for Pikachu, the movie can at times play like a PG version of "Deadpool," which isn't a bad thing at all. Plus, Tim, played by Justice Smith, is an affable lead character, and the quest to find his dad and also find out who's behind the mysterious purple gas called "R" that drives Pokémon into a frenzy is an involving and affecting journey.
2. Captain America: Civil War (U.S. Release – May 6, 2016)
While 'Civil War' is officially a Captain America movie, it's more like the unofficial third Avengers film. Besides Cap and the Winter Soldier, an all-star ensemble joins them on the tarmac: Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Vision, Scarlet Witch…plus, the appearance for the first time in the MCU of two major players – Black Panther and Spider-Man.
The plot has all to do with the need for security checks on the world's Mightiest Heroes and other super heroic and alien beings, especially after the damage suffered by humanity in the first two Avengers films. Captain America, though, isn't down for the idea of infringing on anyone's personal liberties, and that puts him at odds with long-time friend and fellow head Avenger Iron Man. When the superheroes square off on different teams, they take their compadres with them, leading to a movie battle royale at an empty airfield.
3. Neighbors (U.S. Release – May 9, 2014)
Once upon a time, Seth Rogen would have played the frat brother annoying the suburban couple neighbors. But by the year 2014, the former "Knocked Up" slacker was believable as dad and husband Mac Radner, desiring a tranquil life with wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) and their newborn baby.
The frat boy honors here go to Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and Pete Regazolli (Dave Franco), two first-class party hounds determined to turn up the volume even further when their married friends next door renege on a promise to call them before the police, should the regaling get too loud.
That sets off an ever-escalating series of hijinks by both sides to claim the neighborhood. And while Efron excels at playing the hyper-adrenalized frat guy, it's more fun to watch almost-adults Rogen and Byrne indulge their immature selves to settle the score.