Tomorrow's Theater ... Today

Greg Dean Schmitz

Now that you've picked this week's league, check out these upcoming movies related to this week's "IT Chapter Two," and others with new trailers this week.

Jexi (10/11/2019)
R-rated trailers for this comedy starring Adam DeVine (from Comedy Central's "Workaholics") and Alexandra Shipp (Storm from "X-Men: Apocalypse") have been online for two weeks now. At first glance, however, they came as so "comedy sketchy" that it wasn't immediately obvious that they were for a movie that will be released in theaters. That's exactly what's going to happen in just over a month, and this week the "green band" trailer was released by CBS Films. ("Jexi" will be CBS Films' last theatrically released film as they're making the transition to producing content for the CBS All Access app.) Basically, "Jexi" comes off like a comedy version of the 2013 drama "Her," if you substitute Andy DeVine and the voice of Rose Byrne for Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. (Except "Jexi" will probably not win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay like "Her" did.)

Doctor Sleep (11/8/2019)
Now that the second half of "IT" is finally in theaters after much hullabaloo and anticipation, we can turn our attention to the next Stephen King adaptation, which is only just over two months away. "Doctor Sleep" also happens to be the rare Stephen King sequel, as it's adapted from King's 2013 novel of the same name, which was itself written as a sequel to King's "The Shining." It's important to note that "Doctor Sleep" is not, therefore, strictly speaking, a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," starring Jack Nicholson. Having said that, director Mike Flanagan ("Ouija: Origin of Evil") has said some elements of the 1980 film will be in there as well. Ewan McGregor stars in "Doctor Sleep" as the adult Danny Torrance, who decades later is still struggling with the psychological trauma he suffered as a very unusual little boy at the Overlook hotel in Colorado.

The Good Liar (11/15/2019)
"IT Chapter Two" comes to us from New Line Cinema, a company formerly known for horror franchises like "Nightmare on Elm Street," until the "Lord of the Rings" movies seriously upped their status as a Hollywood studio (and subsidiary of Warner Bros). Since then, New Line Cinema has focused mostly on (relatively) smaller films. That being said, compared to "Lord of the Rings," even movies like "IT Chapter Two" which are likely to have $100+ million opening weekend are "relatively smaller." "The Good Liar" is a British suspense thriller starring Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen as a man she meets through online dating who appears to be out to swindle her of over $2 million. You might also recognize Jim Carter in the trailer from his run as Mr. Carson on "Downton Abbey."

Just Mercy (12/25/2019)
In addition to the animated Will Smith movie "Spies in Disguse," this year's Christmas Day is going to have three different dramas that are all potential awards season contenders. In addition to Greta Gerwig's update of "Little Women" and the World War I-set "1917," we're going to get "Just Mercy," which is an adaptation of the acclaimed 2014 memoir. Michael B. Jordan produced and stars in "Just Mercy" as a young attorney who travels to Alabama to take on the appeals of prisoners on death row. The movie focuses on a prisoner played by Jamie Foxx, with Brie Larson playing a woman who helps run a legal aid clinic. That means that despite being a very different movie than anything from Marvel Studios, it also happens to feature Killmonger from "Black Panther," Electro from "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," and "Captain Marvel" herself. (You can also see Tim Blake Nelson in the trailer, who costarred in "The Incredible Hulk," the sometimes-overlooked second movie from Marvel Studios.)

Bad Boys for Life (1/17/2020)
In today's franchise-dominated movie market, we're fairly used to most sequels coming out within about two to four years after the previous movie (and even four years sometimes feels like too long). Some movies, however, get stuck in "development hell," which means that they just get prevented from being made sooner because of any manner of delays (cast availability, screenplay, etc.). Martin Lawrence and Will Smith have been talking about starring in a third "Bad Boys" movie for over a decade, and in January, it's finally going to happen, 17 years after 2003's "Bad Boys II." The trailer for "Bad Boys for Life" doesn't really change up the formula that much, except that Martin Lawrence's character is now old enough that he's sort of doing Danny Glover's "too old for this" routine from the "Lethal Weapon" movies. (We should also note that this is definitely an R-rated red band trailer.)

Gretel and Hansel (1/31/2020)

Over the last few years, there has been a new trend in horror films that attempts to give the genre an arthouse vibe with movies like "It Follows," "A Quiet Place," and "Hereditary." One of those was "The Witch," which also belongs to a sub-genre called "period horror," which can basically include any horror film set sometime in the past. "Gretel and Hansel" appears to be a revisionist retelling of the classic fairy tale, although for pretty obvious reasons, "Hansel and Gretel" was always one of those darker fairy tales anyway. That might be why "Hansel and Gretel" is one of the fairy tales that Walt Disney Animation has always avoided adapting. This time around, the evil witch is played by Alice Krige, who might recognize as the Borg Queen from "Star Trek: First Contact."