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New in Theaters April 15: The Jungle Book, Criminal, Barbershop: The Next Cut

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By Chris Kavan - 04/14/16 at 06:45 AM CT

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice falling apart, things are wide open for a new blockbuster to take the spotlight. This week, the best bet looks to be Disney's live action Jungle Book remake. Also on hand is an interesting body-swap/action/crime hybrid and a comedic sequel quite a few years in the making. I'm certain The Boss is going to fall one week after coming out on top, but we'll see which film has the edge when it comes to coming on on top this weekend.

THE JUNGLE BOOK There has been a few adaptations of The Jungle Book over the year. Disney's 1967 animated version is still probably the most well known and, more recently, we had the rather forgettable 1994 live action version. But with Disney back in the driver's chair we are looking at a much more polished version of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale. The young Neel Sethi gets to take on the role of Mowgli, the boy raised by animals, and that's where the casting gets really interesting: Bill Murray as Baloo the bear, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Lupita Nyong'o as Raksha, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela, Christopher Walken as King Louie and the late Garry Shandling in his final movie role as the voice of Ikki. Based on the sheer talent behind the voices alone, this adaptation should be worth watching. The previews certainly make this one look pretty impressive and the PG rating is right on target for the family crowd. I'm interested to see how this does compared to, say, Zootopia, which has ruled the roost when it comes to families - to the tune of nearly $300 million these last six weeks. Live action usually plays second fiddle to standard animated fare, but in this case Jungle Book could very well post animated-like numbers. We'll see, but it has first place all but locked up at this point.

CRIMINAL Criminal has about the most bonkers plot since Face/Off - a top CIA operative dies, but his memories and skills are implanted into a death row inmate in hopes that a diabolical plot can be stopped. Normally I would write this off as a standard second-rate action movie, but the cast (Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds, Alice Eve, Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones among them) suggest this a film that wants to be taken seriously, even though on the surface it seems quite outlandish. Given the pedigree I want this one to succeed, though I have a feeling the best it can hope for is to wind up near the top instead of at the top but I will have to check this one out - most likely from the comfort of home.

BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT Not counting the semi-spinoff Beauty Shop, the last Barbershop in thetaers was the 2004 sequel coming two years after the 2002 original. Yet despite the time gap, almost all the original cast is back on board: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson, Eve, Sean Patrick Thomas, Troy Garity and Jazsmin Lewis are all returning to their respective roles while newcomers Common, Nicki Minaj, J.B. Smoove and even Tyga help usher in a new generation. This time the titular barbershop faces some changes - the shop is now home to both guys and gals, but the good times continue inside. Outside is another story, as the neighborhood has taken a turn for the worse. But Calvin and his crew aren't about to abandon the shop or each other, and come up with a plan to save the business and their homes. This series has been popular and even though a long time has passed since we last visited the shop, I have a feeling that the mix of old and new blood should be enough to entice crowds back for another visit. We'll see how it stacks up to the first two (or three with Beauty Shop thrown in) but I have a feeling it's going to be feel good and funny enough to do decent business.

That's the look ahead - it will be interesting to see how much business the three newcomers bring in with The Boss and Batman v Superman still looming large. I'll be back on Sunday with the results.


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