Pacific Rim Uprising

      Humanity eventually defeated the interdimensional monsters known as kaiju with the help of giant robots called jaegers. Though the apocalypse was averted, the world was devastated. In the chaos of massive rebuilding, criminals raid scrap yards to get rich on the black market.

     One of the best scrap yard raiders is Jake Pentecost (John Boyega: Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Jake’s father Stacker Pentecost was a legendary jaeger pilot who gave his life in the kaiju. Expelled from jaeger school, Jake was an under-achiever until he took to the fringes.

       Eventually arrested, he’s offered an option: jail or jaeger training, in preparation for the return of a new and better version of the kaiju. 

      Jake arrives as a new threat rises from the ocean. 

      Dumb and fun, Pacific Rim Uprising is great popcorn cinema. It’s loud, lightly plotted and full of robots and monsters. 

       In director and co-writer Stephen S. DeKnight’s cacophonous blend of action and humor, not all the jokes land, but the action sequences are crisp and coherent. 

       Boyega’s magnetic screen presence helps him sell even the corniest of lines, and he is roguishly charming. 

        As the harried Dr. Newton Geiszler, Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) brings manic energy and comedy to the film that distract from gaping plot holes. 

       As movies like this always need a blandly handsome dude, Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious) steps up. 

      I can’t in good conscience tell you that Pacific Rim Uprising is a good movie. I can, however, tell you that it’s the type of mindless fun that can be immensely satisfying. Think of it as high-quality junk food: fantastic as long as you don’t overindulge.

Enjoyably Mindless • PG-13 • 111 mins.

~~~ New this Week ~~~

God’s Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness

      When a fire destroys St. James Church, its congregation is about to be pushed off the college campus where it made its home. 

      So the parishioners must prove to the college and the world that places of worship are valuable to the community. 

Prospects: Flickering • PG • 120 mins. 

Tyler Perry’s Acrimony 

       Melinda (Taraji P. Henson) works hard to to be a good wife. She looks her best and remains devoted even when husband Robert (Lyriq Bent) does little to keep up his end of the marriage.

      But when she discovers his infidelity, she snaps. Now, she’ll show him just how terrifying a woman scorned can be.

      Henson is a charismatic leading lady, so this should give her a wonderful showcase — despite Perry’s tendency to overwrought dramatics.

Prospects: Flickering • R • 120 mins. 

Ready Player One

       Eccentric billionaire Halliday (Mark Rylance) has no heirs to his vast fortune and virtual reality company OASIS. So, Halliday conceives of a contest. He’s hidden Easter Eggs in the OASIS, and the user who finds them all will inherit the lot of his fortune and holdings. 

       Trailer-park kid Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) finds the first and races to find the rest against nefarious competition.

       A combination of Willy Wonka and a 1980s’ pop culture trivia night on nostalgia porn, Ready Player One looks to be a hit. Director Stephen Spielberg tends to lazy choices and over-obvious symbolism, but he’s filled it with big-budget cameos and references to make nerds and geeks cheer. 

If you loved Goonies or Back to the Future, you’re in for a treat.

Prospects: Flickering • PG-13 • 140 mins.