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The Anthem of the Heart at JICC, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Neon Demon, and The Call Up gives us a wide range of cinematic goodies to select between this week.

Topping the list from a box office perspective is Independence Day: Resurgence, taking place 2 decades after the original film. Based on the trailer, it looks like the aliens once more manage to wipe out a sizable percentage of the Earth’s population during their attack, but you know I will be in the theater for this one. If nothing else, the trailer also makes it obvious that some of the visual effects, especially the combat scenes, will require the big screen to see them fully and completely they way they were intended. The Call Up is a British movie where a group of gamers are invited to try a new VR game, only to discover some of them will die before they can get out of it again. At least one reviewer compared it to Gantz, so I may have to check it out, although I will probably wait since the trailer on this one did not look like it needed the big screen. While I am not a horror fan, The Neon Demon looks stylish and interesting enough (complete with a visual referent in the trailer to another stylish horror/thriller I dearly love, the 1982 remake of Cat People) that I may need to see it as the thriller it started life as. This is also the first Amazon Studios project I became aware of that will be available in theaters before you can stream it online. That isn’t to say there aren’t others before this, but only that this is my first time to notice one.

There is also an Anime in extremely limited release this Friday that was nominated for Best Animation at the 2016 Japan Academy Awards: The Anthem of the Heart. Once a very happy girl, Jun said something when she was very young that tore her family apart. The Egg Fairy (more of a Kami really) appeared before her and sealed away her words in order to stop her from hurting anybody else. Years later she finds herself in a situation which gives her the strength to fight her way back to communicating with the world again. The author, Mari Okada, was awarded the 16th Animation Kobe Award (Individual Award) for her output in 2011, which included such titles as Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day and Fractale, among others. She has two Anime shows currently streaming from Japan, The Lost Village and Kiznavier, and if you are a fan of anime I guarantee she has written for at least one of your favorite shows over the last few decades. When I said this was in extremely limited release, I wasn’t kidding; you will only be able to see it at the Japan Information and Culture Center theater, which is part of the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C., at the moment. It has played at a number of other theaters in the US in the past (maybe 20 or so nation wide) and it will no doubt be available to stream or buy sometime in the next year in North America for those like me who can never afford to buy the imported disc. If you do make this showing, perhaps we will get a chance to chat before or after the program.

Warcraft looks like the winner this weekend, with some amazingly well done CGI and Fx work, and hopefully a story and plot that is just as good. When the portal between universes opens, one race faces destruction, the other extinction, unless they can learn to work together. The MMORPG the movie is based on has a huge number of devoted players, if they were true enough to the source material they can’t help but have a hit on their hands; if they weren’t, then the deserve the crash and burn that same fanbase will put them through. Most games turned into movies have been real turkeys, but there have been a few exceptions; I hope this is one of them. If you are not interested in this one, other options this weekend include Therapy for a Vampire, in which Sigmund Freud has to help a vampire deal with his undying relationship with his wife, and Now You See Me 2, which only has to be half as good as the original to be a total winner.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War is the selection this week, as the war between the sister queens continues. I enjoyed the first film in this set, and almost can’t wait to see the new one. I say almost because most of the critics I have read that have seen it are not even close to kind in their commentary. But the trailer looks good and I love the actors involved, so I am going anyways and will make up my own mind once I see it.

The new J.K. Rowling story, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, moves the Harry Potter universe forward in time by a generation or two, and the latest trailer shows what Magic in 1926 New York might look like. Personally, I am hoping she dives in and does a new entire series with them, but even if it is a one off I will take it and be grateful. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be on the big screen in November, and I will definitely be in the audience on opening day.

The movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is based on Ransom Riggs New York Times best seller debut novel (his previous book being a study of the methods of a Fictional Detective, rather than a fiction itself), and it looks like Tim Burton has set the tone quite nicely for this fantasy. It will be on the big screen on September 30th, and I am looking forward to seeing how they did with it.