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Blu-ray/Digital Round-Up: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan

I’ve had a ton of Blu-rays and digital movies come my way the last few weeks, and I’ve wanted to highlight a few of them, in case you’re looking for something to watch this weekend or over the next few weeks.

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO Films): I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’d never heard the name Henrietta Lacks or her amazing story before. This was simply one of those films sent my way which I thought I’d give a chance. I’m certainly glad I did, as the legacy of Ms. Lacks is remarkable – she was an African American woman who, in 1951, had her cancer cells immortalized in the HeLa line of cells. Basically, these cells have been used countless times in major medical breakthroughs over the last 60 years. Sadly, nobody asked Ms. Lacks if her cells could be taken or used, and neither her nor her family ever received any sort of compensation for what essentially is her immortality.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is based on the book by Rebecca Skloot, who is portrayed in the film by Rose Byrne, who wrote a series of articles on Ms. Lacks and her family. Oprah Winfrey plays Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, and is absolutely captivating on screen. Deborah is hesitant to share her mother’s story with any reporter, and Oprah delivers the character as guarded but loving. It’s a bravura performance that can’t help but overshadow the rest of the film, which sometimes gets muddled as it moves across various timelines. However, Byrne and Winfrey have a great chemistry together, and help The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks rise above some of its pacing and script issues.

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The LEGO Batman Movie Story Pack Takes You Back to the (LEGO Dimensions) Batcave

For the last two weeks at the box office, The LEGO Batman Movie has been on top. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Batman + LEGO = awesome, as anyone who saw the outstanding The LEGO Movie three years ago can attest. Will Arnett’s voice work as Batman is absolutely the best since Kevin Conroy took on the back in the early ’90s for Batman: The Animated Series. The new film manages to bring laughs to the character while also, perhaps surprisingly, finding a way to address the genuine gravitas that makes Batman so enduring.

The cinema isn’t the only place I’ve been enjoying The LEGO Batman Movie, though. Over the past week the Princess and I have been making our way through the LEGO Batman Movie Story Pack for LEGO Dimensions.

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‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ Holds Off Newcomers to Remain #1

You know all the new releases that debut this weekend? Forget about ’em, as none were able to really make an impact against the holdovers from last weekend. Here’s what went down:

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The LEGO Batman Movie continued its winning ways, holding on to the top spot at the box office with an estimated $32.1 million. The film should clear more than $100 million at the end of the four-day President’s Day long weekend in the U.S.. Read the rest of this entry

Matt Damon, Ice Cube Looking for Box Office Gold This Weekend

It should prove to be an interesting weekend, as last week’s debut look to hold on to their standings at the box office. A few new releases are hoping to not make it easy for them. Which will come out top? Here are our predictions:

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The Great Wall is a new movie starring the usually reliable Matt Damon. However, last summer’s Jason Bourne underperformed at the box office, and buzz isn’t particularly high about this period drama. Throw in the fact that the action audience is currently being super-served by John Wick: Chapter Two, and I believe Damon is looking at a lackluster fourth place debut with $15 million.

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‘LEGO Batman’ wins the weekend, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’, ‘John Wick 2’ over perform

This was the sort of weekend all the studios love, as three new releases all performed exceptionally well, with one in particular overshooting the estimated mark. Here’s what went down:

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Debuting in first place as expected was the critically acclaimed The LEGO Batman Movie, which brought in a solid $55.6 million. The film manages to appeal to families and adults who love the character, LEGO, and/or both, and it should have some strong legs over the coming weeks, thanks to the rave reviews and likely word of mouth.  Read the rest of this entry

‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ looking to top the box office

It’s going to be a big battle at the box office this weekend, as three diverse new releases are looking to make an impact. Which will be number one? Here’s our prediction:

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The LEGO Batman Movie stars Will Arnett as the voice of the Caped Crusader, a part he played to outstanding effect in The LEGO Movie back in 2014. This standalone film is absolutely outstanding (the Princess and I battled a cough and migraine respectively and took in an early evening Thursday screening), and is arguably the best film featuring Batman since The Dark Knight. The characterization is spot on and, though done with tongue somewhat in cheek, captures both the heart and the darkness that makes the character so iconic. For longtime fans, there are also some hidden and some not-so-hidden easter eggs that will definitely make you laugh out loud. The film should appeal to older and younger audiences alike, and will no doubt be the pick for families heading out to theatres this weekend. Look for The LEGO Batman Movie to debut in first place with $75 million.

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The Princess, age 6, reviews two ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ Readers

In our house, the Princess and I are crazy psyched for The LEGO Batman Movie that hits theaters this coming Friday. We were both fans of The LEGO Movie, which has been a fairly regular watch for the last few years. While my girl loves Wildstyle, she’s also got a laugh out of Will Arnet’s take on The Dark Knight.

“He’s funny,” said the Princess when I quizzed her about it this weekend.

To get us primed and pumped for the new movie, our pals at DK sent over a few related books, which would up perfect for us, as the Princess this year has been learning how to read (she’s 6, FYI).

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