Now showing: ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’

Basketball superstar LeBron James stars in the new live action-animated comedy ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy.’

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Tempo grade: B

Storyteller 7 Cinemas

Best seen on the big screen, this hybrid live-action, 2D and simulated 3D action comedy follows in the footsteps of its predecessor from 25 years ago. While that movie starred basketball legend Michael Jordan in an adventure that took him to outer space, this film dives into the inner space of cyber reality with another b-ball great, LeBron James.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, the movie’s sentiment focuses on the relationship between LeBron and his family, mainly the tension between the superstar’s drive to succeed as an athlete and how it affects the hopes and dreams of his son Dom (Cedric Joe). Incidentally, LeBron’s real life family — wife Savannah and children Bryce, Bronny, and Zhuri — are portrayed as fictionalized versions by Sonequa Martin-Green as Kamiyah, Cedric Joe as Dominic “Dom” and Ceyair J. Wright as Xosha.

In the movie, when LeBron’s phenomenal performance on the court is rewarded by fame and fortune, he purchases a lavish estate where he builds a state-of-the-art basketball court on which to coach his kids. But, Dom is less than enthusiastic about following in his dad’s size 15 Nike’s and would rather work on developing his own original video game. Of course, because LeBron chooses to not respect Dom’s choices, they butt heads.

Unbeknownst to them, all of their actions are being observed by an evil artificial intelligence entity who calls himself Al G. Rhythm (algorithm, get it?), played by Don Cheadle. Al manages to manipulate the real world with a scheme that will draw LeBron and Dom to a sponsorship deal with a virtual space pitched as the “Warner 3000 ServerVerse,” a kind of toned down for kids version of The Matrix. Naturally, LeBron and Dom wind up digitized within this cyber-environment, but Dom is captured by Al and convinced that his ideas are more valuable than his dad’s athletic career. LeBron, on the other hand, lands on a kind of planet where the old Warner Bros. cartoon characters live. So, like Michael Jordan before him, LeBron teams up with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Lola Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters to try and get his son back.

The action is fast and dizzyingly frenetic, but constructed in a way that begs rewatching over and over to see all the cameos and pop culture references going back to the 1940s. All of this is toward making this film appealing to audiences from grandpa to toddlers, but one has to ask themselves if toddlers even know who Porky Pig is much less knowing the difference between Michael Jordan, the basketball star, and Michael B. Jordan, the movie actor who appears in a cameo. When the action inevitably ends up at an epic basketball game with LeBron and the Tunes against Al with Dom and teammates made up of cartoonified versions of various NBA opponents, there are so many familiar characters in the audience you may wish you had a remote in your hand to pause every so often (which you can if you catch this on HBO Plus).

One other aspect of the movie that needs mentioning has to do with stepping back after watching it and realizing how it seems to be a giant ad for Warner Bros. intellectual properties. And, with so much action and whip-fast editing, one hardly has a chance to realize the story is virtually bereft of originality and innovation, despite the obviously enormous amount of technical wizardry involved in bring it to the screen.

Is it entertaining? Yes, and it has some pretty good gags, especially if you grew up with the Looney Tunes, plus it has something few people seem to be noticing: Its cast is almost all Black, and at least for that we should celebrate.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” is rated PG for cartoon violence and some language.

This film is now showing at the Storyteller 7 Cinemas, 110 Old Talpa Cañon Road in Taos. For showtimes, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing at Storyteller Cinema 7

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence/action. Some language and thematic material.

Tempo grade: B

Thriller

Not previewed

This is a sequel to the box office hit psychological thriller that terrified audiences around the world, according to its studio description. In this installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive... and discovering they've all played the game before. Directed by Adam Robitel, stars Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Indya Moore, Holland Roden and Thomas Cocquerel.

Now showing at Taos Community Auditorium

145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets, safety restrictions and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org. Also, inquire about the continuation of the TCA’s Big Screen @ Home series.

Dream Horse

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence/action. Some language and thematic material.

Drama

Not previewed

This film will be screen today (July 16), July 25 and July 28.

This film directed by Euros Lyn is based on the true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely racehorse bred by small-town Welsh bartender Jan Vokes (Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream and compete with the racing elites. Their investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks and becomes a beacon of hope for their struggling community.

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It

Not rated

Documentary

Not previewed

This film will be screen Sunday (July 18), July 20 and July 29.

Over a career spanning more than 70 years, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and award-winning actor.

Born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, Moreno and her seamstress mother immigrated to New York City when Moreno was five years old. After studying dance and performing on Broadway, Moreno was cast as any ethnic minority the Hollywood studios needed filled: Polynesian, Native American, Egyptian and so on.

Despite becoming the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961), the studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent.

Beyond the racism she experienced as a Latina actor, “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It” will explore the lesser-known struggles Moreno faced on her path to stardom, including pernicious Hollywood sexism and sexual abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and an attempted suicide a year before she won her Oscar. The documentary will demonstrate Moreno’s talent and resilience as she broke barriers and paved the way for new generations of artists by refusing to be pigeonholed and fighting for Latinx representation in a variety of genres.

Directed by Mariem Pérez Riera, this film includes appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Morgan Freeman and Marlon Brando (archive footage).

Minari

Not rated

Drama

Not previewed

This film will be screened Wednesday (July 21) and July 30.

Yearning to own a small patch of land and be more than a chicken sexer, the ambitious Jacob Yi (Steven Yeun), relocates his Korean-American family. They are his skeptical wife, Monica (Yeri Han), and their children, David and Anne Alan S. Kim and Noel Cho), from California to 1980s rural Arkansas, to start afresh and capture the elusive American Dream.

However, new beginnings are always challenging, and to find out what is best for the family, let alone start a 50-acre farm to grow and sell Korean fruits and vegetables, is easier said than done. But, amid sincere promises, cultural unease, fleeting hopes, and the ever-present threat of financial disaster, Jacob is convinced that he has found their own slice of Eden in the rich, dark soil of Arkansas.

This film directed and written by Lee Isaac Chung co-stars Will Patton, Esther Moon, and Jacob M. Wade.

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