What's on the big screen this week
WONDER Woman smashed the box office last week, taking $6,768,064 in its opening weekend to make it the fifth biggest opening of the year so far.
It left Baywatch, starring Dwayne "The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron, for dead as the remake of the 90s television series only made just over half that figure, at $3.48 million.
This week's new releases - Churchill, The Mummy and My Cousin Rachel - haven't had the build-up Wonder Woman and Baywatch did, and I doubt any of the newcomers can steal the top spot at the box office, but that doesn't meant they're not worth seeing.
Churchill provides a look at the what was going through the British leader's mind as his country's soldiers prepared for the D-Day landing at Normandy during the Second World War, while the dark romance film My Cousin Rachel adds some period drama into the mix, and Tom Cruise brings another reicarnation of The Mummy tale to life alongside Russel Crowe.
Here are this week's highlights of the big screen and why you should see them:
Brian Cox is instantly recognisable as the gruff, pipe-smoking British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in this biopic about the great leader, directed by Australian Jonathan Teplitzky.
Set during Churchill's later years during the days leading up to the D-Day invasion of France, the film focusses on Churchill's struggle to be heard by the American and British armed forces, and his fear of repeating mistakes made during the First World War.
Read the review here.
Why you should see it: Cox excels in the role of Churchill, while the prime minister's long-suffering wife Clementine is played brilliantly by Miranda Richardson. Don't book tickets expecting gripping battle scenes from the trenches, but if you have an interest in the man and a strong performance, this one is for you.
The Mummy (M)
TOM Cruise and Russell Crowe star in the latest version of action thriller, The Mummy.
Crowe plays Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde in the reboot, set in the present day and travelling from the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, while Cruise's character plays soldier of fortune Nick Morton, who dies in a plane crash only to arise again to battle an undead ancient Egyptian princess.
It's reportedly a darker take on the tale than those in the past and will feature plenty of stunts Cruise is known for.
Why you should see it: When in Sydney last month for the Australian premiere of the film, Cruise told AAP he'd managed to pull off an impressive zero-gravity stunt in The Mummy. He and Crowe will also face off as their characters share a battle scene.
My Cousin Rachel (PG)
A YOUNG Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious cousin, believing she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the spell of her charms.
Why you should see it: Rachel Weisz enchants in this dark romance based on Daphne du Maurier's novel.
Early reviews of the Baywatch film have been less than favourable, but the true test will be how Aussie fans react when it hits the silver screen this week.
Executive producer Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, stars as devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan who butts heads with brash new recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron). The pair is forced to put their differences aside as they
Why you should see it: Why wouldn't you see a film starring The Rock? The man is the epitome of cool. I doubt the movie will expand your thinking, but if you're in for some light-hearted fun, give it a go.
Read what Zac Efron has to say about the film here.
Wonder Woman (M)
Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
There's a lot riding on this one - can a female-led superhero movie capture the viwer's attention and guarantee the big wigs in Hollywood continue to invest in these stories? And can Wonder Woman break out of the superhero formula we've seen so many times before?
Early reviews are overwhelmingly positive, suggesting Wonder Woman can do both these things.
Why you should watch it: While many superhero films are quite dark, Wonder Woman mixes it up and will take you down the byroad to somewhere warm, funny and properly entertaining.
Read the review here.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (M)
A down-on-his-luck Jack Sparrow feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil's Triangle. Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon.
Why you should see it: There's a certain amount of nostalgia with this franchise, which dates back to 2003, which will keep fans coming back for more. But despite the best efforts of new baddie Javier Bardem and young Aussie Brenton Thwaites, Sparrow's story appears to be more worn out than his trusty hat. Read the interview with Geoffrey Rush.
The Shack (M)
After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa.
Why you should see it: This well-meaning film has a good message at its core, but that's undermined by some heavy-handed preaching and some melodramatic clichés.
Don't Tell (M)
The story of a young woman who fought back after enduring sexual abuse at a prestigious private school. With a dogged and determined local lawyer by her side, Lyndal takes on the powerful church that denied her abuse for over a decade.
Why you should see it: This important Australian film, based on a true story, will stand in time as one of the most important films about our attitudes towards sexual abuse, our education system and the church. Read the review.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (M)
Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.
Why you should see it: Director Guy Ritchie doesn't quite nail the combination of his modern action and jagged pacing with an age-old legend. The result is a mess and unlikely to stand the test of time. Read the review.
Viceroy's House (PG)
In 1947, Lord Mountbatten assumes the post of last Viceroy, charged with handing India back to its people, living upstairs at the house which was the home of British rulers, whilst 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants lived downstairs.
Why you should see it: If you are still mourning the demise of Downton Abbey, then this lavish period drama is one you should consider. Hugh Bonneville is perfectly cast as Lord Mountbatten and Gillian Anderson nails the refined British accent. Read the review.
John Wick: Chapter 2 (MA 15+)
After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.
Why you should see it: This sequel is a delicious mess of blood, cars, guns, explosions, more guns and even more blood. It's also the first time Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne have worked together since The Matrix films. Read the interview with Keanu.
Alien: Covenant (MA 15+)
The crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but it is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.
Why you should see it: There are plenty of scares and blood in this new Alien prequel, which also answers a few questions from Prometheus, but it doesn't take Ridley Scott's space saga in a new direction. Read the review.