Overseas moviegoing surges, propelled by China

FILE - In this March 16, 2017 file photo, the cast of movie "Kong:Skull Island" from left, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Samuel L. Jackson and Tom Hiddleston pose for a photo during a press conference in Beijing, China. Propelled by growth in China, global moviegoing reached a record high of $40.6 billion in 2017 despite a downturn in audiences at U.S. and Canada theaters. Much of the global increase was thanks to China, which accounted for $7.9 billion in ticket sales. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

NEW YORK — Even as trade tensions are mounting between the United States and China, the importance of Chinese moviegoers to Hollywood has never been more apparent.

‘Blockers’ a gleefully crude farce about gender bias

This image released by Universal Pictures shows John Cena, from left, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz in a scene from "Blockers." (Quantrell D. Colbert/Universal Pictures via AP)

The teen sex comedy, a dude-fest if there ever was one, gets a very overdue and very funny update in Kay Cannon’s “Blockers,” a gleeful, gross-out farce about the absurdities of gender bias.

‘Chappaquiddick’ examines the ripples of a scandal

This image released by Entertainment Studios shows Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy in a scene from "Chappaquiddick." (Claire Folger/Entertainment Studios via AP)

Ambiguous and damning at once, John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick” plunges us back into the summer of 1969: the season of Woodstock, the moon landing, the Manson murders and the lowest ebb of the Kennedy mythology.

‘Ready Player One’ takes Spielberg back and to the future

This cover image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows director Steven Spielberg, left, and Tye Sheridan on the set of "Ready Player One." (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

LOS ANGELES — In Ernest Cline’s novel “Ready Player One,” the main character drives a DeLorean because of “Back to the Future,” and uses a grail diary because of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The films of Steven Spielberg loom large in the story littered with pop culture references. That the legendary filmmaker then ended up being the one to take Cline’s futuristic-nostalgic vision to the big screen is a small Spielbergian miracle.

‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ is cheer-at-the-screen fun

This image released by Universal Pictures shows a scene from "Pacific Rim Uprising." (Legendary Pictures/Universal Pictures via AP)

At the end of the monsters-versus-robots flick “Pacific Rim,” a breach at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean is closed, plugging a hole that allowed hellish creatures to emerge and terrorize the globe. But after the movie earned $400 million worldwide, was that portal really going to stay closed?

Slick neo-noir ‘Gemini’ stays surface level

This image released by Neon shows Lola Kirke in a scene from "Gemini." (Neon via AP)

Writer-director Aaron Katz’s “Gemini ” is a very stylishly executed and well-cast attempt at a Lynchian neo-noir that doesn’t really work. Glum and meandering, the Los Angeles-set mystery about a Hollywood starlet and her assistant starts off promising enough but trudges along aimlessly to a deeply silly and maddening end.

‘Ready Player One’ Review: Spielberg goes back to the future

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Tye Sheridan in a scene from "Ready Player One," a film by Steven Spielberg. (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

“Why can’t we go backward for once?” wonders the protagonist of “Ready Player One” shortly before gunning his “Back to the Future” DeLorean in reverse. “Really put the pedal to the metal.”

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