Amid the various controversies that hit Hollywood on a regular basis, one of the most recent involves what some people call whitewashing. That is, the casting of white actors in roles originally designed as non-white characters.
Think of Emma Stone, whose skin is nearly translucent, playing the character of Allison Ng — supposedly one-quarter Chinese, one quarter Hawaiian — in Cameron Crowe's "Aloha."
Now think of Scarlett Johansson playing the character of Major in "Ghost in the Shell," the live-action adaptation of the manga series (dating back to 1989) that went on to become a 1995 animated film, a couple of television series and even a second animated film (2015). Major's full name, actually, is Motoko Kusanagi who, though a cyborg, is clearly Japanese.
Johansson, just as clearly, is neither Japanese nor a cyborg.
The fact of this may, or may not, bother you. Regardless, you'll soon have the chance to judge for yourself just how effective Johansson is in the film as "Ghost in the Shell" is among those included in the coming week's national schedule. Which is as follows:
"Ghost in the Shell": Johansson's character is a cybernetic police officer whose special section investigates the work of a master criminal.
"The Boss Baby": Alec Baldwin lends his voice to the title character, a suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying baby who teams up with his 7-year-old brother to … save the world? Very loosely based on the children's novel by Marla Frazee.
"The Zookeeper's Wife": Jessica Chastain stars as Antonia Zabinski, a Polish zookeeper who managed to save hundreds of people from the Germans during World War II. Based on real events.
And at the Magic Lantern?
"My Life As a Zucchini": Based on a novel by Gilles Paris, this French-made animated film follows the touching story of a young boy who must adapt to life in an orphanage.
That's the list so far. I'll update as the local theaters finalize their bookings.