Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Opening This Week - August 18, 2017

Wide Releases:



Logan Lucky

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Runtime: 1hr, 59mins
Comedy, Crime, Drama
PG-13
Trailer

Starring: Katherine Waterston, Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Sebastian Stan, Hilary Swank, Seth MacFarlane



Steven Soderbergh may have been trying to retire from feature filmmaking, but the existence of Logan Lucky proves that retirement was short lived. It's also a return to the heist genre that may be his most well known contribution to cinema. The Ocean's Eleven movies may not all be well liked, but they're all certainly well known, and the first one remains an excellent piece of entertainment. If the early reviews are to be believed, Logan Lucky is "high-octane fun - and proves he hasn't lost his ability to entertain." It's sitting at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.


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The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Directed by: Patrick Hughes  
Runtime: 1hr, 58mins  
Action, Comedy
R
Trailer

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung




And now for a film that is about as star studded as Logan Lucky, but by a far less acclaimed director - The Hitman's Bodyguard is a buddy action comedy in which two rivals (Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson) teaming up to take on a merciless Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman). It's seen a very mixed critical reception so far with words like "generic" and "stereotypical" being thrown around. 


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Friday, August 11, 2017

Okja (2017)

Directed by: Bong Joon-ho
Runtime: 2hrs
Action, Adventure, Drama
TV-MA
Netflix

While I’ve only seen a couple of Bong Joon-ho’s films, I’ve been impressed by his bold style. He has the unique ability to take on dark subject matter with an often comedic tone. The Host took a light-hearted approach to the monster movie and worked. Snowpiercer, despite being a dark, gritty film based on a graphic novel, took a somewhat similar approach by featuring a few over-the-top characters - the most notable one played spectacularly by Tilda Swinton.

His films are also usually inspired by real world issues. The Host dealt with irresponsible use of chemicals and other pollutants that kill and deform wildlife. In Snowpiercer, he took on global warming and the great divide in social classes. His latest, the Netflix exclusive Okja, deals with solving world hunger by genetically modifying animals.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Opening This Week - August 11, 2017

Wide Releases:


Annabelle: Creation

Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Runtime: 1hr, 49mins
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
R
Trailer

Starring: Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman, Lulu Wilson




As the title suggests, Creation is a prequel to 2014's Annabelle, and the fourth film in The Conjuring series. All of the films in the series have done well at the box office, and other than the first Annabelle film, they've all been fairly well received by critics - including Creation. However, as someone not very fond of horror films, I take one look at that creepy doll and I'm out. Perhaps that's a sign that it's doing something right.


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The Glass Castle

Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton  
Runtime: 2hrs, 7mins  
Biography, Drama
PG-13
Trailer

Starring: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts




Director Destin Daniel Cretton pairs with Brie Larson again for the follow up to his excellent 2013 indie film, Short Term 12. It's based on the memoir of the same name by Jeannette Walls, recounting her poverty-stricken upbringing and her relationship with her unconventional and rather dysfunctional family. Cretton could very well be finding a consistent theme for his work. However, unlike Short Term 12, which was universally praised, The Glass Castle has received some mixed early reviews. The jury is still out for now, but there's reason to be concerned.


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The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

Directed by: Cal Brunker  
Runtime: 1hr, 31mins  
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
PG
Trailer

Starring: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Peter Stormare, Bobby Cannavale



The first Nut Job (2014) movie wasn't a huge box office success, but it did pull in a nice profit for the newly formed Gulfstream Pictures. Despite the poor reviews of that first film, they've seen fit to produce a follow up with just as deep a cast. There haven't been any early reviews so far, but I'd keep expectations low. However, as far as the box office goes, it wouldn't surprise me to see it do fairly well. The Emoji Movie has disappointed and Despicable Me 3 has been out for over a month now. The Nut Job 2 could benefit from kids wanting one more trip to the theater before school starts.


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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Directed by: David Leitch
Runtime: 1hr, 55mins
Action, Mystery, Thriller
R

The tagline I’ve seen used to advertise Atomic Blonde just about everywhere states, “the female James Bond has arrived.” To that point, the film succeeds. It’s based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart's 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City. It wisely casts Charlize Theron as the James Bond-esque spy at the center of this twisty, often muddled plot.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Opening This Week - August 4, 2017

Wide Releases:


Detroit

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Runtime: 2hrs, 23mins
Crime, Drama, History
R
Trailer

Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Will Poulter, John Krasinski



Maybe it's an easy call, but it wouldn't surprise me to see this film get some awards season buzz. Detroit looks like a tense historical drama and director Kathryn Bigelow has fared well during awards season in the past. As someone who enjoyed John Boyega in his breakout film Attack the Block back in 2011, I'm glad to see that he's become a fast rising star in Hollywood. It certainly does hurt that critics have responded well to it. It's sitting at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Kidnap

Directed by: Luis Prieto  
Runtime: 1hr, 34mins  
Thriller
R
Trailer

Starring: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn



I can't help feeling as though we've seen this movie before, but new takes on familiar stories happen all the time. Kidnap is a thriller that preys on the parental fear of losing a child, but it stars Halle Berry and she's an action star. That, of course, likely means bad things for the film's villain. I'm not necessarily willing to say it'll have a hard time at the box office, but it's opening in fewer theaters than The Dark Tower and Detroit. Meanwhile, Dunkirk is still doing well having fended off The Emoji Movie and Atomic Blonde to retain first place in its second week of release. So it wouldn't surprise me to see it struggle.


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The Dark Tower

Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel  
Runtime: 1hr, 35mins  
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
PG-13
Trailer

Starring: Idris Elba, Katheryn Winnick, Matthew McConaughey, Jackie Earle Haley



Nikolaj Arcel, the screenwriter behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the director of A Royal Affair, takes on Stephen King's beloved Sci-Fi, Western, Fantasy book series. This film is intended to launch a film and television franchise based on the 8-volume series. However, it's important to note Arcel is calling the film a sequel to the books' events, not a straight adaptation. Personally I'm excited to see Idris Elba up against Matthew McConaughey. 


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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Opening This Week - July 28, 2017

Wide Releases:


Atomic Blonde

Directed by: David Leitch
Runtime: 1hr, 55mins
Action, Mystery, Thriller
R
Trailer

Starring: Charlize, Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella




Stuntman turned director David Leitch, makes his feature directorial debut with an adaptation of Antony Johnston and Sam Hart's 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City. It’s about an undercover MI6 agent working in Berlin during the Cold War. Many are calling it a female James Bond series with action choreography inspired by John Wick. Charlize Theron is, of course, the natural pick to take on the role. She’s one of the foremost action heroines working today.

 Leitch may be a director to keep an eye on, he’s currently filming Deadpool 2. With so much experience in stunt work, he may just be the next big action movie director.


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The Emoji Movie

Directed by: Tony Leondis  
Runtime: 1hr, 26mins  
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
PG
Trailer

Starring: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Patrick Stewart, Maya Rudolph




This is the sort of movie that's just ridiculous enough to intrigue younger audiences to come out for it. It has a likable enough cast, but why does it exist? No, seriously, how did this movie ever get made?


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dunkirk (2017)

Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 1hr, 46mins
Action, Drama, History
PG-13

Normally I would scoff at a pretentious statement like, “it's less of a film and more of an experience," but I'm not sure there's a better way of describing Christopher Nolan's war epic, Dunkirk. It doesn't have characters so much as it follows a few people around during a dark time in human history.

In fact, I can scarcely recall a single character’s name and specific characteristics are few and far between. I'll likely have to refer to each character by the actor’s name in order to explain what happened in this movie. Nevertheless, Nolan’s strength as a filmmaker is his ability to combine parallel lines of action effectively, and here he does so as well as he ever has.