Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Opening This Weekend - September 25

Here's what's coming to theaters this weekend:


Hotel Transylvania 2

The first "Hotel Transylvania" was met with mixed reviews, but found success at the box office anyway. In fact, it set a record for highest-grossing September opening weekend ever, and was honored with a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film at the Golden Globes. Animator/Director Genndy Tartakovsky is a fan favorite, especially for those who grew up watching his slew of Cartoon Network shows that ran from the late 90's through the early 2000's. It does also have the voice talent of Mel Brooks joining the cast for those who enjoy his brand of comedy. But this time around Adam Sandler has been credited with writing the screenplay which will be enough for some to hold this one at arms length.

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The Intern

Not to be confused with the ill-conceived Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn 2013 film "The Internship," "The Intern" features Robert De Niro in the role of the mature adult placed in a role generally reserved for youths. Director Nancy Meyers' filmography tends to cater to moms, and this film looks like the sort that will draw them out in droves this weekend.

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Labyrinth of Lies (Limited Release)

Giulio Ricciarelli's film about confronting the crimes of the Nazis during WWII, 13 years after the war ended is due to be Germany's submission for Best Foreign Language film at the next Academy Awards.


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The Green Inferno

Eli Roth's long delayed horror film "The Green Inferno" is about a group of activists who find themselves crash landed in the heart of darkness surrounded by cannibals. This one figures to be disturbingly gory as you might expect, but what you might not expect is a sense of humor. So far it sounds like critics are divided as to whether that sense of humor contributes positively or negatively. If gore horror isn't your thing you may want to pass. 


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Stonewall (Limited)


Roland Emerich is known for his big budget summer blockbusters, but here he takes on true events. Yet the extreme backlash the film has already received for his decision to frame the story around a white gay guy rather than the black transgender woman the story is based on threatens to sink this film before its even released. If you anger your target audience with poor casting decisions, who is left to go see the film?


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99 Homes (Limited)


I always enjoy Michael Shannon, but Andrew Garfield is a capable actor who needs to get away from the super hero genre. "99 Homes" is his chance, and it looks impressive. More impressively, it's already won a few awards and been nominated for others at Deauville, Abu Dhabi, and Venice Film Festivals.

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The Keeping Room (Limited)

This seems like an interesting tale of strong women standing up against men with bad intentions set against the grueling backdrop of the Civil War. It's a film sure to challenge the gender and race roles of the time period its set in, yet early reviews are mixed. The claim is the execution by director Daniel Barber is lacking, but this one sounds interesting enough to keep an eye out for if it expands from its initial limited release.

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Mississippi Grind (Limited)

This one is a combination road movie and gambling film whose trailer promises strong performances from leads Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds (which I'm inclined to believe based on their acting cred).  It was written and directed by the duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck the team that brought us "Half Nelson" and "It's Kind of a Funny Story," the latter of which only half worked. Apparently "Mississippi Grind" was available on VOD exclusively through DirecTV earlier in the year. It's a shame that it's limited theatrical release was accompanied by a limited VOD release as well. Who knows if or when it'll see a wider release.

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Ashby (Limited)

"Ashby" looks and feels like a version of "St. Vincent" where the kid is a high school student and the rough around the edges, old timer is played by Mickie Rourke rather than Bill Murray. Not that you should judge a film based on IMDB's ratings, but currently "Ashby" is sitting at just over 6.0 a solid 1 point differential behind "St. Vincent." Yet "St. Vincent" was largely considered a failure which makes "Ashby" (and its limited release) even less likely to succeed. 

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Also coming to theaters is two documentaries:

The Reflektor Tapes 
About the making of Arcade Fire's album Reflektor.

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
The inspirational story of a woman who overcame online bullying to become an empowering figure, an author and a motivational speaker.