Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Opening This Week - January 22

Much to the chagrin of people like me, still trying to catch up on 2015 films, the lineup of 2016 films are snowballing their way into theaters. Here are this week's films:

Ip Man 3

The film I'm most excited for this week is the third, and likely final film in the Ip Man series. It's also potentially one of last (if not the last) martial arts films for martial arts legend Donnie Yen. Though I suspect the rumors of his retiring from this particular genre of films are overblown in a similar way to the ones years ago for Jet Li, who continued to make appearances in martial arts films for years after the rumors started. This final Ip Man film adds Mike Tyson as the crooked property manager who leads a band of gangsters threatening to take over the city. It also adds Danny Chan who is a dead ringer for Bruce Lee. I smell a series of spin off films...


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Synchronicity

Another film I have some hopes for is "Synchronicity." It's an indie sci-fi thriller about time travel that has been drawing comparisons to "Blade Runner" for its visual aesthetic and atmosphere. I could be getting a little ahead of myself, but the small sci-fi thriller that wowed audiences around this time last year was "Ex Machina," And that turned out to be one of my favorite films of the year. I'm not sure whether or not to get that excited about this film, but I do love a good sci-fi thriller that makes you think. I'll remain cautiously optimistic.

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Dirty Grandpa

Is there any reason to be excited for this movie? To think of what Robert De Niro could be doing...


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The 5th Wave

The latest young adult book series to be adapted to the big screen seems increasingly less likely to catch fire due to poor initial reviews, and completely absent buzz and ad campaign from struggling distributor Sony/Columbia following their email leak/hack scandal that has plagued a number of their recent projects.

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The Boy

This supernatural horror thriller asks "The Walking Dead" star Lauren Cohan to babysit a creepy looking, life-sized porcelain doll that has a strict list of rules to follow. The fact that she doesn't take the job seriously, or simply can't follow the strict rules has some serious consequences once the doll starts to come to life. This film has potential, and seems to be one of the few films in this early part of the year that critics are actually looking forward to. I'm not much for horror films, but this might be one to keep an eye out for.


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Mojave

Despite some intriguing talent here, notably rising star Oscar Isaac, the initial critical reviews all seem to agree that "Mojave" is an overwritten mess. It isn't that there's stiff competition for viewership this week, but even what is coming out seems more intriguing than this film, especially given its poor ratings.


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Monster Hunt

This film was a such a huge hit in China it broke box office records there, and now has its sights set on success here in the west. China is the biggest market available, if a film can do well there, there's a chance it could find some sort of relative success here. Though it might require a western reboot.


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Exposed (VOD Release)

This thriller involves a detective's investigation into the death of his partner, which reveals police corruption, which can, of course, prove to be dangerous once exposed. The crucial question is why is this film being released to no fanfare and only on VOD? A little digging reveals that the film was originally supposed to be a drama about police violence, and the abuse of women and children. However Lionsgate Premier (who specializes in limited theatrical release with simultaneous VOD releases) thought they were being sold a straight police thriller. Thinking that kind of a story would make more money, they had the film re-edited into something closer to the generic thriller they thought they were getting in the first place. I'm not sure which of those two ideas would have made a better film, but trying to turn one into the other doesn't seem like the best method of making a good film.


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