Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Opening This Week - December 8



Wide Releases:


Miss Sloane (Nationwide Expansion)

Directed by: John Madden
Runtime: 2hrs, 12mins
Drama, Thriller

After making two enjoyably light-hearted films about a group of aging British people traveling to India where they help establish The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, John Madden (no, not the American football coach and broadcast commentator - I'm sure he's never heard that joke before) is back working in the thriller genre. This time with Jessica Chastain in a political thriller whose main allure looks to be watching Chastain verbally spar her way to victory, but that doesn't mean there won't be a few twists and turns along the way. Many have commented on how it feels like a pilot for a TV series we're unlikely to get.



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Nocturnal Animals


Directed by: Tom Ford
Runtime: 1hr, 56mins
Thriller

Nocturnal Animals looks like an unsettling Gone Girl-esque film about love and carnage. Tom Ford let seven years go by between A Single Man and this, his latest film. That may be forgivable so long as he consistently delivers a distinctive voice and visual experience in his art. That certainly seems to be the case here. Though there have been some mixed reviews, there seems to be a consensus about the film's strong performances and visual style. Though this one may not be for the faint of heart.


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Office Christmas Party

Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Runtime: 1hr, 45mins
Comedy

There's a good chance that Office Party represents the fantasy of many office workers around the world. By this time of year we could all stand to let loose, and of course there's the ever present threat of downsizing to worry about. As such this may just be a well timed distraction from real life concerns. Though, let's face it, the idea that a branch of a company would devise a wild party that's sure to get out of control in order to impress a potential client into giving them their business, thus saving the branch from closure is all pretty silly. But that's why it's a movie, and that's why people enjoy movies like this. Also, the huge cast may just be too much to pass up on.


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Limited Releases:


Abattoir

Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Runtime: 1hr, 38mins
Horror, Thriller



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All We Had

Directed by: Katie Holmes
Runtime: 1hr, 45mins
Drama

Katie Holmes directorial debut adapted from Annie Weatherwax's 2014 novel looks earnest enough, but also potentially cliche and weak on the delivery. Yet it is seeing a healthy dose of positive initial reviews. Her acting career has faded, but she may just find new life behind the camera. 



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Befikre

Directed by: Aditya Chopra
Runtime: 2hrs, 12mins
Comedy, Romance

"Befikre" means carefree, which describes the desires of the leads in this Bollywood romance about a couple who refuse to allow their relationship to become sentimental and dull. It sounds like an Indian, comedy version of the French film "Love Me If You Dare," which may explain their practicing of a French phrase in the trailer. 



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Beyond the Gates


Directed by: Jackson Stewart
Runtime: 1hr, 24mins
Adventure, Horror

Looks like a nostalgic ode to horror films of the VHS era. There's also a distinct Jumanji vibe, if Jumanji had been a more adult horror film. 



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Burn Country


Directed by: Ian Olds
Runtime: 1hr, 42mins
Drama, Thriller



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Frank and Lola

Directed by: Matthew Ross
Runtime: 1hr, 28mins
Drama, Mystery

Frank and Lola is being called a riveting dissection of male jealousy. I've never heard of director Matthew Ross and I'm positive this film will fly under the radar, but for a directorial debut, he's certainly turning some heads. It's still early, but it's sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. In all honesty, this film had me at Michael Shannon. 



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La La Land

Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Runtime: 2hrs, 8mins
Comedy, Drama, Musical

The latest from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle has been another one of those indie films I've long been awaiting. Its stars and amount of critical buzz should certainly give it some legs despite a nationwide opening opposite Star Wars: Rogue One next weekend. Nevertheless, if its limited release finds it opening near you this weekend, take the opportunity to see it before Rogue One becomes the talk of the cinematic universe for the remainder of the holiday season. I'm starting to suspect Chazelle's passion is telling stories about people desperate to make it in the performing arts, and that music will always play a particularly important part in the telling of those stories. Frankly, those passions sound like interesting starting points to me. Whiplash was excellent. I have high hopes for La La Land as well.



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Slash


Directed by: Clay Liford
Runtime: 1hr, 40mins
Comedy

This one is definitely not your average teen coming of age film. Slash looks like a funny, awkward, very low budget, yet unexpectedly charming and inventive ode to geek culture and teen romance films.



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Sugar Mountain

Directed by: Richard Gray
Runtime: 1hr, 46mins
Thriller

Admittedly my only interest in this story of a get rich scheme gone wrong is to see more from Jason Momoa before he takes on the role of Aquaman in DC's cinematic universe. 



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Sword Master


Directed by: Tung-Shing Yee
Runtime: 1hr, 48mins
Action



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The Bounce Back

Directed by: Youssef Delara
Runtime: 1hr, 44mins
Romance



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