Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Opening This Week - December 16



Wide Releases:


Collateral Beauty

Directed by: David Frankel
Runtime: 1hr, 37mins
Drama

Is it a new take on A Christmas Carol? Where the ghosts of past, present, and future are replaced by love, time, and death? Could be. It could also be just as heart warming. This was a very personal film for Will Smith who was dealing with his father's passing during filming. The cast here is excellent, but director David Frankel hasn't had a hit since 2008's Marley & Me. It has the star power to succeed, but it is going up against a new Star Wars film. And to make matters worse, initial reviews aren't looking good. It's sitting at 10% on Rotten Tomatoes.



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La La Land (Nationwide Expansion)


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

The latest from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle has been 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 Rogue One. 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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Manchester by the Sea (Nationwide Expansion)

Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan
Runtime: 2hrs, 17mins
Drama

This is one of the film's I've been anxiously anticipating all year. It's been riding a steady wave of critical buzz since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January. Both Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams are fantastic actors, and the film is already getting Oscar buzz. As we head into awards season, make sure this is on your list! Oh and because I know you're curious, the song in the trailer is 'Land of the Living' by Matthew Perryman Jones. 



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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Runtime: 2hrs, 13mins
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

If the aforementioned star-studded heart warming film and the two indies riding waves of critical success and awards season buzz didn't get you out to the theater this weekend, here's one more thing. I'm seriously excited for this film. There is that gut reflex that tells me to remain cautious about prequels - a reflex we learned from this very series. Yet on the outside looking in, everything seems to be working here. It has a diverse cast of likable actors and a director who impressed with his talent for big budget action with 2014's Godzilla. The trailers are quite impressive for the way they conjure that nostalgic, grungy-looking sci-fi galaxy we all know and love. And just in case your hopes weren't high enough, initial reviews are looking mostly positive!



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Limited Releases:


A Kind of Murder

Directed by: Andy Goddard
Runtime: 1hr, 35mins
Drama, Thriller

Every week I do a post about the movies opening that week (you're currently reading this week's). So generally I see a lot of trailers. About every other week there's another movie that fairly closely resembles A Kind of Murder's general story arc. They all involve a love triangle and either one member fakes death, one considers murder, or it might just be that one goes crazy and terrorizes the other two. The point being, these stories are a dime a dozen. I'm thinking of movies like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train (which incidentally came out earlier this year and also stars Haley Bennett - the Jennifer Lawrence look-a-like), just to name a couple of them. Don't get me wrong, A Kind of Murder may end up being a good film, but when the market gets flooded, even the good ones go unnoticed.



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City of Dead Men

Directed by: Kirk Sullivan
Runtime: 1hr, 27mins
Horror

Michael (Diego Boneta), an American tourist visiting Columbia, ends up living with a group of misfits at an abandoned hospital with a troubling past.



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Fences

Directed by: Denzel Washington
Runtime: 2hrs, 18mins
Drama

I watch the trailer for Fences and can't help but try to guess which of the scenes will be played before Oscar wins for Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. They are two powerhouse actors that manage to make a family drama feel very tense with raw emotions. It's only the third directorial effort for Washington. He's lucky to always have a talent like himself to be one of the leads in his films.



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Neruda

Directed by: Pablo Larraín
Runtime: 107
Biography, Drama

Just a week after his film about Jackie Kennedy hit theaters, Pablo Larraín has another biographical film to release. This time he focuses on Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and adds an entirely fictional flair in the form of chase put on by a fictional private investigator, played by Gael Garcia Bernal.



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Solace

Directed by: Afonso Poyart
Runtime: 1hr, 41mins
Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

A psychic, played by Anthony Hopkins, helps the FBI track down a psychic serial killer.



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The Bad Kids

Directed by: Keith Fulton
Runtime: 1hr, 41mins
Documentary

A year in the life of three at risk students and the adults who help them stick it out at an alternative school in Yucca Valley, California.


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The Dust Storm

Directed by: Anthony Baldino and Ryan Lacen
Runtime: 1hr, 36mins
Drama, Romance

While on a business trip in Nashville, Brennan (Colin O'Donoghue) finds himself reunited with Nora (Kristen Gutoskie), the girl who broke his heart 10 years ago. Now, for one weekend their romance will be rekindled and challenged all set against the city's music scene.



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The Hollow Point

Directed by: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Runtime: 1hr, 37mins
Drama

The new sheriff of a small town along the U.S. & Mexico border investigates a drug cartel deal that went horribly wrong.


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The Wasted Times

Directed by: Cheng Er
Runtime: 2hrs, 3mins
Drama, Mystery, Romance, Suspense

Set against a chaotic, war torn Shanghai, The Wasted Times follows a local crime boss at the receiving end of the Japanese army's attempt to forge a dubious alliance. Spanning three separate times during the period, the story details mindsets from various perspectives, all culminating in a suspenseful and tense finale.



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Virtual Revolution

Directed by: Guy-Roger Duvert
Runtime: 1hr, 32mins
Sci-Fi

In the year 2047 most of the population spends their time online in virtual worlds. Reality has become something of an afterthought. However, when terrorists threaten to take the system down, Nash (Mike Dopud), a shadow agent, is employed to track them down.


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