Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Opening This Week - January 6

Wide Releases:


A Monster Calls (Nationwide Expansion)

Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Runtime: 1hr, 48mins
Drama, Fantasy

Much like last year's The BFG and Pete's Dragon, A Monster Calls is the story of a child who befriends a monster during a time of need. Yet this one, based on Patrick Ness's novel of the same name, looks to be the more emotionally affecting of the three. And critics seem to agree. It's sitting at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even the trailer is effective at stirring emotions. That's thanks in no small part to the use of M83's song 'Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun.' 



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Hidden Figures

Directed by: Theodore Melfi
Runtime: 2hrs. 7mins
Drama

Likely another favorite for Oscar attention, Hidden Figures tells the inspirational story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle MonĂ¡e) who crossed gender and race lines in order to help NASA win the space race. It was their calculations that helped John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth. Its 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes also means it's a surefire crowd pleaser as well. 



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Underworld: Blood Wars

Directed by: Anna Foerster
Runtime: 1hr, 31mins
Action, Horror

Yet another - supposedly the final - film in the Underworld franchise, a darker more video gamey vampire versus werewolves series that relies heavily on over-the-top action sequences and extremely noticeable CGI. It's a series that has never done well with critics, but seems to make enough at the box office to warrant another film. It's not a series I've ever had any interest in. But there are plenty of notable stars here. Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, and Tony Curran are not returning, but Theo James and Charles Dance are. And they've added another Game of Thrones star in Tobias Menzies. These are all in addition to the series' lead heroine played by Kate Beckinsale. With Sony wrapping up both this franchise and Resident Evil this month, they'll likely be looking for another blockbuster action heroine franchise to replace them.



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Limited Releases:


Arsenal

Directed by: Steven C. Miller
Runtime: 1hr, 32mins
Thriller

This indie thriller utilizes John Cusack and Nicholas Cage in roles they seem out of place for - not to mention Cage appears to be in full blown Cage mode. It's poor initial reviews don't lead to much confidence in the story or the filmmaking here either.



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Between Us

Directed by: Rafael Palacio Illingworth
Runtime: 1hr, 40mins
Drama, Romance

This looks to be one of those indie relationship dramas in which a couple test each other and themselves by seeing where one night goes with someone other than their partner. There aren't many reviews for this film yet, so I might have to see it to know whether or not it truly has anything to say about relationships, love, and commitment and the decisions we make about them. 



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Hickey

Directed by: Alex Grossman
Runtime: 1hr, 25mins
Comedy

Hickey is a coming of age comedy about a brilliant young man who has to save the store he hates in order to win over the girl he loves.



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Lost and Found

Directed by: Joseph Itaya
Runtime: 1hr, 30mins
Adventure, Family, Mystery

Looks like an attempt to recapture the fun of The Goonies, in which a few kids take on a treasure hunt. 



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Master

Directed by: Cho Ui-seok
Runtime: 2hrs, 23mins
Action, Crime




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Railroad Tigers

Directed by: Ding Sheng
Runtime: 2hrs, 4mins
Action, Comedy

Looks like a Magnificent Seven set on a train, except instead of professional killers, they're all amateurs. And because it's Jackie Chan, you know it'll be another one of his big budget action comedies that'll be a fun but over-the-top ride.



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The Bronx Bull

Directed by: Martin Guigui
Runtime: 1hr, 34mins
Biography, Drama, Sports

This biographical story of boxing champion Jake LaMotta shows both his rise to prominence and his struggles outside of the ring. 



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