Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Opening This Week - March 24, 2017

Wide Releases:



CHIPS

Directed by: Dax Shepard
Runtime: 1hr, 40mins
Action, Comedy, Crime
R
Trailer

Starring: Michael Peña, Dax Shepard, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Vincent D'Onofrio



Somehow or another, surely against Warner Brother's better judgement, after spending nearly a decade in development hell, a modern adaptation of the classic 70's-80's TV series has happened. More surprising is that the project somehow went through with Dax Shepard credited as writer, director and starring in one of the lead roles. Perhaps I'm not remembering it well enough, but the trailer doesn't really seem to capture the classic feel of the show. In fact, it appears as though Shepard reversed the roles of the straight shooter and the loose cannon, in order to let himself have the more fun role. In place of a family friendly, fun-loving, cops on motorcycles action, comedy, crime, drama, Shepard opted for a dumbed down, crude, crass, broad comedy adaptation that just doesn't look good.




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Life

Directed by: Daniel Espinosa  
Runtime: 1hr, 43mins  
Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
R
Trailer

Starring: Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal




This "high-end Alien knockoff" is getting positive initial reviews, and that's likely thanks to it's exceptional cast and solid director. It also takes the Alien formula and tries to apply it in a more grounded science fiction world. Perhaps it'll satisfy the audience that was hoping for a more competent big budget, sci-fi, thriller than they got out of Passengers late last year.



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Power Rangers

Directed by: Dean Israelite  
Runtime: 2hrs, 4mins  
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
PG-13
Trailer

Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G., Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader



After the infamous fan-made, made-for-YouTube, R-rated Power Rangers that the owners of the franchise didn't like (but now adult fans of the original show from the 90's did), here's an official big budget, blockbuster re-invention of the series. The question is who this film is for. Is it for those 90's kids, or for the younger audience who might still be interested in the series? My guess is it's the latter, but they may try to appease both. Either way, there's a diverse young cast here and Elizabeth Banks taking on a role I never would have thought to see her play.

I stopped watching Power Rangers when I was still pretty young, figuring I had outgrown it. Searching for that original series on YouTube reveals a corny, over-the-top show I can hardly believe I ever bothered watching. Nevertheless, the franchise still has its audience. So there's still hope for a blockbuster feature film franchise so long as this one hits the ground running. Guess we'll have to wait and see. Though this one isn't the kind of movie I'd proudly go to the theater to see. It's the kind of movie I'd discreetly rent from Redbox and hope no one noticed.




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Limited Releases:


Bokeh

Directed by: Geoffrey Orthwein, Andrew Sullivan
Runtime: 1hr, 32mins
Drama, Sci-Fi
Not Rated
Trailer

Starring:  Maika Monroe, Matt O'Leary, Arnar Jónsson




The concept of people finding themselves to be the last people on earth isn't a new one, so I'm almost interested to see if Bokeh has a truly interesting take on it or not. The thing that ultimately might hold me back is the acting. It could just be the trailer, but yikes there's some unconvincing line deliveries in there. Most of them, surprisingly, seem to come from Maika Monroe, who I know is capable of giving strong performances. Something just seems off here.



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Car Dogs

Directed by: Adam Collis
Runtime: 1hr, 44mins
Comedy, Drama
R
Trailer

Starring: Octavia Spencer, Patrick J. Adams, Alessandra Torresani, George Lopez



You know how when you go to buy a new car it feels like it takes about 8 hours? Well Car Dogs asks a team of salesmen to sell 300 cars in just 8 hours with a special bonus going to the one who sells the most. It's listed as a comedy, so it's hoping to find humor in the outrageous tactics taken by the sales team, but I've never found buying a car a particularly fun time. The trailer also doesn't do a good job of selling the reason for the outrageously high number of cars that need to be sold in such a short amount of time. George Lopez is easily the most recognizable star in the cast, but it's pretty clear this is a very low budget production (Octavia Spencer is listed among the credits, but she's nowhere to be found in the promotional material). However, it might just be the name that's the worst part. It's strange and doesn't really say anything or help give an indication as to what the movie is about. I'm all for supporting indie filmmaking, but I'm not sold on a single thing about this one. 



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Dig Two Graves 

Directed by: Hunter Adams
Runtime: 1hr, 25mins
Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Not Rated
Trailer

Starring: Ted Levine, Samantha Isler, Danny Goldring




Dig Two Graves looks like an intriguing thriller with some visually striking cinematography. It follows Jacqueline (Samantha Isler) as she deals with the loss of her brother. Eventually she's visited by three mysterious moonshiners who offer to bring her brother back from death in exchange for another life. While she struggles with the morality of such an offer the moonshiner's history begins to be revealed as does the dark history of her own family.



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I, Olga Hepnarova

Directed by: Petr Kazda, Tomás Weinreb
Runtime: 1hr, 45mins
Biography, Crime, Drama
Rating
Trailer

Starring: Michalina Olszanska, Martin Pechlát, Klára Melísková




This dark biopic follows a young misfit woman struggling with her sexuality and turning to crime to let out her frustration with the world. Mistreatment and alienation turns to rage and eventually murder.



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Prevenge

Directed by: Alice Lowe
Runtime: 1hr, 28mins
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Not Rated
Trailer

Starring: Jo Hartley, Gemma Whelan, Alice Lowe




Prevenge is a quirky, comedy about a pregnant woman who is tempted to commit murder by the creepy voice of her unborn child. It's a peculiar premise, but an interesting one nonetheless. 



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Slamma Jamma

Directed by: Timothy A. Chey  
Runtime: 1hr, 44mins  
Drama, Sports
PG
Trailer

Starring: Chris Staples, Michael Irvin, Jose Canseco





This sports drama follows a former basketball star as he attempts to find redemption after being wrongfully accused and sent to prison. That redemption comes in the form of a slam dunk competition.



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The Last Face   

Directed by: Sean Penn
Runtime: 2hrs, 12mins
Drama
R
Trailer

Starring: Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Jared Harris, Jean Reno



A director of an international aid organization (Charlize Theron) and a relief-aid doctor (Javier Bardem) fall in love, but that love is tested during their humanitarian work in war-torn Liberia.



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The Levelling 

Directed by: Hope Dickson Leach
Runtime: 1hr, 23mins
Drama
R
Trailer

Starring: Ellie Kendrick, David Troughton, Jack Holden




After hearing of her brother's suicide, a trainee veterinarian returns to the farm where she grew up to find her home in disrepair. She's forced to reckon with her family's past, the details of her brother's death, and the flood that devastated the area while trying to reconnect with her father.



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The Most Hated Woman in America

Directed by: Tommy O'Haver
Runtime: 1hr, 31mins
Drama
Not Rated
Trailer

Starring:  Juno Temple, Adam Scott, Vincent Kartheiser, Josh Lucas, Melissa Leo




The true story of the woman behind the rise of atheism in America.




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Walk of Fame

Directed by: Jesse Thomas
Runtime: 1hr, 33mins
Comedy
Not Rated

Starring:  Scott Eastwood, Malcolm McDowell, Chris Kattan, Jamie Kennedy,  




Walk of Fame is a romantic comedy set at an acting school. Drew (Scott Eastwood) falls quickly for Nikki, an aspiring actress, but on top of his pursuit of her he has to deal with an eccentric acting coach and a cast of other crazy aspiring actors looking for their big break. 



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Wilson

Directed by: Craig Johnson
Runtime: 1hr, 34mins
Comedy
Not Rated

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer, Laura Dern




Based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, Wilson looks like a hilarious comedy about a hopelessly insensitive middle-aged man who tries to smooth things over with his ex-wife when he realizes they have a daughter he's never met. Watching this brutally honest misanthrope learn to engage with society may be enough to entertain for an hour and half, but early reviews haven't been kind to the shallow way the film goes about adapting the original story. 




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