Wow, this has been just a beautiful week. I think the middle of October is like always about perfect. And then come the rains, and blustery winds, and Halloween razor in apples stories. And then everyone starts freaking out about the snow. Let’s enjoy it while we can.
This BSR! Weekend Movie Preview is for the weekend of October 17, 2014. Per usual, before we get started, a quick disclaimer. I write these over my lunch at my day job, all of the film information presented here, including the plot summary, has been pulled from the Opening This Week page of IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/nowplaying/). I have not seen any of these movies at the time of this writing.
Join us this week as we preview “Fury”, “The Best Of Me”, “The Book Of Life”, and many, many others.
R 134 min - Action | Drama | War
Director: David Ayer
Stars: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña
Summary: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Thoughts: I just recently rewatched “Band of Brothers” on Amazon Prime Streaming, and it impacted me every bit as much as the first time I saw it when it was first released, so I am in a kind of World War 2 mood. David Ayer is a really solid filmmaker, and I really liked his last film “Sabotage” with Arnold Schwarzenegger playing a little out of his comfort zone. I do think that Brad Pitt is a really bland performer, though. He is either over the top, or the proto-perfect hero. But Ayer is rarely about the individual performances in his films.
The Best of Me (2014)
PG-13 117 min - Drama | Romance
Director: Michael Hoffman
Stars: James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato
Summary: A pair of former high school sweethearts reunite after many years when they return to visit their small hometown.
Thoughts: I am not the demographic for this film. To be more clear, I am not the demographic for treacly, hyper dramatic, clichéd love stories. Especially ones that have two sets of actors that look absolutely nothing alike playing the same characters at two different times in their lives. Anyways... blech.
The Book of Life (2014)
PG 95 min - Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Family | Fantasy | Romance
Director: Jorge R. Gutierrez
Stars: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman
Summary: Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.
Thoughts: I don’t know what to think about this. On one hand it looks beautiful. And conceptually, I love the idea. On the other hand, there is a real “Shrek” like quality to the humor that is really offputting. I am much more excited about “Penguins of Madagascar”.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) - [Limited]
R 119 min - Comedy | Drama
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough
Summary: A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.
Thoughts: This looks likethe kind of movie, that even if it is a massive failure, it is still will have value in the simple fact that it exists. My only worry is that the star power involved might overshadow the performances by making everything Meta-Meta.
Dear White People (2014) - [Limited]
R 100 min - Comedy | Drama
Director: Justin Simien
Stars: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Teyonah Parris
Summary: The lives of four black students at an Ivy League college converge after controversy breaks out due to the ill-conceived theme of the campus humor magazine's annual Halloween party.
Thoughts: Having grown up partially un-white in one of the most homogenous white shallow gene pools in the nation, I am always interested in non-white experiences in white society. Having said that, I am really un-social so my experience with white college bro douche culture is very limited, and this movie looks like it is basically about the take down of that group of people. At least based on this trailer.
Listen Up Philip (2014) - [Limited]
108 min - Drama
Director: Alex Ross Perry
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter
Summary: Anger rages in Philip as he awaits the publication of his second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley, and his own indifference to promoting the novel. When Philip's idol Ike Zimmerman offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject: himself.
Thoughts: I am the demographic for this movie.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)
R 90 min - Horror | Thriller
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Stars: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson, Travis Tope
Summary: 65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called 'moonlight murders' begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl, with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.
Thoughts: Unstoppable monster serial killer movies aren’t my forte. They were cool once, a long time ago, but seriously how many variations on a theme can we do here. I always wanted to do one of those movies but have the unstoppable monster serial killers meet up with Bruce Lee. Now that is a variation on a theme!!
Rudderless (2014) - [Limited]
R 105 min - Comedy | Drama | Music
Director: William H. Macy
Stars: Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez
Summary: A grieving father in a downward spiral stumbles across a box of his recently deceased son's demo tapes and lyrics. Shocked by the discovery of this unknown talent, he forms a band in the hope of finding some catharsis.
Thoughts: Holy cow! This looks absolutely wonderful. When the trailer first started I immediately started thinking of ways to make fun of it, and then Anton Yelchin showed up and the whole energy changed and went a completely different way from what I expected. Gotta see it.
Camp X-Ray (2014) - [Limited]
R 117 min - Drama
Director: Peter Sattler
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Peyman Moaadi, Lane Garrison, Tara Holt
Summary: A soldier assigned to Guantanamo Bay befriends a man who has been imprisoned there for eight years.
Thoughts: Kristen Stewart plays a tough guy who ends up finding his compassion when he meets the enemy. I think that is what this is about.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) - [Limited]
PG 137 min - Animation | Drama | Fantasy
Director: Isao Takahata
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, James Marsden
Summary: Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her - but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.
Watchers of the Sky (2014) - [Limited]
120 min - Documentary | Biography | History | News
Director: Edet Belzberg
Stars: Benjamin Ferencz, Raphael Lemkin, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Samantha Power
Summary: Four modern stories of remarkable courage while setting out to uncover the forgotten life of Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term 'genocide'. Inspired by Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, 'A Problem From Hell', 'Watchers of the Sky' traverses time and continents to explore genocide and the cycle of violence.
Thoughts: This looks like important documentary filmmaking. I am always interested in real people with real missions that are more important than trying to establish their place in history.
Default (2014) - [Limited]
88 min - Thriller
Director: Simon Brand
Stars: David Oyelowo, Greg Callahan, Katherine Moennig, Stephen Lord
Summary: A news crew is taken hostage on an airplane set to take off from the Seychelles by a gang of Somali pirates whose leader is driven by one goal: to be interviewed by a prominent member of the crew, legendary journalist Frank Saltzman.
Thoughts: Ughhhh... How many more POV movies do we have to put up with. If Sharknado 3 is shot in POV style, we will know that we have been judged by God and are already living in hell.
Whaddya think? Am I right? Or am I way, way off? Sound off and put in my place.