Theatrical Releases This Week
The Cabin in the Woods
Director: Drew Goddard
R; 95 mins
Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out. (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
While it might not be scary, this succeeds in bending the horror genre as few other films have. A superbly intelligent film with enough thrills for general audiences, and enough gore to satisfy horror purists. High marks for bringing back the meta film genre.
The Three Stooges: The Movie
Director: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly
PG; 92 min
Left on a nun’s doorstep, Larry, Curly and Moe grow up finger-poking, nyuk-nyuking and woo-woo-wooing their way to uncharted levels of knuckleheaded misadventure. Out to save their childhood home, only The Three Stooges could become embroiled in an oddball murder plot…while also stumbling into starring in a phenomenally successful TV reality show. (Synopsis by 20th Century Fox)
Remembering when this film had a chance of starring Sean Penn, Jim Carey, and Benicio Del Toro? Instead we got Mr. Tinkles from “Cats & Dogs,” the fat guy from Mad TV, and that other guy from some television show. The only redeeming value is having the Farrelly brothers at the helm. Still, it looks awful.
Director: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
PG-13; 95 mins
Starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace and set in the near future, Lockout follows a falsely convicted ex-government agent (Pearce), whose one chance at obtaining freedom lies in the dangerous mission of rescuing the President’s daughter (Grace) from rioting convicts at an outer space maximum-security prison. Lockout was directed by Stephen St. Leger and James Mather from their script co-written with Luc Besson, who is also a producer. Peter Stormare co-stars. (Synopsis by Open Road)
A big, dumb videogame of a movie that cannot be saved by Pearce hamming it up. With visuals that look like they were generated on a shoe string budget, there isn’t much to look forward to here—especially when there are better options available.
The Raid: Redemption
Director: Gareth Evans
R; 100 mins
As a rookie member of an elite special-forces team, Rama (Iko Uwais) is instructed to hang back during a covert mission involving the extraction of a brutal crime lord from a rundown fifteen-story apartment block. But when a spotter blows their cover, boss Tama (Ray Sahetaphy) offers lifelong sanctuary to every every killer, gangster, and thief in the building in exchange for their heads. Now Rama must stand in for the team’s fallen leader (Joe Taslim) and use every iota of his fighting strength – winding through every floor and every room to complete the mission and escape with his life. (Synopsis by Sony)
For what sounds like a shaky premise, this film surprisingly delivers. With especially well-staged fight scenes and enough gore to keep the action fanatics engaged, it will delight more than disappoint.
Director: Lee Hirsch
PG-13; 94 mins
Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Bully follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals’ offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children. (Synopsis by Weinstein)
While it might not be a particularly good film, the message it delivers is especially poignant. It has been overshadowed in the last few weeks by The Weinstein Company’s fight to lower the MPAA’s rating. The critical scene in question remains in the film after much debate over the legitimacy of the board’s rating guidelines. Hopefully this will open the film to a younger audience. It is certainly worth their time to experience the lives of those around them.
DVD Releases This Week
The Darkest Hour
Director: Chris Gorak
PG-13; 89 min
The Darkest Hour is the story of five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack. The 3D thriller highlights the classic beauty of Moscow alongside mind-blowing special effects. (Synopsis by Summit)
How incredibly lazy do you have to be to make your bad guy an invisible alien? There is nothing redeemable here, from the flat characters to the poorly-rendered special effects, to the backdrop of Moscow. Actually, I take that back. The gorgeous background of Moscow is more engaging than the actual film.
The Iron Lady
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
PG-13; 105 min
The Iron Lady is a surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep), the first and only female Prime Minister of The United Kingdom. One of the 20th century’s most famous and influential women, Thatcher came from nowhere to smash through barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male dominated world. (Synopsis by Weinstein)
Streep is easily the high point of this plodding film. Barely covering the subject matter does not make for a good biopic—much like “American’s Funniest Home Videos” the film relies too much on montages to be effect. Perhaps adding Bob Saget would have helped. I hear he tells a mean version of the Aristocrats joke.