Theatrical Releases This Week
WEDNESDY, AUGUST 22
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski
R; 84 mins
A group of five survivors, armed with shotguns, axes and machetes, wander the back roads of a ravaged landscape looking for refuge in The Day, a terrifying look into a post-apocalyptic future. As war ravages humanity, destroying civilization and most of life on earth, the survivors realize they must do whatever it takes to stay alive. Lost, starving, and exhausted, they seek shelter in a seemingly safe abandoned farmhouse. However, while searching for food and resources, they unwittingly set off a trap signaling to their ruthless predators lying in wait to begin their deadly attack. With food and ammunition dwindling, the group must make a desperate final stand-over a 24 hour period-battling for their ultimate survival. (Synopsis by Anchor Bay)
Remember how last week I said it seemed like we were getting a sub-par horror film each week? This week, it’s survivalist flicks. If this didn’t seem like a 90-minute version of “The Walking Dead” it might have something going. Unfortunately, this delivers even less consistently than the AMC series.
Director: John Hillcoat
R; 115 mins
Lawless is the true story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers: bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. In this epic gangster tale, inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel “The Wettest County in the World”, the loyalty of three brothers is put to the test against the backdrop of the nation’s most notorious crime wave. (Synopsis by Weinstein)
A gangster movie on steroids. Considering it was a Cannes selection, it doesn’t have a great deal of depth. But it makes up for it by pounding that one note into the ground. The most interesting fallout of this film might be the turning point in LaBeouf’s career. Who knew “Even Stevens” would go full “Equus” on us?
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31
Director: Leslie Gornstein
PG-13; 91 mins
Based on a true story, The Possession is the terrifying account of how one family must unite in order to survive the wrath of an unspeakable evil. Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie Brenek (Kyra Sedgwick) see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host. (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
Wait a minute? Didn’t we already get our crappy horror movie this week? Bad Hollywood! Bad! The only saving grace is Sam Raimi’s involvement. Otherwise, it is (yet another) carbon copy of other, better horror films.
NOTE: “Celeste and Jesse Forever” has been moved to release this Friday rather than last week as previously noted.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Peter Berg
PG-13; 130 mins.
Peter Berg produces and directs Battleship, an epic-scaled action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. Inspired by Hasbro’s classic naval combat game, Battleship stars Taylor Kitsch as Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, a physical therapist and Hopper’s fiancée; Alexander Skarsgård as Hopper’s older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; Rihanna as Petty Officer Raikes, Hopper’s crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones; and international superstar Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone’s superior (and Sam’s father), Admiral Shane. (Synopsis by Universal)
Taking longer to sink than “Titanic,” this one manages to set the bar another step lower for bad blockbusters with an amazingly long run time, for an amazingly bad film. This makes “The Expendables” look like high-class art by comparison.