Upcoming Theatrical Releases
The Last Stand
Director: Kim Jee-Woon
R; 107 min
Sheriff Owens is a man who has resigned himself to a life of fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with failure and defeat after his partner was crippled. After a spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy, the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the hemisphere is hurtling toward the border at 200 mph in a specially outfitted car with a hostage and a fierce army of gang members. He is headed, it turns out, straight for Summerton Junction, where the whole of U.S. law enforcement will have their last opportunity to make a stand and intercept him before he slips across the border forever. At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately accepts responsibility for the face off. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
This film seems tailored to Arnold’s return to the big screen. Thoroughly enjoyable as a mindless action flick with all of the heavy artillery and car chases you could want.
Director: Andres Muschietti
PG-13; 100 min
Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night. The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. (Synopsis by Universal)
Guillermo should have prudently wiped his name off of this project. While it is good enough (as this genre goes) to get a passing grade for first time director Muschietti, it doesn’t live up to del Toro’s pedigree.
Director: Sheldon Candis
R; 94 min
An 11-year-old boy gets a crash course in what it means to be a man when he spends a day with the uncle he idolizes in LUV, a poignant and gritty coming-of-age story featuring standout performances by Common, Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert, Charles S. Dutton and newcomer Michael Rainey Jr. (Synopsis by Indomina)
Despite the best efforts of the actors, you can’t fix a poorly-conceived screenplay. The male bonding barely treads water over a backdrop of formulaic violence, with a drive-off-into-the-sunset finale.
Director: Allen Hughes
R; 109 min
An ex-cop-turned-private eye (Mark Wahlberg) is thrown headfirst into a hotbed of trouble after a mayor (Russell Crowe) hires him to look into his cheating wife. Allen Hughes (“Book of Eli”) directs from a script by Brian Tucker. (Synopsis by Rovi)
Two great actors getting to showcase a solid script. Most impressive are the constant twists and turns built into the characters and how well the twists work together. This is the movie to watch this week.
Rust and Bone
Director: Jacques Audiard
R; 120 min
A struggling single father helps a beautiful whale trainer recover her will to live following a terrible accident that leaves her confined to a wheelchair. Lonely and destitute, Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) leaves the north of France for his sister’s house in Antibes after becoming the sole guardian of his estranged five-year-old son Sam. When Ali lands a job as a bouncer in a nearby nightclub, things quickly start to look up for the itinerant father and son. Then one night, after breaking up a fight in the club, Ali meets the radiant Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), and slips her his number after dropping her off safely at home. Though Stephanie’s position on the high end of the social spectrum makes romance an unlikely prospect for the pair, a tragic accident at Marineland robs her of her legs, and finds her reaching out in desperation to Ali. Her spirit broken by the same tragedy that took her legs, Stephanie gradually finds the courage to go on living trough transcendent moments spent with Ali — a man with precious little pity, but an enormous love of life. (Synopsis by Rovi)
The romance at the center of the film is random and wandering. A lesser director would not have been able to control the lack of focus. This comes off as more interesting than emotional and suffers from a lack of subtlety.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
Unrated; 90 min
Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, Detropia sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
A sort of visual eulogy about the complicated problem that is Detriot. Emotionally gripping, but does not pack much intellectual clout.