New Releases: August 6, 2015

fantastic-four-2015-poster1. Fantastic Four (Fox, 3,995 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 9% Fresh [95 Reviews]): There seldom comes along a film that the public/target audience rises up as one to root for it to fail. This is one such film. People don’t just want this film to fail, but fail badly. Many hope that if this film fails, Fox will simply return the characters to Marvel so they can be “done right.” However, another failure might damage the property more than it could ever recover from.

Not that the studio and filmmakers didn’t help the hatestorm along, with a leaked synopsis that was kept little of the comic, a casting controversy over what seemed like arbitrary casting by the director Josh Trask, leaked photos that generated more disdain than excitement, Marvel going so far as to cancel the Fantastic Four comic book as to not support the film. rumors of studio mandated reshoots that were extensive and an embargo on reviews before the film’s release.

Well, the reviews are in, and they are not good. And it’s so bad that director Josh Trank went on Twitter with a quickly-deleted mea culpa about how his film would have been much better if he was just left alone (not if it was the first synopsis we saw, it wouldn’t have been). The last nail in the coffin might be the films box office receipts. Whether there will be an attraqctive enough corpse for Marvel to take back is anybody’s guess.

Shaun-the-Sheep-Movie-20152. Shaun the Sheep (Lionsgate, 2,320 Theaters, 85 Minutes, Rated PG for rude humor, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 99% Fresh [95 Reviews]):If you are looking for a kid-friendly alternative to that film right above us, one that actually got good…no…great reviews, here’s one for you.

Shaun’s plan for a day off go haywire when The Farmer is conked on the head and left in the Big City with a case of amnesia. It’s up to Shaun to try to find The Farmer and get him back to the farm before he loses him forever. This will not be as easy as it might seem.

This is based on the popular British TV show and is done by Aardman Production, who are known for their quality.

Ricki_and_the_Flash_poster3. Ricki and the Flash (TriStar, 1,603 Theaters, 102 Minutes, Rated PG – 13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 56% Fresh [73 Reviews]): Meryl Streep has portrayed everything from a fairy tale witch to a true-life British Prime Minister, from a Australian mother to a fashion editor, so playing an aging rock star should be no big deal. But she really doesn’t look the part, does she? Or is it just me?

The often Oscar honored Streep joins an Oscar laden cast and crew who have been quiet in recent years, including Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (who hasn’t made a dramatic feature since 2008’s Rachel Getting Married), Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (whose career never lived up to the potential she showed with Juno), and Oscar-winning actor Kevin Kline (who should be a national treasure but whose career has been very low-key of late). So, there is reason to be excited.

Streep plays Ricki, a woman who left her family behind to pursue a musical career. However, she is reunited with her ex-husband (Kline) when troubles arise around their daughter (played by Streep’s real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer.

the gift poster4. The Gift (STX Entertainment, Wide Release,108 Minutes, Rated R for language, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 93% Fresh [57 Reviews]): Yes, it is Friday as I write this and we still don’t have an accurate theater count for this film on BoxOfficeMojo.com. Love it when that happens.

Joel Edgerton doesn’t seem to be at the point of his career where he’d be a natural to make the move into writing and directing films. Conventional wisdom states film actors, as exemplified by Clint Eastwood, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, should spend more time in the the trenches, learning his craft, before moving behind the camera.

Of course, this is a fallacy. There are plenty of writer/directors who never acted yet create movies, so service time really isn’t the issue. It’s whether or not they can get the job done. And judging from the reviews this film is getting, Edgerton is getting the job done.

The film focuses on a couple (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) whose lives are forever changed after the run into an old high school acquaintance of the husband’s (Edgerton). The man leaves a series of “gifts” for the man, each one revealing a secret that should have remained hidden.

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About William Gatevackes 1937 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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