Archive | New Releases

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New Releases: November 21, 2014

Posted on 20 November 2014 by William Gatevackes

hgmpt11. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1 (Lionsgate, 4,151 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material): There’s very little to say about this film. The previous installments have been a hit, this one should be too. Don’t believe me? Just look. It has the weekend to itself. If you have seen the others, you’ll be going to see this one. If not, nothing I can say will convince you.

But since I have column space to fill, it looks like this will be the one where a full fledged rebellion breaks out, with Katniss  (Jennifer Lawrence) as one of its leaders.

The final book was broken into two films, which is so popular these days, and we’ll have to wait until next November for the finale.

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AMC Offering Unlimited INTERSTELLAR Ticket

Posted on 17 November 2014 by Rich Drees


Want to go see Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar again? And again and again? If you live near an AMC theater you are in luck. The exhibitor has teamed up with studio Paramount to allow fans of the film the chance to see Interstellar as many times as they want for just one price.

If you’re a member of AMC’s frequent moviegoer club AMC Stubs you have the ability to purchase an “Interstellar Unlimited Ticket” at one of the 330 AMC locations where the film is showing. And it will only cost you anywhere between $19.99 to $34.99, depending on your location. If you are an AMC Stubs members who has already bought a ticket, you can upgrade for $14.99.

If you’ve seen the film at least once already and are looking to see again a few more times while it is still in theaters, this is certainly a great deal. I was decidedly mixed about the film overall, but I still have an itch to take it in again on the big screen. Nolan’s work often bares repeated viewing. I know that in the [SPOILERS] scene towards the film’s finale where Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper finds himself “behind the bookcase” in 5th dimensional space, I noticed that one book jacket we can see is for James Ellroy’s noir novel The Big Nowhere, certainly something that is relevant to the scene. I would love to go back and see what other books Nolan has made visible during the sequence.

In just under two weeks of release, Interstellar has grossed almost $322 million dollars.

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New Releases: November 14, 2014

Posted on 14 November 2014 by William Gatevackes

dumb and dumber to1. Dumb and Dumber To (Universal, 3,153 Theaters,110 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language and some drug references): If I had to pick a 1994 film that would have two sequels (well, one sequel and one prequel), it wouldn’t be Dumb and Dumber. Especially considering that the prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, which had the involvement of none of the original cast, was a one of the worst films to come out in 2003.

But here we are. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels (try watching him in The Newsroom after seeing him in this) reunite with the original film’s directors, the Farrelly Brothers for this sequel. The film details Daniels’ character finding out he has a daughter and the pair going on a road trip to find her.

It is simplistic plot, but, really, it’s a film about idiots behaving stupidly. Does it need a more complex one?

beyondthelights2. Beyond the Lights (Relativity, 1,789 Theaters, 116 Theaters, Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements): It’s hard being a pop diva. You have to fit into a certain mold at all times. You need to produce quality work at all times. Often time, you have a domineering force behind you, riding you to such a point that the only escape you have is suicide. However, being a diva does have one benefit–your suicide attempt can bring you true love.

Yes, this is a romance set in the world of pop music where the protagonist finds love in the person who stopped her from killing herself. I’m sure Freud would have had a field day with that one.

The film has a stellar cast and is the better reviewed option this week (although, considering the competition, that’s not really much of an accomplishment). So if you are the romantic type, this film might be worth your time.

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New Releases: November 7, 2014

Posted on 06 November 2014 by William Gatevackes

big hero 61. Big Hero 6 (Disney, 3,761 Theaters, 108 Minutes, Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements.): Some of you might have heard something about this being a Marvel film based on a Marvel comic. You would have heard both right and wrong. The concept did originate in comics, in two miniseries Marvel published in 1998 and 2008 respectively, but there is a reason why the film is a Disney film and not a Marvel film.

When Disney bought Marvel, the studio began rummaging through Marvel’s intellectual property for concepts they could bring to life themselves, with as little involvement from Marvel as possible.  Big Hero 6 was the one they selected.

Marvel wanted a more mature take on the concept, but Disney viewed the film as their show and Marvel would just publish the tie-in comic books. Marvel was insulted by this and refused to publish those comics. Disney fought back and said that they’d publish the tie-ins themselves.

Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and a compromise was made. Disney would get full control over the concept, but neither would publish the tie-in comic (That honor went to Yen Press).

The film looks good from what I’ve seen of it (and I’ve seen a lot. My daughter watches a lot of Disney Channel and they relentlessly promote the film there). But hopefully this will be the last concept Disney steals from Marvel and they’ll eventually be able to work together from now on.

interstellar poster2. Interstellar (Opened Wednesday, Paramount, 3,561 Theaters,169 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.): This might be marked down as the film where the Christopher Nolan backlash begins.

Nolan has been riding high for years, seeing  films he wrote and directed become successes both financially and critically. That run has gone on for so long, it would have to come to an end at some point. And it seems that the critics are jumping off now. This film is the worst reviewed of all that Nolan wrote and directed.

The film deals with a near future where the Earth has become unlivable. Scientist have sent a team of astronauts out to examine other planets to see if they can support life. However, a race against the clock is complicated by unforeseen circumstances, and no alternate planet might be found.

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New Releases: October 31, 2014

Posted on 30 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

hr_Nightcrawler_61. Nightcrawler (Open Road Films, 2,766 Theaters, 117 Minutes, Rated R for violence including graphic images, and for language): I get a real retro vibe from this one. It seems like it would feel right at home in the seedy action dramas of the 1970’s, and Jake Gyllenhaal appears to be channeling a mid-1980s James Woods in his performance.

These are both good things. The 1970’s was an era that spawned Taxi Driver and Dog Day Afternoon and Woods is one of the most underrated actors around (not that Gyllenhaal is a slacker himself)

The film focuses on independent crime journalists who use guerrilla tactics to film hot news stories as the happen in the hopes of selling the footage to news outlets. But what happens when the reporter becomes part of the story, especially when the line between right and wrong is typically blurred to begin with?

beforeigotosleep2. Before I Go To Sleep (Clarius Entertainment, 1,902 Theaters,92 Minutes, Rated R for some brutal violence and language):  This is the film that answers the question no one bother to ask—what if 50 First Dates was a suspense thriller.

Nicole Kidman plays a woman who wakes up with no memory of the last 20 years. Her husband Ben (Colin Firth) tells her she lost her memory in a car crash ten years prior, and every day since has been the same routine of her trying to remember. Problems erupt when she starts slowly regaining bits and pieces of her memory. What she remembers makes her doubt what is real and what is an illusion and turns her loving marriage into something far more dangerous.

The film has a great cast, but the material seems like tawdry pulp-novel-like pap that is so far beneath them that it is almost insulting.

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New Releases: October 24, 2014

Posted on 24 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

Ouija_2014_poster1. Ouija (Universal, 2,858 Theaters, 89 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content, frightening horror images, and thematic material):
From the people who brought you Battleship, comes Ouija.

That’s no joke. This is the latest in Hasbro’s attempt to build a franchise out of their holdings to rival Transformers and G.I. Joe. As we know from Battleship, things aren’t going too smoothly in that arena.

They might have a little more luck in this attempt. I mean, it’s not like a Ouija Board has never been used in a horror movie before. However, that might work against them.

Anyway, the plot involves a group of friends who try to contact a deceased comrade through the game and end up getting more than they bargained for.

john wick poster2. John Wick (Lionsgate/Summit, 2,549 Theaters, 101 Minutes, Rated R for strong and bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use):
Was anybody else surprised by the amount of emotion that Keanu Reeves showed in the ads for this film? His voice actually raised a few decimals. I was amazed.

The story is that of an ex-hitman who comes out of retirement to track down the criminals who killed his dog (yes, dog). When the trail leads back to a former employer, there will be hell to pay.

The film seems to be a loopy action film in the tradition of Shoot ‘Em Up, and the film has gotten some very good reviews (currently it’s at 91% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes).  It might be worth a shot if you have an afternoon free.

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New Releases: October 17, 2014

Posted on 16 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

Fury_2014_poster-11. Fury (Sony/Columbia, 3, 173 Theaters, 134 Minutes, Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout):
I do believe that Brad Pitt is being typecast as the gruff military commander who leads his troops behind enemy lines during World War II, or am I the only one getting an Inglourious Basterds vibe from this film?

This time, Pitt plays a tank commander during WWII who welcomes a novice soldier to his platoon right before the most important battle of his tour of duty.

Most of the buzz about this film before hand dealt with the squabbles between Pitt and an in-the-midst-of-a-nervous-breakdown Shia LeBoeuf. But the rest of the cast is solid and should make for an enjoyable war flick.

book of life poster2. The Book of Life (Fox, 3,069 Theaters, 95 Minutes, Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images):
If this film seems to have come out of nowhere, it didn’t. Perhaps you might have heard of it when it was called “Day of the Dead.” It has been in development for a while and was at one time at Dreamworks before they passed on it over creative differences.

The story certainly is unique. It deals with Manolo, whose romantic competition for the heart of a young woman has caught the eye of a pair of wagering ghosts. When one of the ghosts does the unspeakable to tip the bet in his favor, Manolo has to not only battle his way back into the land of the living, but also back into the heart of the girl.

This is produced by Guilermo Del Toro and features an intriguing voice cast.  And the visuals have been getting rave reviews. If you think your kids can handle the subject matter, then this might be a good choice for you.

best of me poster3. The Best of Me (Relativity, 2,936 Theaters,117 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence, some drug content and brief strong language):
Ah, cripes. Not another one of THESE again.

If you can’t tell from the poster, because of his adaptations all have the same poster, this is yet another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Nothing gets an aspiring writer angrier than see the success Sparks has gained from his writing. First off, he writes Harlequin Romances with literary pretensions. Second, he has been writing the same book for almost twenty years. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy reunites with girl. One of them dies, usually of cancer, the end.

But people seem to really eat them up. This film is proof of that. Me, I’ll stay away.

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New Releases: October 3, 2014

Posted on 03 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

annabelle-poster1. Annabelle (Warner Brothers/New Line, 3,185 Theaters, 98 Minutes, Rated R for intense sequences of disturbing violence and terror): Okay, let’s talk about the doll. Granted, if a doll is going to be possessed by demons, it should look creepy. I get that.

But this doll just looks downright evil while it is sitting in the store. This is not a doll that you’d bring home to your pregnant wife for your unborn child. This is a doll you send to your worse enemy so it will haunt their dreams forever. At least Chuckie in Child’s Play looked adorable before the serial killer’s soul entered it. Heck, even if they went with a normal porcelain doll, that would have been better. Those are creepy in and of themselves! Purchasing a doll that practically screams “Buy me and you entire family will die!” makes me root for the cultists that will be doing the killing, because, really, you brought it on yourself.

This film, like The Conjuring, the film it was spun off from, is based loosely on a true story. Do you want to know what the kind of doll that was haunted in real life? A Raggedy Ann doll. An innocent, innocuous, non-threatening Raggedy Ann doll. Google it if you don’t believe me. Please do, because you’ll find a hilarious picture of the real doll in a glass display case festooned with warnings about not opening it.

gone girl poster2. Gone Girl (Fox, 3,014 Theaters, Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language):
A woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary. Her dutiful husband starts a search for her, asking help from the media and the police. However, what the police find leads them to believe she isn’t just missing–she’s dead. And all the evidence points to her husband as the killer.

The husband claims his innocence, as they always do. But if he didn’t kill her, who did? Or, is she really even dead at all.

I kind of pegged this film as the start of Oscar season. To say it was eagerly anticipated would be an understatement. The hype surrounding it was immense (Entertainment Weekly practically became an offshoot of the films publicity arm.) I guess we’ll have to see if the film is all that was advertised.

Left_Behind_-_Teaser_Poster3. Left Behind (Freestyle Releasing, 1,820 Theaters, 110 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, violence/peril and brief drug content.): Ladies and gentlemen, we might have our first apocalyptic thriller that is also a sign of the apocalypse.

I mean, how other would you describe the unholy pairing of latest Bible-thumping film in regular film’s clothing, a genre where a good plot and solid story takes a back seat to delivering the religious message, and Nicolas Cage, an actor is capable of delivering a good performance, but would much rather to chew scenery and deliver inane ticks instead of good characterization.

This is the latest adaptation of the Left Behind book series (12 in all, so, expect plenty of sequels if this one does well), rebooting the Kirk Cameron version from 2000. It details the Rapture and how certain people deal with it. The Rapture certainly is popular these days. Consider this one a scrubbed down version of This Is the End or a more action packed The Leftovers.


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New Releases: September 26, 2014

Posted on 25 September 2014 by William Gatevackes

boxtrolls poster1. The Boxtrolls (Focus Features, 3,464 Theaters, 97 Minutes, Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor): In this day an age where computer animation is the rule and cel animation is quickly becoming archaic, it is good to see that there are people who still are interested in keeping stop-motion animation alive.

This film was done by the people who brought you Coraline and Paranorman and it adapts Alan Snow’s novel, Here Be Monsters. Its plot centers on an orphan boy named Eggs who is taken in by a subterranean race called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls become Eggs’ family, and when an exterminator tries to eradicate the trolls, it is up to Eggs to save them.

The voice cast is top notch, not only with famous names (Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost) but also the biggest names in animation voices (Maurice LaMarche, Fred Tatasciore, Laraine Newman). It might be a good choice for older kids.

equalizer2. The Equalizer (Sony/Columbia, 3,236 Theaters, 131 Minutes, Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references) : If you were familiar with the TV series this film is based on, you’d know the concept was one of the best things about the show. An ad was placed in the newspaper reading, “Odds against you? Need help? Call the Equalizer. 212 555 4200.” If you answered that ad, you got an ex-CIA agent named Robert McCall (played brilliantly by Edward Woodward) who would work on your case no matter what it would be–a kidnapping or a stalker threatening you, a blackmailer or extortionist.

The film does away with that concept. In this one, Denzel Washington plays McCall as a man with a mysterious past and a unique set of skills he uses to try to save a young girl he has come to know from Russian mobsters. Maybe if this film gets a sequel, this McCall will start placing ads.

The big selling point of this film is Washington reuniting with the man who got him the Best Actor Oscar, Training Day‘s Antoine Fuqua. However, reviews have not been kind. Regardless, Washington could make even the worse dreck watchable.

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New Releases: September 18, 2014

Posted on 18 September 2014 by William Gatevackes

mazerunner21. The Maze Runner (Fox, 3,604 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images): So, I guess the secret to a best selling young adult novel is to be bleak and derivative?

If The Hunger Games married Death Note to Brave, this film marries The Lord of the Flies to ancient Greek myth.

The films is about an amnesiac boy who is released into a glade where other boys are being held prisoner. The only way out is through an impenetrable maze. However, the boy might hold the secret to defeating the maze and the path to freedom, if only the leaders of the society in the Glade will let him regain his memories.

The film has received good reviews but will audiences go for another high concept YA film where kids die? If they do, there are two more books in the series.

This_Is_Where_I_Leave_You_poster2. This is Where I Leave You (Warner Brothers, 2,868 Theaters, 103 Minutes, Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use):   Ah, the “dysfunctional family all forced to be under one roof” genre, that old chestnut. However, this one is a bit different as it was adapted from the novel by Jonathan Topper.

The dysfunctional Altman clan gathers together after their father passes, and they find that dad made one final request–that they all had to spend time with each other for a week. As combative as the siblings are, this could only lead to chaos or destruction or a tighter bond.

If you’ve seen these kinds of films before, you know you’ll get a little of the former before you get the latter. The cast is fantastic, but haven’t we’ve all seen this before?

awalkamongstthetombstones3. A Walk Amongst the Tombstones (Universal, 2,712 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief nudity): It might not be fair but it is inevitable–any film where Liam Neeson talks on the phone in the trailer will be compared to Taken. However, this film is slightly different.

Neeson plays a retired police detective who is hired by a drug dealer to find the men who murdered his wife. The killers are able to keep the cops at bay, but Neeson plays by a different set of rules. When he finds the killers, he might deliver his own justice to them.

This is based on a novel by Lawrence Block and Neeson’s character has appeared in 17 books. If this goes well, the actor might have another franchise on his hands.

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