Archive | New Releases

Tags: , , ,

New Releases: October 2, 2015

Posted on 02 October 2015 by William Gatevackes

The_Martian_film_poster1. The Martian (Fox, 3,831 Theaters, 141 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some strong language, injury images, and brief nudity, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 92% Fresh [158 Reviews]): A cornucopia of riches this week in the new releases, as both films are over 90% fresh. Maybe its a weekend to see two?

This film is based on the novel by Andy Weir. Matt Damon plays an astronaut thought killed on a mission to Mars who must find a way to survive until help arrives.

It’s a pretty simple concept, but sometimes that’s all you need for a great film. This one has a great cast, great reviews and Oscar buzz. It looks like the kind of film that will be great, no matter what stupid thing Damon says next.

sicario-poster-22. Sicario (Opening Wide, Lionsgate, 2,620 Theaters, 121 Minutes, Rated R for strong violence, grisly images, and language,Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 93% Fresh [138 Reviews]): Even though the trend is for some drugs to achieve legalization, there is still a very active drug war in America. And its a war that bring the same kind of scars any war does. This film exposes those scars.

Emily Blunt plays an idealistic FBI agent tapped to join a special task force formed to fight the traffic of drugs on the U.S.-Mexico border. Her idealism falls by the wayside as she discovers exactly what she has to do to win the battles with the drug lords.

This is a rare action film with a female lead. The premise is interesting, so we shall see if it can prove the myth that women can’t be successful in action films is wrong.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

New Releases: September 25, 2015

Posted on 24 September 2015 by William Gatevackes

hotel transylvania 2 poster1. Hotel Transylvania (Sony/Columbia, 3,753 Theaters, 89 Minutes, Rated PG for some scary images, action and rude humor, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 36% Fresh [22 Reviews]): The first film was a war between the genius that is Genndy Tartakovsky and the less-than genius of Adam Sandler and his posse. Thankfully, Tartatkovsky won and we get a sequel.

Dracula is concerned that his grandson is a late-bloomer in the monster department, and has set about to fix it. He and his monster buddies work to turn the kid into the beastie he was born to be.

However, their efforts are complicated by the risk of his grandson being taken away from to America and Dracula’s dad arriving to lend a disapproving eye to the proceedings.

the-intern-poster2. The Intern (Warner Brothers, 3,305 Theaters, 121 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 51% Fresh [66 Reviews]): This is a Nancy Meyers film, and she has developed a genre unto herself. Like Something’s Got To Give and It’s Complicated, she writes and directs film for older audiences featuring older stars. Robert DeNiro is the beneficiary of her new release this time around.

DeNiro plays an older man who joins a hip eCommerce firm as an intern. He must adjust to the differences in the workplace since he was last in it, with a bemused expression on his face the whole time if the trailers are any indication.

He is joined by Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway, this time on the opposite end of the boss/intern relationship. The pairing might mean this will be better than it has right to be.

The-Green-Inferno-poster3. The Green Inferno (High Top Releasing, 1,540 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated R for aberrant violence and torture, grisly disturbing images, brief graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 48% Fresh [32 Reviews]): Hard to believe that has been six years since Eli Roth’s last full length feature film (2007’s Hostel II). You’d think that someone who was supposed to shape the future of horror would be a tad bit more prolific, but Roth was busy doing cameos in his friends films, and spending time in the producer’s office for others.

Of course, this film was originally shot in 2012 and made its debut in the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. It was supposed to be released last year, but financial difficulties kept it on the shelf until now. So it’s really a case of Roth trying to get the film in theaters than him spending too much time on extracurricular activities that cause the lull in his film output.

The film details a group of young, privileged New York City activists who work hard to save an indigenous tribe along the Amazon. Their hard work is paid back when their plane crashes shortly after taking off and the cannibalistic tribe they just helped has them over for dinner.

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

New Releases: September 17,2015

Posted on 17 September 2015 by William Gatevackes

maze runner 2 poster1.  Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (Fox, 3,700+ Theaters, 131 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence and action, some thematic elements, substance use and language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 45% Fresh [75 Reviews]): The success rate of  films made from young adult novels is not high, so when The Maze Runner made ten-times its budget worldwide, fans knew they had a good shot at seeing all the books hit the silver screen.

This time around, the kids have left the maze and made it to the Scorch, a desolate, desert-like land where danger hides behind every corner. Thomas begins to find out more about WICKED and what the organization wants with him.

As you can see above, the reviews haven’t been all that good. With another sequel planned for 2017, hopefully those reviews won’t keep people away.

black mass poster2. Black Mass (Warner Brothers, 3,188 Theaters, 122 Minutes, Rated R for brutal violence, language throughout, some sexual references and brief drug use, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 76% Fresh [104 Reviews]): Funny how the instant Johnny Depp plays a character he brings to life with heavy make-up who is also a real character, that Oscar buzz begins.

Yes, even though he is probably wearing as much make-up, if not more, that he did as Barnabas Collins, the Mad Hatter, or Tonto, the fact that he is playing the recently incarcerated Whitey Bulger is enough for people to start with the talk of a nomination.

But will the film be Oscar worthy? The Departed was and that was a bastardized version of Bulger’s story (Jack Nicholson played the Bulger role). Of course, the quality of that film has no indicator that this one will be good.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

New Releases: September 11, 2015

Posted on 11 September 2015 by William Gatevackes

the visit poster1. The Visit (Universal, 3,068 Theaters, 94, Minutes, Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including terror, violence and some nudity, and for brief language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 63% Fresh [100 reviews]): Ah, M. Night Shyamalan. He used to be the master of subtle horror, then lost his way. He is definitely in need of a career revival, and going in the decidedly unsubtle ways of conventional horror is a new start for him. But is it a good one?

Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are sent to spend the week with their grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) in a rural Pennsylvanian town. The kids are greeted with warmth and love, but are given one strict rule–no leaving their rooms after 9:30. Naturally, the kids hear sounds after that deadline and go to investigate. They find out that grandpa and grandma aren’t what they seem. They are something far more sinister…and deadly.

While the film taps into the real life fear of anyone who has elderly parents that they will change, be it by a mental or physical malady, into something unrecognizable. Any horror that has real world overtones works best. However, the trailer presents some of the situations the kids find themselves in as unbelievably corny. Your expectations as to what side the film skews to will rely on how much trust you have in Shyamalan.

perfect guy poster2. The Perfect Guy (Sony/Screen Gems, 2,220 Theaters,100 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence, menace, sexuality and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: N/A [Only 2 reviews available, and both were negative]): So, are creepy grandparents not to your liking? How about creepy ex-boyfriends?

Leah (Sanaa Lathan) has just gotten out of a long term relationship with Dave (Morris Chestnut) and is looking for someone new. Out of the blue, Carter (Michael Ealy) drops into her lap. At first, he appears to be the perfect guy–kind, chivalrous, devastatingly handsome and great in bed. However, Carter has a really big dark side, so big it causes Leah to break up the relationship. Unfortunately for her, Carter doesn’t want to let her go and…

…and well you can probably figure out the rest. This is the umpteenth variation on the Fatal Attraction trope, so by now you know Carter tortures Leah at first to get her back, then to make sure no one else can have her.

90 minutes in heaven poster3, 90 Minutes in Heaven (Samuel Goldwyn, Wide Release,121 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense accident and injury images, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 25% Fresh [8 reviews]):Faith-based films appear to be on the upswing. TriStar’s War Room reached number one in its second week in release, and now we have another coming out this week. They are now even able to attract a higher quality version of has-been to be in the film (this one has both Anakin Skywalker and Lois Lane in it! Feel the star power!).

This is based on a true story of Pastor Don Piper who miraculously survived a devastating car accident with a semi. If that wasn’t enough of a miracle, Piper claims he was officially dead for 90 minutes, and he spent that hour and a half in Heaven, experiencing all the joy and beauty that place advertises.

His coming back from that kind of accident would be interesting enough without mentioning the whole going to Heaven part. One the one hand, that does act as satisfying the curiosity of the faithful as to what the afterlife holds, on the other, it opens up scrutiny from cynics (whose first question likely would be how a man can be dead for just a long time). So, the film might be an exercise in preaching to the converted than a recruitment tool to bring the sheep back into the fold.

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

New Releases: September 4, 2015

Posted on 03 September 2015 by William Gatevackes

transporter_refueled1. Transporter Refueled (EuropaCorp, 3,434 Theaters,96 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, sexual material, some language, a drug reference and thematic elements, Rotten Tomatometer at press time: 18% Fresh [50 Reviews]): Honest to God, I thought that this was Nicolas Hoult taking over from Jason Stratham in this series. I was beginning to compose this post asking whether it was a step up for him or a step down.

Problem is, it isn’t Nicolas Hoult. It’s a relative newcomer named Ed Skrein who looks amazingly similar to Hoult. So much so that it is scary.

This installment has Frank Martin involved with a cadre of women with revenge on their mind. However, when the other side kidnaps Martin’s father, it will be the younger Frank who looks for revenge.

A-Walk-in-the-Woods-Movie-Poster2. A Walk In the Woods (Open Wednesday, Broad Green Pictures, 1,960 Theaters,104 Minutes, Rated R for language and some sexual references, Rotten Tomatometer at press time: 49% Fresh [81 Reviews]): This feels like a film that should have been released later in the year. It is top loaded with an Oscar caliber cast. It has a literary pedigree. And it is based on a memoir. That screams Oscar bait, although that Tomatometer score might be the reason why we are getting this now.

Bill Bryson has decided to reacquaint himself with America by hiking up the Appalachian Trail, he invites an old friend along, a rogue who is the only person crazy enough to go with him. However, the friend is crazy enough to make the trip anything but a peaceful communing with nature.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

New Releases: August 21, 2015

Posted on 21 August 2015 by William Gatevackes

Hitman1. Hitman: Agent 47 (Fox, 3,100 Theaters,96 Minutes, Rated R for sequences of strong violence, and some language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 8% Fresh [59 Reviews]: We have reached the dog days of summer, where the new releases are lackluster films studios shoot out in the hopes of making a quick buck. You can tell, because you can add all this week’s film’s Tomatometer scores and still barely make 50% Fresh. But these types of films are made on the cheap, and typically clock in at an hour and a half, so it is easier for them to make a profit this time of year.

This one is a rarity–a video game adaptation that has garnered a sequel. This time, Rupert Friend plays Agent 47, a man genetically altered from birth to become the ultimate assassin. Friend not only steps into the shoes of Timothy Olyphant, who played the character in the 2007 original, but also Paul Walker, who was cast in the lead but died before shooting began.

Agent 47 has uncovered a plot to create an army of killers just like him–only more powerful. In the process of stopping this plot, he’ll find out more about his mysterious background.

american ultra poster2. American Ultra (Lionsgate, 2,778 Theaters,95 Minutes, Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, drug use and some sexual content, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 40% Fresh [83 Reviews]: Sadly, this is this weeks best bet, if only because its horrid reviews are less horrid than the other two films opening this week.

How do you freshen up the “secret agent marked for death their employers” genre? I don’t know, but I don’t think making the agent a stoner is the answer. That’s what happens here as Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) has been targeted as a liability, but his skills and drug-addled mind make him hard to kill.

Eisenberg reunites with his Adventureland co-star Kristen Stewart in this one, and I like both of them in that film. And it is written by Max Landis, who appears to be the reason why Chronicle was such a success. But the whole thing seems like flimsy window dressing put over a time-worn concept.

sinister 23. Sinister 2 (Focus Features, 2,766 Theaters, 97 Minutes, Rated R for strong violence, bloody and disturbing images, and language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 8% Fresh [40 Reviews]:The first Sinister only made $77 million worldwide, but since it only cost $3 to make, that makes it a massive hit. And since the concept is one that lends itself to sequels (a house is home to a demon who possesses small children and compels them to kill their parents in gory and macabre ways), the original getting a follow-up was a safe bet.

This film has a higher budget (all the way up to $10 million) but with none of the big names (Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio) returning. The only major return is James Ransone as Deputy So-and-So.

The movie focuses on a single mother who moves into the house with her twin sons. The demon gets his hooks into the kids, and the bloodshed begins.

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

New Releases: August 14, 2015

Posted on 14 August 2015 by William Gatevackes

the-man-from-u-n-c-l-e-movie-poster1. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Warner Brothers, 3,638 Theaters, 116 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity, Rotten Tomatometer at press time: 66% Fresh [117 Reviews]): This seems like the most unlikely reboot/TV show adaptation ever. The hook of the TV show was that it featured an American spy teaming up with a Russian agent at the height of The Cold War. And the show evolved from a James Bond clone to a a campy send up of the genre. In other words, not something that would be easy to adapt.

It seems that Guy Ritchie is leaning more towards the original version, set in the 1960s, with a more subtle sense of humor added and this time a U.K. denizen is playing the American spy and an American is playing the Russian.

The agents must track down some stolen nuclear warheads before they could be used to start a nuclear war. Since we all are not glowing, I think they succeed.

Straight-Outta-Compton-poster2. Straight Out Of Compton (Universal, 2,755 Theaters, 147 Theaters, Rated R for language throughout, strong sexuality/nudity, violence, and drug use, Rotten Tomatometer at press time: 86% Fresh [77 Reviews]): Nowadays, people mostly know Ice Cube as a irascible, yet cuddly actor in a bunch of kid flicks and Dr. Dre as the producer who introduced the world to Eminem. But for us old fogies, we remember them as members of N.W.A., the west coast rap group who,with their east coast counterparts, Public Enemy, revolutionized the genre by telling bare bones, no holds barred raps about what it really was like to be a young black man in the inner cities of the U.S.A.

This is enough to fill up a pretty interesting biopic on its own. But the group was know for its infighting, controversy, and tragedy, which makes a biopic all the more appealing to the studios.

And it should be appealing to fans, if anyone in the 18-35 demographic actually knows who N.W.A. are.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , ,

New Releases: August 6, 2015

Posted on 07 August 2015 by William Gatevackes

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 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.

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Josh Trank Apologizes For FANTASTIC FOUR Movie

Posted on 06 August 2015 by Rich Drees


Studios don’t like bad buzz about their films circulating before the films even have a chance to open in theaters. That is often why if they know that they have a stinker, they’ll embargo press reviews until as close to the film’s release as possible. You generally don’t see the bad buzz coming from the film’s director, so you can imagine that Twentieth Century Fox is probably not too happy with Fantastic Four director Josh Trank this evening.

In what could be seen as an admission of the rumored much-troubled production of the comic book adaptation, Trank tweeted out earlier –

The tweet disappeared out of Trank’s feed fairly quickly, but fortunately, some folks got screen shots of it.


Honestly, while I am surprised that Trank is making such an admission on the eve of the Fantastic Four‘s release, I am not surprised that it confirms the numerous rumors that have been swirling around the production. Most recently, it was being rumored that almost 40 of the 90 pages of the film’s script were reshot months after the initial production had wrapped and that the studio only had a final edit looked in at the end of June/beginning of July, a remarkably late date for a release date in the first week of August. Definitely bad signs.

Currently, Fantastic Four is trending at about 10% on Rotten Tomatoes, a rather dismal score, and one that is lower than both previous Fantastic Four films. Could Trank’s vision have scored better? Perhaps Fox will let him release his director’s cut, but after this evening, I don’t think they will be in too much of a mind to do anything he asks of them for some time to come.

Comments (9)

Tags: , , , ,

New Releases: July 31, 2015

Posted on 30 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

Vacation Poster1. Vacation (Opened Wednesday, Warner Brothers/New Line, 3,411 Theaters, 99 Minutes, Rated R for crude and sexual content and language throughout, and brief graphic nudity, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 26% Fresh [84 Reviews]): So, is this a remake, a sequel or both? If it’s the former, I dread the inevitable remakes of the John Hughes classics that will surely come. If it’s a sequel, okay, that would be kind of inventive. But I think it’s the latter, which is problematic to say the least.

The basic plot is the same–a man takes his dysfunctional family on a cross-country vacation to the mythical Wally World from the first film—but it seems that they try to up the ante this time around. Now it’s Rusty (Ed Helms, because he’s a bigger star than Anthony Michael Hall or Johnny Galecki, I guess) instead of Clark. Instead of the gorgeous supermodel flirting with dad while driving on the highway, she gets hit by an oncoming tractor trailer. Instead of eating a sandwich with dog pee on it, they whole family wallows in raw sewage.

But bigger isn’t always better, especially when the original still stands up well today.

mission impossible poster2. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Paramount, 3,800 Theaters,131 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 93% Fresh [101 Reviews]):This film shouldn’t be so enticing. The franchise is one year away from its 20th birthday, with only five installments to show for it. Its star is eligible for an AARP card, and is still trying to live down a legendary press junket from ten years ago which was notorious for him jumping on couches and calling morning show hosts “glib.”

But the film is getting spectacular reviews. Tom Cruise, at 53, looks 36 and does a lot of his own stunts, including the one in the trailer where HE HANGS FROM THE OUTSIDE OF A PLANE WHILE IT IS TAKING OFF. And the franchise stays fresh by adding new elements and recurring characters to the old favorites. And averaging a film once every four years seems to be a case of making sure there is a quality reason to bring everyone back.

So, this franchise might not have that much life left in it, but it appears that it has enough to bring audiences in.

Comments (1)