1. The Last Witch Hunter (Lionsgate/Summit, 3,082 Theaters,106 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 17% Fresh [53 Reviews]): Sometimes doing these new releases posts is a pain. I love it when there are no or just one release. Those are easy. Two releases are okay. Three is pushing it. Four is absurd. But this week we have five films being released wide. That’s Hollywood trying to kill me.
In this one, Vin Diesel plays an immortal who chauffeurs werewolves…wait, that’s not right…tutors zombies? Burps vampires? Oh, wait, it’s there on the poster–he hunts witches. He’s good at it too.
However, when the Queen Witch who cursed him with immortality returns an threatens to destroy the world, he must ally himself with one of his greatest enemies to have a chance.
Oh, and apparently this was based on Diesel’s Dungeons and Dragons character. Chew on that.
2. Steve Jobs (Opening Wide, Universal, 2,493 Theaters,122 Minutes, Rated R for language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 85% Fresh [151 Reviews]): Okay, who ordered another Steve Jobs film? Granted, 2013’s Jobs had issues with accuracy (and, quite frankly, Aston Kutcher) and Steve Jobs is has had an interesting enough life that it deserves examining, but two films within two years of each other?
This one screams Oscar bait. It’s directed by Oscar-Winner Danny Boyle. It was written by Oscar-winner Aaron Sorkin. It stars Oscar-nominated Michael Fassbender as Jobs (despite looking nothing like him), Oscar-winner Kate Winslet as his assistant and Seth Rogen in a rare non-comedic role as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (despite not looking anything like him either). But for me it’s just bleh.
The film has three acts that checks on on Jobs’ life at three important product launches of his career.
3. Jem and the Holograms (Universal, 2,413 Theaters, 118 Minutes, Rated PG for thematic material including reckless behavior, brief suggestive content and some language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 26% Fresh [28 Reviews]): Are you thinking that we have reached the bottom of the barrel when it comes to ’80s nostalgia being mined for film? Think again.
I’d like to remind everyone that this is just the latest entry in Hasbro’s insane attempt to turn every single toy and game into a feature film. their Transformers, G.I. Joe and Ouija franchises have been very successful, Battleship flopped and even if this one bombs, they still have films based on My Little Pony, Tonka, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Candy Land, Magic: The Gathering, Play-Doh, Beyblade, Momopoly and Dungeons and Dragons in the works. And this is them showing restraint. They have other properties waiting on deck that range from potentially awesome (M.A.S.K., Risk, Axis & Allies) to the completely absurd (Easy-Bake Oven, Lite Brite, Mr. Potato Head).
Personally, I hope other toy manufacturers get in the game. I’d love to write about a Silverhawks, Inhumanoids, and Starriors films. You can keep the Popples.
The film focuses on a young woman and her friends and family members as they pursue pop stardom. I believe the character trait of Jem secretly being the president of her own record label has been trashed.
4. Rock the Kasbah (Open Road Films, 2,012 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 10% Fresh [59 Reviews]): This is just depressing. This film has an intriguing cast (Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson), a comedy legend in the lead (Bill Murray), a great director at the helm (Barry Levinson), and it rates behind a monosyllabic witch slayer, a plastic pop singer doll come to life, and a past its prime horror franchise to be the worst reviewed film of the week.
Murray plays a past-his-prime rock manager who is dropped by his last client while on a U.S.O. tour in Afghanistan. Even worse than that, he had no money nor any credentials to get back home. Luckily, he finds a girl with an awesome voice that might just lead him back to the top, or at least get him back to the States.
The concept is a bit hackneyed, and not terrible believable. But to only get 10% fresh? I’ll say it again, it’s just sad.
5. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Paramount, 1,656 Theaters,88 Minutes, Rated R for language and some horror violence, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 17% Fresh [6 Reviews]): The sixth and final (Yay!) installment of the franchise goes out with a whimper in lieu of a bang, with the lowest theater count of the weak and not a lot of reviews hitting before the release. Not good signs.
This time a new family comes in contact with the ghost dimension via a video camera and a box of old tapes. The poster promise that we will for the first time see the activity, which I assume means that we’ll see the ghost on screen. With a budget of $10 million, the ghosts are likely to be extras wearing sheets over their heads.
This franchise has stretched its connection to the found footage genre with every installment, so its retirement will come as a relief. However, these films are made on the cheap and usually turn a great profit. If this one make a killing over Halloween, expect the retirement to be a short one.