Another mixed bag this week folks. It does seem to me that this is the kind of week in which you get a little bit of everything. A true “whatever mood you are into” kind of week at the movies.
Shall we get started? Lets.
Director: Jeff Chamberlain
What’s it about? In ‘Abandoned Mine’, five small-town school friends celebrate Halloween with an overnight adventure into the legendary “haunted” Jarvis Mine. Local legend tells of the angry spirits that have occupied the mine since a family was murdered for still mysterious reasons exactly 100 years ago. But that doesn’t stop these young adrenaline junkies from exploring the unknown – and bringing mini-cameras to capture their every move.
Yet once deep into the mine their best-laid Halloween plans go awry, leaving the adventurers trapped without escape. Are their misfortunes purely accidental or is the legend true and something more lurks in the darkness? Nothing is what it truly seems as the past and present collide in this psychological thriller written and directed by Jeff Chamberlain and starring Alexa Vega, Reiley McClendon, Saige Thompson, Charan Prabhakar, Adam Hendershott, and Valerie C. Walker.
My thoughts? To me, this comes off as someone looking a list of things that are in a Horror film, and while writing the screenplay, they write a check mark next to each “Horror Movie Moment”. A person over a camp fire telling the “scary” legend? Check. The kids are having fun times to establish their normal life? Check. Lots of running and screaming? Check. Scary mask like faces? Check. Creepy ghost girl? Check. Personally, if you want to see a scary horror film set in a cave, check out Neil Marshalls “The Descent.” I feel that’s a far better made horror film that is actually tense. This one on the other hand, not so much. Also, what does that critic blurb mean when this is “The Best Film of it’s kind since Signs?” Did that critic not see a lot of horror films? Because, let me tell ya, Signs was 11 years ago. Plenty of good scary movies have come and gone since then.
Director: Jerusha Hess
What’s it about? ‘Austenland’ is a romantic comedy about 30-something, single Jane Hayes (Keri Russell), a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with all things Jane Austen. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Based on the novel by Shannon Hale (who also co-wrote the script), the film was written and directed by Jerusha Hess and produced by Stephenie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films.
My thoughts? I have had a long standing crush on Keri Russell for many many years. Just getting that out of the way, so I’m glad to see her take the lead in a film like this. I like the premise of this one a lot, and I’m kinda digging the off beat humor. Pride and Predjuice is actually both a novel that I do honestly love, AND I think the BBC version with Colin Firth is one of the best piece of television work I’ve ever seen. So, I like their spin on playing with the themes and the character types that Jane Austen has created. Also curious about this because this is the directorial debut of Jersuha Hess, the wife of director Jared Hess who directed Napoleon Dynamite. Jerusha has co-written the script to every film that Jared Hess has directed, and I can sense their sense of humor all over the trailer. Interesting enough, the humor is delivered a bit differently then the way that Jared would do it, so already Jerusha is showing how different of a director she is from her husband. As an added bonus, as a Flight of the Concord fan I am super excited to see Bret Mckenzie in this too. Definitely interested in checking this one out.
Director: Robert Luketic
What’s it about? Director Robert Luketic and screenwriter Jason Dean Hall team up to adapt author Joseph Finder’s novel centering on a likeable blue-collar worker who becomes a corporate spy for a scheming CEO. Determined to make the most of his new job at Wyatt Telecom, Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is horrified after a felonious mistake earns him the wrath of unforgiving CEO Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). Typically, Wyatt’s first response would be to throw a law-breaking employee under the bus. But this time Wyatt is willing to cut a deal; should Adam agree to infiltrate Wyatt Telecom’s chief rival, the CEO will turn a blind eye to his employee’s error. In no time Adam is climbing the corporate food chain straight to the top. No one suspects a thing, and meanwhile Wyatt is gaining a distinct advantage over the competition. Later, upon realizing that his success is a mere illusion and that he’s become a simple pawn in a much bigger game, Adam hatches an ingenious plan to get out of his situation before it’s too late.
My thoughts? A pretty impressive supporting cast, but… I don’t think Liam Hemsworth is a very compelling lead. His brother Chris “Thor” Hemsworth, hell yeah. Charismatic as shit, but I just don’t by into Liam yet. He was fine in The Hunger Games, but his role in that film is not that big. So yeah, it’s weird for me to see guys like Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfuss, and Harrison Ford play second fiddle to Liam. The plot of this also doesn’t seem that interesting. And for a film called Paranoia, to story seems to lack a real sense of paranoia, which is a bit odd. Side note: Is this the first time Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford are in the same film since American Graffiti?
Director: D.J. Caruso
What’s it about? ‘Standing Up’ tells the story of a boy and a girl, ages 11 and 12, who are ostracized by their peer groups at summer camp. The outsiders soon find themselves victims of a vicious prank, but rather than returning to camp to face the humiliation, they decide to take off on the run together. As they slowly navigate what lies ahead, they develop a bond and help each other over- come adversity and start down the path of self-discovery.
My thoughts? This is not the kind of film that I’d expect to see big studio director D.J. Caruso make. Most of his films have been slick Hollywood thrillers (Disturbia, Eagle Eye, Taking Lives etc.) but it seems he’s had the itch to get away from that for a bit with this film. Good on him, this looks to be interesting with two very appealing young leads. Hopefully the film does work on the message of dealing with bullies, and being a stronger person about it instead of being a person living in fear. I think that is a very powerful message to send out there, and it would be quiet the accomplishment if Caruso can tell that message and tell a great story too.
Director: Zachary Heinzerling
What’s it about? A reflection on love, sacrifice, and the creative spirit, this candid New York story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of renowned “boxing” painter Ushio Shinohara and his artist wife, Noriko. As a rowdy, confrontational young artist in Tokyo, Ushio seemed destined for fame, but met with little commercial success after he moved to New York City in 1969, seeking international recognition. When 19-year-old Noriko moved to New York to study art, she fell in love with Ushio-abandoning her education to become the wife and assistant to an unruly husband. Over the course of their marriage, the roles have shifted. Now 80, Ushio struggles to establish his artistic legacy, while Noriko is at last being recognized for her own art-a series of drawings entitled “Cutie,” depicting her challenging past with Ushio. Spanning four decades, the film is a moving portrait of a couple wrestling with the eternal themes of sacrifice, disappointment and aging, against a background of lives dedicated to art.
My thoughts? This looks wonderful. The beautiful images aside, I love the idea of exploring the dynamics of Noriko and her husband Ushio. They seem like extremely interesting people, with plenty of amazing stories to tell. Documentaries like these are always fun to watch, because they are always are about people who are so unique that they feel like they are made up, but they are not. I look forward to spending time with these two while watching this film.
Director: Lee Daniels
What’s it about? Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man’s life and family. Forest Whitaker stars as the butler with Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, and many more. Academy Award nominated Lee Daniels (‘PRECIOUS’) directs and co-wrote the script with Emmy-award winning Danny Strong (‘GAME CHANGE’).
My thoughts? While part of me wants to see it only to watch all the famous actors playing famous Presidents (John Cusack as Richard Nixon????) you can’t help but smell the Oscar baiting all over this film. I can imagine they pitched this film as a “Forest Gump like drama”, what with all the real historical events that “The Butler” may or may not have been a part of. Lee Daniels made a big splash with his film Precious, but after hearing the reviews on his follow up , The Paperboy, I wonder if Precious was a fluke? Is Daniels a worthy enough director to sell that kind of prestige? I don’t think so yet. If I do end up seeing it, I might find enjoyment in a guilty pleasure kind of way. I kind of like watching historical dramas of this manner, but I also sorta can’t stand sitting through a film that feels like it’s constantly trying to prove to you that it’s Oscar worthy. I’ll wait and see, but I can you this, if the studio REALLY thought it was Oscar worthy, shouldn’t it be coming out closer to November or December? That’s generally when they release the films they truly think has a shot to get nominated. Something to think about.
Director: Joshua Michael Stern
What’s it about? It only takes one person to start a revolution.
The extraordinary story of Steve Jobs, the original innovator and ground-breaking entrepreneur who let nothing stand in the way of greatness. The film tells the epic and turbulent story of Jobs as he blazed a trail that changed technology — and the world — forever.
My thoughts? Remember what I said about Abandon Mine? Wait…you don’t even know what Abandon Mine is? It is LITERALLY the first film we talked about this week. You still don’t remember? Well scroll to the top and look again and come back here………
Ok, NOW you remember? Good. Like Abandon Mine seemed like the screenwriter took a list of things that are in a Horror film, this one looks like the writer took a list of things that are in a bio picture. I personally am not a big fan of bio pictures. Most of the time I feel like they are rushing through the story just to get all the highlights of one persons life in under 2 and a half hours. Most bio pictures seem to be more interested in seeing an actor transform into playing the lead, and in this case, the unlikely casting of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs. But, juding from some of the reviews, Kutcher is actually pretty good in this, but the film he’s in is just as cliched as you get.
What cracks me up every time I see the trailer? For most of the trailer I don’t have a real problem with it…that is…until this shot shows up…
You know what? FUCK this shot. This shot is as lame is it gets. It feels like a shot from the PARODY film about Bio films due to how cheesy it feels. Personally, I going to pull hope that the Aaron Sorkin written Steve Jobs film is still happening, because I feel the approach he will have will at least be different then this film.
Director: Jeff Wadlow
What’s it about? Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010’s irreverent global hit: ‘Kick-Ass 2 ‘. After Kick-Ass’ (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)-reborn as The Mother F%&*^r-only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation.
When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire-leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes.
Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain, The Mother F%&*^r, assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there’s only one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all.
My thoughts? Well…damn you Mark Millar for making this harder for me to support. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Click here.) If we could ignore all that for a second and just focus on the film only, that would be swell. I enjoyed the living hell out of the first Kick Ass film, so I would like to think that this film is either a worthy follow up that is either as good or better. I love seeing Chloe back in this role, especially seeing her be much older. It’s still kinda crazy to think she was that little girl in the first film.
More props to Aaron Taylor-Johnson for jumping back into the role of Dave/Kick-Ass with no pretense. Since Kick-Ass he’s played far more confident men then Dave, far more bad ass men then Dave, and just straight up not dorky as men as Dave. To see Aaron go back to Dave and really still play up the geeky guy as well as he did before is a real testament to how good he is.
It seems to me that if you were a big fan of the first film and the comics, you will get the film that you want.
BUT ….that stupid comment from Mark Millar still stings in my ears. I kinda don’t want to support this film, but at the same time, I was still really looking forward to it.
So what about you guys? Which of these films are you the most interested in watching. Comment below!