Opening this weekend
View a guide to this weekend's new theatrical releases including Southpaw, Paper Towns, Pixels, Phoenix, and more.
New trailers and updates for upcoming films
James Bond returns in SPECTRE
The latest trailer for the 24th Bond film builds up to a reveal of Christoph Waltz playing a new villain named Franz Oberhauser (even though the rumor won’t die that he’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld with hair). Before that, there’s plenty of what’s expected from the Bond series: action in exotic locales, a deadly henchman (played by Dave Bautista), beautiful cars chasing each other through a European city, and, of course, new Bond girls played by Léa Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, and Stephanie Sigman (get character details at USA Today). Directed by Sam Mendes and written by John Logan, Neil Purvis and Rob Wade (the team behind Skyfall), the film returns Daniel Craig as James Bond, Ralph Fiennes as the new M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Ben Whishaw as Q. SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) hits theaters November 6th.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
The Hunger Games will finally come to an end (or will it?) on November 20th when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 arrives in theaters. Critically and financially, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 was the least successful film in the series, but maybe returning director Francis Lawrence will be able to return the franchise to its highpoint, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence will once again wield her bow and arrows as Katniss and face off against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) for the last time. Supporting her (some more than others) will be Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Natalie Dormer, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
The sequel to The Maze Runner finds Thomas (Dylan Baker) and his fellow Gladers (Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Ki Hong Lee) trying to piece together clues about WCKD. This takes them to the Scorch, where they meet a group of resistance fighters and begin to discover WCKD’s plans. Wes Ball returns to direct from a script by T.S. Nowlin based on the book by James Dashner, and the cast includes Aidan Gillen, Giancarlo Esposito, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, and Patricia Clarkson. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials opens nationwide on September 18th.
Jesse Eisenberg stars as a stoner who is actually a sleeper agent, and quite a skilled killer, in this action-comedy from director Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) and writer Max Landis (Chronicle). Kristen Stewart plays his live-in girlfriend, and the rest of the supporting cast includes Topher Grace, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, Walton Goggins, Bill Pullman and Tony Hale. American Ultra opens on August 21st.
The latest film from the writing-directing team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson, Sugar, It’s Kind of a Funny Story) stars Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds as a pair of gamblers rambling down the Mississippi to a legendary high stakes poker game in New Orleans. Mississippi Grind earned mostly positive reviews when it premiered at Sundance this year. Look for it on DirecTV beginning August 13th and in select theaters September 25th.
Another infamous psychology experiment comes to the big screen
In a year that has already given us The Stanford Prison Experiment, we get another chance to revisit one of the prior century's most infamous psychology experiments. Experimenter stars Peter Sarsgaard as Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram, whose "obedience experiments” asked ordinary people to send harmful electrical shocks to a stranger. Sixty-five percent of subjects obeyed commands to deliver potentially fatal jolts. Written and directed by Michael Almereyda (Hamlet, Cymbeline) and featuring Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, Anton Yelchin, John Leguizamo, Taryn Manning, and Anthony Edwards, Experimenter debuted at Sundance early this year to very good reviews. Find it at iTunes, On Demand and in theaters beginning October 16th.
A longer look at Pixar's The Good Dinosaur
Pixar’s second release of 2015 will have a tough time matching the critical and financial (over $500 million so far) success of Inside Out. The Good Dinosaur, directed by Peter Sohn and written by Enrico Casarosa and Bob Peterson, follows Arlo, an Apatosaurus with a big heart. The film asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? As Arlo roams the Earth, he gains an unlikely companion: a human boy. With a voice cast that includes Judy Greer, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader, Frances McDormand, and John Lithgow, The Good Dinosaur opens in 2D and 3D theaters on November 25th.
Some Kind of Beautiful
Pierce Brosnan stars as a college professor who marries one of his students (Jessica Alba) when she announces that she’s pregnant. But when she tells him three years later that she loves someone else, he’s free to fall for her sister played by Salma Hayek. Written by Matthew Newman and directed by Tom Vaughn (Extraordinary Measures, Starter for 10), Some Kind of Beautiful is available on DirecTV now and opens in select theaters August 21st.
Co-writer (with Joel Viertel) and director Mora Stephens attracted a very strong cast to Zipper, the story of a federal prosecutor (Patrick Wilson) with a bright political future who is undone by his addiction to high-end escorts. Lena Headey, Richard Dreyfuss, Ray Winstone, Dianna Agron, John Cho, Christopher McDonald, and Alexandra Breckenridge star in this August 28 release.
Chris Evans’ directorial debut follows two strangers (Evans and Alice Eve) as they spend the night together in New York City. Before We Go is currently available on VOD and will be released in theaters on September 4th
Here’s a slightly different trailer for the IMAX release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The climbing documentary, Meru, hits theaters on August 14th. Check out the official trailer below.
There's a new red-band trailer for Addicted to Fresno, which stars Judy Greer, Natasha Lyon, Aubrey Plaza, Fred Armisen, Molly Shannon, Malcolm Barrett and Ron Livingston. Look for it on VOD beginning September 1st and in select theaters October 2nd.
Written by Bret Easton Ellis and Derick Martini and directed by Martini (Lymelife, Hick), The Curse of Downers Grove stars Bella Heathcote as a high school senior who fears she might die right before graduation. Find it in select theaters August 21.
The August 14 release One & Two stars Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka as a young girl with surprising supernatural powers.
News and notes
- A sequel to Jurassic World (now the third-highest grossing film in history) will be released on June 22, 2018. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will return, and director Colin Trevorrow will write the script with Derek Connolly.
- Benicio Del Toro has been offered the main villain role in Star Wars: Episode VIII. Rian Johnson (Looper) is directing the May 26, 2017 release. - TheWrap
- Ridley Scott will direct an adaptation of Savages writer Don Winslow’s recently published book The Cartel, a novel inspired by recent prison escapee Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. Shane Salerno will write the script, and Leonardo DiCaprio is wanted for the DEA agent lead character. - THR & Deadline
- Brie Larson will play the female lead opposite Tom Hiddleston in director Jordan Vogt-Roberts Kong: Skull Island, and Russell Crowe is also in play for a role. - Deadline
- Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) is in talks to direct Dwayne Johnson in a big-screen adaptation of Baywatch. The film will aim to have the tone of the recent 21 Jump Street adaptations. - THR
- Rosamund Pike has joined Jon Hamm in High Wire Act, a political thriller to be directed by Brad Anderson from a script by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton). - Deadline
- David Gordon Green will direct Stronger, one of several films in pre-production about the Boston Marathon bombing. - THR
- Michael Sheen has joined Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in the sci-fi love story Passengers. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) will direct from a script by Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange). - Variety
- Disney is developing a live-action remake of the 1963 animated film The Sword and the Stone. - Heat Vision
- A movie about Emoji is in development at Sony Pictures Animation. - Deadline
- Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) will direct a movie based on the video game Minecraft. - Mojang
- Brad Peyton (San Andreas) will reunite with Dwayne Johnson and direct Rampage. - Deadline
- Simon Kinberg will be the latest writer to attempt a remake of Logan’s Run. - Heat Vision
- Angelina Jolie will direct an adaptation of Loung Ung’s memoir First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers for Netflix.
- Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, which premiered to mixed reviews at Berlin this year, will be released on March 4, 2016.
- The BBC released a list of the “100 Greatest American Films,” and like all lists of this kind, the results were interesting.