Film Friday (4/17): This Week's New Movies & Trailers

  • Publish Date: April 17, 2015
  • Comments: ↓ 1 user comment

Opening this weekend

Nationwide releases
. Monkey Kingdom G DOCUMENTARY/NATURE Trailer(s)
The latest Disneynature feature centers on a family of monkeys living in ancient ruins in Sri Lanka. Tina Fey narrates.
. Unfriended R HORROR/THRILLER Trailer(s)
This "found footage" thriller—in which all of the action takes place on computer screens—picks up when a video chat between six high school friends is interrupted by a message from a classmate who killed herself exactly one year earlier. At first they think it's a prank, but when the girl starts revealing their darkest secrets and taking revenge, there’s no escape.
. Child 44 R DRAMA/THRILLER Trailer(s)
The second English-language film from Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) stars Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassel, Joel Kinnaman, Jason Clarke, and Charles Dance in an adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s novel by screenwriter Richard Price (Clockers, The Wire). Those big names and a storyline set in Stalin’s Soviet Union about a security officer's search for a child killer did nothing for critics, who are unimpressed with the thriller—especially its impenetrable Russian accents and muddled story—so far.
. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 PG COMEDY Trailer(s)
[PICTURED] This sequel to the 2009 comedy finds Kevin James’ titular Blart heading to Vegas to attend a security guard convention with his college-bound daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez). There, he stumbles on a heist led by Neal McDonough’s Vincent. Reviews are only now coming in—critics either didn't get to see it in advance or couldn't bring themselves to do so—but expect a Metascore even lower than that for the first film.
. Slow West NR WESTERN/THRILLER — DirecTV pre-release exclusive (in theaters 5/15) Trailer(s)
Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance, John Maclean’s 19th century tale stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as Jay Cavendish, a 16-year-old on a journey across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves (Caren Pistorius). Along the way, he's aided by fellow traveler (Michael Fassbender) but pursued by an outlaw (Ben Mendelsohn).
Originally released in 1981, Drafthouse Films' latest would-be cult classic took over a decade to film and stars real-life Hollywood married couple Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall (with the latter also directing, and the former's daughter, a young Melanie Griffith, co-starring). There's something odd about their living arrangement: they share close quarters with dozens of nature's deadliest animals, including lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs. (Some of them receive a writing credit on the film. Literally.) Over 70 cast and crew members were injured during filming, when few precautions were taken to protect those involved.
Notable limited and/or VOD releases
. Tangerines NR FOREIGN/DRAMA Trailer(s)
Nominated for a foreign-language Oscar, Zaza Urushadze's drama is set in 1992 during the growing conflict between Georgia and Abkhazian separatists, where two Estonian immigrant farmers decide to remain in Georgia long enough to harvest their tangerine crop despite the encroaching war.
. True Story R DRAMA Trailer(s)
The first film from theater director Rupert Goold is based on a memoir by Michael Finkel, a New York Times reporter whose identity was stolen by accused killer Christian Longo. Jonah Hill plays Finkel, who teaches Longo (James Franco) how to write a book in exchange for his story.
Misery Loves Comedy NR DOCUMENTARY — pre-theatrical VOD release Trailer(s) Amazon iTunes
Comedian Kevin Pollak's Kickstarter-funded documentary enlists dozens of actors and comedians (including Judd Apatow, Marc Maron, Tom Hanks, Larry David, Amy Schumer, Maria Bamford, Martin Short, Jimmy Fallon, and many more) to answer the question: Do you have to be miserable to be funny?
Additional limited and/or VOD releases (in alphabetical order)
. 1915 NR DRAMA iTunes
. Alex of Venice R DRAMA iTunes
. Antarctic Edge: 70° South NR DOCUMENTARY  
. Beyond the Reach NR THRILLER — Also on VOD  
. Closer to the Moon NR DRAMEDY  
. The Dead Lands R FOREIGN/ACTION — Also on VOD  
. Félix And Meira R DRAMA  
. The Human Experiment NR DOCUMENTARY  
. Monsters: Dark Continent R SCI-FI/ACTION Amazon iTunes
. The Road Within R DRAMEDY Amazon iTunes
. The Squeeze PG-13 DRAMEDY — Also on VOD  

All movies now in theaters... | Recent DVD/Blu-ray releases... | Recent streaming releases...

New trailers and updates for upcoming films

The force re-awakens

Yesterday at the Star Wars Celebration, J.J. Abrams revealed a second teaser for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens along with new behind the scenes photos and a glimpse at new droid BB-8. There’s plenty in the new trailer to please old fans, but the new characters—John Boyega‘s Finn, Daisy Ridley‘s Rey and Oscar Isaac‘s Poe Dameron—are still the focus. Villain Kylo Ren (rumored to be Adam Driver) and his controversial light saber are also present, as is a new chrome Storm Trooper that might be Game of Throne’s Gwendoline Christie hiding under another suit of armor. New characters that are still unknown and unseen include those played by Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Andy Serkis and Lupita Nyong’o. The Force Awakens visits theaters far, far away (as well as just down the street—really, it'll be everywhere) on December 18th.

Ant-Man lives

After original director Edgar Wright departed the project, fans feared the worse for Marvel’s Ant-Man. But maybe this new trailer will settle a few nerves. Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a con man asked by Michael Douglas’ Dr. Hank Pym to protect the secrets of the Ant-Man suit from a new threat led by Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket. Evangeline Lilly lends support, as do John Slattery, Michael Peña, Bobby Cannavale, and Judy Greer. Directed by Peyton Reed from a script credited to Adam McKay, Rudd, Wright, and Joe Cornish, Ant-Man sneaks into theaters July 17th.

Terminator Genisys has a surprise

The first trailer for Terminator Genisys played like a Terminator remix, but the latest look at the summer film has a big surprise in store for fans of the series: Jason Clarke’s John Connor might not be as good a guy as the versions played by Edward Furlong, Nick Stahl, and Christian Bale. That might be as hard for fans to wrap their heads around as it is for his mother Sarah Connor, played by Emilia Clarke. Written by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier and directed by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World), and also starring Jai Courtney, Matt Smith, Byung-Hun Lee, Courtney B. Vance, Sandrine Holt, and J.K. Simmons, Terminator Genisys hits theaters July 1, 2015.

Lineup set for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival

Plenty of familiar names will return to Cannes next month for the 2015 festival. Gus Van Sant, who won the Palme d’Or for Elephant in 2003, will bring The Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey, to the competition. Winner of the Jury Prize in 2013 for Like Father, Like Son, Hirokazu Kore-eda returns this year with Our Little Sister. And Nanni Moretti, winner of the Palme d’Or in 2001 for The Son’s Room, will have Mia Madre at the festival. Making the jump into the main completion for the first time are Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos with The Lobster; Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders) with Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; and Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31st) with his English-language debut Louder Than Bombs. In addition, Todd Haynes will present Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, while Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) has Sicario starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, and Josh Brolin. Out of competition screenings include the premiere of Woody Allen's latest, Irrational Man, starring Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix. There are plenty of films to get excited about, so check out the full list here, and look out for our wrap-up at the end of May to learn about the awards handed out by the Joel and Ethan Coen-led jury.

Do you want Results?

Andrew Bujalski’s follow-up to his 2013 Sundance hit Computer Chess is an Austin-set comedy about a pair of personal trainers, played by Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders, whose private and professional lives are disrupted by a rich, lonely New York transplant played by Kevin Corrigan. Results didn’t receive the glowing praise of Bujalski’s previous effort, but it still looks like a comedy worth checking out when it comes to theaters on May 29th.

The official trailer for Sundance hit Dope

Writer-director Rick Famuyiwa’s fourth feature (following The Wood, Brown Sugar, Our Family Wedding) looks at the lives of Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) as they try to survive as geeks in the dangerous Inglewood, CA neighborhood known as The Bottoms. But this isn’t Boyz n the Hood; it’s a comedy that premiered at Sundance to mostly good reviews (though Grantland’s Wesley Morris was not a fan). Dope hits theaters June 19th.

The fountain of Youth

Director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) will return to Cannes this year with this story of a retired composer and conductor (Michael Caine made up to look suspiciously like Sorrentino favorite Toni Servillo) on holiday with his daughter (Rachel Weisz) and a film director friend (Paul Dano) who’s trying to finish a screenplay for his next film. This is Sorrentino’s second English-language feature (This Must Be the Place being the first), and it also stars Harvey Keitel and Jane Fonda. With luck, Youth will make it into North American theaters before the end of the year.

Good vibrations from the Love & Mercy trailer

Director Bill Pohlad’s look at the life of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson stars Paul Dano and John Cusack as the younger and older Wilson in a bifurcated narrative (written by Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner) that chronicles the reclusive songwriter’s life, from his success with Pet Sounds to his nervous breakdown and subsequent encounter with controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy, played by Paul Giamatti. Elizabeth Banks plays Melinda Ledbetter, Wilson’s second wife. Following good reviews from its premiere at TIFF last year, Love & Mercy comes to theaters June 5th.

Learning to Drive

Learning to Drive, directed by Isabel Coixet (Elegy) and coming to select theaters August 21st, follows Wendy (Patricia Clarkson), a Manhattan author whose husband has just left her for a younger woman, and Darwan (Ben Kingsley), a soft-spoken taxi driver from India on the verge of an arranged marriage. When Wendy hires Darwan to teach her to drive, they form an unlikely (or likely in the world of movies) friendship.

Every Secret Thing

Documentarian Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil, West of Memphis) makes the jump into narrative features with this story of Detective Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) who is still haunted by her failure to save the life of a missing child who was ultimately killed by two young girls. Eight years later, another child goes missing in the same town just days after Ronnie and Alice (Dakota Fanning and Danielle Macdonald), the two girls convicted of the former crime, are released from juvenile detention. When Porter and her partner (Nate Parker) begin to investigate the girls and their families, including Alice’s mother (Diane Lane), they unearth a web of secrets and deceptions that calls everything into question. Every Secret Thing opens in select theaters May 15th.


Directed by Claudia Llosa, Aloft stars Jennifer Connelly as a famous artist and healer, Cillian Murphy as her son, a falconer who cannot forgive her for an incident in their past, and Mélanie Laurent as a young journalist who brings them together. Reviews have been mixed, but Aloft will make it into select theaters May 22nd.

Short takes

The first reviews for Avengers: Age of Ultron (coming to theaters May 1st) should be available beginning on Tuesday afternoon. In the meantime, watch five new clips from the film at YouTube: Clip #1 Clip #2 Clip #3 Clip #4 Clip #5

Here’s a clip from Pixar’s Inside Out, coming to Cannes in May and theaters June 19th.

The Gallows hopes to creep you out when it hits theaters July 10th.

Let’s hope the May 22nd release When Marnie Was There isn’t the last film produced by Studio Ghibli. The world needs more beautiful films, not fewer.

Here’s the first teaser for Suffragette, directed by Sarah Gavron, and starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meryl Streep. It opens in the U.S. on October 23rd.

News and notes

  • Ryan Gosling is in talks to join Harrison Ford in director Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. - Variety
  • Furious 7 director James Wan is the favorite to direct Aquaman. - Heat Vision
  • Steve Carell will star in Robert Zemeckis’ feature adaptation of the award-winning documentary Marwencol - TheWrap
  • Eddie Redmayne is the favorite to play the lead in the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. - Variety
  • Sophia Boutella, the assassin with blades for legs in Kingsman: The Secret Service, has been cast in a lead role in the next Star Trek film. - Deadline
  • Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast has added Ian McKellen and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights) as Cogsworth and Plumette, respectively. They join Emma Watson (Beauty), Dan Stevens (Beast), Luke Evans (Gaston), Josh Gad (LeFou) and Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts). - Variety
  • Kurt Russell and Dylan O’Brien have joined Mark Wahlberg and Gina Rodriguez in Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon. - Variety & Deadline
  • Olivia Munn will play Betsy Braddock/Psylocke in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
  • Patty Jenkins (Monster), who was the original director of Thor: The Dark World, will replace Michelle MacLaren as the director of Wonder Woman. MacLaren is rumored to have left over creative differences. - Heat Vision
  • Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, and Bill Nighy will star in Lone Scherfig’s WW II-set romantic comedy Their Finest Hour And A Half, an adaptation of Lissa Evans’ 2009 novel. - Deadline
  • Anders Holm, Jason Mantzoukas, and Nicholas Braun have joined Alison Brie, Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, and Damon Wayans Jr. in the comedy How To Be Single. - THR
  • Hayden Christensen will star as Marco Polo in Rob Cohen’s fantasy-action film based on the historical figure. - THR
  • An adaptation of Stephen King’s series The Dark Tower is finally going to happen at Sony Pictures. - Deadline
  • Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) is in talks to direct Lionsgate’s Power Rangers movie. - TheWrap
  • Emma Watson and Miles Teller are no longer part of writer-director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash follow-up, the musical La La Land, but Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are circling the project. - Deadline
  • Michael Mann’s next film will be a biopic based on Brock Yates’ 1991 book Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races. - Variety
  • Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman: The Secret Service) is in talks to direct a new adaptation of Flash Gordon. - Heat Vision
  • Mr. Turner director Mike Leigh’s next film will be based on the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, when British cavalry charged a protest on St. Peter’s Field in Manchester, killing 15 and injuring 700. - THR
  • Hugh Jackman revealed a tease of Pan, coming to theaters July 24th.
  • A quick tease for the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer that will be premiere on Monday can be found here.

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