Film Friday (3/6): This Week's New Movies & Trailers

  • Publish Date: March 6, 2015
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Opening this weekend

Nationwide releases
. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel PG COMEDY/DRAMA Trailers
Apparently lacking a bit of the charm of the original is this still not unpleasant sequel from director John Madden that returns much of the first film's cast (sans Tom Wilkinson) and adds Richard Gere, David Strathairn, and Tamsin Greig.
. Chappie R SCI-FI Trailers
Pictured above. District 9 and Elysium writer-director Neill Blomkamp's surprisingly poor third feature centers on a police droid (voiced by Sharlto Copley) who is stolen by Dev Patel’s rogue programmer and given new software to become the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. This all happens in a near future world where robots have replaced the police force, and Hugh Jackman has developed a robot called the Moose to hunt down Chappie at the request of the head of a weapons manufacturer (Sigourney Weaver).
. Unfinished Business R COMEDY Trailers
Businessmen Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, and Dave Franco take a business trip to Europe that quickly spirals out of control in this poorly reviewed comedy from Canadian director Ken Scott (Delivery Man).
Notable limited and/or VOD releases
. Buzzard NR DRAMA/COMEDY iTunes Amazon
Ape writer-director Joel Potrykus’ second feature follows Marty (Joshua Burge), an office temp and small-time scam artist, as he flees his hometown to hide out in Detroit with nothing but a pocket full of bogus checks, his Freddie Krueger-like Power Glove, and a bad temper.
. Faults NR DRAMA/THRILLER iTunes
When Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Claire falls under the control of a cult, her parents enlist a deprogramming expert (Leland Orser) to help her in this fairly well reviewed directorial debut from Riley Stearns.
. Merchants of Doubt PG-13 DOCUMENTARY
Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner’s latest documentary has earned good early reviews for its satirical examination (based on the book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway) of the world of scientists who work as pundits-for-hire.
. Kidnapping Mr. Heineken R DRAMA/THRILLER iTunes Amazon
A group of friends kidnap the wealthy heir of the Heineken beer empire (Anthony Hopkins) in this based-on-a-true-story tale from Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played with Fire) that seems to be underwhelming critics. Sam Worthington, Jim Sturgess, and Ryan Kwanten also star.
Additional limited and/or VOD releases (in alphabetical order)
. Allure NR DRAMA
. Avenged NR ACTION/HORROR iTunes
. Bad Asses on the Bayou R ACTION/COMEDY
. Hacker's Game NR DRAMA/THRILLER iTunes
. Hayride 2 R HORROR/THRILLER iTunes
. An Honest Liar NR DOCUMENTARY
. The Lesson NR FOREIGN/DRAMA
. The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest NR DOCUMENTARY
. Like Sunday, Like Rain NR DRAMA
. The Mafia Only Kills in Summer NR FOREIGN/COMEDY
. October Gale NR DRAMA/THRILLER iTunes Amazon
. Road Hard NR COMEDY iTunes Amazon
. Straight Outta Tompkins NR DRAMA iTunes
. These Final Hours NR DRAMA/THRILLER iTunes Amazon
. Two Men in Town R DRAMA iTunes
. X/Y NR DRAMA iTunes
. A Year in Champagne NR DOCUMENTARY

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

New trailers and updates for upcoming films

Another Avengers assembly

With each trailer it has become a little clearer what will be at stake in Joss Whedon’s latest superhero extravaganza. And now, in this week's newest trailer, we get it directly from Tony Stark’s mouth: “I messed up.” Well, he doesn’t say that exactly, but Ultron (voiced by James Spader) is his creation, and the world is going to pay for it unless Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye can clean up the mess. Luckily, they have a new friend, Vision (played by Paul Bettany), who is glimpsed at the end of the trailer. Joining the fun this time around will be Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on May 1st.

(S)Ex Machina

Alex Garland, the screenwriter of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Sunshine, adds the job of director to his C.V. with Ex Machina. The story follows Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at a giant tech company who wins a competition to spend a week at the private estate of the company’s brilliant CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). Once he gets there, Caleb soon finds out that he’s not on vacation. He’s there to test Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence, Ava (Alicia Vikander), and this proves much more difficult than either imagined. Preceded by good early reviews, Ex Machina arrives in theaters on April 10, 2015.

Self/less

With his four previous features (The Cell, The Fall, Immortals, Mirror Mirror), director Tarsem Singh has always given moviegoers something impressive to look at, but not always a great story to go along with those visuals. Maybe his new tale of a sick, wealthy man (Ben Kingsley) who undergoes a medical procedure to transfer his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds) will find the right balance. Written by Alex and David Pastor (Out of the Dark) and also starring Matthew Goode, Michelle Dockery, Natalie Martinez, Derek Luke, and Victor Garber, Self/less hits theaters July 31st.

Get Hart

For the second time this year, Kevin Hart gets paid to help a white guy get through a very traumatic experience. In The Wedding Ringer, he played Josh Gad’s fake best man, and in Get Hard, which has a new red-band trailer streaming below, he’s an “incarceration expert” to Will Ferrell’s white collar criminal. Writer Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Men in Black III) makes his feature directorial debut from a script written with Jay Martel and Ian Roberts, writers for Key and Peele. So maybe the prison movie will be better than the wedding movie. (Maybe?) Find it in theaters beginning March 27th.

There's no escape from this trailer

Owen Wilson stars as Jack Dwyer, an American businessman who moves his wife (Lake Bell) and daughters (Sterling Jerins and Claire Geare) to a Southeast Asia country that, not long after their arrival, erupts into chaos. With a little help from the always crafty Pierce Brosnan, the Dwyers just might survive the coup. Directed by John Erick Dowdie (As Above, So Below) from a script written with his brother Drew, No Escape hits theaters September 2nd.

Travolta forges a new path

Has John Travolta lost his talent along with his mind (and hair), or is he still capable of a surprising performance? The Forger is his latest attempt to recapture some of that post-Pulp Fiction momentum of 20 years ago. Directed by Philip Martin and written by Richard D’Ovidio, the film follows Travolta, the world's best art forger, as he makes a deal to get out of prison, only to learn he has to pay it back by forging and then stealing a painting by Monet. To help him do this, he recruits his father (Christopher Plummer) and son (Tye Sheridan). With a supporting cast that includes Abigail Spencer, Anson Mount, and Jennifer Ehle, The Forger comes to DirecTV March 26th and VOD and theaters April 24th.

Sherlock redux

After earning good reviews when it premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, Mr. Holmes will come to North American theaters this summer. In the meantime, here’s the first trailer for the film, which stars Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes in 1947. Holmes reunites McKellen with his Gods and Monsters director Bill Condon. Adapted from Mitch Cullin's novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, Condon’s latest looks to be an improvement on his last film, the misfire The Fifth Estate.

The President will shoot you now

In Big Game, the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson) is having a very bad day. Luckily, 13-year-old Oskari (Onni Tommila) is quite resourceful. Armed with a bow and arrow, Oskari helps the President evade terrorists and survive the wilderness of Finland in this latest oddity from director Jalmari Helander (Rare Exports). Jim Broadbent, Ted Levine, Victor Garber, Felicity Huffman, Ray Stevenson, and Mehmet Kurtulus have supporting roles. Find it on VOD and in select theaters beginning June 26.

Short takes

Here’s a look at one of the crazy sequences in Furious 7, coming to theaters April 3rd.

Based on the second novel by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, Dark Places stars Charlize Theron as a woman searching for the truth about the killing of her parents. Here’s an early international trailer. There's no word yet on an American release date.

Opening next week in theaters and on VOD is Cymbeline, director Michael Almereyda’s updated version of Shakespeare’s tragedy starring Ethan Hawke, Dakota Johnson, and Ed Harris.

Michael Winterbottom’s The Face of an Angel, a film that uses a fictionalized version of the Amanda Knox story as a backdrop to look at filmmaking, comes to North American theaters June 19th. Here’s a trailer for its UK release:

Rockumentary Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police tracks the rise and fall of the Police. Find it in select theaters March 13th.

News and notes

  • Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) is the favorite to write and direct the latest Spider-Man reboot. - Latino Review
  • Ethan Hawke will reunite with his Training Day co-star, Denzel Washington, and director, Antoine Fuqua, in their Magnificent Seven remake. - Variety
  • Leonardo DiCaprio will play Billy Milligan, a man with 24 personalities, in the true story-inspired The Crowded Room. - THR
  • Jennifer Lawrence will be directed by Steven Spielberg in an adaptation of war photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life Of Love And War. - Deadline
  • Kristen Stewart has joined Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, James Le Gros, Jared Harris, and Sara Rodier in Kelly Reichardt’s new Montana-set film. - Deadline
  • Ronda Rousey and Iko Uwais (The Raid) will star in Mile 22, an action film pairing a CIA officer and Indonesian police officer. - Variety
  • Bryan Singer will direct an adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. - Heat Vision
  • Netflix will distribute True Detective director Cary Fukunaga’s next film, Beasts of No Nation, and some theater chains are not happy about it. Expect an awards-season theatrical release prior to its debut on the streaming service. - Deadline
  • Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion) is in talks to direct an adaptation of the hit video game Gran Turismo. - Heat Vision
  • Steve Martin has joined Garrett Hedlund and newcomer Joe Alwyn in the Ang Lee-directed adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. - Deadline
  • Jessie Usher will play Dylan Hiller, the son of Will Smith’s Independence Day character Captain Steven Hiller, in the upcoming sequel. Liam Hemsworth will also star, and Jeff Goldblum will return as David Levinson. - Heat Vision & Roland Emmerich
  • Dan Stevens and Luke Evans will play the Prince/Beast and Gaston, respectively, opposite Emma Watson, in director Bill Condon’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. - Heat Vision & Variety
  • Diablo Cody will write the next draft of the live-action Barbie movie script. - Deadline
  • Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) will direct Overnight at 42nd Street, a family comedy about a father and son who get to spend a night in a toy store. - Variety

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