Film Friday (11/21): This Week's New Movies & Trailers

  • Publish Date: November 21, 2014
  • Comments: ↓ 0 user comments

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Film Friday will not appear next week. We'll be back on Friday, December 5.

Opening this weekend

Nationwide releases
. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 PG-13 ACTION-ADVENTURE/SCI-FI Trailer
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence returns for this third of four planned Hunger Games films, though reviewers find it much less exciting than its predecessor—think of it as a two-hour setup for next fall's Mockingjay - Part 2.
. The King and the Mockingbird NR FOREIGN/ANIMATION  
Based loosely on Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, this long-gestating French animation classic—originally begun in 1948 but not fully completed until 1980—is getting a belated English-language release in a few markets.
Notable limited releases
. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night NR FOREIGN/HORROR/THRILLER  
This Sundance-approved debut feature from Ana Lily Amirpour is possibly the only black-and-white Iranian vampire western opening in theaters this weekend.
. V/H/S: Viral R HORROR iTunes Amazon
The latest "found-footage" anthology in the V/H/S series crosses the thin line between horror and horrible, according to critics.
Additional limited releases (in alphabetical order)
. All Relative NR ROM-COM iTunes
. Bad Hair NR FOREIGN/DRAMA  
. Extraterrestrial NR SCI-FI/HORROR iTunes Amazon
. Flamenco, Flamenco NR DOCUMENTARY  
. Food Chains NR DOCUMENTARY iTunes Amazon
. Four Moons NR FOREIGN/DRAMA  
. Happy Valley NR DOCUMENTARY  
. Late Phases NR DRAMA/HORROR iTunes Amazon
. Little Hope Was Arson NR DOCUMENTARY iTunes
. Monk With a Camera NR DOCUMENTARY  
. The Mule NR DRAMA iTunes
. Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets NR DOCUMENTARY iTunes Amazon
. Reach Me R DRAMA iTunes Amazon
. The Sleepwalker NR DRAMA  
. Stones in the Sun NR FOREIGN/DRAMA  
. Story of My Death NR FOREIGN/DRAMA  
. Two-Bit Waltz R COMEDY/DRAMA  

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

New trailers and updates for upcoming films

The Bellas are back

This sequel to the surprise 2012 hit Pitch Perfect finds the Bellas taking on the world at an international a cappella competition. Original stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp and Adam DeVine return, as do judges John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. But Banks has a second role: that of the film's director, as she makes her feature debut from a script by Kay Cannon, who adapted the original film from Mickey Rapkin’s book. New additions to the cast include Hailee Steinfeld, Katey Sagal, and David Cross. Pitch Perfect 2 opens on May 15, 2015.

A new Cinderella

Kenneth Branagh directs this live-action take on the story of Cinderella. Downton Abbey’s Lily James plays the title character, named Ella before her evil stepsisters change it, and Cate Blanchett is her evil stepmother. The role of the fairy godmother is filled by Helena Bonham Carter, and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) plays the prince. The script by Aline Brosh McKenna and Chris Weitz looks to the follow the original story rather closely. Cinderella comes to theaters on March 13, 2015.

Project Almanac travels through time

What would a group of teenagers do if they were able to travel in time? Project Almanac, Dean Israelite’s feature directorial debut, tries to answer that question. Like many teenagers, this group (made up of Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, and Ginny Gardner) causes a whole lot of trouble. Written by Jason Pagan and Andrew Stark, who are now writing Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the long-delayed Almanac (previously titled Welcome to Yesterday) finally hits theaters on January 30, 2015.

Seventh Son finally arrives

Another film that has changed release dates and titles multiple times is Seventh Son, directed by Sergey Bodrov (Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Kahn). An adaptation of Joseph Delaney’s The Spook’s Apprentice (titled The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in the U.S.), the film stars Jeff Bridges as Master Gregory, a knight who must train Ben Barnes’ Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, to help him in his battle against Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), a witch with a grudge against humanity. The strong supporting cast includes Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair), Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams, Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), Antje Traue (Faora in Man of Steel) and plenty of CG monsters. Look for Seventh Son in at least seven theaters on February 6, 2015.

Atom Egoyan’s The Captive

One of the worst-reviewed films at this year's Cannes Film Festival was Atom Egoyan’s The Captive. Ryan Reynolds stars as a father whose 9-year-old daughter is abducted. Mireille Enos plays Reynolds’ wife, and Rosario Dawson and Scott Speedman play the detectives working the case. While critics used words like ludicrous, preposterous, and crass to describe the film, it did have a few defenders, so maybe audiences will be split as well. Find it on DirecTV now and in theaters beginning December 12th.

Blake Lively is preserved in time

Director Lee Toland Krieger’s follow-up to Celeste and Jesse Forever is The Age of Adaline, scripted by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz. Blake Lively stars as the title character, a woman who is born in 1908 but doesn’t age past 27 because of a magical car accident. (She apparently has better insurance than the rest of us.) Michiel Huisman, Ellen Burstyn, Harrison Ford, and Kathy Baker co-star in this April 24, 2015 release.

Al Pacino is Danny Collins

Coming to theaters in the spring of 2015 is Danny Collins. Written and directed by Dan Fogelman, the writer of Crazy, Stupid, Love, and starring Al Pacino in the title role, the film follows an aging rock star as he tries to reconnect with his younger self and his family after he discovers a a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon. Christopher Plummer plays Collins’ manager, Bobby Cannavale his son, and Jennifer Garner his son’s wife, while Annette Bening looks to be the object of his affection.

Son of a Gun

Ewan McGregor and Brenton Thwaites (The Giver) star in this crime thriller from first-time feature director Julius Avery. Thwaites plays JR, a young criminal who comes under the influence of McGregor’s Brendan while serving time in a West Australian prison. When they break out, JR joins Brendan’s crew on a dangerous gold heist, but his feelings for Alicia Vikander’s Tasha soon create a rift between the two. Son of a Gun comes to VOD on December 11 and to theaters on January 16th.

The DUFF

No, not that Duff. In The DUFF, Arrested Development’s Mae Whitman (her?) plays the title character, Bianca, a "Designated Ugly Fat Friend" to her prettier, more popular friends played by Skyler Samuels & Bianca Santos. But Bianca (and moviegoers) know She’s All That, and she’s ready to prove it by enlisting Robbie Amell’s Wesley to help reinvent herself before her senior year is a total flop. Bella Thorne, Allison Janney, Romany Malco, and Ken Jeong round out the cast. Ari Sandel’s directorial debut is scripted by Josh A. Cagan from Kody Keplinger’s novel. Look for it in theaters in 2015.

Good grief!

The familiar Vince Guaraldi music, Woodstock and Christmas decorations, Snoopy vs. the Red Baron, Charlie Brown being a “blockhead”—it could only be Charles Schulz's Peanuts. The surprise is that it’s in the form of a new 3D CGI-animated feature. Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Continental Drift) directs from a script by Craig & Bryan Schulz (son and grandson of Charles) and Cornelius Uliano, so maybe the Schulz name will help the film maintain some of the original’s magic. Find out beginning November 6, 2015.

Short takes

Here’s a restricted trailer for The Wedding Ringer starring Josh Gad and Kevin Hart. Look for it in theaters beginning January 16, 2015.

Lap Dance is based on the true story of writer-director Greg Carter and his girlfriend, actress Junie Hoang. See it in select theaters December 5th and on VOD on the 9th.

The Color of Time uses twelve directors to tell the story of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet C.K. Williams, played by James Franco (and others). See it On Demand December 9th and in theaters on the 12th.

News and notes

  • Collider reports that Chris Pratt will star in Universal’s adaptation of author A.J. Lieberman's and illustrator Riley Rossmo’s graphic novel Cowboy Ninja Viking.
  • Daniel Brühl (Rush) has joined Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. and Chadwick Boseman in Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: Civil War. - Marvel
  • Rosamund Pike is in talks to star opposite Charlie Hunnam in Paradise Now director Hany Abu-Assad’s adaptation of The Mountain Between Us, Charles Martin’s novel about two survivors of a plane crash. - Variety
  • Penelope Cruz has joined Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson in the long-gestating Zoolander 2. Stiller will direct from a script by Justin Theroux. There's still no release date. - Deadline
  • Jack O’Connell and Julia Roberts have joined George Clooney in Jodie Foster’s thriller Money Monster. - TheWrap
  • Zach Braff is in talks to direct Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine in a remake of Going In Style, the 1979 caper starring George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg. - Deadline & Variety
  • Jon Bernthal has joined Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, and J.K. Simmons in director Gavin O'Connor's assassin pic, The Accountant. - TheWrap
  • Djimon Hounsou is in talks to play a Merlin-like figure alongside Charlie Hunnam’s Arthur, Astrid Berges-Frisbey’s Guinevere, and Jude Law in Guy Ritchie’s Knights of the Round Table. - Variety
  • Melissa McCarthy will play Tinker Bell for director Shawn Levy. Nicholas Stoller (The Muppets, The Five-Year Engagement) will write the script. - Deadline
  • Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) will direct Boston Strong, based on the book by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge about the hunt for the men responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. - Variety
  • Paul Greengrass, who will direct a new Bourne movie sometime next year, is attached to direct a new adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984. - Deadline
  • Shailene Woodley is in talks to play the female lead opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden film. - THR
  • Matt Smith (Dr. Who) has joined Natalie Dormer in director Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Mike Le-scripted action-thriller Patient Zero. - Deadline
  • Jason Reitman will direct author Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Skip Hollandsworth’s Texas Monthly article, I Would Only Rob Banks for My Family, the true story of an ordinary family’s surprising ability to pull off two heists. - THR
  • Mel Gibson is in talks to direct Hacksaw Ridge, based on the true story of U.S. Army medic and conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Andrew Garfield is in talks to play Doss. - Deadline
  • Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford are in early talks to star in director David Lowery’s remake of Pete’s Dragon. - Variety
  • Deadline reports that Universal is likely to take on Sony’s recently dropped Steve Jobs movie (the one scripted by Aaron Sorkin). Danny Boyle is still attached to direct, but a lead actor has not been cast.
  • Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) will write, direct and produce a heist film based on the British TV series Windows, and he’s also working on a biopic about American singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson. The former project should be first up. - Variety & The Guardian

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