Film Friday (10/24): This Week's New Movies & Trailers

  • Publish Date: October 24, 2014
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Opening this weekend

Nationwide releases
. John Wick R ACTION/THRILLER Trailer
Receiving surprisingly strong reviews this week is this stylish action tale starring Keanu Reeves as a former hitman who comes out of retirement to take revenge against the gangsters who stole his car and killed his dog. Simple, yes; boring, no. Chad Stahelski, the stunt man who doubled for Reeves in The Matrix, makes his directorial debut.
. St. Vincent PG-13 COMEDY Trailer
Expands nationwide today. A well-cast Bill Murray stars as a cantankerous retiree (with a fondness for booze and gambling) who forms an unlikely bond with the 12-year-old son (Jaeden Lieberher) of his neighbor (Melissa McCarthy) in this crowd-pleasing if a bit formulaic debut feature from longtime commercial director Theodore Melfi.
. 23 Blast PG-13 DRAMA/SPORTS Trailer
A high school football star (Mark Hapka) must deal with sudden blindness in this inspirational drama from actor-turned-director Dylan Baker.
. Ouija PG-13 HORROR Trailer
October means horror on the big screen. But you could probably do better than spending 89 minutes with this Michael Bay-produced haunted house tale/board game adaptation from first-time director Stiles White, featuring a mostly no-name cast.
Notable limited releases
. Citizenfour NR DOCUMENTARY  
Laura Poitras' thrilling look at the Edward Snowden affair (and government snooping in general) is one of the year's best-reviewed documentaries (and possibly this month's best new film, period).
. Force Majeure R FOREIGN/COMEDY/DRAMA  
The winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes, this darkly comic Swedish-language import finds a father running for his life and failing to protect his family when an avalanche threatens their vacation resort in the French Alps. Needless to say, his wife isn't all too pleased about his reaction to the near-disaster.
. Laggies R COMEDY/DRAMA  
Working with somebody else's script for the first time, director Lynn Shelton follows last year's disappointment Touchy Feely with this Sundance dramedy starring Keira Knightley as an aimless 28-year-old who panics when her boyfriend proposes to her. She makes the impulsive decision to hide out at the home of a high school girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) she just met. Some critics think it's Shelton's best; others find it muddled.
. White Bird in a Blizzard R DRAMA/THRILLER iTunes Amazon
Shailene Woodley and Eva Green star in the latest from veteran indie filmmaker Gregg Araki (Smiley Face), which blends a 1980s coming-of-age story with a mystery about a woman's disappearance. It's an adaptation of Laura Kasischke's novel, and as with many Araki films, critics find it uneven.
Additional limited releases (in alphabetical order)
. 1,000 Times Good Night NR DRAMA iTunes Amazon
. Exists R HORROR iTunes Amazon
. Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me PG DOCUMENTARY/MUSIC  
. The Hadza: Last of the First NR DOCUMENTARY  
. The Heart Machine NR DRAMA/THRILLER iTunes Amazon
. The Irish Pub NR DOCUMENTARY  
. Life of Riley NR FOREIGN/COMEDY  
. Low Down R DRAMA  
. Revenge of the Green Dragons R ACTION/DRAMA  
. Rhymes for Young Ghouls R DRAMA  
. Scream at the Devil NR THRILLER  
. Tiger Lily Road NR COMEDY  
. Viktor NR ACTION/THRILLER iTunes
. Yakona NR DOCUMENTARY  

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

New trailers and updates for upcoming films

The Age of Ultron is approaching

The plan was to reveal the first trailer for the sequel to 2012‘s The Avengers on October 28th, but when Hydra leaked it earlier this week, Marvel decided to make it official a week early. This time, it’s all Tony Stark’s fault as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye assemble to fight Ultron, voiced by James Spader. Talking to Total Film this week, Spader described Ultron as a psychopathic child, and those anger issues are on full display in a trailer that is surprisingly serious in tone and makes the unexpected musical choice of Pinocchio’s “I’ve Got No Strings.” Also making an appearance are newcomers Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), as well as the immortal Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on May 1, 2015.

The Gambler drops the f-bomb

After the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, director Rupert Wyatt was attached to multiple projects (including The Equalizer). Ultimately, he opted for a remake 1974’s The Gambler. Originally written by James Toback (Two Girls and a Guy) and starring James Caan, this 2014 version, scripted by William Monahan (The Departed), stars Mark Wahlberg as an English professor and a high-stakes gambler who is trying to balance his relationship with his mother (Jessica Lange) and a student (Brie Larson) as he gets involved with a gangster played by The Wire’s Michael Kenneth Williams and a loan shark played by John Goodman. The Gambler hits select theaters on December 19th before expanding on January 1st. Watch the NSFW trailer below.

A third helping of Insidious

2011’s Insidious was a very good performer at the box office, taking in $54 million domestically against a tiny $1.5 million production budget. And Insidious: Chapter 2 improved on that performance, with $83.5 million against a $5 million budget even though critics and moviegoers rated it slightly lower than the original. Can Insidious: Chapter 3 continue the franchise’s success? It’s going to be tough. There will be continuity in the writing as the screenwriter of the first two films, Leigh Whannell, is back, but this time he has taken on directing duties as well (since James Wan was off directing Fast & Furious 7). This prequel to the haunting of the Lambert family finds psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) attempting to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott). Look for it in theaters beginning May 29, 2015.

The Look of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to his award-winning documentary The Act of Killing is a companion piece to that film, and once again critics are extremely impressed. The winner of the Grand Jury prize at the 71st Venice International Film Festival focuses on the victims, not the killers, of an Indonesian genocide, and follows an optometrist as he confronts his brother’s murderers. But unless you are hanging around the festival circuit, you'll have to wait until next summer to get your first look at The Look of Silence.

Two trailers for The Woman in Black: Angel of Death

This sequel to the Daniel Radcliffe-starring The Woman In Black advances the story to 1941, when two teachers evacuate a group of schoolchildren to the abandoned Eel Marsh House during the blitz. Instead of respite from the war, they get to deal with a whole new set of horrors. Jeez, can’t they catch a break. Directed by Tom Harper from a script by Jon Croker and starring Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, and Phoebe Fox, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death hits UK theaters on January 1, 2015, opening in the U.S. a day later.

Short takes

The documentary Happy Valley explores the impact of the 2011 child abuse accusations against Jerry Sandusky (and his eventual conviction) on the town of State College and Penn State University. See it in theaters November 28th.

A new featurette for Into the Woods tries to prove this December 25th release is a musical and much more.

Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu earned excellent reviews when it premiered at Cannes earlier this year. Look for it in select theaters beginning January 28, 2015.

News and notes

  • The 2014-15 film awards season kicked off this week with the announcement of nominations for the Gotham Independent Film Awards. Best picture candidates include Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Love Is Strange, and Under the Skin. More at the official site.
  • The Last Witch Hunter, starring Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, and Michael Caine will hit theaters on October 23, 2015.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan, Mackenzie Davis, and Sean Bean have joined Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, and Kristen Wiig in Ridley Scott’s The Martian. - Heat Vision & EW
  • James Wan will return to direct The Conjuring 2, which will now be released sometime in 2016. - Deadline
  • Aaron Sorkin confirmed that Christian Bale will play Steve Jobs in his upcoming adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s biography about the Apple co-founder. - Bloomberg
  • Key & Peele’s first feature film will be titled Keanu—named not for Mr. Reeves but for a stolen cat that two friends try to rescue from a street gang. - Deadline
  • Margot Robbie is in talks to join Tina Fey in The Taliban Shuffle, an adaptation of Kim Barker’s wartime memoir scripted by Robert Carlock and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. - THR
  • Meryl Streep will play Florence Foster Jenkins, and Hugh Grant will play her partner and manager St. Clair Bayfield, in director Stephen Frears’ Florence. The true story follows Florence’s desire to be a great opera singer despite her horrible voice. - Deadline
  • Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to Blue Ruin will star Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, and Imogen Poots. - Heat Vision
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios announced a new film for late 2016, Moana, from Ron Clements and John Musker, the directors of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.
  • Kim Basinger will play a judge, and Keith David and Beau Knapp will be the bad guys opposite Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, in Shane Black’s The Nice Guys. - THR
  • Ethan Hawke will play jazz trumpeter and singer Chet Baker in Born to be Blue, a biopic written and directed by Robert Budreau. - Deadline
  • A Cabin Fever remake is in the works with original director Eli Roth executive producing and Travis Zariwny directing from the original script. - TheWrap
  • Weiner Dog, director Todd Solondz’s next ensemble drama, will catch up with Dawn Weiner from Welcome to the Dollhouse. Julie Delpy and Greta Gerwig are in talks to star. - THR
  • Charlie Kaufman will adapt Arthur Herzog’s science fiction novel I.Q. 83 with Steve Carell attached to star. The story concerns a virus that lowers human intelligence. - Deadline

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