Film Friday (9/19): This Week's New Movies & Trailers

  • Publish Date: September 19, 2014
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Opening this weekend

Nationwide releases
. The Maze Runner PG-13 SCI-FI/ACTION/THRILLER Trailer
Wes Ball makes his feature directing debut with this adaptation of James Dashner's best-selling YA novel about a teen amnesiac (Dylan O'Brien) who discovers that he is trapped in a giant maze along with a small group of fellow teens who have formed a rudimentary society. Critics were let down by the ending, but otherwise found the film fairly decent.
. A Walk Among the Tombstones R ACTION/DRAMA/THRILLER Trailer
This time, it is somebody else's wife who has been taken—leaving private investigator Liam Neeson to track down her assailants—in a new crime thriller from Scott Frank (The Lookout). Critics find it a bit old-fashioned and ordinary.
. Tusk R HORROR Trailer
Kevin Smith's low-budget horror thriller centers on a podcaster (Justin Long) who is taken prisoner by one of his interview subjects (Michael Parks), who tries to turn him into a walrus. Such are the perils of podcasting.
. This Is Where I Leave You R COMEDY/DRAMA Trailer
A strong cast (Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, Rose Byrne, Adam Driver, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant) is mostly wasted as Shawn Levy continues his uninterrupted streak of critical failures as a director, this time with a dramedy based on Jonathan Tropper's best-seller about bickering siblings who reunite after the death of their father.
Notable limited releases
. 20,000 Days on Earth NR DOCUMENTARY/MUSIC  
This semi-documentary looks at a day in the life of musician Nick Cave, though—to the delight of most critics—it is staged, scripted, and stylized rather than a straightforward account.
. The Guest R THRILLER  
Opens nationwide on 10/3. The creative team behind You’re Next returns with an even better thriller that stars Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens, an Afghanistan war veteran who visits the parents of his fallen comrade, but who may not be the man he says he is.
. Space Station 76 R SCI-FI/COMEDY/DRAMA iTunes
This sci-fi spoof centers on the domestic troubles of the crew of a space station (including Patrick Wilson, Jerry O'Connell, Matt Bomer, and Liv Tyler). The hook here is that the film is shot in the style of the 1970s, as if it were some recently unearthed lost cult classic.
. Tracks PG-13 DRAMA  
Mia Wasikowska stars as Robyn Davidson in this true tale of her 1977 trek across 1,700 miles of Australian desert, where she was accompanied by camels, a dog, and only occasionally another human (National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, played by Adam Driver).
. The Zero Theorem R SCI-FI/COMEDY Amazon iTunes
Terry Gilliam's long-delayed sci-fi oddity finally gets a theatrical release this week. The film stars Christoph Waltz as a reclusive and eccentric computer genius attempting to develop a formula to determine if life has any meaning. Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, and Peter Stormare also star, and while critics praised Theorem's imagination and energy, they found the film ultimately empty, incomplete, and not as funny as it thinks it is.
Additional limited releases
. Art and Craft NR DOCUMENTARY iTunes
. Autumn Blood R THRILLER  
. Brush With Danger NR FOREIGN/ACTION  
. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby NR DRAMA — Expanding to additional theaters
. Fort Bliss NR DRAMA iTunes
. Hector and the Search for Happiness R DRAMEDY  
. Hollidaysburg R COMEDY iTunes
. Keep On Keepin' On R DOCUMENTARY  
. Life's a Breeze R DRAMA/COMEDY  
. A Life in Dirty Movies NR DOCUMENTARY  
. Reclaim R THRILLER  
. The Scribbler R THRILLER iTunes
. Stop the Pounding Heart NR DRAMA  
. Swim Little Fish Swim NR COMEDY/DRAMA iTunes
. Wheels R DRAMA  

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

New trailers and updates for upcoming films

The first trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The third film in the Hunger Games series (and first of a two-part finale) finds Katniss reluctantly accepting the role of poster child for the rebellion, while Peeta is in the clutches of President Snow. Francis Lawrence, who directed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, returns along with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Among those joining the cast are Julianne Moore as District 13 President Alma Coin, and Natalie Dormer as Cressida. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 opens on November 21st.

A Most Violent Year

After two very different but widely praised films (All Is Lost, Margin Call), J.C. Chandor has established himself as a director to watch. His latest stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in a thriller set in New York City during the winter of 1981, one of the most violent years in the city’s history. Chandor’s script focuses on an immigrant trying to expand his business during this tumultuous time. David Oyelowo, Albert Brooks, and Alessandro Nivola also star. A Most Violent Year will open in a few theaters on December 31st before expanding wider in January.

Tim Burton goes the biopic route with Big Eyes

Tim Burton’s latest tells the true story of Margaret and Walter Keane, played by Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. The script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt) follows Margaret as she marries Walter; he takes credit for her paintings, and they profit but eventually end up in court to prove who was the real painter in the family. Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp, and Danny Huston also star in this Christmas Day release.

Cannes hit Force Majeure gets a U.S. release ...

After winning the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes this year, Ruben Östlund’s dark comedy Force Majeure will come to North American theaters on October 24th. The story revolves around a Swedish family vacationing in the Alps. While Tomas, Ebba and their two children are having lunch one day, an avalanche begins to bear down on them, or so they think. When Ebba looks for her husband to protect their children, he’s running for his life. After the disaster fails to occur, Tomas’ marriage and his role in the family hang in the balance.

... as does Sundance hit Listen Up Philip

In writer-director Alex Ross Perry’s follow-up to The Color Wheel, Jason Schwartzman plays Philip, a narcissistic novelist awaiting the publication of his second novel. He seeks refuge from promoting the novel and his deteriorating relationship with his girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss) at the country house of his idol, a novelist played by Jonathan Pryce. Listen Up Philip, which received very good reviews when it premiered at Sundance, will open in select theaters October 17th.

A second look at two TIFF disappointments

Two high-profile disappointments at the just-concluded Toronto International Film Festival were the Robert Downey Jr.- and Robert Duvall-starring family drama The Judge, directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, The Change Up), and Men, Women & Children, Jason Reitman’s look at the impact of the internet on a group of high school students and their parents, played in various couplings by Adam Sandler, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever, Judy Greer, Jennifer Garner, and Dean Norris. Both come to theaters in October with Men, Women & Children getting a limited release on the 3rd and expanding nationwide on the 17th and The Judge opening nationwide on the 10th.

Bourne again?

This week, Deadline reported that Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass would reunite for their third Jason Bourne film together and the fifth entry overall in the series following The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum and the Jeremy Renner-starring The Bourne Legacy. Their goal is to get the film in theaters on July 16, 2016, putting it ahead of the planned Jeremy Renner-starring spinoff-sequel that Justin Lin of Fast & Furious fame was going to direct. Later in the week, producer Frank Marshall told THR that both films are moving forward because deals have not been reached with Damon and Greengrass: “We're on two tracks....And if this one [with Damon and Greengrass] comes together, great, but they're still just talking." So, it’s still early. Don’t celebrate their return quite yet.

Low Down

The debut feature from experimental filmmaker and cinematographer Jeff Preiss (Let’s Get Lost) earned poor reviews at Sundance (where it won the U.S. Dramatic Cinematography Award) despite its strong cast, but now the film has been recut and will come to theaters on October 24th. Low Down chronicles the true-life relationship between jazz pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes) and his daughter Amy-Jo (Elle Fanning). Lena Headey, Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones, and Flea also star.

Short takes

Gabe Polsky’s documentary Red Army tells the story of the Soviet Union’s dominant hockey team. The film earned good reviews at Sundance this year and opens in theaters on January 22, 2015.

V/H/S: Viral, the third film in the series following 2012’s V/H/S and 2013’s V/H/S/2, will come to VOD on October 23 and theaters on November 21st. Here’s the red band trailer.

Learn about the tanks and the cast of David Ayer’s Fury and look for it in theaters beginning October 17th.

Extraterrestrial, directed by The Vicious Brothers (Grave Encounters), comes to select theaters November 21st. Here’s the trailer.

The Batmobile is now part of the Millennium Falcon in the continuing back and forth between the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Star Wars: Episode VII productions.

News and notes

  • Lars von Trier’s director's cut of Nymphomaniac will be available on VOD and in select theaters beginning October 2. When he saw it in Venice, Variety’s Peter Debruge called it a “5-hour-and-25-minute atom bomb of a movie.”
  • The long-in-development X-Men spin off, Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds, will come to theaters on February 12, 2016.
  • The Fantastic Four, directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle) and starring Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara ,and Jamie Bell, will be released on August 7, 2015, a bit later than originally planned. It takes the release date once reserved for Assassin’s Creed, which has been delayed.
  • Screen Daily reports that Doctor Strange will come to theaters on July 8, 2016, but Marvel has not made it official.
  • Tom Hiddleston will star in the King Kong origin story Skull Island for director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer), who will be working from a script by Max Borenstein (Godzilla). /Film has the full press release.
  • After being rumored for about a week, Sony confirmed that director Ang Lee’s next project will be an adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. - TheWrap
  • Richard Linklater has begun casting That’s What I’m Talking About. - Deadline
  • Cameras are rolling on the Vacation reboot starring Ed Helms as Rusty Griswold, Christina Applegate as his wife Debbie, Leslie Mann as Aubrey, and Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo reprising their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold. - THR
  • Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, the team behind You’re Next and The Guest, will remake Kim Je-Woon’s I Saw the Devil. - TheWrap
  • Ben Kingsley and Brie Larson have joined Daniel Radcliffe in Brooklyn Bridge, the story of the building of said bridge from writer-director Douglas McGrath. - THR
  • Ben Foster has joined Chris Pine in the 1952-set Coast Guard drama The Finest Hours. - Variety
  • Oculus co-writer and director Mike Flanagan will reboot I Know What You Did Last Summer. - Deadline
  • Cara Delevingne will play the female lead opposite Nat Wolff in the adaptation of John Green’s Paper Towns. - Variety
  • Jack Huston will play Ben-Hur and Toby Kebbell is in talks to play his nemesis, Messala, in Timur Bekmambetov’s remake of the Charlton Heston-starring classic. - Deadline & Variety
  • Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) is in talks to direct the submarine thriller Hunter Killer.- TheWrap
  • Former Doctor Who Matt Smith has joined Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, and Douglas Booth in Burr Steers’ adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. - THR
  • Matthew McConaughey will not reprise the role of Dallas in Magic Mike XXL, but Andie MacDowell and Amber Heard have joined the cast. - The Playlist & Variety
  • Kate Mara (House of Cards) and Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) are in talks to join Matt Damon in Ridley Scott’s The Martian. - Deadline
  • Anthony Mackie and Billy Bob Thornton have joined Sandra Bullock and Scoot McNairy in David Gordon Green’s Our Brand is Crisis. - THR & TheWrap
  • Liam Neeson is being wooed to star in the English language remake of Tell No One. - Deadline
  • Director Frederick Bond (Charlie Countryman) has departed the Olympus Has Fallen sequel London Has Fallen. - Heatvision
  • Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey (I, Origins) will play Guinevere opposite Charlie Hunnam’s King Arthur in Guy Ritchie’s Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur. - Deadline

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