Sixteen years after the not-well-received Roland Emmerich “Godzilla”, Warner Brothers takes another stab at the monster movie with second-time director Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) at the helm. Taking a much more pedestrian approach to the subject, the overwhelming nature of the beasts is highlighted perfectly. Widely panned as being slow and being a little light on the title character, the film works wonders rebooting this franchise and delivering something that audiences have never seen before.
Jon Hamm will always be Don Draper from “Mad Men”. But with that series ending soon, he must move on and where he goes, I will likely follow. He has reached out beyond “Mad Men” before, with a great performance in Ben Affleck’s “The Town” and now he stars in his first Disney sports movie, “Million Dollar Arm” as he plays an agent, who after losing all his clients in the MLB, looks to sign young cricket players in India to their first American baseball contracts. Also starring Lake Bell, who is gorgeous and talented, is also a huge draw for me.
Following his 2012 documentary, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” which introduced him and his art and specifically his challenges with the Chinese authorities, this new documentary titled “Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case” picks up where the last film left off and chronicles the artist’s house arrest after 81 days of solitary detention. Politically driven and pointedly frustrating, I have yet to see the first film, but it too looked just as well produced as this one and provides such a dynamic character in Ai Weiwei that it lands as a must see for me.
Yet another film this week with an amazing cast, including Audrey Tautou (“Amelie”), Kelly Reilly (“Flight”), and Romain Duris (“Heartbreaker”), “Chinese Puzzle” has a strong, fish-out-of-water premise that plays really well in this trailer. Duris plays a father in France, whose wife decides to leave him and move to New York City with the kids. In order to stay close to his kids, he also moves to New York, struggling every step of the way, marrying a Chinese woman to get a green card and meeting the lovely Tautou along the way.
Set against a backdrop of a Lewis and Clark reenactment camp, Griffin Dunne plays a father that brings his less than enthusiastic children with him to be close to his own father as he deals with dementia. What comes off as almost an Wes Anderson approach to film-making, director Justin Schwarz takes a huge step with his first feature, “The Discoverers”. Featuring many familiar faces including Madeleine Martin (“Californication”), Dreama Walker, and Ann Dowd, if this is anything close to a Wes Anderson film, count me in.
Dan Fogler is everywhere these days and his latest low budget film called “Don Peyote” looks especially bad. But somehow, this film brings on celebrity appearances from Josh Duhamel, Jay Baruchel, Topher Grace, and especially surprising, Anne Hathaway, looking very sexy. Having visions of the apocalypse, Fogler’s character pushes aside the wedding plans with his wife and ventures out to make a documentary about Doomsday theories. Focusing a lot on drugs and psychosis, this is really not my type of movie.
As much as I want to see Chiwetel Ejiofor in something following his breathtaking performance in “12 Years A Slave”, his newest film “Half Of A Yellow Sun” leaves much to be desired. Set in Nigeria, the narrative falls too far into politics for not being based on anything in particular. Along with a dense plot, Thandie Newton will unfortunately never be a selling point for me, as she comes off very smug and unbefitting in most of her roles.
“Horses Of God” is a foreign drama that follows two brothers throughout their lives, dreaming of being soccer players as kids to growing up and meeting the harsh realities of life, like one ending up in jail. Set in the slums of Casablanca, the grown up versions of the brothers find themselves apart of an Islamic fundamentalist group that looks to be martyrs in their plight. Although strong emotions are apparent, unless this film is nominated in the best foreign language category at the Oscars, I probably will not see it.
More times than not, it is the actors that get me to go see a film. Yes, the subject matter and even the director can be important selling points as well, but it is the faces on screen and in the trailers that ultimately get me excited for films. So with “The Immigrant” starring Marion Coutillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner, I am sold three times over. Moving from Poland to New York City, in the 1920’s, Marion’s character is intercepted by Phoenix and strong-handed into prostitution. Renner plays a magician and Phoenix’s brother, who also falls in love with Marion’s character.
There is something satisfying about modern attempts at making Westerns and “A Night In Old Mexico” is no different. Starring Robert Duvall as an aging cowboy being forced off his ranch and into retirement, the plot sees him attempting to seize control of his life by taking off in his Cadillac and heading down to Mexico with his newly found grandson. Meeting some bad people along the way, this leads to several showdowns in Mexico. Sadly, the production of this film is not great and, therefore, leaves me wanting to see something else.
Poorly made found footage films will continue to be made, but you would not expect that the producers of “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious” and the director of “Candyman” would go about making a softcore pornographic horror film titled “SX_Tape”. A sexually charged artist and her videographer boyfriend find themselves in an abandoned hospital where shit starts to go down when he leaves her alone, apparently as a joke. With not much to go on from the trailer, I cannot say I want to see this, even being a huge horror aficionado.
I do not quite remember my reaction to the first “Wolf Creek”, but even by that I can tell you it probably was not great and it probably did not warrant a sequel, but when horror films like “Wrong Turn” and “Cabin Fever” continue to get sequels, it really should not be a surprise. One thing can be said for this sequel, director Greg Mclean and the actor playing the Australian serial killer in the outback, John Jarrat return for the sequel, at least making it consistent.