Theatrical Releases: Maleficent & A Million Ways To Die In The West
Relying completely on the acting talents of Angelina Jolie to bring the character to life, “Maleficent” tries to match the aesthetic and tone of Universal’s fairy tale retelling “Snow White and the Huntsman” but fails to be as dark or as interesting. Without any other acting prowess beyond Jolie, while Sharto Copley chewing the scenery and Elle Fanning is a glorified smiling machine, the film then relies on too much CGI. However, the retelling of the story in a feminist sort of restructuring does work quite well and succeeds in making you care for the villain.
Seth MacFarlane writers, directs, and stars lead in his latest comedy, “A Million Ways To Die In The West” following in the footsteps of great Wild West comedy “Blazing Saddles”. Opting for far too many jokes and creating a strange present day commentary on situations set in the time of the Wild West makes for an awkward approach, but with a huge cast like Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, and Neil Patrick Harris, even though I have seen a cut of this film, it will be hard to pass up.
As much as I enjoy Mads Mikkelson (“Hannibal”, “The Hunt”), his latest film “Age Of Uprising: The Legend Of Michael Kohlhaas” does not look out of the ordinary. Set in medieval times, Mikkelson’s character sets out for revenge when his wife is brutally murdered, in what is described as a Robin Hood-esque adventure. However, the trailer, especially the cheesy voice-over, ruins any interest one may have in this film, creating a sense of hokey retreading and absolutely nothing standing out as original.
“Before You Know It” is a documentary chronicling the lives of three elderly gay men that tell their story and show where their lives are like now, as they continue their somewhat off-beat lifestyles, whether it is talking about marriage at such an old age, or dressing as woman and going to drag bars. Although I support almost any lifestyle choices, that support does not translate into me needing to see this film. These men seem to be content enough to share their experiences and for that I am happy for them.
David Krumholtz has the ultimate indecent proposal for his friends in the latest independent dramedy, “The Big Ask”. After his mother dies from cancer, he and his friends head out to a retreat in the desert to help him get past the worst of it… until he proposes that he wants to sleep with everyone in the room, which includes two of his best friends’ girlfriends. Also starring Gillian Jacobs (“Community”) and Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”), this looks like a great heartfelt comedy.
Following in the footsteps of lackluster horror film “Devil’s Due” from earlier this year, “Delivery: The Beast Within” also uses the found footage genre to document a couple’s first pregnancy, this time using a reality show to justify cameras in the home, which is actually a fairly interesting idea. Touting a shocking ending that potentially knocks the wind out of you, the fact that studio produced “Devil’s Due” was not very good has me leery, but distributed by The Collective, the same company that releases “V/H/S”, I shall remain somewhat hopeful.
An artsy documentary exploring a sisterly bond, following the disappearance of one of the sisters, “Elena” feels like a poem told by director and narrator Petra Costa, as she “traces the [mysterious] fate of her older sister”. You would not be able to tell this from the trailer, however, as it jumps off the deep end into spinning dresses and women swimming, which I assume has some precedent in the story of the sister, but holds little interest for any outsiders unaware of there meanings.
Off his blockbuster role in “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” last weekend, James McAvoy finds himself as a partying, drug-induced cop in “Filth”. From the Scottish writer who brought you “Trainspotting”, Irvine Welsh pens this adaptation of one of his other novels, bringing in actors like Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent, and the gorgeous Imogen Poots to play the roles. Produced by Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”) and remaining of high production value, I am afraid this film cannot be missed.
Taylor Kitsch finds himself in a small Newfoundland town, the only doctor and the potential salvation for getting the town back on its feet. The problem is, the entire town is in on a scheme to make this the perfect place so that Kitsch’s character will want to stay. Led by Brendan Gleeson, this whimsical comedy looks just smart and heartfelt enough to work, bringing up elements of “The Truman Show” as the entire town spies on the doctor.
There is enough mystery in the film “Lucky Them” to justify wanting to see it. Toni Collette stars as a music magazine journalist whose last ditch effort to save her job sends her out hunting for a long lost local musician. With Oliver Platt and Thomas Haden Church in supporting roles, as well as the up-and-coming Ryan Eggold (“The Blacklist”), the relationships she comes across take front and center in the trailer, but alluding to who the mystery musician might be is what will probably get me to see this film.
The Fanning girls both find themselves premiering films this weekend, Elle with “Maleficent” and Dakota in an independent thriller titled “Night Moves” alongside Jesse Eisenberg and Peter Sarsgaard who always add a level of creepiness to their roles when needed. All three playing radical activists plotting to blow up a dam, the film appears to follow the tensions that build before the actual act, not so different than the process involved in building an actual dam.
75% MOST LIKELY
A straight-to-DVD movie, “Tapped Out” takes the premise of the Batman series, in which a son sees his parents killed, and brings it into the world of MMA. When the main character, all grown up, finds out his parents killer is an underground MMA fighter, he trains in order to get into the ring with him. Slightly melodramatic considering the machismo involved, this films lacks any sort of selling point.
Little punk girls discovering themselves is not a film that I need to see and with a low quality, almost documentary feel, “We Are The Best!” is missing the cinematic qualities needed to stand above other films such as this. With a nobody cast and a too basic story, one is better off seeking out higher up punk rock movies like “The Runaways” which at least as a recognizable cast.