Theatrical Releases: Dumb And Dumber To & Foxcatcher

DUMB AND DUMBER TO || November 14th, 2014

BeyondTheLights-poster You may not be able to pronounce her name, but Gugu Mbatha-Raw is becoming the next up and coming actress to watch, first with last year’s period piece drama “Belle” and now, somewhat of a surprise critical success in “Beyond The Lights,” a film that might normally have been regarded as a distinctive genre piece bordering on the melodrama. Instead, it delivers the tale of a young musical artist who is extorted to the point of not recognizing herself and it is not until an attractive, down-to-earth man notices her for who she is that she finally grabs the reigns of her own life.
THEATER
DumbAndDumberTo-poster No one really knew they needed a sequel to the 1994 film comedy that helped put Jim Carrey on the map, but still a decade later we have “Dumb And Dumber To,” meeting up with the impossibly idiotic duo of Carrey and Jeff Daniels, as they continue their half-baked adventures. This time Harry finds out he has a daughter, and with him needing a kidney, he and Lloyd head out to find her, reprising most of their old jokes and laying heavily on the over-the-top and raunchy schtick.
RENTAL
Foxcatcher-poster2 One of the darkest films of the year, “Foxcatcher” is hell bent on creating a somber tone from the second the film starts. Intense and unsettling, Steve Carrell delivers a career defining performance and disappears into the role of the straight-from-the-headlines multimillionaire John du Pont, who lured a young Olympic wrestler to his estate with the bait of getting him trained for gold. Channing Tatum surprises as that wrestler, Mark Schultz, while Mark Ruffalo becomes unrecognizable as his brother, Dave.

MissMeadows-poster Let’s be honest, it is weird to see Katie Holmes acting again after such a hiatus during her marriage to Tom Cruise. Now she is back as the vigilante school teacher where the writers have written in their own comparison stating “Pulp Fiction” meets “Mary Poppins”. Looking out for the “good of the children,” Holmes plays the title character that wears a flowered dress while murdering the “bad guys”. Much along the same lines of serious satire as “God Bless America,” the right message is there, just packaged in a very strange way.
50% PROBABLY

AlwaysWoodstock-poster Aspiring musician stories come a dime a dozen and “Always Woodstock” does not seem to contain anything that really sets it apart. With a cast full of people you recognize but cannot immediately place, including Allison Miller and James Wolk, as well as some supporting stars that you will recognize, like Katey Sagal (“Sons Of Anarchy”), Jason Ritter, and Brittany Snow, even with a much more recognizable cast, this film would still feel a bit thin, riding on its love story and music aspiration narrative arc a little too heavily.
PASS
BadTurnWorse-poster As two young lovers are wrangled into stealing money from a farmhouse, they find that some dangers are just not worth the price. For a backwoods crime thriller, “Bad Turn Worse” could be a lot worse. But with the bright and competent Mackenzie Davis (“That Awkward Moment”) giving one of her first fully dramatic turns, the film might be worth seeing it for her performance alone. Then attach a review like “Mark Pellegrino is the best villain I’ve seen on screen since Heath Ledger’s Joker” and you suddenly have my attention.
25% MAYBE
BesideStillWaters-poster We are currently reaching the over-saturation point for films about big groups of friends returning for one last party at their old cabins, most often to console a friend that needs it. “Beside Still Waters” is just the latest addition to this growing sub-genre of films, which usually boasts some big names to bring together. But even with this film, the cast is almost unrecognizable, save for maybe Ryan Eggold, who is a supporting star on NBC’s “The Blacklist”. If you are looking for other, better films in this wheelhouse see “About Alex”, “Goodbye World”, “The Big Ask”, or “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy”.
PASS
Blackbird-poster Delving into the story of young black man struggling with his sexuality in the highly devout South, “Blackbird” has plenty of drama to bank off of and an Academy Award winning actress in Mo’Nique, but it also lacks the depth and impact that a film of this content should have. Why is no one talking about this film if it appears to have plenty going for it? Will this be the start of a big career for Julian Walker or will this enter him into one hit wonder-hood?
PASS
TheCircle-poster Holding as many accolades as it does, “The Circle,” which is Switzerland’s Official Submission for the Best Foreign Language film at the 87th Academy Awards, could easily get the attention it needs to get an Oscar nomination. Telling the true story of a gay couple that met in the mid-1950s during a revolution of the gay community in Zurich, their publication, “Der Kreis,” united enough men to try and bring to light the oppression that they were facing. With ongoing commentary from the men the film is based on, this apparently mixes drama with documentary in getting the real accounts of their story.
PASS
GladiatorsOfRome-poster It is films like “Gladiators Of Rome” that set back animation by a few decades, with poor graphics and even poorer humor. With films like this showing just how superior the products turned out by Pixar and Disney are, one has to constantly wonder who green lights films like this. Containing zero star power in the voice acting and some of the worst attempts at humor in an animated film, including kicks to the groin, bubble gum acting like balloons (in ancient Rome mind you), and female characters with some of the biggest chests I have ever witnessed, this film is offensive to all the senses.
PASS
TheHomesman-poster Directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones, “The Homesman” is a dark Western which utilizes the full spectrum of the genre and displays this perfectly in the advertising for the film. Homesteads, hangings, and Indians, the creators set out to make the same statements as Seth MacFarlane in stating that there was nothing glamorous about living in the wild west. But Jones takes a much more darker, artistic tone with his film, with Academy Award winner Hilary Swank leading the charge as a single woman looking to use Jones’ character to help gather a group of women who have been driven mad. With dark humor and amazing production design, this could be on par for some awards winning.
THEATER
KirkCameronsSavingChristmas-poster Just from the trailer for “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” alone, I am a bit confused as to what exactly it is trying to do. I understand that one of the characters mentions commercialism and the taking away of what Christmas actually is, and with the tagline “put the Christ back in Christmas,” one can assume what you are going to get. But Cameron’s message is not exactly the clearest and only muddying it up more is the imagery of dancing and making jokes about something it sounds like Cameron wants you to take seriously.
PASS
Print Focusing on a group of Tibetan refugees, “Miss Tibet: Beauty In Exile” follows a Tibetan man putting on beauty pageants to try and help bring out the culture that these young women left behind. But his controversial methods, which actually stray from their culture, like evening gown and bikini catwalks, has many people asking where exactly his heart lies. One storyline I can associate with, however, is the young woman trying to decide if she actually is Tibetan, holding none of the beliefs that her ancestors have set for her, a common question for young people of a different generation, living under their ancestor’s previous rules.
PASS
Rosewater-poster What is almost more fascinating than the film “Rosewater” is how it came to be. Adapted from the real life memoirs of Tehran journalist Maziar Bahari, the film is directed by “The Daily Show” star Jon Stewart, who actually interviewed Bahari before his trip to Iran where he was then captured, tortured, and held captive for 118 days. Stewart sites that he felt slightly responsible because the men torturing Bahari had at one point used a tape of his interview with Stewart as motivation for more torture. Anytime a comedic personality takes on such dark and horrific subject matter, there is a reason to stand and take notice.
THEATER
StarryEyes-poster You hear actors and actresses say this all the time: “I will do anything to get this part.” But how many times do you think they mean it? The horror film “Starry Eyes” attempts to push the boundaries of this statement, seeing just how far an actress is willing to go to get the lead role in a strange production companies new film. Going from a Hooters-like restaurant to mansions for auditions is anyone’s dream, but when things start to happen to her mentally and physically, one has to ask themselves, is it worth it. Like any horror film, this falls on the benefit of the doubt rule where I will likely give it a shot with hopes that it will be at least decent.
25% MAYBE
ThouWastMildAndLovely-poster “Thou Wast Mild & Lovely” is a creepy thriller that might just push some boundaries. Joe Swanberg plays a farmhand that might be married, by the remnants of a tan-line on his ring finger. He might be trying to seduce the farmer’s daughter, Sophie Traub, who almost embraces it as she opens her legs for him while doing chores. There also might be someone being held captive in a red barn on the edge of the farm, with the creepy voice-over stating how amazing it is you can keep someone alive for quite sometime just by cleaning their wounds.
25% MAYBE
TheToySoldiers-poster Sadly, some independent films suffer from overacting. Whether it be the director who pushed the actors to feeling completely stiff, or whether it is the actors themselves, “The Toy Soldiers” is a prime example of overacting. Almost everyone in the trailer pushes their emotions to the maximum degree, never quite feeling like actual human beings and instead breaking a huge rule of not taking the audience out of the moment. This feels like people playing parts rather than people actually living on screen. Despite being set in a period, with roller skating at the heart, with sex, drugs, and death remaining a constant, nothing about this feels authentic.
PASS
Wolves-poster When will the werewolf craze die? “Wolves” continues the crappy genre, this time taking “Teen Wolf” to thriller levels as a football player becomes a werewolf and abandons his home, stumbling upon some strange town where everyone is a werewolf. Starring Lucas Till in the leading role, you may recognize him from “X-Men: First Class” and “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” as Alex Summers. Jason Momoa of “Game Of Thrones” also stars as the main villain. One thing is for sure, werewolf movies will never catch on for me.
PASS

THEATER

  • Beyond The Lights
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Homesman
  • Rosewater

RENTAL

  • Dumb And Dumber To

MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)

PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)

  • Miss Meadows

MIGHT CATCH ON NETFLIX (25%)

  • Bad Turn Worse
  • Starry Eyes
  • Thou Wast Mild & Lovely

PASS

  • Always Woodstock
  • Beside Still Waters
  • Blackbird
  • The Circle
  • Gladiators Of Rome
  • Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas
  • Miss Tibet: Beauty In Exile
  • The Toy Soldiers
  • Wolves

HELL NO

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