Theatrical Releases: Child 44 & Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 || April 17th, 2015

Child44-poster Really all you have to say to me is Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, and Noomi Rapace, and already I want to see “Child 44”. Despite bad reviews and a less than memorable story line, the period piece benefits from having the right high profile cast that can make you overlook almost any downfall the trailer might have. Set in 1953 Soviet Russia, Hardy and Rapace are husband and wife that are outcast and who team up to track down a serial killer of children who the entire political system is covering up because of the notion that “There is no crime in Paradise.”
THEATER
TheDeadLands-poster2 Action and adventure find themselves in the lives of Maori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand in this foreign language film titled “The Dead Lands”. Seeking to avenge his father’s murder, Hongi (James Rolleston) must venture into a place called the Dead Lands to align himself with a being called Warrior (Lawrence Makoare). The trailer relies completely on visuals, with cards filling up most of the other space, including some that are just subtitles placed by themselves. Although the quality is definitely there, my interest is simply not.
PASS
FelixAndMeiraposter “A unique look at love, freedom, and religious identity” is how the Toronto Film Scene describes “Felix & Meira,” a drama about a young woman named Meira (Hadas Yaron) facing a difficult choice between staying the wife of a Hasidic Jew in a tight-knit and often suffocating community or venturing out into the world with her own freedom, alongside her new found friend (or more) Felix (Martin Dubreuil), a man she meets at a bakery. Yaron looks like a bright young actress that I had not seen before and perhaps if this emotionally charged drama launches anywhere, we will be seeing her show up in some more high profile roles.
PASS
MonkeyKingdom-poster Another Earth Day, another Disneynature original. There has been so many of these now, that I feel like they are starting to repeat. With “Monkey Kingdom” following a newborn monkey and its family as they deal with changing conditions in their South Asian jungle. The film trades in the narration of Morgan Freeman or Oprah Winfrey and goes for funny lady Tina Fey to lend her voice to the film. Going broad with films like “Earth” and “Oceans” to now “Chimpanzee” and “African Cats,” you have to wonder how long Disney will stay in this nature game and how many different and interesting stories they have left to tell.
PASS
PaulBlartMallCop2-poster Apparently films do not come much worse than “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”. With reviews stating it to be completely uninspired and without any real involvement whatsoever, what becomes the point of a sequel if not just to try the studio’s hand at a cash grab? Why people would venture out to see this knowing it’s going to be bad and knowing the first film was not very good is beyond me. Blart, the mall cop, played by Kevin James, heads to Vegas for some convention and has to save the day on his segway. It doesn’t deserve any more description than that.
PASS
TrueStory-poster “True Story” is an interesting drama for the fact that it takes Jonah Hill and James Franco, who have been known more for their comedic roles as of late and puts them in a serious thriller about a convict that uses the name of a reporter after committing a crime. Obviously Hill and Franco have ventured beyond comedies, with both having been nominated for Oscars (“The Wolf Of Wall Street” and “127 Hours”). Also among the cast is one of my favorite actresses and fellow Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones (“The Theory Of Everything”).
THEATER
Unfriended-poster Once again a studio and a director are trying their hands at rejuvenating the found footage genre, this time going to webcams and the internet with their entire feature in “Unfriended”. When one of their friends commits suicide, these friends make a point to meet up online in a web-conference, but when some unknown person joins the conversation, bad things start to happen, with mix media showing all their dirty secrets, leading to the death of these friends, one by one in very gruesome ways. I really appreciate the attempt to make things different and for that, and my love for the horror genre, this will need to be seen.
RENTAL

1915TheMovie-poster “1915: The Movie” explores the high tension and political dissonance that surrounds the Armenian Genocide that took place in Ottoman Turkey exactly 100 years ago. In the film, a director (Simon Abkarian) sets the stage for a play to honor the victims of this tragedy, but as protesters surround the theater and strange accidents putting the play in jeopardy, the director soon finds there is something strange about the anniversary of this date.
PASS
AlexOfVenice-poster In his directorial debut, actor Chris Messina partners with the extremely talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the drama “Alex Of Venice”. Winstead and Messina play a married couple that splits up when Messina’s character expresses that he’s had enough of feeling like a babysitter rather than a husband. Forced to reinvent herself in lieu of basically becoming a single mom, Alex (Winstead) must juggle being a mom, finding her way back into the dating pool, and continuing to excel at her job despite going it alone. With Winstead at the forefront and Messina at the helm, I am excited to see how well he is behind the camera.
25% MAYBE
BeyondTheReach-poster Without water or clothes, a person will not last more than a few hours in certain parts of the desert. And that’s how we’re introduced to this new thriller “Beyond The Reach”. Michael Douglas is a corporate shark heading out on a desert hunting expedition with his tour guide, played by Jeremy Irvine. But when an accident occurs, Douglas and Irvine enter into a tough situation where only one them can come out alive. Touching on elements of “The Running Man” where people hunt people, there is still something generic about this high concept idea and Douglas simply isn’t the actor he once was, who could carry a low budget film such as this.
PASS
CloserToTheMoon-poster Often it’s the craziest stories that end up being based on fact and “Closer To The Moon” delves into one of this crazy stories, ripped from the headlines of 1959 Bucharest when a group of freedom fighters pull off a bank heist by pretending to be a camera crew filming a movie. But when they are caught, their punish becomes just as ridiculous, as they are forced to star in a film about their heist and then let the firing squad take them out. Starring Mark Strong and Vera Farmiga, both have little to work with and therefore end up chewing the scenery.
PASS
TheRoadWithin-poster Vincent (Robert Sheehan) is a young man with Tourette’s who, after his mother dies, finds himself in a center for people with similar psychological disorders. Marie (Zoë Kravitz) suffers from anorexia, while Vincent’s roommate Alex (Dev Patel) has OCD. Together they decide to take a journey, which sends their doctor (Kyra Sedgwick) and Vincent’s father (Robert Patrick) on the road to find them. Similar to the story of something like “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story,” with the inpatient aspect, the fact that all these actors feel out of place in this particular venture spells out that casting can be critical in getting your film seen.
PASS
TheSqueeze-poster In “The Squeeze,” Augie Baccus (Jeremy Sumpter) is a talented golfer that doesn’t want to be on anyone’s radar. But when he cannot support his mother and sister anymore, he must take an offer that he’d rather not, from a flashy gambler named Riverboat (Christopher McDonald). Together, they golf and gamble all the way to Vegas where they face off with the infamous mobster Jimmy Diamond (Michael Nouri) who threatens Augie to throw the big tournament while Riverboat stands on the opposite end, threatening Augie if he doesn’t win. Were this to have some bigger names and better production quality, I could possibly be on board with yet another golf movie, but with anything that special, there’s nothing pulling anyone to see this.
PASS
Tangerines-poster2 Seen as part of this year’s Oscar Challenge, “Tangerines” was Estonia’s Academy Award nominated foreign language film. Although it did not win, the film itself was rightfully nominated, as it follows two men from Estonia living in Georgia around 1992, during a conflict between Georgia and Abkhazian separatists, trying to hold out as long as they can before leaving to get as much of their tangerine crops as possible. But when the action comes to them, they are left with two injured men from opposite sides of the conflict, vowing to kill one another but being forced to heal under the same roof. Devastating and eerie, despite being a straight-up drama, “Tangerines” has enough high caliber performances and strong enough writing to make even the biggest sub-title hater enjoy reading for a little while.

THEATER

  • Child 44
  • Tangerines
  • True Story

RENTAL

  • Unfriended

MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)

PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)

MIGHT CATCH ON NETFLIX (25%)

  • Alex Of Venice

PASS

  • 1915: The Movie
  • Beyond The Reach
  • Closer To The Moon
  • The Dead Lands
  • Felix & Moira
  • Monkey Kingdom
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
  • The Road Within
  • The Squeeze

HELL NO

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