FANTASTIC FOUR || August 7th, 2015

TheDiaryOfATeenageGirl-poster THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL || Films about sexual awakenings are rarely handled with the poise or self-control that it seems “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” is. A kitschy and homegrown sort of independent film that is helped by its awkward looking young woman lead played by Bel Powley. Alexander Skarsgård and Kristen Wiig also star, delivering some honesty and lightheartedness to what could have been yet another mishandled coming of age Indie. Although it has to be pointed out that Wiig has taken a hard turn into Indie land over the past few years.
FantasticFour-poster FANTASTIC FOUR || As bad as I’ve heard “Fantastic Four,” being an a) an avid cinefile, I feel the need to see most bigger name titles such as this and b) having followed most of the other superhero films thus far, what’s the harm in seeing one more. What was going to be 20th Century Fox’s answer to Marvel, one of the last Marvel properties not actually owned by Marvel, ends up being an underdeveloped mess from what I hear. Which is a shame given the dark nature and the ensemble cast of Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell.
RickiAndTheFlash-poster RICKI AND THE FLASH || Most years Meryl Streep acts and ends up getting an Oscar nomination. Hopefully will not be the case with this year’s “Ricki and the Flash,” a drama in which she plays an aging rocker who gave up her life as the mother of three to follow her passion for music in Los Angeles, but when her daughter attempts suicide and one of her son’s is getting married, she must return to a family that had all but given up on her. Instead of delving into her trying to get her life back, it justifies her abandonment and pisses me off in the process. Streep takes a huge step down with this one. She’ll probably still get a Golden Globe nomination which is sad enough.

ShaunOfTheSheepTheMovie-poster SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE MOVIE || Even though one of my favorite films of all-time is a stop animation film (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”), the medium is not really my favorite and even though “Shawn The Sheep: The Movie” looks enjoyable enough, the fact that it does not have much dialogue and is mostly aimed at kids sort of turns me off. However, Aardman Animations (“Chicken Run” and “Wallace And Gromit”) have a good track record with the Oscars and this could find its way in the final five for Best Animated Feature, especially with a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Assassination-poster ASSASSINATION || Visually strong, the problem with South Korean film “Assassination” is a lack of originality. Snipers, hit-men/women, and espionage have all been done before, but for some reason, this one is supposed to be different, with three marksman breaking a hitman out of jail to finish a hit on an Army Commander in Japanese-occupied Korea.
CallMeLucky-poster CALL ME LUCKY || First of all, let it be known that this documentary is directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, because the trailer draws no attention to that whatsoever. Second of all, this documentary about comedian Barry Crimmins is all over the place. At the start, it feels like retrospective, as we look at his life as a comedian, with interviews from other comedians. But suddenly, it becomes a film with a voice about sex and pornography scandals having to do with AOL. What feels like two films in one, I’m not sure that works in its favor.
CopCar-poster COP CAR || Two kids stumbling across an abandoned cop car looks like a cool enough film without adding a hellbent Kevin Bacon to the mix. Bacon plays a bad guy local sheriff whose car is the one that’s stolen by the kids. Threatening them and chasing them down, this good-natured film turns thriller, which could be its down fall, but creates a mix between “Mud” and “Joy Ride”. Without Kevin Bacon in the driver’s seat, this would also feel much more hollow, so consider him its saving grace.
DarkPlaces-poster DARK PLACES || Two things are funny to me. First of all, “Gone Girl” was a huge commercial and critical success. It was based on a novel by and adapted by author Gillian Flynn. So how the hell did “Dark Places” get absolutely zero press only a year later? You could tell me because of the stars, but it’s jam packed with critically acclaimed actors, including Academy Award winner Charlize Theron (“Monster”) in the leading role. The second thing that makes me laugh is that Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, and Chloe Grace Moretz are the only top billed actors while Corey Stoll and Tye Sheridan, who are just as, if not more famous, than the aforementioned are not called out. Strange, indeed.
TheFalling-poster THE FALLING || Yet another teen sexual awakening story (the other being “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl”), Maisie Williams plays a young lady living at a strict English girls’ school, where her friend and she deal with their sexuality as some strange fainting illness begins to plague the school. Not sure where this lands on the level of horror, thriller, drama, it comes off all over the place with some boy talking about witches, and the coming of age tale being mixed with this strange fainting illness. Unfortunately, nothing lands quite how I would have liked it to.
TheGift-poster THE GIFT || Word of mouth about “The Gift” was huge. There was not a radio station or person around that weekend that wasn’t talking about this sleeper hit of the summer. Written by, directed by, and starring Joel Edgerton, the film follows Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall’s characters as they bump into one of Bateman’s old classmates. But when the strange friendship finally boils over, the thriller portion of the film takes hold. I trust all these actors and although Edgerton has not always been a favorite of mine, he has recently been coming into his own.
HarbingerDown-poster HARBINGER DOWN || Basically like “The Thing” or “Alien” but at sea, a ship picks up a frozen glacier chunk and find out that an organism was living inside that starts to attack the shipmates. Apparently, the creature in this was made by the same creators that made creatures for “Aliens”, “Predator”, and “The Terminator”. Unfortunately, the acting is paper thin and with recycled plot, there’s not a lot of new ground to cover, even at sea.
KahlilGibransTheProphet-poster KAHLIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET || Guess what, the director of “The Lion King” is back, this time as creative director for the film “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet”. What looks slightly like one of those foreign animated films that is dubbed with English actors, this actually is not, with Liam Neeson and Salma Hayek actually making up the original voice cast. Based on many different poems, the animation style is sharp and vibrant. This definitely has Oscar buzz written all over it, with that off-beat animation that often makes it into the fourth and fifth Best Animated Feature slots and some original music from Damien Rice that sounds quite elegant and powerful. If it does get nominated, I’ll watch it then.
ThePardon-poster THE PARDON || As pretty as Jaime King might be and as talented as I know John Hawkes to be, “The Pardon” falls flatter than the coloring of the film. Part of me almost believes this should have been shot in black-and-white to make it feel like the era it’s trying to portray. Most of this trailer comes off melodramatic and presents no talent besides the aforementioned actors. And the tagline gives away the ending to the based on a true story with (stop reading if you don’t want to kn0w): Since 1935, only one woman has been executed in the state of Louisiana.
TheRunner-poster THE RUNNER || When will we see the revival of Nicolas Cage? I thought we were on to it with 2013’s “Joe,” but now he’s back to doing films like “The Runner,” where he’s not looking the greatest and not being used to his best, Academy Award winning potential. Playing Louisiana congressman fighting against the oil companies, his checkered past and indulgence in some undesirable behavior puts him in a tough position. The person that shines in this trailer at least is Bryan Batt (“Mad Men”) as the antagonist. Hopefully he can find himself a better film as well.
Sneakerheadz-poster SNEAKERHEADZ || Someone in this documentary raises a good question, how/when do you separate collecting something to hoarding something. Now that’s not exactly what the documentary “Sneakerheadz” is about, it’s about the people with an affinity for sneakers, from all walks of life, from all levels of fame, and where the desire originates from, but it brings up a decent point and it’s the only part of the trailer that resonates with me.


  • Fantastic Four
  • Ricki And The Flash


  • Cop Car
  • Dark Places
  • The Gift


  • The Diary Of A Teenage Girl


  • Assassination
  • Call Me Lucky
  • The Falling
  • Harbinger Down
  • Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
  • The Pardon
  • The Runner
  • Shaun The Sheep: The Movie
  • Sneakerheadz

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