THE VISIT || September 11th, 2015

ThePerfectGuy-poster THE PERFECT GUY || The pieces are all there, with the thrilling cover of Rhianna’s “Diamonds” and the cast of Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, and Morris Chestnut, but for one thing, “The Perfect Guy” couldn’t be more aimed at a particular demographic. Plus it follows in the footsteps of so many obsessive thrillers before it like “Obsessed” and “The Boy Next Door” which just came out within the last few years. Anyway, a woman ventures away from her man after he’s not sure about children only to meet the perfect guy… except he’s got a heated side and when she tries to move on, he doesn’t let her. Ealy plays this perfectly, but everyone involved deserves better.
PASS
SleepingWithOtherPeople-poster2 SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE || Having seen “Friends With Benefits” and “No Strings Attached,” one would think I’d seen enough friends just hooking up movies that turn into lovey-dovey romantic comedies, but the key ingredient in all of these is the couple that they put together. In “Sleeping With Other People, ” Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie come together, which is a nice pairing indeed. Brie is looking better than ever and her comedic wit paired with that of Sudeikis makes for some enjoyable deadpan deliveries.
RENT
TimeOutOfMind-poster TIME OUT OF MIND || Writer-director Oren Moverman has a decent track record with “The Messenger” and “Rampart” but he moves on from Woody Harrelson led films into a Richard Gere one. In “Time Out Of Mind,” Gere plays a homeless man that is convinced into reconnecting with his long lost daughter (played by Jena Malone). Showing what is said to be a realistic look at being on the streets of New York, I’m afraid besides that, the film feels a little too similar to say a film like “Being Flynn,” which had a much more impressive cast in Robert De Niro and Paul Dano.
PASS
TheVisit-poster THE VISIT || M. Night Shyamalan is back in the director’s chair, this time abandoning his science fiction fodder for something closer to where he got his start: horror. Produced by Jason Blum, “The Visit” enters you into the home of elderly grandparents that are being visited by their grandchildren. Normally, a 9:30pm bedtime wouldn’t be the weirdest thing, but when it seems that the grandparents are being possessed after those hours, the kids begin to question whether they should be there. It’s mysterious and just creepy enough to work, and with word working in its favor, this becomes something to see.
THEATER

12Rounds3Lockdown-poster 12 ROUNDS 3: LOCKDOWN || First it was John Cena, then Randy Orton, now Dean Ambrose. I guess you can tell which WWE superstar is the flavor of the week by which one shows up in their films. This time, Ambrose plays a cop returning to activity duty after his partner’s death. But when he finds out that some of his fellow officer’s are corrupt and were involved with the death, they frame him and the whole precinct is locked down. With one gun, he must navigate not only his way out of the facility but out of the false charges as well. None of this looks particularly appealing however, in any regard.
PASS
90MinutesInHeaven-poster 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN || Kate Bosworth is an incredible beauty and I am just waiting for her true time to shine. “Blue Crush” was a great launching off point but since then she really hasn’t had much of a chance. And she continues not having a chance with “90 Minutes In Heaven,” a faith-based film about a man (Hayden Christensen) whose near-death experience sends him on a journey to heaven. Touting the power of prayer, in bringing him back to life and putting him back on his feet, this too is aimed at a very specific demographic, that has shown their movie-going power with films like “Gods Not Dead” and “War Room”.
PASS
TheBeautyInside-poster THE BEAUTY INSIDE || Reminiscent of “The Time Travelers Wife,” where the main male character never knew when we was going to time travel, but still fell in love and got married, “The Beauty Inside,” sees a man that wakes up as a different person everyday, whether it be an old man, a young boy, or even sometimes a female. But he eventually meets a young woman and they fall in love. But him turning into a different person every day might be too much for her to handle. The film seems sweet and feels mostly unique for its efforts, but still doesn’t quite sell me, as its not romantic enough to a romantic drama (say like “About Time”) and not silly enough to be a romantic comedy, not that all films have to fall into a box mind you.
PASS
Breathe-poster BREATHE || You say enough exciting things about a film that I know absolutely nothing about and my interest is going to start being peaked. Not only does the trailer do a nice job of initially masking what the film actually is, making it look like a nice little drama about a blossoming teenage relationship between two girls, but eventually it becomes about obsession and the relationship becomes extremely flawed. Not only is it getting great reviews and performing well at the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals, but it’s also the directorial debut of actress Mélanie Laurent, whom I adore.
STREAM
ABrilliantYoungMind-poster A BRILLIANT YOUNG MIND || Here’s your glorified Lifetime Original Movie of the week. The only thing that saves “A Brilliant Young Mind” is the British ensemble cast of stars like Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, and Eddie Marsan. But none of these stars are strong enough to really save this piece about a young boy with mild autism that finds solace in the predictability of numbers and ventures into a math league with the help of his mother and his mentor. It looks rather dull.
PASS
TheChallenger-poster THE CHALLENGER || Just to be clear, Michael Clarke Duncan has been deceased since 2012, so that means “The Challenger” has been facing some kind of challenge to get released for three years now. Every time you get a successful film like “The Fighter” starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, you’re going to get imitators, and more often than not, they’re are going to feel like watered down versions. That’s exactly what this is, as a young man fights for the chance to prove himself in the boxing ring.
PASS
Checkmate-poster CHECKMATE || The film “Checkmate” is like the dumping grounds for all the recognizable faces that are bottom-feeding these days in the pool of Hollywood films. Danny Glover, Sean Astin, Vinnie Jones, and Mischa Barto all show up in this bank heist film that also has to do with a guy looking to get killed over an insurance policy. Glover and Jones look to play God and the Devil in a chess match, but that is not really confirmed by the trailer. All that is confirmed is that this film really shouldn’t exist and these people are at the end of their terms of being relevant.
PASS
ComingHome-poster COMING HOME || Selected to play at the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals, “Coming Home” is a one note, foreign drama about a couple separated. When Yu is imprisoned as a political prisoner, his wife Feng is involved in an accident that leaves her with amnesia. Three years later, when Yu is released, he returns home to find that his wife does not recognize him and she continues to pine for the return of her husband, all while he tries to get her to remember him. I say one note drama, because it really only relies on this one relationship and their path back to one another, not really filling the narrative with much more.
PASS
GoodnightMommy-poster GOODNIGHT MOMMY || There are films that are so unnerving that they make the best horror films and “Goodnight Mommy” looks to be one of those. Set in the countryside where two twin boys await the return of their mother from cosmetic surgery, they soon find that the woman returns may or may not be their mother. What follows is truly unsettling and the director leans into this tone with gusto, which is apparent from the trailer alone.
RENT
HowToChangeTheWorld-poster HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD || A documentary focusing on the organization GreenPeace and their first real claim to fame when they decided to bring saving the whales to the attention of the public by filming them getting in between the harpooners and their prey, the whales. Complete with interviews of the founding members and archival footage showing their rise in the media, this is great if you’re interest in the organization or whales, but otherwise it falls a bit flat.
PASS
Listening-poster LISTENING || You get an imaginative and proven director, or you get a cast that is unavoidable, and you can turn any science fiction film, no matter the concept, into something memorable or must-see. But “Listening” does not quite grab you the way that it should. The idea of hardwired telepathy and hooking up into someone’s mind is delved into, with the idea of monetizing and using it to the government’s benefit, while a couple in a garage come across a breakthrough that puts them on the government’s radar. Unfortunately, the director and cast are not inspired enough to make this work.
PASS
MeetThePatels-poster MEET THE PATELS || A funny and charming looking documentary, “Meet The Patels” follows the recently broken up with Ravi Patel, an almost-30-year-old Indian-American. With his parents pressuring him to meet someone and with no better options, he puts his fate in the hands of his family, who send him lists of potential marriage candidates, setting him up on dates all over the country and telling him he will absolutely not marry a white woman.
PASS
TheMovingCreatures-poster THE MOVING CREATURES || Singing, crying mothers. Confused couples in the park. And random people just staring at each other. Somehow, this has something to do with motherhood and raising children, but how, the trailer for “The Moving Creatures” does not make clear. Obviously I understand the idea of different tastes, but I often wonder how a film being foreign gives it license to somehow step back in time not just in quality but in story-telling.
PASS
WelcomeToLeith-poster WELCOME TO LEITH || Leave it to North Dakota to become the staging ground for a white supremacist’s attempt to create a personalized community. “Welcome To Leith” is a documentary that steps into the worlds of both the existing community and the white supremacists trying to get their message across with swastika flags in their front yards and a constant barrage of fire arms and fire starting. It’s all pretty sick in my opinion, but that’s our lovely Constitutions and its Amendments hard at work.
PASS
WolfTotem-poster WOLF TOTEM || Set in 1967 China, when urban Chinese students were sent to isolated rural countrysides to teach Chinese, “Wolf Totem” shows what happens when a young man takes a wolf cub as a pet, and the aftermath that follows when the wolves try to get back their own. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud is known for his work on “Seven Years In Tibet” and “Enemy At The Gate,” so this film is not a huge leap from where he’s been before. There are definitely some impressive visuals here, especially in regards to the wolf, but unless you’re fascinated by any of these topics (Chinese history or wolves), this one is a no-go.
PASS

THEATER

  • The Visit

RENT

  • Goodnight Mommy
  • Sleeping With Other People

STREAM

  • Breathe

PASS

  • 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
  • 90 Minutes In Heaven
  • The Beauty Inside
  • A Brilliant Young Mind
  • The Challenger
  • Checkmate
  • Coming Home
  • How To Change The World
  • Listening
  • Meet The Patels
  • The Moving Creatures
  • The Perfect Guy
  • Time Out Of Mind
  • Welcome To Leith
  • Wolf Totem

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