Coming Soon Trailers: American Made, Flatliners.
Hollywood must smell a rally coming on as it releases four new films and several smaller films expand to wide release.
Is the slump over? It appears studio execs have seen enough from September to encourage them. While a few films like Friend Request got left in the dust last week, the overall box office was strong. As such, we have four new films making their way to the screen, three with wide releases and one – A Question of Faith – with an aggressive limited release. Speaking of limited release films getting the green light, last week had two films slip under the radar with tiny mid-week releases. Thanks to improved ticket sales, both Stronger and Battle of the Sexes will be moving into more theaters around the country.
This dramatic adaptation of real events tells the utterly bizarre story of Barry Seal, a former commercial pilot who winds up in the thick of government schemes, drug cartels, and political scandals. Recruited by the CIA to fly clandestine missions, Seal winds up also being approached by South American drug cartels to move cocaine. In deep water with both the DEA and the cartels, he is then asked to run guns and take photos of political enemies of the White House. The end result is everyone and their mother wanting Seal dead.
See It?: Yes.
A story so unreal it begs to be made into a movie, this flick seems to suit Tom Cruise down to the ground. He gets to play a cocky pilot who everyone wants to whack, definitely proven strong suits for TC. I put this on my “must see” list for the second half of the year, and I’m still on board.
An erstwhile sequel to the original cult classic, this film picks up nearly 30 years later. A new group of young scientists want to recreate the near-death experiences of the first team, and experience the same horror as their 1980’s counterparts.
See It?: Rent it.
Unless you are a die-hard fan of the original, I don’t see this film doing enough to either separate itself from the first film or to update the material in a meaningful way. I appreciate that it is a spiritual sequel instead of a hard reboot, but I’m not sure we really needed either.
Til Death Do Us Part.
A young woman in a dream marriage has it all turn into a nightmare. Her husband suddenly becomes controlling and abusive. In order to escape the increasingly destructive situation, she is forced to fake her own death and start a new life. Her husband is not so easily put in the past, though.
See It?: Rent it.
We’ve had a run of thrillers featuring African American stars. It’s a refreshing trend. The downside of a genre and audience syncing up like this is that you get over saturated, fast. This may be the “one too many.” It’s not terrible, though it seems to be using more horror cues than thriller cues. It just feels unremarkable, being the third or fourth film to follow this trend in the recent past.
A Question of Faith.
Three families attempting to live the American dream find themselves brought together by seemingly random tragedies. A new pastor wrestles with his zeal for the church that takes him away from his family responsibilities. A single parent and struggling business owner watches as her college-bound daughter puts her future in jeopardy after a car accident. A blue collar family hopes that a career in music will take their daughter away from a life of hardship and poverty. All of the random events come together to inspire their faith.
See It?: Skip It.
You pretty much know by now if you want to see a faith-based movie. This one really doesn’t bring anything new to the table, and you could just go rent War Room for next to no money instead. I have to say, having seen so many trailers for these types of movies lately, this one seems to be below average…in a genre that is awash in subpar offerings. The story is filled with cliches and stock characters, and the message is not even cleverly subtle. Come to Jesus, or GTFO. Skip it.
Based on a true story, Stronger tells the story of Jeff Bauman, a young man who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon terror attacks. His struggle to come to terms and take back his life make him an emotional focal point for the community as it also tries to pick up the pieces after a tragedy.
See It?: Rent it.
Quick caveat here: I’m pretty much recommending this as a rental because I can’t see sitting through such an emotionally charged film in a theater. This one kinda needs your own couch to make it through. Some of the dialogue is over-heated and the accents are a touch thick, but that seems to be in the early going of the film. Jake Gyllenhaal really turns it on when showing the recovery process Bauman went through, and I can see him getting Oscar nods for it. Give it a view if you don’t mind getting hit in the feels for a couple hours.
Battle of the Sexes.
A dramatic comedy based on real events, Battle of the Sexes tells the story of a tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King. Riggs was an old tennis pro who objected to women’s tennis and challenged two of the most dominant women in the sport. The media circus and social equality flash point culminated with King accepting and taking center court to defend female players of all stripes from ingrained chauvinism.
See It?: Yes.
Emma Stone is a revelation as Billie Jean King and Steven Carrell does not shy away from playing an engaging but unlikable antagonist in Bobby Riggs. Beyond the ace performances, the film does a great job of capturing the zeitgeist of one moment in time, richly evoking the style and feel of the period. I’m glad this film is expanding nationally, it deserves to be seen.
Video on Demand.
In the future, the government relies on a fully automated prison system to handle criminals. When one man is wrongfully imprisoned, he must endure against an implacable and faceless system in order to regain his freedom.
See It?: Yes.
This is a great looking science fiction flick. It has lots of threads tangled up together -memory regression, secret renditions, false imprisonment, the modern surveillance state, and dystopian motifs. The acting is strong and the dialogue hangs together. I’m excited to see this.
Literally, Right Before Aaron.
Adam is still dealing with the fall out of his big breakup when he’s hit with a bombshell: he’s invited to return to his hometown to attend a big gala wedding…for his ex.
See It?: Sure.
This movie takes a fairly standard rom-com cliche and isn’t afraid to embrace it. It doesn’t try to get cute or meta or self-deprecatingly ironic. It just plays the premise straight and makes it work by having a tremendous cast of funny people. Good job.
A young couple in the first blush of a passionate relationship move in together into an idyllic cottage. There the young man is haunted by memories he repressed as a child, and they both become the focus of horrific visions and strange happenings.
See It?: Wait for it to be cheap.
The trailer does enough with creepy visuals and an enigmatic premise that I’m interested in finding out what the heck is happening. I would be sold except the dialogue and acting are suspect. I can’t see full price, but when it drops I’m willing to give this another look.