Coming Soon Trailers: Annabelle – Creation, The Nut Job 2.
Three wide release films and six new rentals try to jump-start a sluggish August box office.
Hollywood has been casting around for a hit this summer and coming up empty with all of the usual suspects. If big blockbusters from reliable directors and franchises can’t get the job done, maybe this week’s trio of genre flicks can manage to create some interest.
Looking back at the box office history, one major ingredient to a successful summer is an animated hit. So far, titles like Despicable Me 3 and Cars 3 haven’t been able to get the job done. I have to say I’m dubious that The Nut Job 2 can manage any better, since it comes from a studio that isn’t known for animated hits, and the first film in the series only made 20 million dollars. On the other end of the spectrum, Annabelle: Creation is the latest off-shoot of The Conjuring franchise, which has traditionally done very well at the box office. Rounding out the new release, The Glass Castle is a family drama about four children growing up with troubled parents, based on a best-selling memoir.
On the home front, we’ve got less variety from our six VOD selections than you’d expect, as two films are about illegal martial arts tournaments and two are about culture clashes in the middle ages. Two very oddly specific niches to have doubled up on!
Two grief stricken doll-makers who lost their only daughter open their house up to a nun and her orphan charges. A vengeful spirit they believe to be their daughter gets jealous of the youngsters and inhabits a malevolent doll in order to terrorize everyone in the house.
See It?: Make it a mantinee.
I’ve heard surprisingly solid early buzz for this prequel to a side story of a horror franchise. Usually prequels are poison, especially in horror movies. If you like the series or creepy doll movies in general, I would say catch this one on the cheap.
The Glass Castle.
Now grown, Jeanette Walls tells the unconventional story of her childhood. The middle child of four, she moved constantly as a kid because of the social and financial problems of her parents. An alcoholic father and artistic mother have trouble holding down employment, leading the family to have to rely on network of dysfunctional relatives and move frequently to avoid protective services from removing the children from their care.
See It?: Rent it.
Based on a best-seller, this drama has plenty of human interest…but I don’t see how it translates into a feature film. Brie Larson would appear to be wasted as Jeanette, since so much of the story involves her as a child, not an adult. A strong cast and interesting narrative, but I’d suggest catching it at home.
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature.
Surly Squirrel and the other fuzzy residents of liberty park must take on city hall and a corrupt mayor who wants to bulldoze their home and turn it into an amusement park.
See It?: Make it a matinee.
This animated feature seems like it will entertain children, but leave adults listless with a pedestrian plot and telegraphed jokes. Take the kids early and then go home and watch something better.
Video On Demand.
A former European boxing champ is stuck in a hellish prison in Indochina, where he is forced to fight for the amusement of the criminals who run the place. When his prison time is served, the shady interests that make money on his fights pull some strings to keep him in. Now he has to fight for revenge and freedom.
See It?: Van Damme it!
Did Jean Claude have a script tucked away somewhere that didn’t get made in the 1980’s? This appears to be that movie. Gloriously over the top and macho, this is a fun throw back to vintage action flicks. The choreography looks solid (though a touch over-sold) and I do like Keith David in just about anything, so give this a rental.
Female Fight Squad.
A former fighter who had escaped the dangerous world of illegal street fights must return in order to save her sister.
See It? Dolph Lundgren it?
OK…another throw back to classic action flicks, this one actually starring Dolph Lundgren. Unfortunately, this one seems to take itself way too seriously to enjoy the genre. The fights look decent, and there seems to be tons of them, but I can’t see myself getting over how super serious this flick wants me to take it. Maybe we’ll have to revisit Dolph on another Little Box of Horrors.
A outcast teen nurtures a fascination with vampires as a coping mechanism. He meets another shunned teen who shares his interests, his fantasy world and real life start to blur with tragic consequences.
See It?: Yes.
Wow. This is a fantastic premise with two solid leads and a metric ton of slow-burn tension. Go see this one.
Cut Shoot Kill.
A young actress hoping for a big break winds up in the woods with a shady production company filming a horror film. When real murders start picking off the cast and crew, the young woman has to channel her character in order to survive.
See It?: Yes.
Another genre picture that gets the meta. This trailer does a great job of leading you down a well-worn horror movie trope path, only to jump back to the editing booth and say “oh, that was just part of the movie-within-a-movie.” The constant shift makes you doubt everything and pay attention, two key qualities for a tense horror flick. Another winner.
On the eve of the Normal invasion of Great Britain, a small group of Irish monks and a mercenary sell-sword try to safeguard a priceless relic on its way to Rome. The warring factions, however, would prefer to use the relic for money and power instead.
See It?: Yes.
Oh good, the Spider-Man/Punisher crossover we all wanted! Tom Holland (Spider-Man Homecoming) and Jon Bernthall (Daredevil, The Walking Dead) team up to retrieve the relic, and we get a healthy dose of brutality and religious imagery. It’s like Silence for the bloodthirsty crowd (apparently being Spider-Man means you can moonlight as a priest in artsy flicks. Can’t wait for Tobey McGuire in a cassock.)
In a kingdom plagued by darkness and civil war, a young warrior wants nothing more than to destroy any who oppose him. When he is betrayed by his own troops and left for dead, his path changes. Taken in by a secretive group who believe in a prophesied end to the carnage, he becomes their champion.
See It?: Wait for it to be free.
I like the action sequences on display, but the story is fairly commonplace, and the acting is just passable. This could be a lark for folks who want some stylish hack and slash fantasy in between episodes of Game of Thrones.