Welcome to the Weekend Release Roundup, where we highlight what we think are the most interesting movies to hit theaters this weekend.
Going to the movies isn’t cheap, so we’re here to help you sort through your choices.
With the last full week of September wrapping up and the options dwindling for regular movie-goers who have seen every notable release of the past few weeks, this week offers a scant selection of films. But with the bountiful fall movie season on the horizon, we have only this week to survive before things get really interesting in theaters across the country. Hopefully these five films can serve as reasonable appetizers before the gluttonous weeks to come.
#5 – The Boxtrolls
Based on the children’s book Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls actually seems to be an interesting, eccentric animated feature in the mold of Paranorman or Coraline, and with good reason; it’s actually produced by Laika Entertainment, the same production company that gave us those two previous efforts. And with that strangely morbid yet charming animation made popular by Henry Selick and Tim Burton, adults and children both can enjoy what is sure to be a fascinating world with rich and abnormal characters. The Boxtrolls tells the story of a young boy raised by an underground community of trolls that use boxes as disguises whilst rummaging about the streets at night, and the campaign he must wage to protect them once their identity is discovered.
#4 – The Equalizer
In a Training Day reunion for Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua, The Equalizer, or Man on Fire 2 as it was previously known (not really), tells the story of a man with a violent past forced into action when a young woman (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) falls victim to a group of violent Russian gangsters. The film – an adaptation of the 1985 television series – isn’t really anything new for Denzel Washington, whom we’ve seen play this character before. Neither is it fresh territory for Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, Shooter), who has a penchant for this type of one-man army vigilantism story structure. But for those who don’t mind the familiarity, and who welcome the film as a safe bet as opposed to a tired retread, you could do far worse than an action flick starring starring Denzel and directed by Fuqua.
#3 – Jimi: All Is By My Side (Limited)
There is but one reason that a film about Jimi Hendrix written and directed by 12 Years a Slave scribe John Ridley isn’t accompanied by more enthusiasm, and that reason is the uncertainty of Andre Benjamin’s performance. While reviews have been good, audiences who have seen the musician’s turns in Be Cool, Revolver, Four Brothers, and Idlewild have legitimate reasons for concern with the casting of Benjamin as Hendrix. While he seems tailor made for the role, Benjamin’s performances in previous films have been rather shoddy. But perhaps with an assured vision for the character of Hendrix, and a confident director in Ridley who knows the source material and the subject intimately well, movie-goers have reason to look forward to this one.
#2 – The Two Faces of January (Limited)
With reliable screen veterans Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst and rising star Oscar Isaac, The Two Faces of January will rely on its solid casting and period drama setting to find an audience. Helmed by first time director Hossein Amini – most famously known as the writer of Drive – the period thriller tells the story of an American couple touring Greece in the 1960s who draws the attention of a petty scam-artist who finds himself in over his head once a murder brings all three together. The film is adapted from a novel by Patricia Highsmith, the author of The Talented Mr. Ripley. The trailer for the film boasts some lush cinematic set-pieces, and if the execution is there, this could be a sneakily good thriller.
#1 – Pride (New York, L.A., San Francisco)
With a hearty balance of comedic wit and social relevance that only the English seem capable of selling, the trailer for Matthew Warchus’ Pride tells the story of gay activists who come to the assistance of English miners during a lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1984. The film is based on a true story and boasts a solid cast of English names such as Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, and Paddy Considine. It has garnered praise from critics and a positive response upon its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it appears to have a brand of funny, uplifting humor that could raise anybody out of the end-of-summer doldrums.
The rest of this weekend’s releases:
Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (Limited)
Days and Nights (Limited)
Fishing Without Nets (L.A.)
Good People (Limited)
Lilting (New York)
The Song (Limited)
Two Night Stand (Limited)