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.
Our second week of March should atone for last week’s sins with some very, very promising movies geared towards very different audiences. Our top three films could not get any more different, both in terms of content and tone, but they should all be equally enjoyable for their respective viewers. But there’s a steep drop after number three, as our fourth film is a complete unknown, shamelessly placed on our list because of early critical praise alone, and then, of course, there’s our number five film… Following what has become something of a tradition with this feature, our number five film this week is a dreaded default choice, enjoying its placement due to the other substandard choices that just couldn’t earn the final spot.
#5 – Run All Night
Liam Neeson recently announced that he’s going to retire from action films within two years, and although we’re not pointing any fingers, this announcement comes now that another Neeson action-romp, Run All Night, is about to make its way to cinemas. Perhaps that’s something of a coincidence, but we like to think Neeson’s a bit more self-aware of the recent quality of his action sagas. Run All Night is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously worked with Neeson on 2011’s Unknown and last year’s Non-Stop. If that sounds to you like a successful working relationship, then maybe you’ll love Run All Night. The film tells the story of a man (Neeson) tasked with protecting his son for an entire night after he stopped a botched execution on his son that angered a crime boss. Starring Neeson, Ed Harris (Snowpiercer), and Joel Kinnaman (Robocop), the trailer for Run All Night is about as inspired as its title, which, since we’re bringing it up, is a little too similar to last year’s equally uninspried Non-Stop, no?
#4 – Of Horses and Men (Limited)
We’re not going to pretend that we know anything at all about this movie. The official synopsis is described as, “A country romance about the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human. Love and death become interlaced and with immense consequences. The fortunes of the people in the country through the horses’ perception.” And if that’s a little too enigmatic of a description, the trailer for Of Horses and Men doesn’t help to add any clarity. So why the endorsement? Universal critical praise, as well as a standalone hilarious moment in an otherwise confusing and mysterious trailer. Consider it a risky venture, but for those daring enough, this Icelandic comedy about well, something, could turn out to be a pleasant surprise.
#3 – Cinderella
Our one true high-profile feature of the week lands at number three on our list. Cinderella is part of Disney’s continued effort to remake their classic animated features into live-action adaptations. That formula previously worked (somewhat) in both Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland, but both efforts didn’t always hit the right notes, and made each respective film seem uneven and disjointed. Cinderella, directed by Shakespeare enthusiast Kenneth Branagh (Thor), apparently does not suffer from that same affliction, as early praise has said that this film is Disney’s most charming and successful live-action adaptation yet. And the trailer certainly seems like a visual treat, with the mega-talented Cate Blanchett perfectly cast as the evil stepmother to Lily James’ Cinderella. They’re joined by Richard Madden as the Prince and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother.
#2 – Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (Limited)
It appears that every week our list is occupied by an obligatory documentary that highlights some sort of current event in a profound and enlightening new way. This week we have Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, the alarming exposé on one of the world’s youngest and most mysterious religions. Scientology is of particular interest to many because of its seemingly firm grasp on so many of Hollywood’s elite (Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Elisabeth Moss), as well as the relatively peculiar and eccentric beliefs that the religion seems to hold. The film, which was shown at this year’s Sundance, was said to generate genuine shock from the audience, and can be accurately described as perhaps the most highly anticipated documentary of the young year. Based off the book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief (of which it is interesting to note the film’s choice to omit “Hollywood” from the title), the film is directed by Alex Gibney, who at this point can safely be described as the premiere documentarian in the industry, with credits like We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer, and the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side.
#1 – It Follows (Limited)
It’s nary a week where we feature a horror film as our number one. Simply put, the horror genre is one that is often hard to get excited for, as it seems to suffer from the large amount of weak efforts constantly put out in its name. This week, It Follows comes to the rescue as a viable and worthy addition to the horror canon, with a long-gestating and fervent buzz going all the way back to last year’s festival circuit. Finally making its debut in theaters, It Follows tells the story of a girl who has a strange sexual experience that only becomes stranger after she begins to develop hallucinations and a dreading fear that something is pursuing her. While it’s nothing new in horror to use sex as a fear tactic, films that tend to subvert that oft-familiar theme (2007’s Teeth) can prove to be both fun and utterly terrifying. Directed by David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) and starring Maika Monroe (The Guest), the 80s inspired trailer for the film should give viewers the appropriate amount of dread before heading to the theaters with giddy anticipation.
The rest of this weekend’s releases include: