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.
It should be pointed out that this week’s list is unique, particularly considering the fact that we’ve entered blockbuster season. For starters, there’s only one true high-profile release this week (perhaps two), with the rest of the list comprised of noticeably smaller-scale pictures, and perhaps something we’d be more likely to see released in January or February as opposed to May. Secondly, this week is glaringly weak. There’s no other way to put it. That is especially true for a week in the month of May. A few of the films that made the list this week aren’t even proper endorsements on our end, they’re just filler films to round out the list. Exciting, huh? There’s also the troublesome fact that our number one film of the week isn’t getting the amount of pre-release buzz we had hoped, leaving this week’s line-up of films on even shakier ground. But enough pessimism, there’s plenty to watch at theaters right now. If you’re not caught up, perhaps now’s the time to do so. Otherwise, here are this week’s prospects…
#5 – The Human Centipede III (Limited)
Our Weekend Release Roundup historian – yeah, we have one – tells me that this might be the worst film ever placed on our list. So just to reiterate, its placement here is not an endorsement. This is merely filler, and it’s filler of the absolute lowest kind. However, it makes our list for those who fall victim to the “you can’t look away from a train wreck” philosophy, because make no mistake, The Human Centipede franchise is certainly a train wreck. Gaining its reputation and fanbase more on infamy than quality, the third installment of the film sees the human centipede experiment growing to epic proportions as it is implimented in an unruly American prison as a rehabilitation method. While the film appears to be meta and self-referential (which can be fun), it’s hard to see this film being anything other than a complete disaster. Still, our curiosity is sometimes too great to overcome, and this film is certainly a film for the curious (if not slightly masochistic). Once again directed by Tom Six, and starring Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Dieter Laser (The Human Centipede), Laurence R. Harvey (The Human Centipede II), Bree Olson (Camp Massacre), and Tiny Lister (The Dark Knight), The Human Centipede III‘s trailer may tell you all you ever need to know regarding the film.
#4 – Poltergeist
Another film making the list for filler purposes, Poltergeist seems to be the latest addition to the ever growing list of unnecessary horror remakes. Not appearing to offer anything new or fresh (at least based on the trailer) to the genre or the story, the film seems to be a rather uninspired effort from director Gil Kenan, who showed promise with his entertaining animated movie Monster House. Still, if we’re comparing this to our previous, ahem, choice, we can at lease confidently say the cast here is much more impressive. Starring the perennially overlooked pair of Sam Rockwell (Laggies) and Rosemarie DeWitt (Men, Women, and Children), along with the talented Jared Harris (Lincoln), the film may be worth catching based on the merits of the cast alone.
#3 – Sunshine Superman (Limited)
Our first quality film on the list and it’s a documentary. Who’s watching documentaries during the blockbuster season? Well, that may be true, but we promise Sunshine Superman may be worth it. Tracing the origins of the BASE-jumping movement through its founder, Carl Boenish, the film chronicles his life as well as his many risk-taking and death-defying exploits, most of which are caught on tape thanks to Carl himself (and well before our current GoPro-privileged climate). Also highlighting his tragic death, the film promises to be as intense and sweeping as many of the summer releases, and could find itself placed alongside similarly great man-versus-nature docs such as Touching the Void and Grizzly Man.
#2 – When Marnie Was There (Limited)
There’s a touch of sentimentality that comes with our number two choice, as When Marnie Was There is set to be the last film from Studio Ghibli before the studio goes on indefinite hiatus. For that reason alone, it should be sought out in theaters, as this may be the audience’s last chance to see a Ghibli film on the big screen for quite a while. Beyond that, however, it’s a promising film in its own right. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi – whose last effort was the magical and charming Secret World of Arrietty - the film boasts a talented voice cast (as Ghibli films are wont to do) of Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 2), Kathy Bates (Boychoir), John C. Reilly (Life After Beth), Geena Davis (In A World…), Vanessa Williams (Temptation), and Kiernan Shipka (Flowers in the Attic). When Marnie Was There tells the story of two girls who form an unlikely friendship after one of them is sent from her foster home in the city to a town by the sea.
#1 – Tomorrowland
First, it should be mentioned that Tomorrowland is the first high-profile film of the blockbuster season that isn’t a sequel (Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pitch Perfect 2, Mad Max: Fury Road), which, in and of itself is worthy of note. In an era of reboots, remakes, and sequels, a movie based off a Disney attraction is indeed original (go figure). But it’s also directed by one of the more exciting large-scale directors this side of JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon. Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) proved himself more than capable of making a smooth transition into live-action with the hugely entertaining Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this time he brings with him the talents of George Clooney (The Monuments Men), Hugh Laurie (Mr. Pip), Britt Robertson (The Longest Ride), and Kathryn Hahn (Bad Words). That cast, along with a visually engaging and immersive new world teased within the trailer, makes for a hopeful moviegoing experience. The early buzz has been muted, but we’re eager to view this one regardless.