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.
Variety is the spice of life. But in the world of film, the month of September can be a cold and flavorless affair. It is often a cinema-goers no-man’s land, a few weeks removed from the summer blockbuster season and just a tad too early for the award contenders. But this week manages to give us a few extra options at the movies, and it seems there may be something for everybody looking to head to the theaters.
#5 – A Walk Among the Tombstones
Written and directed by Scott Frank, who last served us the solid neo-noir The Lookout (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Goode, Jeff Daniels, Isla Fisher), this film stars Liam Neeson as a private eye who’s hired to find the men responsible for killing and murdering the wife of a drug kingpin. Neeson has made a career of late from starring in entertaining popcorn action movies that are released during the months where audiences tend to have limited options in theaters. Some of these include Taken, Taken 2, The Grey, Unknown, and Non-Stop. A Walk Among the Tombstones might be the action movie audiences crave while waiting for the bigger releases of the next few months.
#4 – This is Where I Leave You
For those who want some lighter viewing this week, Shawn Levy’s This is Where I Leave You is also opening. Based on the immensely popular novel by Jonathan Tropper, the film boasts an impressive comedic cast, with Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda, and Rose Byrne headlining (not to mention solid supporting names like Corey Stoll, Dax Shepard, Connie Britton, and Timothy Olyphant). It tells the story of a family forced to live together for a week in their childhood home after their father passes away. For Shawn Levy, the film is his first attempt at a more adult-themed story after working on films such as Real Steel, The Internship, and the Night At the Museum franchise. It is however, the director’s second collaboration with Tina Fey, after working together on 2010’s Date Night.
#3 – The Maze Runner
While fans will have to wait to watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 until November, this week gives them the chance to whet their YA appetites with The Maze Runner. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, The Maze Runner is the story of an amnesiac young man who finds himself living amongst a community of boys who are all trapped in an elaborate maze. To escape, he must join forces with other “runners” from the community. The film stars Dylan O’Brien from television’s Teen Wolf, and is directed by first-timer Wes Ball, a former visual effects artist.
#2 – The Skeleton Twins
While Craig Johnson’s The Skeleton Twins had its limited release last week, the film – which stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader – goes wide tomorrow. For those who follow the festival circuit, The Skeleton Twins has been one of the indies to get most excited about this year. Not only has it gotten great reviews, but it is said to mark two career-best performances for SNL alums Hader and Wiig. The movie follows a pair of estranged siblings who reunite and try to repair their relationship after one attempts suicide, giving audiences a chance to see Hader and Wiig in roles very different than what they’ve grown accustomed to seeing from them.
#1 – Tusk
Even Kevin Smith detractors can’t deny the fact that there is something strangely appealing about seeing the director attempt a gross-out, horror comedy movie like Tusk. The subject matter is highly unusual, completely absurd, and it may possibly just reignite the writer/director’s career. After the polarizing Red State, the much-maligned Cop Out, and the occasionally funny but ultimately disappointing Zack & Miri Make a Porno, the director’s career had seemed to hit a snag, with Smith even hinting at retirement. With Tusk, which has been described as audacious and bizarre after premiering in Toronto earlier this month, Smith may have found a niche not many envisioned for the director of Clerks. Tusk stars Justin Long as a podcaster who goes missing in Canada after interviewing a mysterious seaman (Michael Parks) with a strange fascination with walruses.
The rest of this weekend’s releases:
20,000 Days on Earth (New York)
The Guest (limited)
Art and Craft (New York)
Fort Bliss (limited)
Hector and the Search for Happiness (limited)
Life’s a Breeze (limited)
The Scribbler (limited)
Space Station 76 (Los Angeles, New York)
The Zero Theorem (limited)
Expanding into additional theaters: