New Releases for the Week of October 19, 2018


HALLOWEEN

(Blumhouse/Universal/Miramax) Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Will Patton, Andi Matichak, Nick Castle, James Jude Courtney, Haluk Bilginer, Virginia Gardner. Directed by David Gordon Green

Laurie Strode is a survivor. She survived the Halloween massacre in Haddonfield, Illinois 40 years ago. Since then she has been preparing for the night her brother Michael Myers returns. He has been thus far kept in a facility for the criminally insane but something has triggered him, he’s escaped and now he’s headed home to unleash some fresh carnage. For her part, Laurie will stop at nothing to protect her family – and kill the man who has haunted her entire life..

See the trailer, clips, interviews, video featurettes and B-roll video here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard, Dolby, GDX RPX, XD
Genre: Horror
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: R (for horror violence and bloody images, language, brief drug use and nudity)

The Oath

(Roadside Attractions) Ike Barinholtz, Tiffany Haddish, Billy Magnussen, John Cho. When the White House institutes a loyalty oath that Americans are required to sign before Thanksgiving, high-strung social justice warrior Chris and his level-headed wife Kai are at first horrified and then defiant. But as the deadline approaches and family of varying opinions begin to appear for the holiday, things get tense but it really goes off the rails when a pair of government agents show up.

See the trailer and video featurettes here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Dramedy
Now Playing: AMC Disney Springs, Old Mill Playhouse, Regal Waterford Lakes, Regal Winter Park Village

Rating: R (for language throughout, violence and some drug use)

The Old Man and the Gun

(Fox Searchlight) Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover. Forrest Tucker captivated the American imagination when he escaped from San Quentin at the age of 70, then embarked on a series of daring robberies. This is potentially Redford’s final film acting performance, although recently he did amend that and say he’d be open to another role if it interested him enough.

See the trailer and video featurettes here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Biographical Drama
Now Playing: AMC Altamonte Mall, AMC Disney Springs, AMC West Oaks, Cinemark Artegon Marketplace, Cinemark Universal Citywalk, Old Mill Playhouse, Regal Winter Park Village

Rating: PG-13 (for brief strong language)

The Sisters Brothers

(Annapurna) John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed. In the Wild West, two brothers work as assassins for hire. One is a hard-drinking roustabout, the other a more introspective man who yearns for a normal life. As they ride into one dangerous assignment after another, the brothers begin to squabble and in the West, there is no forgiving anything other then total unity between killers.

See the trailer and a clip here.
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Western Comedy
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: R (for violence including disturbing images, language and some sexual content)

ALSO OPENING IN ORLANDO/DAYTONA:

Badhaai Ho
The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man
Hello Guru Prema Kosame
Living in the Future’s Past
Namaste England
Transformer
Vada Chennai
Varathan

ALSO OPENING IN MIAMI/FT. LAUDERDALE:

Badhaai Ho
Boys
Galveston
Hal
Hello Guru Prema Kosame
High Voltage
Loving Pablo
Namaste England
Pandemkodi 2
Peter Pan: The Quest for the Never Book
Reach
Sandakozhi 2
Studio 54
Un Traductor
Vada Chennai
Wild Nights With Emily

ALSO OPENING IN TAMPA/ST. PETERSBURG:

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
Badhaai Ho
Change in the Air
Malicious
Sandakozhi 2
Vada Chennai

ALSO OPENING IN JACKSONVILLE/ST. AUGUSTINE:

Badhaai Ho
Hello Guru Prema Kosame
Pandemkodi 2
Running for Grace
Sandakozhi 2
Vada Chennai

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

Halloween
The Oath
The Old Man and the Gun

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Your Highness


Your Highness

As proof of the disintegration of etiquette, an epidemic of pointing has broken out in Hollywood.

(2011) Fantasy Comedy (Universal) Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, James Franco, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux, Charles Dance, Toby Jones, Damian Lewis, Simon Farnaby, Deobia Oparei, B.J. Hogg, Charles Shaughnessy. Directed by David Gordon Green

Have you ever wondered what The Hangover would be like set in a world of Dungeons and Dragons? Wonder no more.

In the Kingdom of Mourn, King Tallious (Dance) rules wisely with two sons – the heir apparent, Prince Fabious (Franco) who lives to go on quests, is good and noble and pure, and is loved by the people as a handsome and model prince. His brother Thadeous (McBride) not so much – he’s overbearing, selfish, whiny and more interested in chasing women, weed and drink than dragons.

Having botched an alliance with the High Dwarves, he returns home to find his brother Fabious returning in triumph, having slain a Cyclops and bringing home a bride for good measure, the lovely Bella Donna (Deschanel) – putting a big crimp into the plans of the evil wizard Leezar (Theroux). Fabious, being Fabious, asks his jealous brother to be the best man at the wedding. Thadeous, being Thadeous, blows it off to get wasted and chase sheep.

A good thing too, or else he would have been caught when the evil wizard Leezar showed up at the wedding to steal back Bella Donna and inform all assembled that he intends to use the virginal Bella Donna as his bride in a ritual that will give birth to a dragon and give Leezar control of the entire world.

Naturally that’s not a good idea, and Fabious wants to go rescue his bride understandably but there’s no way he can go it alone. The King decides that Thadeous should accompany his brother who he is understandably reluctant, but when the King threatens to banish him if he doesn’t, well, Thadeous really has no choice.

Along the way there’ll be vicious amazons, perverted amphibian wizards, a five headed hydra and Isabel (Portman), a warrior who might be better than even Fabious who has her own grudge against Leezar and is not to be trusted by those who might get in her way.

From the team that essentially brought you Pineapple Express comes this send-up of fantasy films ranging from 80s B-movies like The Sword and the Sorcerer to more modern entries like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is not quite as bad as the guys that brought you Vampires Suck and their ilk, but it isn’t very good either.

Portman just won an Oscar and Deschanel is one of my very favorite actresses but they don’t really have much to do but act as adornments for the guys. Franco was nominated for an Oscar but here he really is kind of personality-challenged. In his defense, it’s hard to do a character that’s so perfect without making him seem bland, but still he doesn’t really have much spice to him at all and he could have used a little.

McBride has developed a niche for himself going back to The Foot Fist Way and through movies like the aforementioned Pineapple Express and Land of the Lost which this is roughly analogous to in terms of quality. He plays the somewhat arrogant and stupid selfish guy in most of his movies and to his credit he does that role well. Hopefully one of these days we’ll see him stretch a little.

This is not that movie – even though he’s supposed to be somewhat romantic (all the chicks dig him, after all – many of them topless) he’s no romantic lead and in a sense, that’s one of the more funny aspects of the film.

The effects are decent enough although chintzy in places (and I think that was done on purpose) with plenty of lights and lightning bolts to light up the screen, as well as a minotaur penis (don’t ask) to darken it.

The problem is that while there are some very funny moments, there aren’t really enough of them. Repetition is only funny in small doses guys and some things are rammed down our throats until they are no longer funny even retroactively to the first part. Dropping F bombs in a medieval setting may be big yucks for the stoner crowd but even they will stop laughing by the fortieth or fiftieth time.

Now I have nothing against stoner humor or the like, even though I’m not able to partake (I’m allergic) but I’ve heard from friends who do that even they found it a bit too much. Give me a Cheech and Chong movie any day.

REASONS TO GO: Some fair special effects. A few good laughs here and there.

REASONS TO STAY: An over-reliance on shtick. Not enough funny moments for a comedy. Too much oafishness and too many “Thines” and “Mines.”

FAMILY VALUES: There’s plenty of crude humor, some violence, a bit of foul language, plenty of drug use, some nudity here and there and a heavy dose of sexual innuendo.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Although there was a script, director David Gordon Green noted that nearly all of the dialogue was improvised; only a plot outline and written notes were used on set.

HOME OR THEATER: Despite everything, the scale and the special effects are big screen-worthy

FINAL RATING: 4/10

TOMORROW: The House Bunny

Snow Angels


Kate Beckinsale ignores the third eye growing out of Sam Rockwell's forehead.

Kate Beckinsale ignores the third eye growing out of Sam Rockwell's forehead.

(Warner Independent) Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Michael Angarano, Olivia Thirlby, Griffin Dunne, Jeannetta Arnette, Nicky Katt, Amy Sedaris. Directed by David Gordon Green

Love can be a double edged sword. When love is good, there is nothing better in the world. You feel like you can take on any challenge, accomplish any goal. When love goes bad however, it can turn on you savagely and eviscerate your very soul.

In a small Pennsylvania town, snow is a blanket that hides the unpleasant things that simmer just below the surface. Annie (Beckinsale) is trying to raise her toddler daughter by herself, having left her husband Glenn (Rockwell) after too many drunken nights. He has found Christianity and clings to it like a drowning man to a life preserver, seeing it as a way out – not so much of his drinking but a route back to his family.

Arthur (Angarano) works at the same Chinese restaurant as Annie, who used to be his babysitter and who he still has a crush on. He is a teenager busy with the things of high school; hanging out with his friends, playing in the marching band, preparing to college. His mother (Arnette) and father (Dunne) are in the process of splitting up. He turns to Lila (Thirlby), a friend who is something of an outsider for solace; their relationship deepens into something more.

Annie is a mess. She’s having an affair with the husband (Katt) of her best friend (Sedaris) and battles her mother, who is anxious for her to reconcile with her husband. Glenn, in the meantime, is battling his demons and losing the fight. It doesn’t take a genius in the human condition to figure out that a tragedy is fast approaching and the leads are far too busy staring at the rear-view and side mirrors to see what’s in front of them.

Green is one of the most acclaimed directors on the indie scene and this is the first of his four directorial efforts that he has based on an outside source (a Stuart O’Nan novel). In lesser hands, this could have been a standard small town Midwinter tragedy, one of many out there. Green has a great ear for dialogue, and every character manages to sound authentic. He also has a great sense of his characters. He doesn’t allow them to descend to cliches, but he doesn’t allow them to be anything less than sympathetic. He also casts them near-perfectly.

Beckinsale, mostly known for her role as a vampire in the Underworld series, shines here. She plays a woman who has had a life filled with bad choices and who has endured the curse of being a beautiful woman in a small town. Small towns tend to magnify things, simply because there is so little competition for conversation. She’s struggling to break free of the corner she’s painted herself into, but the angels of her lesser nature tend to overwhelm the angels of her better nature. I had not known Beckinsale for her acting ability so much as for looking awesome in a vinyl catsuit, but I’ve revised my opinion of her.

Rockwell has added another in a long line of truly terrific performances. He is rapidly evolving into one of those actors who can carry a movie by himself, and while he didn’t get much Oscar buzz for this performance (which is a crime in and of itself), he seems destined to win one or more of the coveted trophies at some point. He may not necessarily be the dashing leading man, but he certainly does everyman as well as anybody.

The romance between Angarano and Thirlby is at the center of the movie and provides a sweet counterpoint to the collapsing relationships that belong to the adults of the movie. It is ironic that the best relationship in the movie belongs to the youngest people in it, which sticks a bit in my craw. So often the movies tend to portray teenage relationships as superior to adult ones, but the fact is that teenagers are at least as prone to treating each other like dirt as adults are. Still, Angarano and Thirlby handle their roles skillfully, and some of the best moments in the film belong to them.

The sense of impending tragedy is certainly palpable, but it isn’t central to the experience of the film. The denouement, foreshadowed in the film’s opening moments, is not the point of the journey, merely a terrible sight on it. The journey is the one taken by the characters, trying desperately to interact with the others in their lives and failing miserably. We all have relationships like that, ruined by our own inability to articulate how we feel and what we want – sometimes because we ourselves don’t know how we feel or what we want.

The snow can hide all matter of sins, but blood will inevitably show up starkly against the serene whiteness of a winter landscape. My wife is fond of saying “your sins will find you out” and so they will. This is not so much a movie about sin, but about the aftermath of sin and the flotsam it generates. It’s a powerful look at the underbelly of what are generally good people, and how their moments of weakness resonate through the lives that surround them.

WHY RENT THIS: Fine performances by Rockwell, Beckinsale, Angarano and Thirlby are worth watching. Green is one of the best dialogue writers in independent films today. The characters are flawed but relatable.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: The characterization of Glenn as a born-again Christian may offend those who are Christians or struggling with alcoholism.

FAMILY VALUES: Some drug use, sexuality, foul language and violence. Suitable for mature teens.

TRIVIAL PURSUITS: This movie was originally written by Green for another director; when that director moved on to another property, the production company asked Green to direct it.

NOTABLE DVD EXTRAS: None listed.

FINAL RATING: 8/10

TOMORROW: Heima