Pick of the Litter – October 2015


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak

(Universal) Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam. Among genre fans, Guillermo del Toro is a fan favorite and one of his most anticipated projects in years is this gothic haunted house tale. In it, an aspiring author, recovering from a family tragedy, is torn between the affections of a childhood friend and the attentions of a mysterious man who sweeps her into his mansion, a home that hides secret terrors and ancient evil. Even Da Queen, who hates horror films, is eager to see this one. October 16

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Garm Wars The Last Druid

Garm Wars: The Last Druid

(ARC Entertainment) Melanie St.-Pierre, Kevin Durand, Lance Henriksen, Jordan Van Dyck. Cloned soldiers from three different military clans do battle in a never-ending battle of technology, magic, land and sky. When one clone is separated from the battle, she finds herself on the run with a group of unlikely companions. Her journey will take her to places she never could have imagined, and might just lead to the end of war – or destroy her world forever. Japanese director Mamoru Oshii helmed this visually spectacular Canadian sci-fi fantasy. October 2

Hell and Back

Hell and Back

(Freestyle Releasing) Starring the voices of Nick Swardson, Mila Kunis, Bob Odenkirk, Susan Sarandon. A pair of meatheads, fooling around with a book they shouldn’t be fooling around with, are forced to travel all the way to Hell to retrieve their friend whom they accidentally sent there. They’ll have to traverse their way to the deepest regions of the pit and fend off demons, monsters, angels, Greek legends and oh yeah, Satan himself. From the animation studio that brought us Robot Chicken and Bo-Jack Horseman comes this delightful feature that ought to make Dante roll in his grave. Assuming he isn’t already. October 2

The Final Girls

The Final Girls

(Vertical) Taissa Farmiga, Nina Dobrev, Malin Akerman, Alexander Ludwig. Max Cartwright misses her mom, an actress who passed away far too young. Of course, Max’s mom was best known for playing the “good girl” in the classic slasher flick, Camp Bloodbath. When Max and a bunch of her friends are caught in a theater fire they find themselves somehow transported inside the movie. Now, knowing that there is a crazed killer stalking the counselors, they can save them and themselves right? It’s a lot harder than they thought though. This has been getting rave reviews from the festival circuit and could well be Scream for the next generation. October 9

Beasts of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation

(Netflix) Idris Elba, Abraham Atta, Ama Abebrese, Richard Pepple. A young boy, living a peaceful life in an unnamed African country, gets caught up in the civil war tearing that country apart and falls under the sway of a charismatic warlord. Netflix, having made extensive inroads in television programming, now turns its attention to feature films, of which this is the first and in addition to playing on Netflix, it will get a limited theatrical release in select cities. It is already garnering Oscar buzz for Elba as well as some for its juvenile star, Atta. October 16

Watchers of the Sky

Watchers of the Sky

(Music Box) Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Benjamin Ferencz, Emmanuel Uwurukundo, Samantha Power. Genocide is a term we use for tragically too many occurrences. The man who coined the term was Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust and determined that the penalties for mass murders on an epic scale were less than killing a single person. In order to facilitate prosecution of those who attempt to wipe out an entire human community, he came up with a word which led to international laws. In researching his life which is mostly forgotten in the 21st century, author Samantha Power discovered four compelling cases of people working to prevent genocide or prosecuting those guilty of it. October 16

Difret

Difret

(Amplify!/Truth Aid) Meron Getnet, Tizita Hagere, Haregewine Assefa, Abel Abebe. A two hour drive outside of Addis Ababa, a 14-year-old girl is walking home from school when men on horseback attempt to abduct her. She attempts to escape, grabbing a rifle but ends up killing her would-be abductor. The trouble is that in rural Ethiopia, abduction into marriage is a common practice. Accused of murder, the girl is given a big city lawyer whose women’s issues practice will be put to the test and on the line as she walks the line between defending the human rights of an individual against the collective cultural practices of a people. October 23

Extraordinary Tales

Extraordinary Tales

(GKIDS) Starring the voices of Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Guillermo del Toro, Julian Sands. One author – the great Edgar Allen Poe. Five of his most chilling tales. Five different animated styles. GKIDS, one of the leading purveyors of quality entertainment for children and families, brings us these masterworks just in time for Halloween. Two of the narrators, who read the stories that we watch enacted on the screen, are no longer with us – both legends of horror cinema. Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee may be gone but their voices live on…here. October 30

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New Releases for the Week of October 2, 2015


The MartianTHE MARTIAN

(20th Century Fox) Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peňa, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Directed by Ridley Scott

During a manned mission to Mars, a savage storm strikes the landing site and forces an early departure of the astronauts. One of them is presumed lost during the storm and the team takes off without him – except he’s not quite dead yet. Alone, abandoned on a dead planet hundreds of millions of miles from home, the stranded astronaut has to first contact NASA or his space craft and let them know he’s alive, then find a way to survive until help finally does come. Neither one is an easy task.

See the trailer, clips, interviews, a promo, a featurette and B-roll video here.
For more on the movie this is the website.
Release Formats: Standard, 3D  (Opens Thursday)
Genre: Science Fiction
Now Playing: Wide Release
Rating: PG-13 (for some strong language, injury images and brief nudity)

Finders Keepers

(The Orchard) Shannon Whisnant, John Wood. When Shannon Whisnant buys a smoker from a storage unit auction, he is surprised to discover an amputated human leg being stored inside it. This unleashes a bitter dispute between Whisnant, who determines to keep the leg because it is bringing him the fame he craves, and John Wood – the smoker’s previous owner – to whom the leg has a very personal connection. It could only happen in the South, folks.

See the trailer and clips here.
For more on the movie this is the website.
Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Documentary
Now Playing: Enzian Theater
Rating: R (for language)

Hell and Back

(Freestyle) Starring the voices of Mila Kunis, TJ Miller, Susan Sarandon, Bob Odenkirk. Never underestimate the idiocy of a young white male. When a group of bros inadvertently open a gateway to Hell and one of them gets sucked down into it, his three buddies try to do the right thing and go down to the infernal regions to welcome their friend. Hell has no idea what’s about to hit them. From the same animation studio that is guilty of giving us Robot Chicken and Bo-jack Horseman.

See the trailer here.
For more on the movie this is the website.
Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Animated Feature
Now Playing: AMC Disney Springs, AMC Loew’s Universal Cineplex, Regal Oviedo Marketplace, Regal Pointe Orlando, Regal Winter Park Village, UA Seminole Town Center
Rating: R (for pervasive strong crude and sexual content, language and some drug use)

Sicario

(Lionsgate) Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Victor Garber. An idealistic FBI agent is brought into the war zone that is the U.S.-Mexican border to join a task force with the mission of stopping cartel violence from reaching its tentacles onto American soil. A mysterious consultant with an enigmatic past and an elite government agent whose ambitions are only matched with his amorality force the agent to question everything she believes in as she must go to extreme measures just to survive. The latest from talented director Denis Villeneuve has been receiving critical accolades wherever it has gone.

See the trailer, clips, interviews, a featurette and B-roll video here.
For more on the movie this is the website.
Release Formats: Standard (opens Thursday)
Genre: Action
Now Playing: Wide Release
Rating: R (for strong violence, grisly images, and language)

The Walk

(Tri-Star) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale. Only one man has – and ever will – walked on a high wire between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. That man is Philippe Pettit and his real life exploits were captured on the excellent documentary Man on Wire – if you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it. This is a dramatization of the events that took place way back when. Director Robert Zemeckis has apparently utilized modern technology to put the audience in Philippe’s shoes, so high above the ground in New York City. This may end up being one of the few movies Da Queen and I end up seeing in IMAX 3D this year.

See the trailer, clips, interviews, featurettes, premiere footage and B-roll video here.
For more on the movie this is the website.
Release Formats: Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D (opened Wednesday)
Genre: True Life Drama
Now Playing: Large Format Screens
Rating: PG (for thematic elements including perilous situations, and for some nudity, language, brief drug references and smoking)