Chris Evans is preparing a strongly worded letter to management.

Chris Evans is preparing a strongly worded letter to management.

(2014) Science Fiction (Radius) Chris Evans, Kang-Ho Song, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner, Ah-Sung Ko, Alison Pill, Luke Pasqualino, Vlad Ivanov, Adnan Haskovic, Emma Levie, Stephen Park, Clark Middleton, Marcanthonee Jon Reis, Paul Lazar, Tomas Lemarquis, Kenny Doughty, Robert Russell, Magda Weigertova. Directed by Joon-Hoo Bong

It is an illusion of humanity that we have control of anything. Control of our environment, control of each other – the only thing we really have control over is our own actions. Still, that doesn’t keep us from trying to make everyone and everything around us conform to our own needs.

In the near future, the reality of climate change has finally been accepted universally and the governments of the planet have decided to do something about it. Sadly, they’ve waited so long that all they can do is the environmental equivalent of a Hail Mary end zone pass on the last play of the game. A gas, released into the atmosphere simultaneously all over the globe, should reduce global temperatures significantly and give us a chance to clean the carbons out of the atmosphere.

As with most things governments undertake, things go completely, horribly wrong. The temperature does reduce down to the levels that we need them to – and then keep falling, and falling, and falling. In a matter of hours, the planet is frozen solid and all life on it has ceased to be.

That is, except for the life on a kind of Supertrain. Those aboard the Snowpiercer at the time of the freeze all survived, along with a few stragglers who made their way on board before the end came. The train circles the globe on a specially built track, taking roughly a year to make each circumference.

Instead of being powered by nuclear energy, it’s powered by a perpetual motion engine. It’s the brain child of Wilford (Harris), a mysterious industrialist who now lives a reclusive existence in the engine room of the train. In the rear of the train are the half-starving lower class, barely able to eke out a living and subsisting on gelatinous protein bars that keep them alive (although you really don’t want to know what they’re made out of). In between is the upper class, living with a bounty of food and clean water and in excessive luxury. From time to time, representatives of the upper class – and by representatives I mean armed guards – come to the back with spokesman Mason (Swinton) to cart off children from the back, to distribute the meager supplies that the front gives out, or to perform all manner of humiliations and torture on the back-dwellers.

Well, Curtis (Evans) has had enough. He is brewing revolution, aided by his mentor Gilliam (Hurt) who has been through several of these. They are waiting for the right time to make their move, although many of the tail end inhabitants grow restless, particularly Edgar (Bell) who looks up to Curtis with something like hero worship, Tanya (Spencer) whose son Timmy (Reis) has been taken by Mason and her goons, and Fuyu (Park) who just wants to kick some ass.

Their plan hinges on springing the drug-addicted Namgoong Minsoo (Song) who designed the train’s security system and would be able to deactivate the gates that separate the back of the train from the front. However, even if they spring him (with the promise of plenty of the drug Kronole as reward) and his perky daughter Yona (Ko), getting to the front of the train and taking over the speeding missile on rails will be no easy feat, if it can be done at all.

This is based on a French graphic novel written back in the ’70s although the climate change element (among others) has been added on by the filmmakers. Like much art from that era, there is a decidedly grim and dark element to the movie. It carries very much a 70s vibe, although there is a 21st century Looney Tunes element to it as well.

Evans, better known as Captain America in the Marvel movies, is as grim and gravelly voiced as a poor man’s Clint Eastwood here. The All-American Cap would be absolutely horrified by some of the things Curtis must do to survive and he certainly wouldn’t approve of the class system on the train. In many ways this is Evan’s most complete role to date – this isn’t the Chris Evans you’re used to seeing and that’s a good thing. Not that the Chris Evans you’re used to seeing isn’t worth seeing.

Swinton is so over-the-top that you half expect a giant hammer to suddenly materialize out of the screen and smash your pointy little noggin like so many nails in a board. Her Mason comes off as a cross between Dolores Umbridge, Margaret Thatcher and Ayn Rand with emphasis on the latter. Her fake overbite reminds me of one of those “Stay Calm” memes come to life.

Bong, who previously directed the comic horror film The Host, brings from that film the broad comedy with a dark edge while adding some fairly serious social commentary as well. Certainly this is about the sharp divide between the privileged wealthy class and the desperate poverty class but it’s also about the economics of survival and the folly of human arrogance. Some conservatives see liberals as the villains here while liberals will likewise see conservatives as being the targets of Bong’s criticism. I’m not sure he had American politics in mind when he wrote and directed this but I suppose we all see what we want to see.

A few words of caution. First, as to the dialogue – it’s atrocious, especially as the film winds down. There’s a confrontation between Wilford and Curtis in which the two say things that sound like they came out of a middle school book report on Atlas Shrugged. Actors the caliber of Ed Harris shouldn’t have to say dialogue like this.

Second, the violence. There’s a lot of it and it ranges from brutal axe attacks to some silly shoot-outs. While you will get somewhat numb to it by the end of the movie, those who are sensitive to such things should have a care about seeing this.

Finally, the ending. It’s a humdinger in terms of visuals but when it hits it’s both coal-black grim and to be honest, ludicrous. Again, think 70s cinema when you watch it and it may make more sense to you but even with that in mind you might end up tearing out your hair, assuming you have any.

The set design here is amazing. Each train car is its own world and as you move from the bleak and monochromatic rear, the cars become more colorful and decadent. Some are downright beautiful. This is a world both familiar and alien to us and while the imagery has elements of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, the French sci-fi graphic magazine Metal Hurlant and the art deco of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, it is a world unique to itself and completely imaginative.

I ended up being quite entertained, although many of my friends ended up disappointed by the film with some outright despising it. All I can say about that is that it is likely this will affect you in unexpected ways and will draw out of you your own individual reaction which is to me something that is the mark of a good movie. You may not agree with me in terms of my admiration for the movie, but you won’t walk away from this with an indifferent point of view.

Speaking of view, Snowpiercer is taking something of an unusual release strategy for movies that are in national release. Unlike most limited releases which don’t make it to every market, this film is in nearly every market although on a limited number of screens. It is likely playing somewhere near you. If you can’t find it, it is available on most major Video On Demand systems, including DirecTV, iTunes and most digital cable systems.

REASONS TO GO: A different kind of role for Chris Evans. Class warfare in a dystopian society done with some really dark humor.

REASONS TO STAY: Piss-poor dialogue. The ending is disappointing albeit spectacular.

FAMILY VALUES:  Plenty of violence and foul language and quite a bit of drug use (although it is a nonexistent drug).

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The drawings in the tail section of the train are by Jean-Marc Rochette, original artist of the graphic novel Le Transperceneige, the work that this movie is based on.

CRITICAL MASS: As of 7/18/14: Rotten Tomatoes: 94% positive reviews. Metacritic: 84/100.



NEXT: Deliver Us From Evil


New Releases for the Week of July 4, 2014


(Screen Gems) Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Chris Coy, Dorian Missick, Mike Houston, Lulu Wilson. Directed by Scott Derrickson

A practical New York City cop, struggling with his own personal issues, is assigned to investigate a string of bizarre and inexplicable crimes. He discovers there is someone else investigating the same series of crimes – a renegade Catholic priest. Together they will fight to solve these mysteries and in doing so they will come face to face with the nature of true evil. And believe it or not, this is based on actual events.

See the trailer, clips, interviews, a featurette, premiere footage and B-roll video here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard (opened Wednesday)

Genre: Supernatural Horror

Rating: R (for bloody violence, grisly images, terror throughout and language)

Begin Again

(Weinstein) Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine. A down on his luck former record company executive teams up with a recently dumped girlfriend of a rising rock star when he hears something in her that excites his imagination again. They will have to beat the odds to make something of her in an industry that has changed on the both of them, and for each of them to heal the other.

See the trailer and a featurette here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard (opened Wednesday)

Genre: Romance

Rating: R (for language)

Bobby Jasoos

(Reliance) Vidya Balan, Ali Fazal, Arjan Bajwa, Supriya Pathak. An earnest young person has one goal in life – to become the number one detective in the old city of Hyderabad. At first, this seems like an impossible dream but then a case comes along that may just achieve that dream for Bobby Jasoos.

See the trailer, clips and a featurette here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Bollywood

Rating: NR

Earth to Echo

(Relativity) Teo Halm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt. Three boys, inseparable friends, are disconsolate because they are about to be forced to leave their homes due to a highway bypass going through their neighborhood. When they start getting odd signals on their cell phones, they decide to investigate. This leads them directly to an alien being, stranded on Earth and desperate to find a way back to his native planet. E.T. phone home, right?

See the trailer, interviews, clips, B-roll video and a featurette here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Family Sci-Fi Adventure

Rating: R (for language and some bloody violence)


(Radius) Chris Evans, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda SwintonAfter an experiment to stop climate change backfires and brings on a devastating ice age, all that remains of humanity is contained on a single train that crosses the planet powered by a sacred perpetual motion engine. A class system has developed on the train with the Haves living in luxury and the Have Nots just barely surviving. We all know what happens when people have nothing to lose.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Science Fiction (opened Wednesday)

Rating: R (for violence, language and drug content)


(New Line) Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Toni Collette. A woman on the down side of life loses her job, her boyfriend and her car all in the same day. She needs a road trip to clear her head but with no money and no wheels and no place to go, she looks to be SOL in the big city. Then her grandma has an idea…

See the trailer and interviews here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Comedy (opened Tuesday)

Rating: R (for language including sexual references)

Four-Warned: June 2014

SnowpiercerEvery month I’m going to look at every movie on the release schedule and try to assign them a numerical value corresponding to how anxious I am to see it. The lower the number, the more I want to see it. A one means I would walk through hell and high water to see it; a four means there’s no interest whatsoever. The numbers are not arrived at scientifically but they aren’t arbitrary either.

The numbers aren’t a reflection of the artistic merit of any of these films, but merely a reflection of my willingness to go to a movie theater and see it. The top four scores will be gathered as a means of reflecting the movies I’m anticipating the most; you may use that as a guide or not.

Most of the movies will never play theatrically where you live (unless you live in either New York or Los Angeles) but many of those that won’t will be available through Video-on-Demand; check with your local cable or satellite providers to find out if any specific movie is available through that medium.

Each entry is broken down as follows:

NAME OF FILM (Studio) Genre A brief description of the plot. Release plans: Wide = Everywhere, Limited = In selected markets. RATING A brief comment

Keep in mind that release dates are extremely subject to change, even at this late date.

4. BEGIN AGAIN (2.0)

3. IVORY TOWER (1.1)
4. LULLABY (1.2)

RATING SYSTEM: 1) Must-see, 2) Should-see, 3) Perhaps-see, 4) Don’t-see

JUNE 6, 2014

ANNA (Vertical) Genre: Thriller. A detective able to enter people’s minds and access their memories tries his skills on a teenager accused of a triple homicide. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 I do like Mark Strong but looks a bit short on thrills.
BORGMAN (Drafthouse) Genre: Thriller. An enigmatic stranger enters the life of a normal suburban family but will they will need to find out his sinister agenda before it’s too late. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 This Dutch film has taken the film festival circuit and genre community by storm.
BURNING BLUE (Lionsgate) Genre: Romance. When a criminal investigation within a Navy air squadron brings to light a forbidden affair within their ranks, the pilots begin to question their definitions of honor, friendship and brotherhood. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 A product of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era.
BURT’S BUZZ (Area23a) Genre: Documentary. The story of cantankerous Burt’s Bee’s founder Burt Shavitz and what he’s up to these days. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the face and name of a billion dollar company?
THE CASE AGAINST 8 (HBO Films) Genre: Documentary. The inside story of the fight to overturn California’s controversial Proposition 8 which was recently struck down, restoring marriage equality to same sex couples in California and paving the way for the rest of the nation. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.6 An emotional look at one of the most divisive subjects of the 21st century to date.
CITIZEN KOCH (Variance) Genre: Documentary. A look at the conservative billionaires who have become the poster boys for the abuses of Citizens United and have dominated Republican politics for the past decade. Release Strategy: New York City (expands June 13, June 20 and June 27). RATING: 1.0 An important film about how our democracy has been bought and sold under our noses; everyone should see this.
EDGE OF TOMORROW (Warner Brothers) Genre: Science Fiction. During an alien invasion of Earth, a soldier who dies is continually reincarnated at the same point in time and becomes the key to winning a war that the human race has already lost. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 1.4 Starring Tom Cruise and based on a Japanese manga, the movie puts Groundhog Day in a sci-fi setting.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (20th Century Fox) Genre: Drama. Two cancer-stricken teenagers try to make the most of love in what time that they have. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 Based on a bestselling novel and starring Shailene Woodley, this could either be an unforgettable experience or treacly garbage if not handled right.
HOLIDAY (Reliance) Genre: Action. A captain in the Indian army on vacation is forced to rely on his training and skills while romancing a feisty young woman and taking on an implacable terrorist organization. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 Seems to be an action thriller with some moments of Bollywood silliness – surprised that Hollywood hasn’t made an American version of the plot.
I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN (Well Go USA) Genre: Science Fiction. When a young scientist disappears on a routine business trip, his family struggles to cope with his loss until years later, a bizarre discovery leads them to believe they can bring him home. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 An interesting Canadian take on a popular science fiction subject with a solid cast including Haley Joel Osment, Gillian Anderson, Victor Garber and Rufus Sewell.
LITTLE BOY (Metanoia) Genre: War Drama. During the Second World War, a young boy struggles to bring his father back from the front. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 Promising with a cast that includes Emily Watson and Kevin James but with no trailer available on the net I can’t really say for sure.
THE MOMENT (Screen Media) Genre: Thriller. Following the disappearance of her lover and her subsequent breakdown and commitment to a mental hospital, a photojournalist is befriended by a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to her missing boyfriend. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.7 It’s nice to see Jennifer Jason Leigh onscreen again.
OBVIOUS CHILD (A24) Genre: Comedy. In 1962 An aspiring stand-up comic copes with losing her job, getting dumped and discovering that she’s pregnant, forcing a reinvention of her act – and herself. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 Jenny Slate has always been an excellent comic but shows herself to have possibilities as an actress here.
THE SACRAMENT (Magnet) Genre: Horror. Reporters for a TMZ-like show investigate a remote Central American cult who hide a dark secret. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.8 Ti West is fast becoming one of my favorite new horror directors.
SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON (Radius) Genre: Documentary. Some say he’s the most influential manager ever; some say he’s just a nice guy who negotiates like a hard ass; everyone says that they broke the mold when they made him. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 The list of people who count Shep Gordon as a friend is astounding.
THIS IS NOT A BALL (Videocine) Genre: Documentary. Vik Muniz, a Brazilian artist, prepares to create an art installation in his native Brazil for the 2014 World Cup utilizing more than 10,000 soccer balls. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.5 No trailer available at present.
TRUST ME (Starz Digital Media) Genre: Comedy. An agent of child actors has to fight to protect his latest find – and possible ticket into the big time – from an overprotective stage father, an overzealous agent and an overactive nemesis. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 Glad to see Clark Gregg breaking out of the Agent Coulson mold and moving into projects that showcase his talent.
WILLOW CREEK (IFC) Genre: Thriller. A pair of Bigfoot hunters find a lot more than they bargained for in the Northern California woods. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.0 Director Bobcat Goldthwaite comes up with his first horror film.

JUNE 11, 2014

BURNING BUSH (HBO Europe) Genre: True Life Drama. The legacy of a Czech student who burned himself alive in protest of the Soviet occupation is defended by an idealistic lawyer against a communist regime seeking to discredit his sacrifice. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.2 Initially made as a miniseries and condensed down into feature film form.

JUNE 13, 2014

22 JUMP STREET (Columbia/MGM) Genre: Comedy. The two misfit cops from the first film take on a college drug ring. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.8 For whatever reason I’m just not so enthusiastic about this movie; maybe later.
ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (Image) Genre: Horror. A group of elite cheerleaders who died during a party mishap show up at school the next day with some mysterious new appetites. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Nobody does horror with quite as much style as Lucky McKee does.
HELLION (IFC) Genre: Drama. When his brother is taken from their home, an increasingly delinquent teen sets about getting him back. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.8 May well be Aaron Paul’s best performance yet.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (DreamWorks) Genre: Animated Feature. Hiccup and his dragon Toothless must take on a fearsome new foe. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 2.2 Likely to be the summer’s biggest animated feature.
THE HUMAN RACE (XLRator) Genre: Science Fiction. Eighty strangers are forced to take part in a brutal race to the death where there is only one survivor. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 Dark, brutal with a twisted sense of humor – which makes it a must-see for me.
I AM I (Gravitas) Genre: Drama. After meeting her estranged father at her mother’s funeral, a woman realizes that he believes that she is her mother and decides to let him believe that. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 Not sure what to make of this.
IVORY TOWER (Goldwyn) Genre: Documentary. As student debt rises and available jobs shrink, high school graduates begin to wonder seriously if college is actually worth it anymore. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.1 A sobering look at higher education, it’s cost to society and whether or not the system is actually serving America or geared towards making profits.
LIFE’S A BREEZE (Magnolia) Genre: Comedy. A struggling Irish family races against time to find a lost fortune. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 Another charming Irish movie; you gotta love it.
LULLABY (ARC Entertainment) Genre: Drama. When his father determines to take himself off of life support in two days, his estranged son attempts to reconnect with his family one last time. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.2 A fantastic cast and a subject that we tend to shy away from could well be a terrific film if they don’t make it too treacly.
THE ROVER (A24) Genre: Science Fiction. In a world made chaotic by the collapse of civilization, a man uses a gang member left behind to take back the car they stole from him. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles (expands June 20). RATING: 2.0 Guy Pearce movies always seem to be worthwhile viewing.
THE SIGNAL (Focus) Genre: Science Fiction. Students tracking a hack job on MIT mainframes wake up from a cross country road trip into a living nightmare. Release Strategy: Limited (expands June 20 and 27). RATING: 2.1 Looks pretty creepy; sort of a more horrific Close Encounters.
WITCHING & BITCHING (IFC Midnight) Genre: Horror Comedy. A group of Spanish bank robbers on the run in the Basque mountainsides come up against a coven of witches preparing an ancient ritual. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 1.8 Think of Pedro Almodovar directing The Witches of Eastwick.

JUNE 20, 2014

CODE BLACK (Long Shot Factory) Genre: Documentary. Viewers are given a glimpse at one of the busiest trauma centers in the country, a place where modern emergency medicine was invented and uses it as a means of discussing the health care crisis this country now faces. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Could very well be a film that leads to real change.
COHERENCE (Oscilloscope Laboratories) Genre: Science Fiction. On the night of an astronomical anomaly, eight friends at a dinner party experience disturbing phenomena. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 Could be a real mind-bender.
JERSEY BOYS (Warner Brothers) Genre: Musical. Direct from its hit run on Broadway, this musical is a fanciful look at the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.3 Clint Eastwood? Directing a musical?!?
THE LAST SENTENCE (Music Box) Genre: Biographical Drama. Swedish journalist Torgny Segerstedt crusades against Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia as Sweden struggles to maintain its neutrality during the Second World War. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 1.5 Meant to take this franchise in a completely different direction might be just what the mad scientist ordered.
LE CHEF (Cohen Media Group) Genre: Comedy. A 3-star Michelin chef is about to lose his namesake restaurant along with his inspiration but finds hope in a talented but stubborn young chef. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.7 This French comedy was one of the favorites at this year’s Florida Film Festival; read my review here.
THINK LIKE A MAN TOO (Screen Gems) Genre: Comedy. The couples from the surprise hit first film head out to Vegas for a wedding. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.8 Kevin Hart is beginning to develop into one of my favorite comic actors.
THIRD PERSON (Sony Classics) Genre: Drama. Three couples in three cities all hide secrets as their stories entwine in unexpected ways. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.7 Another strong ensemble piece for writer-director Paul Haggis.
VENUS IN FUR (Cohen Media Group) Genre: Romance. A theatrical impresario becomes obsessed with an actress auditioning for his latest play. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 The latest from iconic director Roman Polanski.

JUNE 25, 2014

YVES ST. LAURENT (Weinstein) Genre: Biographical Drama. The story of one of the 20th century’s most iconic clothing designers whose innovations continue to influence fashion today. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.4 Not really a big lover of fashion but the trailer looked intriguing.

JUNE 27, 2014

BEGIN AGAIN (Weinstein) Genre: Romance. A former record company executive and the dumped ex-girlfriend of a rising rock star find each other and make beautiful music together. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles (opens limited release July 2; expands wide July 11). RATING: 2.0 Mark Ruffalo is becoming one of my go-to actors and Keira Knightley is always easy on the eyes.
THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ (FilmBuff) Genre: Documentary. The story of Swartz, founder of Reddit and creator of the RSS protocol whose life ended tragically at 26. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 1.5 Those who know the story know that Swartz is a modern hero.
JACKPOT (Doppelganger) Genre: Crime Comedy. The sole survivor of an adult book store shootout in Sweden relates to police how it all started with a winning soccer pool ticket. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 From acclaimed author Jo Nesbo with a kind of Coen Brothers sheen.
LA BARE (Main Street) Genre: Documentary. After performing in Magic Mike, actor Joe Manganiello was moved to explore the world of male stripping further and set his sights on one of the more well-known establishments of the art in Dallas. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 A compelling story of the real guys who take off their clothes and the sometimes tragic consequences.
SNOWPIERCER (Radius) Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller. Revolution is in the air on a train which contains the last vestiges of humanity during an Ice Age created by a failed experiment to halt climate change. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.0 Based on a French graphic novel and directed by the Korean master Bong Joon-ho, the trailer looks incredible.
THEY CAME TOGETHER (Lionsgate) Genre: Romantic Comedy Parody. A corporate piranha falls for the small business owner his company is threatening to shut down. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 While the cast looks incredible, the trailer kind of left me flat.
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Paramount) Genre: Science Fiction. Following the events of Transformers: Dark of the Moon the world is picking up the pieces in a post-Transformers era but a greater threat lies ahead. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, IMAX). RATING: 1.6 The franchise resumes with Mark Wahlberg in the lead and Dinobots!
VIOLETTE (Adopt) Genre: Biographical Drama. The complicated relationship between writer Violette Leduc and Simone de Beauvoir. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 I’m not familiar with Leduc’s work but I do know it is some of the earliest feminist writing in the world.
WHITEY: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VS. JAMES J. BULGER (Magnolia) Genre: Documentary. The tale of gangster Whitey Bulger and his fight against the United States that has called into question our entire system of law enforcement. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 Provocative look at a saga that has sent shock waves throughout the entire law enforcement community.

Edge of Tomorrow, The Fault in Our Stars, Obvious Child, 22 Jump Street, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Jersey Boys, Think Like a Man Too, Begin Again, Transformers: Age of Extinction