Movies in Theaters This Friday, February 22, 2013: Dark Skies, Snitch, Inescapable, and More
With Oscar weekend upon us, it seems fitting that it is the end of February. Highly regarded as one of the worst months for new releases, I’ve been very underwhelmed with the releases (minus Side Effects). The question is: Will that change this weekend?
There are two wide releases, the first being Dark Skies, starring Keri Russell, Dakota Goyo, and Josh Hamilton. It is apparently a science fiction horror film dealing with a mysterious alien force that terrorizes a family.
The second wide release is Snitch starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It looks like a crime drama, which hopefully is closer to Narc than Contraband. We’ll see…
In limited release, there are a wide variety of options. Inescapable is the only one I am familiar with. It has a Taken-like premise, although I ultimately wasn’t a huge fan of it.
The other release worth noting is Bless Me, Ultima, based on the critically-acclaimed book by Rudolfo Anaya. The movie is directed by Carl Franklin (Out of Time).
Interestingly, Alex Karpovsky (HBO’s Girls) directs and stars in two different releases from this weekend (both available on Video On Demand, too): Red Flag and Rubberneck.
The rest of the limited releases are 11 Flowers, Kai Po Che, and Stand Off. More information about these titles are below.
Good luck with your decision, and please let us know which movie you see and whether it is worth it. Happy weekend!
From the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister comes Dark Skies: a supernatural thriller that follows a young family living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.
Dwayne Johnson stars as John Matthews, a businessman hit hard when his teenage son is wrongfully ensnared in a drug bust and threatened with a terrifying 10-30 years in federal prison (under the US government’s draconian minimum drug sentencing laws). The only option to reduce the sentence is to “snitch.” A desperate Matthews makes a deal with the politically ambitious federal prosecutor (Sarandon) and infiltrates the operation of a violent drug dealer (Williams). When his amateur undercover work unexpectedly exposes a major player in the Mexican drug trade (Bratt), the rules suddenly change and an already dangerous venture turns decidedly deadly.
Like his fellow Sixth Generation filmmaker Jia Zhangke, Wang Xiaoshuai (Beijing Bicycle, Shanghai Dreams) has learned much from Taiwanese master Edward Yang, whose work frequently places intimate family stories within a politically charged historical framework. Brimming with youthful energy and featuring lovingly detailed evocations of a specific time and place, 11 Flowers demonstrates Wang’s deep engagement with mainland China’s complex cultural history.
Set in a riverside community in Southwest China in 1975, just before the tumultuous end of the Cultural Revolution, 11 Flowers follows 11-year-old Wang Han as he negotiates the onset of puberty while trying to decipher the anxious whispering of the surrounding adults—of Red Guards clashing with conservatives, and of a killer run loose in the woods. Han’s concerns are typical for someone his age— playing street games with friends, spying on local girls and fussing over school clothes—but things turn more serious after a strange encounter near the river.
Wang imbues each scenario with deep emotional resonance, leading us to understand the financial struggles and geographical displacement of the village’s inhabitants, many of whom were sent away from their native Shanghai. Wang skillfully depicts a culture on the verge of chaos, but he leaves room for the subtler moments too, like a father teaching his son the intricacies of painting, moments that can have a profound impact, despite impending upheaval.
Based on the controversial novel by acclaimed author Rudolfo Anaya, BLESS ME, ULTIMA is a turbulent coming-of-age story about Antonio Marez (Luke Ganalon), a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II. When a mysterious curandera named Ultima (Miriam Colon) comes to live with his family, she teaches him about the power of the spiritual world. As their relationship grows, Antonio beings to question the strict Catholic doctrine that he has been taught by his parents (Dolores Heredia & Benito Martinez). Through a series of mysterious and at times terrifying events Antonio must grapple with questions about his own destiny, the relationship between good vs. evil and ultimately how to reconcile Ultimas powers with those of the God of his church.
Successful Syrian-Canadian businessman Adib (Siddig) lives a comfortable life in Toronto with his loving wife and two college-aged daughters. On a typical afternoon at work, he receives a devastating piece of news: while vacationing in Greece, his eldest daughter secretly took a detour to Damascus — and vanished. Frantic, Adib immediately makes plans to return to Syria after more than thirty years. As Adib places a series of covert phone calls and makes secret rendezvous with former contacts, it gradually becomes clear that he was once a major player in the Syrian resistance movement. Aided by the ex-fiancée he left behind (Marisa Tomei) and a dubious Canadian embassy official (Joshua Jackson), Adib wades through vague clues, government subterfuge, and a web of conspiracies that stand between him and his daughter. When the regime discovers his former identity and accuses his daughter of being a spy, Adib must once again take up arms and fight for what he holds most dear.
Nadda spent four years as a teenager living in Damascus, which surely informs her convincing evocation of the climate of paranoia that is cultivated by totalitarian regimes. Along with its chillingly authentic atmosphere, Inescapable poses a series of vital, ethically charged questions. What happens if the past won’t stay in the past? What desperate lengths could someone go to if their former life threatens the new life they’ve spent decades painstakingly building? Expertly building the tension to a fever pitch, Nadda withholds her answers until the final, nail-biting minutes.
Best friends Ishaan, Omi and Govind – young, ambitious and restless – are trying to make a mark in the India of the early 2000’s. These are exciting times – a new millennium has just dawned, India is a nuclear power and ostensibly shining – a perfect place for the 3 Ahmedabad boys to start a business that could be their ticket to fame and riches. In a country where cricket is religion, they hit upon a brilliant plan – to start a training academy that could produce India’s next sporting superstars! What follows is without doubt the greatest adventure of their lives, as they attempt to navigate the big hurdles in the path of fulfilling their dreams. Based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestselling novel “The Three Mistakes of My Life”, Kai Po Che (meaning a triumphant yell in Gujarati) is an unforgettable ode to friendship and the magical moments one shares with one’s closest pals – celebrating festivals, drunken dancing, watching cricket matches together, strategizing on how to catch the attention of the cute neighborhood girl, being there to watch each other’s back in troubled times and to celebrate one’s successes by screaming “Kai Po Che”!
In this close-to-the-bone existential ‘meta-comedy’, Alex Karpovsky plays an indie filmmaker named Alex Karpovsky. Dumped by a longtime girlfriend fed up with his refusal to marry, Alex takes to the road with an old pal for a misbegotten tour that will screen his film at college campuses and art house theaters. Pursued by an overly ardent groupie and his own demons, Alex sinks into a twisting constellation of fear, deception, and uncompromised humiliation. Unfurling across six southern states, RED FLAG is an observant, dry, self-effacing, and painfully funny meditation on commitment and the human ability (or inability) to change.
Paul Harris is a scientist at a small research facility on the outskirts of Boston. After a weekend tryst with Danielle, an attractive and promiscuous co-worker, leaves him wanting more, his unreciprocated desires gradually mold into an acute infatuation over the following months. When Danielle takes interest in a new researcher at the laboratory, Paul’s suppressed resentments and perverse delusions finally become unhinged, triggering a horrific course of events that mercilessly engulf a tortured past and fugitive present. A slow-burning, character-driven psychosexual thriller, RUBBERNECK navigates through the binds of childhood, the underpinnings of obsessions, and our sadistic inability to look away.
Gibbs Widemann III had it all – money, power and a corner office in the finance sector. But all that changed when he was caught cheating his way to the top. Now jobless, Gibbs must now do the only sensible thing any self-respecting man would: compete against children in the lemonade-stand business. As he quickly learns, however, the suburbs are just as cutthroat as Wall Street. Selling lemonade is anything but child’s play, and Gibbs must apply every trick he’s learned to reach the top of the ladder again.
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