Movies in Theaters This Friday, May 16, 2014: Godzilla, Million Dollar Arm, The Immigrant, and More
Welcome to the start of one of the best back-to-back weekends we’ll (maybe?) get the entire year. Before next weekend’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is this weekend’s Godzilla.
As one of my most anticipated blockbusters of the year, I seriously can’t wait until I catch this movie. Unfortunately, this probably won’t happen for me until Saturday night. However, better late than never, right? The monster reboot stars Bryan Cranston (one of my favorites) and Elizabeth Olsen with Gareth Edwards (Monsters) at the helm.
The other wide release of the weekend belongs to the Jon Hamm-fronted Million Dollar Arm. Based on a true story, the movie centers around a baseball agent (Hamm) looking for potential pitchers in India.
In the limited release circles, I am mostly excited for The Immigrant. With an all-star cast that includes Marion Cotillard (Inception), Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner, how could you not be excited?
I also wanted to mention the documentary Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case. A few years back, I caught another Ai Weiwei doc (titled Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry). I’ll try to check out what looks like the follow-up film.
The rest of the agenda includes limited movies like A Night in Old Mexico, A Short History of Decay, Chinese Puzzle, The Discoverers, Don Peyote, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Wolf Creek 2.
Have a great weekend!
The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
In a last ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “Million Dollar Arm.” With the help of a cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout (Alan Arkin) he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18 year old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India – the boys, who have never left their rural villages – are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball – JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell) – learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.
Forced to give up his land and his only home, cantankerous Texas rancher Red Bovie isn’t about to go quietly to the dismal trailer park that’s all he can now afford, and instead goes off with his grandson Gally – son of his long-estranged son Jimmy – for one last wild and woolly adventure during a night in Old Mexico.
It is a comedy from an original script by Michael Maren, about a failed Brooklyn writer, Nathan Fisher, played by Bryan Greenberg, who visits his ailing parents in Florida. His mother (Lavin) has Alzheimer’s and his father (Yulin) has recently had a stroke.
After 81 days of solitary detention world famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is put under house arrest. He suffers from sleeping disorder and memory loss, 18 cameras are monitoring his studio and home, police agents follow his every move, and heavy restrictions from the Kafkaesque Chinese authorities weigh him down. Journalists, the art world and his family all want a piece of him and on top of that he is met with a gigantic lawsuit from the Chinese government, soon to be named ‘The Fake Case’. Ai Weiwei is shaken, but during the year on probation he steadily finds new ways to provoke and challenge the mighty powers of the Chinese authorities in his fight for human rights. Ai Weiwei strongly believes that China is ready for change. And he will do everything to make it happen.
Xavier is now forty years old. So are Wendy, Isabelle and Martine. At forty you are supposed to be more mature and live a a steadier life than at twenty. But not Xavier. Well, to be fair, he has made some progress in the field of thoughtfulness (he has even become a writer) but as concerns his everyday life, it is far from well-ordered. To be totally honest it is not entirely Xavier’s fault if his wife Wendy has suddenly left him for a new companion in New York and taken their two children with her. Realizing he can’t stand living without them, Xavier decides to settle down in Big Apple in order to remain close to them. He finds a home in Chinatown and it does not take long before trouble comes his way.
Washed-up history professor Lewis Birch (Oscar and Emmy nominated Griffin Dunne) takes his begrudging teenage kids – Zoe (Madeleine Martin, “Californication”) and Jack (Devon Graye, “American Horror Stories”) – on a road trip to a conference in hopes of putting his career back on track. But, when Lewis’s estranged father Stanley (Emmy Award-winning Stuart Margolin) goes AWOL on a Lewis and Clark historical reenactment trek, Lewis is forced to make a family detour. The Birch family find themselves on a journey of discovery and connection as they make their own passage west.
THE DISCOVERERS is a bittersweet comedy and moving debut feature from writer/director Justin Schwarz led by Dunne’s striking comeback performance. This engaging tale of family dysfunction and rediscovery also features a talented ensemble cast including David Rasche, (IN THE LOOP), Dreama Walker (COMPLIANCE), Ann Dowd (COMPLIANCE), Cara Buono (“Mad Men”), Becky Ann Baker (“Girls”), Scott Adsit (“30 Rock”), and John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”).
Warren Allman, is your typical innocent oblivious everyman, who is sent on the existential path of enlightenment. He deals with everything from over population to our economic decline to our defunct spirituality.
Warren is transformed into the shaman/prophet Don Peyote and sheds light on alternative lifestyles that work but have been buried by the decision makers to the detriment of our civilization. The movie takes a hard look at the current plight of humanity and begs of us all to take a second look at our own contribution. it makes us question which is better: maintaining the status quo or maintaining harmony with humankind, nature, the earth, and the stars.
Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the “revolutionary professor” Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu (John Boyega) in the dusty university town of Nsukka; Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises herself when she falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), an English writer.
Preoccupied by their romantic entanglements, and a betrayal between the sisters, the events of their life loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic, ending in chilling violence which shocked the entire country and the world.
A sweeping romantic drama, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN takes the sisters and their lovers on a journey through the war which is powerful, intensely emotional and, as the response of readers around the world has shown, it is a story which can touch everyone’s heart.
1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulska and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, she quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, Ewa encounters Bruno’s cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.
The outback once more becomes a place of horror as another unwitting tourist becomes the prey for crazed, serial-killing pig-hunter Mick Taylor.
Follow me on Twitter @jmacle