Movies in Theaters This Friday, October 17, 2014: Fury, The Book of Life, Birdman, and More
As we progress into October, we continue to get ambushed with busy weekends. That may have sounded like a complaint but it was far from it.
To me, the most exciting movie comes out in limited release (go figure) but before we get there, I want to talk about David Ayer’s Fury. The WWII drama looks pretty exciting and not just because it stars Brad Pitt. Some guessed that its moved-up release date was a strategy to help its Oscar chances. From the outside, it looks like it has a lot of momentum.
The other two wide releases definitely have a niche audience (even though I don’t think they’ll amount to a whole lot). I could be wrong about the animated film The Book of Life – which voice stars Diego Luna (Elysium), Zoe Saldana, and Channing Tatum – since it has Guillermo del Toro’s name involved as a producer.
On the other hand, The Best of Me just doesn’t look like it stands much of a chance. Teen audiences and romantic enthusiasts aside, I’d be surprised to see a Nicholas Sparks adaptation succeed with critics. I’ve been wrong before.
To me, the most anticipated release this weekend is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s (21 Grams) black comedy Birdman. This meta pic stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up superhero actor trying to make a comeback. It also stars Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Zach Galifianakis.
I also wanted to quickly mention both Camp X-Ray (which stars Kristen Stewart in the famed Guantanamo Bay prison) and Felony (which stars Joel Edgerton and Tom Wilkinson) as potentials.
The rest of the limited releases are The Culture High, Dear White People, Default, Housebound, Listen Up Philip, Rudderless, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, and Young Ones.
Have a great weekend!
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend.
Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.
THE BOOK OF LIFE, a vibrant fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of Manolo, a conflicted hero anddreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to rescue his one true love and defend his village.
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory.
A young soldier escapes her suffocating small town by joining the military, only to find that she isn’t going for a tour of duty in Iraq as she hoped. Instead, she’s sent to Guantanamo. Met with hatred and abuse from the Muslim men in her charge, she forges an odd friendship with a young man who has been imprisoned at Gitmo for eight years.
Journeying across the North American landscape, “The Culture High” is the riveting story that tears into the very fibre of modern day marijuana prohibition to reveal the truth behind the arguments and motives governing both those who support and those who oppose the existing pot laws. With budgets to fight the war reaching billions and arrests for simple possession skyrocketing to nearly a million annually, the debate over marijuana’s legality has reached epic proportions. Utilizing the quirky yet profound nature of its predecessor, “”The Union: The Business Behind Getting High””, “The Culture High” raises the stakes with some of today’s biggest names, unprecedented access to footage previously unobtainable, and incredibly moving testimonials from both sides of the spectrum. Top celebrities, former undercover agents, university professors and a slew of unforgettable characters from all points of view come together for an amusing yet insightful portrait of cannabis prohibition and the grasp it has on society as a whole. “The Culture High” will strip search the oddity of human nature and dare to ask the question: What exactly is going on here?
Winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent, Dear White People is a sly, provocative satire of race relations in the age of Obama. Writer/director Justin Simien follows a group of African American students as they navigate campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white college in a sharp and funny feature film debut that earned him a spot on Variety’s annual “10 Directors to Watch.” When Dear White People screened at MOMA’s prestigious New Directors/New Films, the New York Times’ A.O. Scott wrote, “Seeming to draw equal measures of inspiration from Whit Stillman and Spike Lee, but with his own tart, elegant sensibility very much in control, Mr. Simien evokes familiar campus stereotypes only to smash them and rearrange the pieces.”
The unexpected election of activist Samantha White (Tessa Thompson) as head of a traditionally black residence hall sets up a college campus culture war that challenges conventional notions of what it means to be black. While Sam leverages her notoriety as host of the provocative and polarizing radio show “Dear White People” to try to prevent the college from diversifying Armstrong Parker House, outgoing head-of-house Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell), son of the university’s dean (Dennis Haysbert), defies his father’s lofty expectations by applying to join the staff of Pastiche, the college’s influential humor magazine. Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams), an Afro-sporting sci-fi geek, is recruited by the otherwise all-white student newspaper to go undercover and write about black culture—a subject he knows little about—while the aggressively assimilated Coco Conners (Teyonah Parris) tries to use the controversy on campus to carve out a career in reality TV.
But no one at Winchester University is prepared for Pastiche’s outrageous, ill-conceived annual Halloween party, with its “unleash your inner Negro” theme throwing oil on an already smoldering fire of resentment and misunderstanding. When the party descends into riotous mayhem, everyone must choose a side.
A news crew is taken hostage on an airplane set to take off from the Seychelles by a gang of Somali pirates whose leader is driven by one goal: to be interviewed by a prominent member of the crew, legendary journalist Frank Saltzman.
Three male detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident that leaves a child in a coma. One is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempts to expose it. How far will these men go to both disguise and unravel the truth?
Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam – a well-intentioned blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. Kylie dismisses Miriam’s superstitions as nothing more than a distraction from a life occupied by boiled vegetables & small-town gossip. However, when she too becomes privy to unsettling whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she’s inherited her overactive imagination, or if the house is in fact possessed by a hostile spirit who’s less than happy about the new living arrangement.
Anger rages in Philip as he awaits the publication of his second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley, and his own indifference to promoting the novel. When Philip’s idol Ike Zimmerman offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject: himself.
In William H. Macy’s moving directorial debut RUDDERLESS, Billy Crudup plays Sam, a former high-profile advertising executive whose life is torn apart by the sudden death of his son. Living off the grid on a docked sailboat, he wastes away his days while drowning his pain in alcohol. When Sam discovers a box filled with his son’s demo tapes and lyrics, his own child’s musical talent is a revelation for him, a grieving father yearning to reconnect with his son. He begins to explore his son’s unknown talent, obsessively learning his songs, until one day he decides to play one of them at a local bar. The song captivates Quentin, a young musician (Anton Yelchin) in the audience, and the two unlikely friends decide to form a rock ‘n’ roll band called Rudderless that becomes surprisingly popular and revitalizes both of their lives.
Crudup, who gives a searing performance, leads an exemplary cast that includes Anton Yelchin as Quentin, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne and Felicity Huffman. With RUDDERLESS, William H. Macy has gifted us with a poignant and inspirational musical drama about the power of love, forgiveness and redemption. RUDDERLESS had its world-premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it was the closing night film.
An old man makes a living by selling bamboo. One day, he finds a princess in a bamboo. The princess is only the size of a finger. Her name is Kaguya. When Kaguya grows up, 5 men from prestigious families propose to her. Kaguya asks the men to find memorable marriage gifts for her, but the 5 men are unable to find what Kaguya wants. Then, the Emperor of Japan proposes to her.
65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called ‘moonlight murders’ begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl, with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.
Set in a near future when water has become the most precious and dwindling resource on the planet, one that dictates everything from the macro of political policy to the detailed micro of interpersonal family and romantic relationships. The land has withered into something wretched. The dust has settled on a lonely, barren planet. The hardened survivors of the loss of Earth’s precious resources scrape and struggle. Ernest Holm Michael Shannon lives on this harsh frontier with his children, Jerome Kodi Smit-McPhee and Mary Elle Fanning. He defends his farm from bandits, works the supply routes, and hopes to rejuvenate the soil. But Mary’s boyfriend, Flem Lever (Nicholas Hoult), has grander designs. He wants Ernest’s land for himself, and will go to any length to get it. From writer/director Jake Paltrow comes a futuristic western, told in three chapters, which inventively layers Greek tragedy over an ethereal narrative that’s steeped deeply in the values of the American West.
Follow me on Twitter @jmacle