Irish writer/director John Michael McDonagh follows up his stellar feature-film debut, The Guard, with Calvary, the story of a priest (Brendan Gleeson) who must deal with the assholes in his parish after one of them threatens him during confession. Because The Guard was ostensibly a comedy and because Calvary co-stars Chris O’Dowd, a lot of people assumed this would be a comedy, but it’s actually a pretty dark, thoughtful exploration of Irish history and the awful ways people treat each other. I’ve been super into Irish cinema the last few years—they’re cranking out some genuinely good films and it’s worth your while to check them out.
Get On Up
Chadwick Boseman (42) continues to be The Guy for biopics, starring this time as James Brown. The movie is getting mixed reviews, but pretty much everyone is praising Boseman’s performance. So if you’re a fan of Boseman and/or Brown, this one’s for you.
Guardians of the Galaxy
As per usual, Marvel’s hit a home run. Somehow, improbably, their unstoppable franchise machine is not stagnating or backsliding, but continues to just get better and better. Guardians is the funniest Marvel movie to date, and also the best-looking—the visuals are eye-popping. I think I prefer Captain America: The Winter Soldier a wee bit more simply because its plot has real consequences for the Marvel Cinematic Universe where Guardians feels like a piece of fluff, but Guardians is so funny and fun it will have a high re-watchability index. It’s basically Marvel does Spaceballs on steroids.
Into the Storm
It’s Twister. It’s just Twister.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Lasse Hallstrom made a movie about food that stars Helen Mirren. We’re all winners here.
Step Up All In
“Stars from previous Step Up installments come together…”
This only counts if you have Mr. Potato Head Channing Tatum, which you don’t.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in a romantic comedy about what happens when you fall for your best friend. So it’s When Harry Met Sally for Millennials, but it actually looks really cute, thanks mostly to Daniel Radcliffe’s overwhelming charm. The rom-com has been virtually dead for years now, but it might just make a comeback with movies like this.
The Expendables 3
I imagine the sets for these movies smell like Icy Hot, steroids and old man farts.
Also, this movie has leaked online already.
The Giver is the book that established “dystopian future” as a sub-genre of Young Adult fiction, but the movie, coming on the heels of its literary successors The Hunger Games and Divergent feels like a retread of stuff we’ve already seen, except this time it doesn’t star a girl.
You know, if we’re going back in time to mine older YA books for adaptation, I wish someone would make a proper Maniac Magee movie.
Michael Fassbender plays a musician, the titular Frank, who wears a giant papier-mâché head. (There’s fighting your hotness and then there’s declaring war on your hotness.) Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley) stars as the wanna-be musician who gets sucked into Frank’s charisma vortex, for better or worse. Maggie Gyllenhaal co-stars, and the movie has been well-received by the festival crowd. It comes from a top-notch Irish director, Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did), and may be hard to find, but worth seeking out down the line.
Let’s Be Cops
Life After Beth
Aubrey Plaza stars as Beth, a zombie whose boyfriend (Dane DeHaan) refuses to break up with her. This is exactly the kind of movie I’d watch in an instant if it was on demand, but probably won’t make it to a theater to see.
The One I Love
Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss star as a married couple whose marriage is falling apart, so they go on a trip to reconnect only for everything they thought they knew to be challenged. Yawn.
The Trip to Italy
Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan and Michael Winterbottom reunite for an Italy-bound sequel to the fantastic The Trip. I’m into it.
If I Stay
Another common sub-genre of YA literature is “young people being sad”. It’ll be hard to top sleeper hit The Fault In Our Stars surprising box office from earlier this summer, but this is a soft, non-competitive weekend, so it ought to do decently well.
Love Is Strange
This was a Sundance stand-out, about a middle-aged gay couple (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina) who marry only to be forced to live apart when one of them gets fired. This is another one I wish was more readily available than limited release.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Did anyone actually ask for this to be made?
When the Game Stands Tall
A completely nonsensical title for your run of the mill sports movie about a high school football team on a winning streak.
As Above, So Below
I would LOVE to go to the Paris crypts, but I have no desire to see this movie.
Robin Wright has been getting a lot of praise for her performance as essentially herself, starring as an aging actress who allows a movie studio to use a digital version of herself in any way they like. It incorporates animation and live action, and is supposed to be a real doozy, thematically.
I love a good haunted house story, and this movie benefits from both Justified’s Joelle Carter and being written by comedian Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911), but I don’t think this is a theater choice. This is a solid on demand/streaming option around Halloween.
The November Man
What, was Liam Neeson too busy for this one?