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New Releases and Upcoming Movies

New & Upcoming Movie Releases

Black Mass
Release: September 18th
Rated: R
Cast: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson
Genre: Biography | Crime | Drama
Synopsis: The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
Release: September 25th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright
Genre: Adventure | Drama | Thriller
Synopsis: A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.
The Intern
Release: September 25th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Nat Wolff, Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro
Genre: Comedy
Synopsis: 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.
The Martian
Release: October 2nd
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig
Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Synopsis: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
The Walk
Release: October 9th
Rated: PG
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Ben Schwartz
Genre: Adventure | Biography | Drama
Synopsis: The story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Release: October 30th
Cast: Halston Sage, Tye Sheridan, Patrick Schwarzenegger
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Synopsis: Three scouts, on the eve of their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.
The Good Dinosaur
Release: November 25th
Cast: Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn 
Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy Synopsis: An epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.

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Black Mass
Johnny Depp is an actor who was once not given nearly enough credit, then he was given a little too much credit and now he's back to not getting enough again.  Sure, he was just another forgettable albeit pretty face in A Nightmare on Elm Street but shortly after that he started to fight against that by choosing challenging films and unconventional roles.    It seemed like he changed his appearance so much that he tried to get audience members to not realize he was even in the movie.  Sure, he got an Oscar nomination for Ed Wood but he never got credit for playing against type in almost everything he did.  Then Pirates of the Caribbean came out and everyone hailed him as a genius, which he is.  Captain Jack Sparrow, which earned him another Oscar nomination, was one of his best performances and the start of a losing streak.  He's done 16 movies since the first Pirates film and none of them were great by any means.  Black Mass, however, is here to change all that. Director Scott Cooper is a difficult artist to love.  Black Mass is only his third film but all of them have been really good and have moments of genius.  The good news is that just like with Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace, Cooper manages to perfectly capture the low income environments they represent.  In this case it's South Boston as it tells the story of "Whitey" Bulger, who was one of the most wanted gangsters in America.  Cooper fills his movies with the depressed faces of regional non-actors as both speaking parts and background set pieces to create an authentic feel to that part of America.  Once again, he also crafts wonderful, heartbreaking and Oscar-worthy performances from his cast.  The sad part is that all his films move at such a sluggish pace that they feel an hour longer than they actually are; Black Mass is no exception. You can tell when you watch this film that it was longer at one point.  That's the sign of a really bad editing job.  Certain scenes feel chopped at awkward moments.  Other scenes involve storylines that don't seem to go anywhere or get resolution.  Worst of all, there are talented actors playing what seem like important characters, that have such  limited screen time that they must have been sliced because the full version was feeling like a four-hour epic.  Not only is that a frustration while watching Black Mass but it makes it confusing at times too.  I brought my wife with me who knew nothing of the true story of Bulger and his Winter Hill Gang.  Because of the sloppy editing, she was lost often and had to ask for clarification several times. Despite an amazing cast that involves Joel Eggerton (The Gift, The Great Gatsby), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, The Hobbit), Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey, 21 Jump Street), Kevin Bacon and many more, this is all about Depp.  He's in almost every single scene and thank God for that.  His performance is absolutely chilling.  In other gangster movies the stars drift back and forth from charming playboy to vicious killer, but not Black Mass.  Depp portrays Bulger as the sadistic animal he was rumored to be.  There are no fancy suits.  There is no seduction of women.  There isn't even a shot here and there that makes him look handsome.  Depp disappears in this performance as he does with most of characters he's played. Black Mass is exactly what the trailers told you it was...gritty, unflinching, violent and suspenseful.  You may have to do a little research into the story before you see it but it's worth it.  I don't expect to see Black Mass show up on any Oscar lists this year; partly because it's slightly not good enough to be and Depp often gets overlooked for performances that deserve the attention.  Regardless though, if gangster movies are your cup of tea but you're in the mood to see one that looks and feels less glamorous and more real...Black Mass does the trick.
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Fantastic Four
Our heroic foursome stands together in the final scene of the movie and playfully comes up with stupid names for their super group.  Just as they nail it, the movie's over and credits roll.  That's how it ends and the reason I'm saying that is because after that is the best part of the film.  Not only is the climax that moment because the agony of this shameful attempt at a film is finally out of its misery but because it's the most dramatic.  See, I sat there through all the credits because I've been trained like a dog to do so now at comic book films in hopes that there's an extra scene at the end. There isn't one in Fantastic Four, thank God, but as I sat there and watched the thousand or so names go by of every person who work on it, I felt sad.  So many people gave a portion of their time for that movie and it turned out so tragically.  What must it feel like to be one of those people who worked for months making sure that the rock skin on The Thing looked real just to have it finalized in a complete product so massively awful?  It was the only emotion I felt while watching it and it was empathy for all those poor a-holes. Even if you're someone who casually pays attention to movies, you may find yourself feeling deja vu with the release of Fantastic Four.  You'd be right and it was less than ten years ago that we already had our last attempt at this franchise turned into two different films.  They starred Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd (San Andreas, Horrible Bosses), Chris Evans (Captain America, The Avengers) and Michael Chiklis (The Shield, American Horror Story) and was directed by Tim Story (Think Like a Man, Ride Along).  They were absolutely awful and no one liked the first one and couldn't figure out why they even made a second one.  As unforgivably bad as those movies were (Rotten Tomatoes: 27% and 37%), this one is impressively even worse. Fantastic Four is a comic franchise that I thought was stupid even as a child when your gauge for what's stupid is very, very forgiving.  Without going into it, it's a super group made up of scientists, named Mr. Fantastic, Mrs. Fantastic, The Human Torch and The Thing, who get super powers after returning from an alternate dimension.  They suck; they always have and they always will.  20th Century Fox needs to accept that and stop torturing us with new reboots.  No matter how young or hip or dark you make them, it's still the same basic story that made even 11-year-old Gavin say, "a guy who can stretch?  This is dumb." Perhaps the worst part about this movie is who they brought down with it.  Miles Teller is on a hot streak and one of Hollywood's fastest rising stars.  He was in the Oscar-winning Whiplash last year but also in the Divergent series as well.  The guy is actually talented but somehow comes across as stiff, dull and so terrible you feel like you're watching someone have sex for the first time, in that you feel bad for them because they're trying but it's a total failure on all fronts.  The same can be said for Michael B. Jordan (Fruitville Station, That Awkward Moment) and Jamie Bell (Snowpiercer, Filth).  Both are good performers but are staggeringly awful in Fantastic Four. The fault of the whole project falls on director Josh Trank (Chronicle).  He made the most boring superhero movie ever made.  The magic trick of making a 100-minute-running time feel like 300 is an illusion that hasn't been done so masterfully in a long time.  Even more impressive is that he made a reboot that was even worse than a first miserable attempt and ended up making the worst movie of the year, despite Adam Sandler releasing something in the same year.  That deserves a slow clap.  How you can make an action film devoid of action and nobody notices is either something that should kill your career or seriously make you rethink why you do what you do in the first place.  Fantastic Four is a failure and so freaking far from fantastic it's not even funny.  Alliteration!
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The Nightmare
Horror movies are a passion of mine.  Documentaries are a passion of mine.  However, in all my years of watching both, I don't think I've ever come across a horror-documentary.  There have been disturbing documentaries like Grizzly Man, The Cove, and The Act of Killing.  And, of course, we all know how many horror movies have been made to feel like documentaries.  But there is something very unique about a film that is 100% true accounts documenting the lives of subjects that was made for the sole purpose of scaring the s**t out of you.  That's The Nightmare and it succeeds big time.  The night after I watched this, I laid in bed staring at the ceiling unable to fall asleep...or perhaps it was unwilling to fall asleep. The Nightmare is about eight people from around the world who have no connection with each other but all suffer from the sleep paralysis.  That is a disorder that makes a person's brain misfire when they sleep and they are unable to move, unable to speak, unable to wake up and, worse of all, get subjected to the most horrific hallucinations you can imagine that feel entirely real to them while they're experiencing them.  It has no cure.  It has very little knowledge about it.  And accounts of what a sleep paralysis sufferer sees is not only what horror films have pulled influence from for decades but might also be where we get the concept of demons and what they look like. Director Rodney Ascher is a mad genius.  He enjoys making films that are dark and about mental disorders.  His previous documentary was called Room 237 and is also an absolutely excellent film.  In that, the subjects are never shown and only offer voice over.  Each of them are allowed to spill every nutty conspiracy theory and valid observation they have about Stanley Kubrik's version of The Shining.  I know that sounds monotonous but it's a rabbit hole of insanity that starts to make sense after a while.  You think it's a movie about The Shining but it's actually a wonderful documentary about obsession and how that can make a person insane.  Ascher has also directed several short horror films that are fictional but what's the most interesting is that prior to horror, both real and fake, he was respected as a comedy director of several shorts.  All of his passions come to a creative head in The Nightmare, which has just a pinch of humor in it to break the tension. Besides the terrifying true stories that these people share about their nightly battles, there are the surreal recreations Ascher makes.  The narrative continues but the visuals bounce back and forth from interview with the subject to creepy and graphic recreations of what they're saying.  It's effective but at times it feels like a film version of any paranormal TV show like Unsolved Mysteries, Haunted America or stuff like that.  Sure, the recreations are scarier than what you'd see on TV but they're almost unnecessary.  The stories that the people are telling is enough to make your hairs stand on end and icy chills cover your skin.  The actors in the recreations are better quality than cable shows but it's still not enough to shake that feeling that there's gonna be a commercial break at any second. Saying that something is scary is even more subjective than saying something is funny.  What scares me may not scare you.  The Nightmare is one of the first films that I'm pretty confident saying is universally scary.  Granted, it all depends on when and where you see it.  It's available on iTunes at the same time as in limited theaters.  I watched it on iTunes and sat in my house alone at night, which is perfect for making something creepy.  I recommend that approach but I'd imagine that even if you make it all the way through and don't think it's scary at all; later that night you'll run through some of what you saw and heard and rethink that.
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Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Spy movies have never really done much for me.  Never got into James Bond.  Never even saw the Bourne films.  Mission: Impossible is a spy franchise that has been around as feature films since 1996.  I remember seeing the first one with my friends in high school and we loved it.  It's hard to believe that almost 20 years later, they're still making them and they're only getting better.  Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation wasn't a film I was looking forward to seeing but it was one of the most exciting movies of the summer. One thing that amazing about the Mission franchise is that every installment has been made by a different director.  Normally that's a sign of a franchise in trouble but not in this case.  On top of that, every single film has been made by directors that are masters.  Brian De Palma (Scarface, Carrie) did the first one.  John Woo (Face/Off, The Killer) made the second.  JJ Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Super 8) did the third.  Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) did Ghost Protocol.  Which brings us to the director of Rogue Nation.  His name is Christopher McQuarrie and he's not so much a major name.  He's done a lot of writing (like The Usual Suspects) but this is only his third movie he's directed and the other two aren't very good.  I don't know if it's because Cruise is a good luck charm but you can't tell that McQuarrie is an unremarkable filmmaker for a second because this is the best in the series. It was a trending story when it came out that Tom Cruise does a stunt in Rogue Nation where he's hanging on the side of a plane as it takes off and then flies around.  It wasn't CGI.  It wasn't a stunt man.  It wasn't even a tiny plane that flew slowly a few hundred feet over the ground.  Cruise is on the side of a plane that is going full speed and flying over the earth.  It's a stunt that is so amazingly spectacular it takes your breath away and made the audience in my theater burst into applause at the scene's conclusion.  That scene is at the very beginning of the movie; like, before the opening credits.  How ballsy is that?!  You take the scene everyone is talking about and show it right away.  What's even more impressive than all that is that it's not even the most exciting sequence in the film. Rogue Nation is a reminder that doing practical stunts will always be better than CGI...always!  Some of the action scenes are so breathtaking, I had trouble watching them.  Not only are they all super fun but they're done so well.  The colors, the photography, the scenery, everything in all of them is stellar.  McQuarrie nails it not only as the film's director but writer as well!  The script is complex and filled with peril but still manages to have the perfect amount of humor at the right places.  Cruise is at his best as well and reminds us why he's the top shelf star in the first place.  Besides great performances from the returning cast of Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, American Hustle), Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Dawn of the Dead) and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek) there's the addition of Rebecca Ferguson (Hercules) and Sean Harris (Prometheus, '71).  Ferguson is sexy and dangerous.  Harris is a creepy presence despite having a serpentine voice that makes him hard to understand. I don't know if it's because Mission Impossible is a franchise from 20 years ago.  I don't know if it's because it's based on a TV show from the '60s.  I don't know if it's because it stars Tom Cruise and he is a superstar who isn't as popular as he used to be.  Something about the franchise feels a little stale.  I don't know many people that get excited for it and it's not something that is guarenteed to rocket it to the #1 at the box office.  However, Rogue Nation is a thrilling and fun film that shined brighter than all the other action movies of the summer.  Not too shabby for clunky, 20-year-old vehicle. Want to see an advanced screening of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation? Enter for your chance to win HERE!
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