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New Releases and Upcoming Movies

New & Upcoming Movie Releases


Bird People
Release: September 12th
Rated: TBD
Cast: Josh Charles, Anaïs Demoustier, Roschdy Zem
Genre: Drama | Fantasy | Romance 
Synopsis: In an airport hotel on the outskirts of Paris, a Silicon Valley engineer abruptly chucks his job, breaks things off with his wife, and holes up in his room. Soon, fate draws him and a young French maid together.
The Green Prince
Release: December 5th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Mosab Hassan Yousef, Gonen Ben Yitzhak
Genre: Documentary | Drama | Thriller 
Synopsis: The son of a founding leader in the Palestinian organization, Hamas, becomes a spy for the Israelis.
Watchers of the Sky
Release: October 17th
Rated: Not Rated
Director:  Edet Belzberg
Genre: Documentary | Biography | History | News
Synopsis: Four modern stories of remarkable courage while setting out to uncover the forgotten life of Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term 'genocide'. Inspired by Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, 'A Problem From Hell', 'Watchers of the Sky' traverses time and continents to explore genocide and the cycle of violence.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Release: October 17th
Rated: PG
Cast: Aki Asakura, Yukiji Asaoka, Beau Bridges, Emily Bridges
Genre: Animation | Drama | Fantasy
Synopsis: 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.
Camp X-Ray
Release: October 17th
Rated: R
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Peyman Moaadi, Lane Garrison, Tara Holt
Genre: Drama
Synopsis: A soldier assigned to Guantanamo Bay befriends a man who has been imprisoned there for eight years.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Release: October 17th
Rated: R
Cast: Addison Timlin, Anthony Anderson, Denis O'Hare, Gary Cole
Genre: Horror | Thriller
Synopsis: 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.
Listen Up Philip
Release: October 17th
Rated: Not Rated
Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter
Genre: Drama
Synopsis: 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.
Dear White People
Release: October 17th
Rated: R
Cast: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P Bell
Genre: Comedy | Drama
Synopsis: The lives of four black students at an Ivy League college converge after controversy breaks out due to the ill-conceived theme of the campus humor magazine's annual Halloween party.
Birdman
Release: October 17th
Rated: R
Cast: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough
Genre: Comedy | Drama
Synopsis: 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.
The Best of Me
Release: October 17th
Rated: Not Rated
Cast: James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato
Genre: Drama | Romance
Synopsis: A pair of former high school sweethearts reunite after many years when they return to visit their small hometown.
Fury
Release: October 17th
Rated: R
Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña
Genre: Action | Drama | War
Synopsis: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, 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.
Force Majeure
Release: October 24th
Rated: R
Cast: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren, Vincent Wettergren
Genre: Drama
Synopsis: A family on a ski holiday in the French Alps find themselves staring down an avalanche during lunch one day; in the aftermath, their dynamic has been shaken to its core, with a question mark hanging over their patriarch in particular.
Citizenfour
Release: October 24th
Rated: Not Rated
Cast: Edward Snowden, William Binney, Glenn Greenwald
Genre: Documentary
Synopsis: A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.
Laggies
Release: October 24th
Rated: R
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Kaitlyn Dever
Genre: Comedy | Romance
Synopsis: A woman stuck in permanent adolescence lies to her fiancé about going on a retreat and spends the time hanging out with friends instead.
White Bird in a Blizzard
Release: October 24th
Rated: R
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Angela Bassett
Genre: Drama | Thriller
Synopsis: In 1988, a teenage girl's life is thrown into chaos when her mother disappears.
John Wick
Release: October 24th
Rated: Not Rated
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Bridget Moynahan, Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane
Genre: Action | Thriller
Synopsis: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.
Ouija
Release: October 24th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca A. Santos
Genre: Horror
Synopsis: A group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board.
Horns
Release: October 31st
Rated: R
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Heather Graham, Kelli Garner
Genre: Drama | Fantasy | Horror | Thriller
Synopsis: In the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples.
ABCs of Death 2
Release: October 31st
Rated: NR
Cast: Martina García, Béatrice Dalle, Laurence R. Harvey, Miguel Ángel Muñoz
Genre: Comedy | Horror
Synopsis: Be ready to learn your ABC's again with 26 new directors and 26 new deaths bring your kids to a blood and gore filled horror so good your face will be blood red.
Before I Go To Sleep
Release: October 31st
Rated: R
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Anne-Marie Duff
Genre: Mystery | Thriller
Synopsis:A woman wakes up every day, remembering nothing as a result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, new terrifying truths emerge that force her to question everyone around her.
Nightcrawler
Release: October 31st
Rated: R
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Anne McDaniels
Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
Synopsis:A young man stumbles upon the underground world of L.A. freelance crime journalism.


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Ouija
Halloween is the time when studios used to release their best scary movies they had in the roster. Seems like that's not the case anymore or at the very least it hasn't happened in a while. The last movie that came out that I felt was truly terrifying was The Conjuring and that was a release in the middle of summer. That's why it was a relief to see that at least one horror film was coming out this month and it was Ouija. The first trailer was released and it didn't look very good but being the eternal horror optimist, I hoped for the best. I shouldn't have because it's pretty terrible. Every kid has played with a ouija board at some point in their life. For me, it was at my best friend's house and, oddly, I played it with his mother after he went to sleep. We "contacted the spirit" of a dead friend of hers. It was pretty creepy for my 13-year-old brain but as an adult I look back at that and scoff because A: she was clearly the one moving it and B: it was weird to play that with my friend's mom. That evening was more creepy though than anything found in Ouija which relies heavily on startle scares which are the easiest and cheapest tricks in the horror movie playbook. The film stars Olivia Cooke (A&E's Bates Motel, The Quiet Ones), who I interviewed and you can hear below. She leads a team of actors that are even less recognizable than her and it's obvious why when you see the film. All of them are one or two rungs up the talent ladder from performers on The Disney Channel and all of which look like recent college graduates and not 17-year-olds. The lack of quality in the performances from everyone besides Cooke is only part of the problem. The rest of the issues rest on the shoulders of writer/director Stiles White. White is one of the worst filmmakers I've seen in a while and I'm saying that knowing this is his first attempt at directing. The man has an impressive background in the world of special effects and is punishing us all with his worse-than-film-school attempt at horror. Besides the fact that he creates no atmosphere or tension, he also has no consequences for anything happening in it. The film is about a group of friends who open the door to an evil spirit while playing with a ouija board trying to contact their dead friend. One-by-one they all start to die and not only does no one care that these kids are dying but no one is reacting to the deaths either. The one and only thing that is creepy about Ouija is the finale of the film. Now the reason why I'm impressed with that is because that's usually where most horror movies go off the rails; they get bigger and bigger at the end and in doing so lose whatever creep-factor made them great to begin with (ie: Insidious). In Ouija, when we have the big showdown with the physically manifested spirit, it's very chilling to see. The make-up is very effective and the minute or so its on the screen is the one and only highlight of the film. Despite an impressive finale, Ouija is still bad enough that I feel that I should get a board and try to contact the dead career of Stiles White and ask it to go toward the light. Enter to win advanced screening passes for Big Hero 6 here! Listen to Gavin's interview with actress Oliva Cooke, who plays Laine Morris in Ouija...
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The Judge
Every Oscar season, which is September to December for anyone who doesn't know, I love to look and see what's getting buzz. I would say a conservative estimate on what gets nominated every year is 80% of the same old same old. Don't get me wrong; they're usually spectacular and the best films of the year. However you can smell an Oscar film from a mile away. The Judge is no different. It's filled with Oscar cliches and is essentially a paint-by-number to making a movie that The Academy often loves. Despite all that, there's a reason why that formula exists; it's effective. The Judge stars Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duval as a father/son team. Downey is the slick defense attorney who lives in the big city now. Duval is the grumpy old judge that still lives in the small Indiana town. They don't like each other due to a mysterious incident that reveals itself in pieces throughout the film. A sad thing brings them together and then another crushing event happens, in this case Duval's character is accused of killing someone he sentenced to prison with his car. Said event forces the two to stay together till it's resolved and in the process of doing so, they also resolve their differences. See, what I mean? It's a story you've seen many times before but those stories are usually good. This is no different. The reason you see The Judge is not because it's going to be a Best Picture. You see The Judge because Downey and Duval are excellent. Both show a vulnerability that neither have before, especially Duval. The man is 83 and instead of hiding his age like everyone else does in Hollywood, he shines a spotlight on it and makes you weep at his frailty despite his stubbornness and will to carry on. Downey plays the same character he always does, which is just different degrees of Tony Stark-intensity, but it's such an enjoyable character that we can't look away. The difference here is that he has moments of big emotion that I can't remember him sharing with us in a very long time. Director David Dobkin has made the best film of his career. The reason why that's not an impressive statement is because his career sucks. This guy hasn't made a good movie since 1998. Since then he's been wasting our time and disappointing us with movies like Fred Claus, Shanghai Knights, and The Change-Up. Yes, it's true he did Wedding Crashers but go back and watch it; it's not as funny as you remember. But that was in his past. Looking at his work on The Judge, it's not bad. You can tell he studied Oscar films and made a check-list because everything is there -- the sweeping shots of small town America, the smokey and dark courtrooms, grainy flashback footage, etc. It's not good but considering what he's done so far, it's his masterpiece. Do I expect The Judge to win anything at this year's Academy Awards? No. Do I expect a nomination or two? Perhaps. Do I think it should win anything? Not really. Yes, it's true that I cried but I'm a softy who saw the movie when I was tired and since I became a father, anything that deals with family tension and resolution hits me right in the feels. I don't think anyone who isn't a critic who watches films with a skeptical eye will walk away from this feeling like they got jipped but you just might get it confused with a number of other movies that were about the same thing and done slightly better.
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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Sitting in my son's bedroom is a copy of the book this film is based on. Not only is it the same copy I loved and read hundreds of times as a kid but it's signed by the author Judith Viorst and made out to my son. I found this book hilarious as a child. The simple story of a boy named Alexander having just the worst day that gets more and more rotten until it ends is great and every kid and can relate to it. The book is only 32 pages long and I when I saw that Disney was turning it into a 90-minute live action feature, I knew it would be ugly. One thing that's to the advantage of movies that look terrible, horrible, no good and very bad before you see them, when it's slightly better than you think it makes it seem pretty great. I probably should have seen at least some potential in the film since Miguel Arteta directed it. Alexander is actually a dramatic departure from the kind of comedy he's used to directing. He's done episodes of Freaks and Geeks, The Office, Nurst Jackie, Enlightened, and The Big C. He's also the guy behind Cedar Rapids and Youth in Revolt, two pretty underrated dark comedies. His brand is dark, twisted and very funny. The images you see in this and knowing it's a family comedy released by Disney made me think it was going to be made by hacks that do those type of films. You don't see a whole lot of Arteta's style in Alexander but just knowing he's behind the lens makes it a little better. Another sign it wasn't going to be total crap was placing Steve Carrell as the patriarch of the family. There are very few things he's done that were terrible. The man is wildly talented and might even win an Oscar this year for Foxcatcher. He's not the star of the film but he's in it enough to make you laugh even when his dialogue is stupid or the scene is ridiculous. The rest of the cast is decent as well with Jennifer Garner, Kerris Dorsey (who was great in Moneyball), Dylan Minnette (who was also great in Let Me In and Prisoners) and newcomer Ed Oxenbould as Alexander. Oxenbould was an interesting choice because he's oddly shaped, has off-putting long hair and a prominent lisp but wrangles sympathy as the forgotten middle child. You have to know when a children's book is being turned into a movie that they're going to change the story but what was changed was too much. The entire concept of what made the book amazing is lost. In fact, it's changed so much that it makes the title confusing. The plot for the film is Alexander, who seems to have bad luck every day, makes a wish on his birthday that his family would feel his bad luck for just one day. What happens after that is his family has the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and Alexander has everything work out in his favor. I'm not saying it's not effective but it's confusingly different from the book. Here's the bottom line with a movie like this; it's harmless. Not everything made for children needs to be Frozen or Toy Story 3. It's possible to have a disposable family comedy that serves its purpose by making you chuckle and keeping your kids entertained for an hour-and-a-half. By Arteta doing his best with a controlling studio and a weird script, you end up with a film that's actually not terrible, horrible, no good or very bad at all.
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Gone Girl
When David Fincher releases another movie, everyone should take notice. The man has made so many incredible films with very few misfires (but there have been some). Hard to believe that it's been four years since The Social Network came out and killed it at the Oscars. Yes, it's true that he made the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since then but let's all pretend that never happened. Fincher has a style and tone that is unmistakable and impressively hard to duplicate. When I heard he was doing another novel adaptation (this is his fifth), I began to think that it was a little cliche but I think this might be one of his best yet. Gone Girl is based on a book by Gillian Flynn who also adapted the screenplay. In the past, authors who write screenplays based on their own books often turn out awful, stilted and boring. That is the case for the first 15 minutes of Gone Girl but after that it transitions into very a impressive script that, with the help of Fincher, moves at a calm but brisk pace that makes the near 3-hour running time go by fast. It's also a story that is much better the less that you know. I'll refrain from saying anything about the plot and instead tell you to watch the trailer I posted above since it does a great job of staying ambiguous. One thing that impressed me the most with Gone Girl was Fincer's casting decisions. For starters he has Tyler Perry as a slick lawyer. Perry is excellent and I'm shocked to say that. The man has over saturated the market with his stupid Medea character and slathers his name on so many awful sitcoms I forget that he is a great performer when he's not made up to look like a clown. Another unlikely casting is with Neil Patrick Harris as a creepy billionaire. Harris, as well, plays the character amazingly well and makes you forget that he's a comedic actor primarily. Even more risky than against-type casting is casting unknowns as big parts. Carrie Coon (HBO's The Leftovers) and Kim Dickens (FX's Son's of Anarchy, The Blind Side) are fantastic playing major parts despite not being recognizable performers. But even more shocking is casting Rosamund Pike (The World's End, Jack Reacher) as the lead! She will be an unknown no longer after this and may have even won herself an Oscar. None of that is to slight the craft of Fincher though. The man tells a Hitchcock-ian tale as well as Hitchcock could have. Suspense is built making the movie frightening at times when there's no need for it to be at all. In addition to that is a score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross once again. This one might be even better than their score for The Social Network. Fincher's signature haze to his shots adds to the dreamscape that is the story of Gone Girl which is very much grounded in modern reality yet still feels fantasy because it's so nuts. We have a long, long way to go before the year comes to a close. Between now and then there are many films coming out that show massive promise. The Academy is a fickle bunch who tend to only remember and praise whatever they last saw. That being said, Gone Girl has the gut-punch power to stay with you for a while. I'm not saying that it's going to win Best Picture but I will say that it raised the bar and started the race.
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