Weekend Openings: 8/16/2013


Three years after the edgy, shocking original, Kick-Ass 2 follows the same crude adolescent vigilantes in their highly stylized, ultra-violent escapades against crime. We’ll see if Jim Carrey’s publicity decision not to promote the film with the rest of the cast due to its extreme violence will create enough of a stir to draw in viewers. Hopefully, the marketing choice to officially change The Butler to Lee Daniels’ The Butler won’t be too off-putting either since the generation-sprawling biography in a unique untold story. Harrison Ford is certainly having a busy year as his new thriller Paranoia releases and Asthon Kutcher tackles a rare dramatic role in his uncanny portrayal of the late Steve Jobs in Jobs.  Apart from biographies, independent features from Sundance and LA Film Fest are represented this weekend, as well, with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Austenland making their way to theaters.

Kick-Ass 2
Language: English
Rating: R
Genre: Action/Comedy/Crime
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey
The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
Oscar Potential: Probably none since the first one didn’t garner any attention either. Check out Joey’s review of the “good time at the movies.”

Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Biography/Drama
Director: Lee Daniels
Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack
As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man’s life, family, and American society.
Oscar Potential: Although rife with compelling performances from Whitaker and Winfrey along with other supporting cast members, the timing of this film’s release unfortunately works against its Oscar chances. A surprise acting nomination surely can’t be counted out, though. Be sure to read Terence’s review for his take.

Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Director: Robert Luketic
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Amber Heard, Harrison Ford
An entry-level employee at a powerful corporation finds himself occupying a corner office, but at a dangerous price: he must spy on his boss’s old mentor to secure for him a multi-billion dollar advantage.
Oscar Potential: Seems like a fairly generic thriller so Oscar potential isn’t very likely.

Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Biography/Drama
Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad
The story of Steve Jobs’ ascension from college dropout into one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century.
Oscar Potential: Again, although Kutcher’s likeness and performance as Steven Jobs is being widely praised and appreciated as being outside of his comfort zone, the early release of this captivating biopic could lead to it being overlooked come awards season. It’s sadly just how things work.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Language: English
Rating: NR
Genre: Drama
Director: David Lowery
Starring: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster
The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.
Oscar Potential: Since it’s a very independent production and release, the subtle, though convincing performances delivered by all three main actors won’t garner any awards talk. Also, Lowery’s original screenplay, in spite of being a commendable exercise in restraint still capable of evoking emotion, will be forgotten. Check out my review from the LAFF screening.

Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Jerusha Hess
Starring: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge
Obsessed with the BBC production of “Pride and Prejudice”, a woman travels to a Jane Austen theme park in search for her perfect gentleman.
Oscar Potential: It’s independent status doesn’t do it any favors in generating awards buzz.

Cutie and the Boxer
Language: English/Japanese
Rating: R
Genre: Documentary
Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Starring: Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara
This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role as her overbearing husband’s assistant, Noriko finds an identity of her own.
Oscar Potential: Might have a shot at Best Documentary, but that category seems pretty full already.

What will you see this weekend?

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The first rule of film criticism is: you most definitely DO talk about film. An unassuming gladiator in the arena, this Space Monkey asks the important questions: Are you not entertained? Who's Zed? Are you an achiever? Initially well-versed in English literature, Nicole picked up movie quotes as a second tongue to marry together her deep-rooted appreciation for language and film. When not tallying Brad Pitt's countless and marvelously resonant instances of on-screen eating, your very own Remy is experimenting with exciting new recipes from Gusteau's cookbook. And when I have some more spare time? What am I doing? I'm quietly judging film. A disagreement, you say? Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.