Weekend Openings – (8/2/2013)


As good as always, Denzel finds a new buddy to team up with in his frequent do-gooding escapades, this time with Mark Wahlberg, as they stylishly wield their 2 Guns against crime. The weekend wouldn’t be complete without another, painstakingly bad animation and a un-asked-for sequel (because the first was so good?) in The Smurfs 2. Riffling through the pile further, there’s the hidden little indie gem that is James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now written by (500) Days of Summer (2009) writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. With real, warm performances by Shailene Woodley and Milles Teller, this high-school flick is unexpectedly fresh and sweet. Then there’s Bret Easton Ellis’ highly anticipated Lindsey Lohan vehicle B-movie, The Canyons, low-key sci-fi space thriller Europa Report, and Sam Worthington (welcome back. Where have you been?) in Drift as he shows us a bit about surfing in his native Australia.

2 Guns
Language: English
Rating: R
Genre: Action/Crime/Comedy
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton
A DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer find themselves on the run after a botched attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel. While fleeing, they learn the secret of their shaky alliance: Neither knew that the other was an undercover agent.

Oscar Potential: Not likely

The Smurfs 2
Language: English
Rating: PG
Genre: Animation/Family/Comedy
Director: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays
The Smurfs team up with their human friends to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer’s newest creation – creatures called the Naughties – into real Smurfs.

Oscar Potential: None to speak of

The Spectacular Now
Language: English
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Director: James Ponsoldt
Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Kyle Chandler
A hard-partying high school senior’s philosophy on life changes when he meets the not-so-typical “nice girl.”

Oscar Potential: Though Woodley and Teller put on raw, intimate performances, the competition for acting nominations is just too stiff for these young stars, but that doesn’t diminish what they accomplish. A writing nomination for (500) Days of Summer (2009) scribes, Neustadter and Weber, is also most likely a long shot.

The Canyons
Language: English
Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Director: Paul Schrader
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Gerard Funk When Christian, an LA trust-fund kid with casual ties to Hollywood, learns of a secret affair between Tara and the lead of his film project, Ryan, he spirals out of control, and his cruel mind games escalate into an act of bloody violence.

Oscar Potential: Not going to happen, especially given controversial screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis’ notoriety, the film’s deliberate “B-movie” sensibilities, and casting Lindsey Lohan as a lead doesn’t help its chances one bit.

Europa Report
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller
Director: Sebastián Cordero
Starring: Christian Camargo, Embeth Davidtz, Michael Nyqvist, Sharlto Copley
An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately funded mission to search for life on Jupiter’s fourth largest moon.

Oscar Potential: In spite of its intriguing concept, this independent space thriller is built to fly under they radar.  Check out Joey’s review.

Language: English
Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Sport
Director: Ben Nott, Morgan O’Neill
Starring: Sam Worthington, Xavier Samuel, Lesley-Ann Brandt
In the 70s two brothers battle killer waves, conservative society and ruthless bikers to kick-start the modern surf industry.

Oscar Potential: Not likely

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.