Four years ago, Neill Blomkamp surprised us all with the highly original and smart sci-fi action thriller District 9 (2009), made on a tight budget and advertized with a clever marketing campaign. The recognition he gained with his feature directorial debut earned him a sizeably larger budget for his second, Elysium, notably exercised with the star-power of Matt Damon as his lead (still not sold on this choice). Another installment of the Percy Jackson series makes it way to the big screen, catering to the very niche fanbase who actually knows this is a series. This weekend’s mandatory animated feature comprises of Disney’s attempt at an off-shoot of Cars with Planes from their Toon Studios. A slew of comedies promise a variety of laughs as We’re the Millers, Prince Avalanche, I Give It a Year, and In a World…open in wide release. Also, Amanda Seyfried’s long-talked-about Lovelace biography finally makes its way to the big screen.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
Oscar Potential: Expect a good deal of nominations in the technical categories, namely sound and visual effects. Though District 9 managed a surprising Best Picture nomination, it may be a tougher task to secure a slot for the prestigious award this time around. Make sure to check out Joey’s review of the anticipated sci-fi picture.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson
In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.
Oscar Potential: None likely.
We’re the Millers
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts
A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.
Oscar Potential: Comedies of this nature don’t usually fair too well. Check out Joey’s review.
Director: Klay Hall
Starring: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett
Dusty is a cropdusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights. With the support of his mentor Skipper and a host of new friends, Dusty sets off to make his dreams come true.
Oscar Potential: With a weaker year for Pixar (who will still most likely earn a nomination) Planes has a good chance at being one of the five animated features up for the prize.
Director: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Juno Temple
The story of Linda Lovelace, who is used and abused by the porn industry at the behest of her coercive husband, before taking control of her life.
Oscar Potential: While biographies are usually a surefire way to garner some awards recognition, this one just may not have enough backing to make a serious push.
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault
Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind.
Oscar Potential: David Gordon Green isn’t exactly aiming for any awards…
In a World…
Director: Lake Bell
Starring: Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Fred Melamed
An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation.
Oscar Potential: While Lake Bell’s self-written directorial feature is definitely an enjoyable and admirable effort, it’s more of the indie persuasion. Bell already won the Sundance award for best screenplay earlier this year, so not too shabby. See Joseph’s review from LAFF.
I Give It a Year
Director: Dan Mazer
Starring: Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Alex Macqueen
Newlywed couple Nat and Josh are deliriously happy despite their differences, though friends and family aren’t convinced that they can last. With their first anniversary approaching and attractive alternatives in the mix, can they last?
Oscar Potential: Again, comedies aren’t really Oscar fodder.
Director: Donal Mosher, Michael Palmieri
Starring: Jusef Anthony, Robert Helms, Michael Oldani
A road trip through medicalized America, examining the pervasiveness of pharmaceutical drugs through the lives of eight very unique characters.
Oscar Potential: People are always interested in exposés on drugs, so this one might have a shot at a Best Documentary nomination.
What will you see this weekend?