Despite being on the borderline racist side, “Get Hard” combines two of the most popular comedic actors on the scene today. Likely fishing for a similar audience that made “Ride Along” a huge success, studios are doing all they can to cash in on Kevin Hart, and replacing Ice Cube is the incomparable Will Ferrell, playing a white collar criminal facing jail time. The racism comes in when he assumes Hart has been to jail and acquires his services to get him ready for federal prison. Since I’m willing to see Ferrell in anything, this will be seen.
What a strange voice cast for the animated film, “Home”: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, and Jennifer Lopez. Yes, these are high profile names, but none of them really go together. Dreamworks delivers a rather low end product here, in comparison to some of their tentpoles like “Shrek”, “Kung Fu Panda”, and “Madagascar”. In “Home,” an alien comes to Earth, running from his own people, and stumbles upon a young girl on a mission of her own. Of course, “hilarity” ensues, but from the looks of this trailer, this animated film probably would have been more enjoyable had it come out about ten years ago.
Nominated for Best Documentary at this past year’s Academy Awards, “The Salt Of The Earth” was one of the only films I was not able to catch during my Oscar Challenge. Most of the time when that occurs, I will seek out the films when they do become available, so I will probably be seeing this documentary about photographer Sebastião Salgado and his body work dedicated to showing the beauty of the world and bringing to people’s attention the suffering that some cultures go through around the world. With mostly moments of black and white, to match Salgado’s photography, this does look like a beautiful film.
Widely panned, “Serena” was supposed to be an Oscar darling film last year. A period piece starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper from an Academy Award winning director (Susanne Bier, “In A Better World”) certainly smelled like Oscar bait. But apparently all that was missing was an actual well-made film. With performances that are apparently all over the place and some questionable editing, it is sad to see a film like this circle the drain. But since it does have an amazing cast and my interest is now peaked, I will be seeing this film regardless of the horrible reviews it’s been receiving.
The trailer for “White God” alone put a smile on my face, which makes this foreign Cannes winner a must-see. When Lili is forced to give up her dog Hagen, because he is a mixed breed and her father refuses to pay the fee for him, what happens next is not so much “Homeward Bound” as it is “The Warriors” as all the abandoned dogs of the city form their own militia. With Cannes and Sundance under its belt and some great visuals, it’s a shame this film was not nominated for an Academy Award in the foreign category.
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Go figure that the writers and directors of this horrible looking comedy titled “Apartment Troubles” are also the two young females starring in the film. If the film is anything like its trailer, it is all over the place and not necessarily anywhere in the realm of being humorous. These days, it is tough to tell how these films get made or why they are made or in what vein they are trying to stand, but one thing is for sure, Jess Weixer and Jennifer Prediger should probably not be in control of any feature film, let alone one that they are also starring in. They play roommates that can’t afford their apartment anymore, but somehow hop on a plane and end up staying with Megan Mullaly. Also starring Will Forte and Jeffrey Tambor, I can only assume that these guys know the lady duo personally and were cashing in favors.
Sometimes sex isn’t enough. “The Barber” starring Scott Glenn as a serial killer sees a young man trying to lure him into teaching him how to kill, while the trailer basically tells us he’s a cop and is playing him. But all I can guess is that the line between who’s playing who becomes blurred. But as a serial killer, Glenn goes after young women and that’s where the sexiness of the film comes in. But even with the promise of that, it isn’t enough to make Chris Coy a good leading actor (random question: is he related to Kevin Durand?).
All I can assume is that “Ebola Zombies” is a straight-t0-DVD release that somehow found its way into the theatrical release pile, because the trailer for the film is exactly that… a pile. The title of the film basically says it all, it’s a film cashing in on the zombie craze, but these ones just happen to have Ebola. And instead of focusing on the zombie aspect of the film, it focuses on some martial arts fighter battling guys with guns. Does the martial artist have Ebola? I don’t get it.
Found footage finds another outlet to cash in on… high school bullying. Sadly, the trailer for “A Girl Like Her” gives away a little too much of the story away without actually trying to, as you can basically deduct that the main girl, Jessica (Lexi Ainsworth) whom is getting bullied probably kills herself, thus forcing the hand of her best friend Brian (Jimmy Bennett) to leak all the hidden camera tapes they had of Avery (Hunter King) and her unrelenting bullying. I will say that Lexi Ainsworth is extremely attractive and will have more chances to shine, and she almost gets me to want to see this… Almost.
Not much could look duller than “The Kidnapping Of Michel Houellebecq,” the somewhat true story of a French writer that was presumed kidnapped in 2011, when actually he was not. Taking a comedic (depending on who you ask) approach to the retelling of this story in a fictional way, Michel Houellebecq plays himself in an explanation of what happened. A hundred ideas like this probably come up between friends everyday, telling each other, “you should totally make a movie about that,” but rarely do these actually come to light. And seeing the trailer for this, I recognize why.
There is paying tribute to a certain genre of film, by making subtle references and following the rules as best you can while always reinventing and improving, and then there is straight-up copying a particular genre by painting in the numbers of exactly what is needed to make it that type of genre. “Man From Reno” comes off a little like it may break the rules of noir, by infusing some Japanese characters in an American setting, but when it comes down to it, the murder mystery, the settings, and even the characters are pulled straight from other films, constantly reminding us that this is a noir, with zero subtlety.
For those of you wondering what happened to director Larry Clark, he’s back. His first endeavor was the classic depiction of sex, teenagers, and STDs in 1995’s “KIDS”. You may even remember his film from 2001 titled “Bully”, which the only reason I do is because I have a thing for Kelli Garner. But now he’s back, 20 years after his first film with another exploration of sex and teenagers titled “Marfa Girl” and despite its low budget looking quality, the subject matter is enough to slightly peak my interest in its favor.
Taking the old “Blair Witch Project” approach, “Nightlight” sends five friends out into some haunted woods playing a game called Nightlight. One person sits blindfolded while the rest I can only assume go and hide in the woods, and the person that’s “it” has to go find them. Once they do, they call out “night light” and the person has to reveal themselves. Well, in haunted woods, games like this rarely go according to plan and when the tagline for the film suggests that there is “zero chance of survival,” I do not hold out much hope that people are going to stay alive. Like with most found footage, I am interested to see some of the effects that can pull off with such an exposing camera technique, but at its core, this film is really not taking the horror genre anywhere it hasn’t been since 1999.
There has been plenty of films about illustrious clubs of well-to-dos that find themselves in trouble with the law. “The Skulls” is the first film that comes to mind. But “The Riot Club” is the Oxford version of this, but what stands out is the bright young cast that fills out this film. Sam Claflin (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”), Max Irons (“Red Riding Hood”), Holliday Grainger (“The Borgias”), Tom Hollander (“Pirates Of The Caribbean”), and Natalie Dormer (“Game Of Thrones”) are just a few of the names. Parties, high class, and death are all at the heart of this film.
With good reviews to back up its unbridled look at an unhealthy sexual appetite, “Welcome To New York” promises as much sex as it does anything else. Gerard Depardieu apparently delivers a spectacular performance with Richard Roeper summing it up by writing: “few actors in the world are better suited to play a gluttonous pig than Gerard Depardieu, and I mean that in the best possible way.”
Noah Baumbach directs his most approachable film yet, titled “While We’re Young,” starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, and Adam Driver. Stiller and Watts play a married couple that meets the young hipster couple of Driver and Seyfried, becoming friends to somehow avoid feeling older. But the revelations that are apparent in the trailer alone are that of something someone must have personally gone through, which is often what Baumbach’s feel as though. You cannot deny that cast and I have yet to see Baumbach at his worse, so this becomes a must-see.