This Weekend At The Movies (Aug. 26-28)

This week is chock full of movie goodness.  We have sci-fi, horror, comedy, action and drama all represented in this week’s releases.  For me, it’s going to be a busy weekend at the movies as I’m incredibly excited by all the really fantastic options at my disposal!  (Sidenote:  I’m going to try and seek out new limited release/indie titles as well as wide releases more often.  When I find them released in my local theaters, I’ll include them so that I can better inform you of what is out there to see.  Indie films are just as important to check out as the big Hollywood releases, in my opinion.)

ATTACK THE BLOCK

(MP’s Pick of the Week)

Limited Release

Written and directed by Joe Cornish.  Starring John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, Alex Esmail and Nick Frost.

Attack the Block is a fast, funny, frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. It turns a London housing estate into a sci-fi playground. A tower block into a fortress under siege. And teenage street kids into heroes. It’s inner city versus outer space.

I think I may have seen the trailer for this a long time ago (though I’m not positive on that, I may not have seen it at all), but this movie has been sold to me by the overwhelmingly great word of mouth.  It also doesn’t hurt that it is written and directed by Joe Cornish, who has been partnering up with Edgar Wright to write screenplays for upcoming films like The Adventures of Tin Tin and (Marvel’s) Ant-Man.  He also worked on a sketch comedy show, Big Train, which had Simon Pegg in it and is quite a funny show in its own right.  On top of that, Nick Frost is a cast member in this film so Cornish has done right by association with those three.  The movie has continually been touted as the best genre picture of 2011 by people who have seen the film.  That’s a bold statement and I really want to see if it can live up to such a title.  I’ve also heard the monster/alien design and the soundtrack are really sweet as well.  As a lover of genre films, this is a must see for me and I’m ecstatic that it has made its way to one of my favorite theaters.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

(MP’s Pick of the Week)

Written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins.  Directed by Troy Nixey.  Starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison.

Blackwood Manor has new tenants. While architect Alex Hurst and his new girlfriend Kim restore their Gothic mansion’s period interiors, Alex’s young daughter Sally, neglected by her real mother and brushed aside by her careerist father, finds time to investigate the macabre history and dark corners of the estate. Spurring Sally’s investigation are the voices, rasping whispers who call out to her from the basement, who promise her understanding and friendship, who are so very hungry and would like to be set free. When Sally gives in to her curiosity, she opens a gateway into a hellish underworld from which an army of beady-eyed, sharp-clawed monsters emerge, small in size, but endless in number.

This was originally going to be the only “pick of the week” until I saw Attack the Block was at my local theater.  I couldn’t decide between the two so I just made the two films my picks.  I’ve been very excited for this film for a long time.  For starters, it was co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro who has a deep affection for the horror genre and knows how to treat it right.  After the film was submitted to the MPAA for its rating (the filmmakers had always intended it to be PG-13), the board came back with an R-rating citing that despite the fact that there is no language, sex or gore, the film is so pervasively scary that they cannot give it a PG-13 rating.  Talk about endorsement!  The filmmakers fought not to cut any of the movie and are releasing it with their R-rating proudly.  The film is based off of a 1973 telefilm of the same name that del Toro saw as a young boy and was obsessed with ever since.  About 16 years ago, he sought out the rights to the telefilm so he could remake it for a new generation.  He’s been developing it for a long time and I’m really excited to see what he and newcomer director Troy Nixey have in store for us.  If you like a good scare, I wholeheartedly recommend that you go see this film.

COLOMBIANA

Written by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen.  Directed by Olivier Megaton.  Starring Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis and Callum Blue.

A young woman grows up to be a stone-cold assassin after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota. She works for her uncle as a hitman by day, but her personal time is spent engaging in vigilante murders that she hopes will lead to her ultimate target, the mobster responsible for her parents’ death.

I love Luc Besson movies.  Not every film he writes, produces and/or directs is guaranteed to be a surefire winner, but I admire him for putting out some pretty awesome films over the years.  My favorite of his is Leon (which he wrote and directed).  But he’s written movies like La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, Angel-A, The Transporter and the really fun revenge film, Taken.  So it pleases me to no end to have another revenge themed action flick from him.  This time instead of Liam Neeson (who by the way was incredibly badass in Taken), we have the sultry Zoe Saldana.  It took one viewing of the trailer for this movie to guarantee my butt in the seat for this film.  I am hoping for some awesome adrenaline-pumping action with enough investment in Saldana’s character to care about her mission.  If it can deliver those two things, I’m going to be a happy guy.

OUR IDIOT BROTHER

Directed by Jesse Peretz.  Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zoey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott and Steve Coogan.

Every family has one: the sibling who is always just a little bit behind the curve when it comes to getting his life together. For three sisters, that person is their perennially upbeat brother Ned, an erstwhile organic farmer whose willingness to rely on the honesty of mankind is a less-than-optimum strategy for a tidy, trouble-free existence. After Ned’s girlfriend dumps him and kicks him off the farm, his sisters each take a turn at housing him.  But his unfailing honesty creates more than a few messes in their comfortable routines.

This film is not on my priority list due to the abundance of films I want to see this weekend.  That being said, who doesn’t want to see a movie with this cast?  Paul Rudd is a very likeable and funny actor and Banks, Deschanel and Jones are all beautiful and talented (also likeable) actresses.  This movie could coast just on the talent behind it, though for the sake of quality movies, let’s hope there is more than just the great cast.  The reviews don’t seem to be singing its high praises but I imagine this film is both an enjoyable and satisfying experience.

TERRI

Limited Release

Directed by Azazel Jacobs.  Starring John C. Reilly, Jacob Wysocki, Bridger Zadina and Creed Bratton.

The film centers on the relationship between Terri, an oversized teen misfit, and the garrulous but well-meaning vice principal who takes an interest in him.

This indie dramedy hasn’t made much of a splash in the film news world, or at least not in my circles.  I hadn’t heard of this film until today and subsequently watched the trailer.  It looks like it could be worth checking out, if for nothing more than John C. Reilly, who I’ve come to appreciate a lot as an actor.  He is able to pull drama off well but also has some pretty uncanny comedic sensibilities.  This one might be a little harder to find in the theater but if it’s playing near you, give the film a shot and see if you like it.

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