This Weekend At The Movies (Sept. 2-5)

So what movies are you planning on seeing on this glorious three-day weekend?  I have yet to decide myself but here are this week’s new release options.

A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY

Written and directed by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck.  Starring Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb, Tyler Labine, Lake Bell, Martin Starr and Will Forte.

A group of 30-year-olds who have been friends since high school attempt to throw an end-of-summer orgy.

I like quite a few of the cast members here and it looks amusing but I have to say that the trailer for the movie just doesn’t quite grab me.  It is sitting at about 30% on Rotten Tomatoes which doesn’t bode well for the film but I have read a few reviews that have said the movie is quite funny and that you can tell the cast members are having fun onscreen.  Ultimately, this might come done to your personal comedic sensibilities as to whether you will enjoy the film.  I’m willing to give the film a chance if for nothing more than the comedic stylings of Tyler Labine, Martin Starr and Lake Bell (of Childrens Hospital).  But much like a lot of the releases this week, I may wait until it hits the dollar theater or blu-ray.

THE DEBT

(MP’s Pick of the Week)

Directed by John Madden.  Starring Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, Marton Csokas, Ciarán Hinds and Tom Wilkinson.

This espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Helen Mirren) and Stefan (Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciarán Hinds).  All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington) tracked down Nazi war criminal, Vogel, in East Berlin.  At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it?  The suspense builds in and across two different time periods, with startling action and surprising revelations.

It was a toss up between this and A Good Old Fashioned Orgy for the pick of the week.  Ultimately this one got the pick since the reviews have been better for this film and it seems less polarizing.  I would actually be a lot more excited for this if Sam Worthington wasn’t in the film.  I’ve never thought he was an a downright awful actor or anything, but he seems to keep getting high profile parts while being a mediocre star.  It also bugs the crap out of me that he looks the same in every single movie (he doesn’t change his hair even if its a period piece or a fantasy like Clash of the Titans.. maybe he has a clause in his contracts that says, “Don’t touch the hair man!”).  The story, admittedly, doesn’t sound all that interesting but the movie looks like it could be worth a look.  I also have a crush on Jessica Chastain so that will, no doubt, ensure a viewing for me.  The reviews have singled out her performance, as well as Helen Mirren’s, as being one of the main reasons to watch the film anyhow.

SHARK NIGHT 3D

Directed by David R. Ellis.  Starring Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Katharine McPhee and Joel David Moore.

A weekend at a lake house in the Louisiana Gulf turns into a nightmare for seven vacationers as they are subjected to fresh-water shark attacks.

Honestly, when I first heard of the film back in its development stages, I thought this could be cheesy b-movie fun, especially with the director of Snakes on a Plane at the helm.  The trailers I’ve seen thus far don’t really scream over-the-top cheese and instead imply that perhaps they made the film intending it to be a terrifying shark movie.  I’m not really interested in the latter.  I want utter ridiculousness from a movie called Shark Night 3D!  Here’s hoping there’s plenty of shark-chomped body parts, nudity and terrible dialogue to be had otherwise I may revoke it’s b-movie status.  It’s got a lot of stupidity to live up to with its title, it better damn deliver.



APOLLO 18

Directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego.  Starring Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen.

Decades-old found footage from NASA’s abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon.

The found footage genre is a bit tired, in my opinion.  I think there is room for some great films to be made using that method of storytelling but more often than not, the gimmick can be annoying and a tad lazy.  I saw the trailer for this film and wanted to roll my eyes.  The only thing that I find interesting is that the trailer is shot in a 4:3 (non-widescreen) aspect ratio.  I find that a bit intriguing as it would help try to sell the film as being more realistic since any footage found from this “supposed” mission would have been shot in that ratio.  In reality though, who is really going to believe that this is a real documentary?  I think they are trying to sell themselves as such but it just doesn’t come off as real at all.  NASA has actually come forth to claim that the film is indeed pure fiction.  I have a feeling (as does Devin Faraci from Badass Digest) that NASA wants to distance themselves from this film because it’s just bad.  It wasn’t released for early reviews either, so I have a feeling this is just going to be a big stinker.

TABLOID

(Limited Release)

Directed by Errol Morris.

A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

The marketing for the film seems to make Errol Morris, the director, a big selling point for the film.  I have never heard of the guy but he’s made quite a few documentaries over the years which I also have never heard of.  I’m afraid I don’t have much to comment here.  If I’m going to watch a documentary, it helps if I have some interest in what is being told and I’m afraid that I just don’t really care to hear about it.  It doesn’t look bad by any means, it’s just not up my alley.



THE TREE

(Limited Release)

Directed by Julie Bertuccelli.  Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Morgana Davies and Marton Csokas.

The O’Neills lived happily in their house in the Australian countryside.  That was until one day, fate struck blindly, taking the life of father, leaving his grief-stricken wife alone with their four children.  Among them, eight-year-old Simone denies this reality.  She is persuaded that her father still lives in the giant fig tree growing near their house and speaks to her through its leaves.  But as the tree becomes more and more invasive and threatens the house, its clear that it must be felled.  Of course, Simone won’t allow it.

I watched the trailer for this film and, while it looked like it could be good, it also felt like it could end up being a tad too melodramatic.  Charlotte Gainsbourg is a pretty good actress; I thought she gave a really effective performance in Lars von Trier’s Antichrist.  If you are in the mood for a new arthouse film, click on the poster to check out the trailer and see if it catches your fancy.

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