Movies Galore this weekend
Sep 21, 2012 / 4:00 pm
Greetings film fanatics, it's time to take a look at what the cinema has in store for us this weekend.
The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One - a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called "Judges" who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge - a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of "Slo-Mo" experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
Dredd is based on the comic book character, Judge Dredd, who first debuted back in 1977 in issue no. 2 of the British science fiction anthology magazine called 2000 AD. This new version is said to be quite dark, gritty and violent and adheres far more to the original source material than the abysmal 1995 film that starred Sylvester Stallone. I wouldn't exactly call this a remake of that Stallone film since it didn't stay true to the character and included a love interest and a corny sidekick meant for comic relief in the way of Rob Schneider, neither of which will be incorporated into this new version of the story. New Zealand born actor Karl Urban (best known as Bones in the Star Trek film and Eomer in Lord of the Rings) plays Dredd this time and he is joined in the cast by Olivia Thirlby and Lana Headey (Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones). When I first heard about this film project I just rolled my eyes thinking, why bother, but upon seeing the trailer and reading some of the positive advance buzz that this film has received I'm somewhat intrigued. It looks to be a hyper-violent, futuristic version of Die Hard or The Raid Redemption (which happens to be the most kick-ass action film of the year thus far) and it could be very entertaining for fans of gritty sci-fi action pictures. The only negative thing I can say is that it's yet another film in 3D. I'm so over this 3D thing now.
End of Watch
Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.
From the writer of Training Day and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, End of Watch looks like an intense and adrenaline fueled cop picture. I'm not the biggest fan of the shaky cam technique that this movie looks to utilize by having everything shot POV-style but I suppose it's meant to evoke more of a sense of reality and danger for the viewers as they are brought along for the ride with the boys in blue. The word on the street however is that this is one of the best cop movies to come along in quite some time and that it's loaded with plenty of uncompromising action and pulse pounding moments that illustrate the hardships of life as a cop in South Central L.A. Directed by David Ayer (Harsh Times, Street Kings) and also starring Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera, End of Watch should be well worth seeing for those that enjoy strong, gritty dramas. My curiosity is certainly piqued.
Trouble with the Curve
Gus (Clint Eastwood) is a baseball scout with eye problems. He can't see the baseball go over home plate. His daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) wants to help and so leaves her job to go on a recruiting trip, which might be his last if Gus can't make the right call.
I've always been a huge Clint Eastwood fan (empty chair antics aside) and even though this film looks like some pretty familiar material, I'm always up for seeing him play a gruff, crotchety old coot who looks mean all the time when he doesn't get his way. Clint was supposedly going to retire from acting but decided to grant a favour to his long time collaborator and director of this film, Robert Lorenz. This should be a fairly sentimental and heartfelt tale involving a father/daughter relationship and coming to grips with aging. Also featured in the cast are Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Robert Patrick and Matthew Lillard. This should be a nice drama and hopefully the quality of Clint's and the wonderful Amy Adams' performances will keep it from being too cornball. We shall see.
House at the End of the Street
A mother and daughter move to a new town and find themselves living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. When the daughter befriends the surviving son, she learns the story is far from over.
Generic title aside, this film has one thing going for it and that is that it stars Jennifer Lawrence, who is one of the hottest young actresses right now after her role as Katniss in The Hunger Games. I first took notice of Jennifer in the great 2010 film Winter's Bone and I happen to think that she is really good, but this film does have a feeling of been there done that. The fact that it hasn't been screened for critics at all is definitely a red flag but it's not necessarily a death knell. I'm sure it will have plenty of jump scares to keep fans of this genre satisfied and ultimately that's all some people care about. I doubt you will be getting anything overly original or groundbreaking here but who the heck knows with this one. Enter the House at the End of the Street at your own risk.
Robot & Frank
Also opening this weekend down at The Paramount is this indie drama from first time director Jake Schreier. Set in the near future, Frank, a retired cat burglar, has two grown kids who are concerned he can no longer live alone. They are tempted to place him in a nursing home until Frank's son chooses a different option: against the old man's wishes, he buys Frank a walking, talking humanoid robot programmed to improve his physical and mental health. What follows is an often hilarious and somewhat heartbreaking story about finding friends and family in the most unexpected places. Featuring a stellar cast that includes Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler, James Marsden and Peter Sarsgaard, Robot & Frank looks like a quirky, offbeat little movie that is sure to appeal to those that want a diversion from the usual big Hollywood blockbusters. I think it sounds wonderful and I can't wait to check this one out.
Well, there are plenty of new films to choose from this week so I hope to see you all out at the movies. Enjoy!
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