Movie Beat – 10.19.12

Another week, another string of new releases. Here is a quick round-up of ten movies vying for your eyeballs. It’s an off week in the theaters, so feel free to skip all ten and catch up with some very good films that are already in theaters, Looper, Seven Psychopaths, The Master, etc.

Alex Cross – Director Rob Cohen is known for Hollywood action films, and some of them are successes, The Fast and Furious (2001), and some are flops, Stealth (2005).  Looks like Cross falls closer to Stealth than Fast and Furious, too bad for Tyler Perry. Looks like Perry is just going to be stuck in that over-sized Madea dress for a few more movies. Based on James Patterson’s beloved homicide detective, Tyler Perry steps into the role of the titular character and attempts to hunt down psychopathic serial killer, Picasso (Matthew Fox). Picasso pushes Cross to the limits with a psychological game of cat and mouse. If this sounds like familiar territory, it’s because it is. You’ve seen this one before, and you’ll see this one again. Don’t worry if you miss this one. Wide release on Friday.

All Together –Stéphane Robelin writes and directs a film about five aging friends who decide to move into a house and hire a young caretaker and live out their last years in style. If there is one thing I know about adults, is that they are just as petty and silly as children. Especially the elderly. Funny and heart warming with plenty of life observations built-in. All Together also includes Jane Fonda’s first French performance since 1972’s Tout va Bien. Limited release starts on Friday.

Brooklyn Castle65% of the I.S. 318 Brooklyn student population lives below the poverty line. They also happen to have the highest-ranking junior high chess team in the US. To these kids, chess is more than a game that forces them to master themselves before they master others, it is their way out, and their way in this world. Some are from immigrant parents, some are stuck in Brooklyn, but all have hopes and dreams. From Kelly Dellamaggiore, here is a very uplifting and heartwarming documentary. In limited release this Friday, but seek it out if it comes near you.

The First TimeIf you’re seventeen and have an idealized view of sex, then this might be the movie for you. If you are thirty-five and jaded, then move on, nothing to see here. The First Time is about, yes, that first time. Written and directed by Joe Kasdan, Dave pines for Janie, but spends every waking moment with Aubrey. Aubrey is trying to psyche herself up to sleep with her older boyfriend, Ronnie, but doesn’t have any feelings for him. She wants to tell herself that feelings don’t mater, but deep down inside, she feels differently. If only we didn’t know where this one was heading, it might be good, but that is not the case. Opens in limited release on Friday.

Holy MotorsSet in futuristic Paris, Oscar moves through the city accompanied by his driver, Céline. What he is after is unclear, as is who he is and where he came from, but one thing is certain, he is a cold-blooded killer. Céline drives him from hit to hit on one fateful night where Oscar seeks out his past love life. Equal parts bizarre science fiction and existential ennui (it is a French film after all), Leos Carax’ latest film will see a limited release this Wednesday.

Nobody Walks – Everything was fine and dandy, until you walked into my life.  We’re really treading on familiar territory this week, but sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Nobody Walks explores the relationship terrain where desire and emotional connection confuses everybody. Martine (Oliva Thirlby) travels to Los Angeles to finish her art film and stays in the pool house of Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt) and Peter (John Krazinksi), who is helping her with the sound design. Martine stirs something up in Peter, and Julie has a little something off to the side that is coming to light. If only Martine didn’t come, everything would be status quo. Co-written by the indie darling of the moment, Lena Dunham, and Ry Russo-Young, who directs as well. Out in limited release this Friday, but already available via VOD.

Paranormal Activity 4 – There really isn’t much to say about this installment, it’s just another collection of found footage that may or may not capture spirits and ghosts on camera. If you’ve seen the other three, then you’ve seen this already. If you haven’t seen the other three, then there isn’t a whole lot of reason for you to catch up with this one. This film is a direct sequel to the first installment, begging the question, what was the point of numbers two and three? Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman of Catfish fame. Out wide this Friday.

The Sessions – John Hawkes plays a thirty-eight year Mark O’Brien, confined to an iron lung and stricken with polio. He is determined to lose his virginity and enlists the help of a sex surrogate, played by Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy, a priest who offers guidance through the six sessions. A nice, low-key story based on the writings of O’Brien. Written and directed by Ben Lewin, a man who also suffers from polio. This feel good movie of the week opens in limited release Friday. You can read my review of the film here.

Tai Chi Zero – Here is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Director Stephen Feng crafts a Chinese martial arts film in the vein of Shoalin Soccer and Kung-Fu Hustle and sets it in ancient China with a steam punk influence. An outsider travels to a town consisting of nothing but martial arts masters to learn the ways of martial arts and when the villains show up, he will learn that no way is the best way. If you are dying for a martial arts flick and you simply cannot wait until The Man with the Iron Fists, then this oughta do the trick. Limited release this Friday.

We Are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists – Let’s close this week with a look at a documentary about Anonymous. The past few years have seen an uprising of social demonstration and civil disobedience, which isn’t new, but how it’s used technology and the internet to disperse the message is what’s gives it that new edge. The documentary is a collection of talking heads discussing the various movements and the impact Anonymous brought with it, as well as stock footage from the riots and Occupy movements. Limited release this Friday, but soon out on DVD and VOD.