The Act of Killing – Anwar Congo and his cronies helped the Indonesian army kill millions of communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals when the military took over the government in 1965. Anwar himself murdered hundreds with his own hands. Now they are movie stars. Never punished for their actions because they ended up on the right side of history, they are now recreating the murders, the atrocities, their side of the story for cameras in hopes that the truth will out and people will see them for the saviors that they see themselves. Guaranteed to chill you to your core. Joshua Oppenheimer directs the documentary with Errol Morris and Werner Herzog acting as executive producers. Out in limited release from Drafthouse Films.
Blackfish – Orcas are majestic creatures that have captured the hearts of many with their adorable songs, their interactions with humans, and of course those Free Willy movies. Everything is all well and good until something goes wrong. That something is not the tragic death of a trainer, that something is that Orcas are giant carnivorous animals that have been rounded up, captured, and broken. Solely for the amusement of the paying public. “How did this happen?” The Orca did not develop a mean streak, the Orca is an Orca. Documentary from Gabriela Cowperthwaite on the fascination we have with this majestic killing machine. Out in limited release from Magnolia Pictures.
Computer Chess – Thirty-two white squares, thirty-two black squares. More potential moves on one board than there are stars in the sky. If that wasn’t enough, let’s bring in computers and see if they are smart enough to not only play chess, but to beat a human, which has the ability to adapt. Computer conquers man? I suppose the next logical step is for a computer to play a computer. Writer/director Andrew Bujalski goes back to a moment when people wondered where a computer’s limits were, and foresees where we are now. Starring Patrick Riester, Gordon Kindlmann, Gerald Peary, Myles Paige, Robin Schwartz, and Wiley Wiggins. Out in limited release from Kino Lorber this Wednesday.
The Conjuring – Ed and Lorraine Warren were two ghost hunters who investigated numerous case of paranormal activity. One case brought them to a secluded farmhouse, and what they found there was way above their pay grade. Not just a couple of spirits haunting this poor family, a whole bunch of them, and boy are they angry. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play the Warrens; Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, and Hayley McFarland are the poor family being haunted; Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes wrote it, James Wan directed it, and Warner Brothers gave it a wide release.
Dealing With Idiots – The sport of baseball is a serious sport. Just listen to the way ESPN analysis discuss it, the way Dereke Jeter talks about it, the way Yogi Berra remembers it. Yet, no one, and I mean no one, takes the sport of baseball more serious than the parents of peewee leaguers. All of their hopes and dreams reside on these kids who would much rather be playing video games in air-conditioned homes. More about the parents and less about the game, Jeff Garlin (star, writer, and director) explores the obsessive personalities behind the scenes. Co-starring Bob Odenkirk, Nia Vardalos, Gina Gershon, Fred Willard, and Jami Gertz. Out in limited release from IFC Films.
Girl Most Likely – Imogene (Kristen Wiig) had a moment in her younger days where things were starting to be okay. Then they fizzled, and now, she needs a lot of help. After suffering a psychiatric breakdown, she is put back in the care of her mother, Zelda (Annette Bening) who looks to be the genesis of all of her issues. Things don’t immediately turn around for Imogene, but with a little persistence (and a younger guy who will show here a good time, Darren Criss) she will start to develop her identity again, and shout to the world that she’s gonna make it after all! Written by Michelle Morgan and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Out in limited release from Roadside Attractions.
Only God Forgives – A brother is murdered, another brother has come to seek revenge, but runs into a slight snag. The mother demands retribution, a lot of retribution, but the culprits are not just ordinary men, and this is not an ordinary movie. Dark, twisted, and sadistic, Only God Forgives is guaranteed to split audience opinion right down the middle with a sword. Ryan Gosling plays the quite and violent brother, Kristen Scott Thomas is the vicious and hungry Mother, and Vithaya Pansringarm plays God (in a manner of speaking). One of the most interesting movies out in theaters, written and directed by one of the most interesting men working in the field today, Nicolas Winding Refn. Out in limited release from Radius-TWC.
Red 2 – If the first one was how you can teach an old dog new tricks, what could they possibly have left to explore in a second outing? The answer, more money. Frank (Bruce Willis) has to reassemble his team of rag-tag operatives for a tour of Paris, London, and Moscow as they track down the next generation of weaponry. Of course these guys are better suited for the fight than an actual government agency because the plot requires it to be that way. Go for the action, stay for Dame Helen Mirren. Co-starring Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, and Byung-hun Lee. Written by Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber, directed by Dean Parisot, and in wide release from Lionsgate Films.
R.I.P.D. – Apparently there is a special organization that protects the world of the living from the troubling souls that have died. Why do they do this? They’re dead, and have been for quite some time. Don’t they ever get jealous? Don’t they want to take over? I guess honor and duty runs deep with these lawman. Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is freshly dead and recruited to Rest In Peace Department. He is teamed up with a two-hundred year dead cowboy, Roy (Jeff Bridges). Naturally, a plot is revealed that will bring about the apocalypse, and guess who are the only two who can stop it? Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker co-star next to a bunch of bizarre looking dead guys. Robert Schwentke directed it and Universal Pictures releases it everywhere.
Turbo – Question: What separates heroes from everyone else? Answer: The desire to be different. Question: How is this achieved? Answer: In movies and comic books, through a freak accident, sometimes involving chemicals. Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a snail that wants to go fast. Sadly, snails are slow, until a freak accident with a little Nitro Oxide allows this snail to haul serious ass. If that wasn’t bizarre enough, he is going to race in the Indy 500. Makes perfect sense to me! Additional vocal talents from Snoop Dogg, Michael Peña, Luis Guzman, Paul Giamatti, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bill Hayder. Written by Darren Lemke, directed by David Soren, released by Dreamworks, and everywhere this Wednesday.