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After spending two weeks at the top, it might be time for Sylvester Stallone and his pals in The Expendables 2 to surrender their hold on the box office. There are several new titles this week, but if you missed it back in May — or if you just want to see it on the big screen again — Disney and Marvel are expanding The Avengers to around 1,700 theaters.
Directed by John Hillcoat
Written by Nick Cave (screenplay), Matt Bondurant (novel)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke
Theater Count: 2,300
What’s It About? This fact-based Western sees Hardy, LaBeouf, and Clarke playing the Bondurant brothers, who make a living during the Great Depression by bootlegging moonshine. However, their business is in danger when new authorities want a part of their profits. Guy Pearce and last year’s Academy Award nominees Jessica Chastain and Gary Oldman also star.
Early Reaction: Lawless debuted earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival in the competition lineup. Although reaction was far from negative, it didn’t quite reach the level of acclaim one might expect from a competition feature, or from one with such an impressive cast. Still, our very own John Gilpatrick called it "a crowd-pleasing effort from a talented, up-and-coming duo. The performances are top-notch, and the production values are impeccable. Does it reinvent the gangster movie? No, but it's one of the most enjoyable movies you can see during this typically off time of the year."
Player Affinity Rating: 8/10 (Read the Review)
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
What to Watch For: Shia LaBeouf getting serious – He graduated from Disney Channel stardom to a career on the silver screen, with some even wondering if he’d be the next Tom Hanks. His quest to be taken seriously post-Transformers has only brought minimal success thus far, but word on the street is that he’s quite good in Hillcoat’s Western.
Directed by Ole Bornedal
Written by Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Starring: Natasha Calis, Kyra Sedgwick, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Theater Count: 2,700
What’s It About? Uh oh, it looks like we’re dealing with the “I bought something I shouldn’t have" trope. In The Possession, a girl purchases an antique box, not knowing that an evil spirit lives inside it. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick star as her divorced parents who work together to defeat the spirit.
Early Reaction: Reviews for this movie are slightly better than the many others of its ilk, don’t expect "Possession" to go down in history like William Friedkin’s The Exorcist.
Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
What to Watch For: Kyra Sedgwick back on the big screen - It'll be interesting see her first film since The Closer — the drama series for which she won an Emmy Award — ended.
Oogieloves in The BIG Balloon Adventure
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Written by Scott Stabile; Kenn Viselman (creator)
Starring: Jaime Pressly, Cloris Leachman, Chirstopher Lloyd
Theater Count: 2,000+
What’s It About? Making an easy buck off of kids who want to see something other than ParaNorman? There’s not a whole lot of info on this kiddie movie, but the trailer reveals that it’s about creepy Barney wannabes called Oogieloves that take – you guessed it – on a big balloon adventure. Apparently it’s an interactive movie experience, and we’ve also got established actors such Christopher Lloyd, Jaime Pressly, and Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman embarrassing themselves like there’s no tomorrow. Toni Braxton also appears in the film.
Early Reaction: This one didn't screen for too many critics in advance, and based on the lack of marketing and what the trailer revealed, that’s not particularly surprising.
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
What to Watch For: A non-enviable box-office milestone – It sounds like I’m just being mean, but considering the lack of general familiarity with the property, poor marketing, and its first-day per-screen average of less than $50, it could happen.
For a Good Time, Call… - This indie comedy stars Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller as former college frenemies who begin a phone business. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year (Metacritic: 59/100; Rotten Tomatoes: 66%) – Focus Features
The Tall Man – Jessica Biel leads this thriller as a mother who thinks her child may have been taken by the Tall Man. The film played at South by Southwest and Fantastic Fest earlier this year and debuted on VOD earlier this month. (Metacritic: 58/100; Rotten Tomatoes: 50%) – Image Entertainment
The Day – Shawn Ashmore (Ice Man from the X-Men movies) leads this post-apocalyptic thriller in which five people hope that staying in an abandoned farmhouse will be their key to survival. (Metacritic: 42/100; Rotten Tomatoes: 25%) – Anchor Bay Films
The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (Long men fei jia) – Xun Zhou, who appears in Tom Tywker and the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas this fall, stars in this foreign-language action flick that played at Berlin earlier this year. Jet Li also stars. (Metacritic: 56/100; Rotten Tomatoes: 69%) – Indomina Media
Joker 3D – A researcher’s quest to prove the existence of aliens serves as the backbone of this foreign-language sci-fi comedy – UTV Communications
The Good Doctor – Orlando Bloom leads the cast as a doctor who will do anything stay with a female patient who has kidney problems. The film played at Tribeca last year and debuted on VOD last month. (Metacritic: 50/100; Rotten Tomatoes: 55%) – Magnolia Pictures
The Bullet Vanishes (Xiao shi de zi dan) – Two detectives investigate the mysterious death of a young girl in this feature from China. (Rotten Tomatoes: 100%) – China Lion Films
Little Birds – Two best friends, played by Kay Panabaker and Juno Temple, follow some boys to Los Angeles in this drama that played at Sundance earlier this year. (Metacritic: 41/100; Rotten Tomatoes: 50%) – Millennium Entertainment
Breathing – This coming-of-age story of an incarcerated teen won the Label Europa Cinemas prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Veteran actor Karl Markovics made his directorial debut with this feature. (Metacritic: 71/100; Rotten Tomatoes: 93%) – Kino Lorber Films
The Ambassador – Danish journalist Mads Brügger goes incognito as a European ambassador to uncover secrets about Africa’s blood diamond trade. The doc, which Brügger also directs, played at Sundance earlier this year. (Metacritic: 67/100; Rotten Tomatoes: 72/100) – Drafthouse Films