Welcome to the first installment of a new column! Every week we’ll go over what is coming to “A Theater Near You” as the ads used to say with some commentary on pre-thoughts of the flick and some critical buzz if it’s out there. I prefer MetaCritic over Rotten Tomatoes as it’s more indicative of the real average score but I’ll put RT on there too.
HELL FEST, horror, written by Seth Sherwood, Dr by Gregory Plotkin
This week, our excitement is for Hell Fest! Written by a frequent panelist/attendee for Crypticon Seth Sherwood (who also wrote last year’s Leatherface prequel), helmed by director Gregory Plotkin of . Hell Fest looks like a bloody good time. Building from the urban legends of real bodies found in haunted attractions, a killer stalks a group of college students visiting the titular park. I’m looking forward to some fun setpieces and kills.
So far the reviews haven’t been kind: Metacritic has 3 reviews, averaging 28. Rotten Tomatoes has 7 reviews up, 5 negative; with the average review at 5/10.
Night School; comedy; directed by Malcolm D. Lee, written by … six people – that doesn’t bode well, including Kevin Hart. Starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Hadish.
So I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t really care for Kevin Hart. His whole bit is “I’m short.” Yes we know, you’re tiny and he’s good at freaking out. For me, that lost its wonder ages ago. I’m glad the trailer to Night School, which finds Hart going to the school for his GED and the hijinx that ensue between him and taking-no-shit-teacher Tiffany Hadish, didn’t lean on that aspect. I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie itself does. The first trailer was funny enough, but the second one – showing the expanded set of characters, really got me laughing and interested in giving it a go. Tiffany Hadish has been around for a little while and really burst on the scene, at least for many including myself, last year. If anything, she’s the real sell of the flick.
Review wise, Night School is fairing a little better than Hell Fest with a MetaCritic of 41 after 21 reviews, 11 of them solidly average. Rotten Tomatoes sits at 24%, with 15 out of 60 positive, and average score of 4.4/10.
SMALLFOOT; family animated comedy; ALso written by six people, I’m lazy; Directed by Kasey Kirkpatrick and Jason Reisling. Featuring the voices of Channing Tatum, James Corden, and Zendaya. — wait, what – a bigfoot movie WITHOUT Lance Henrikson? This is an outrage.
Ugh. This looks incredibly standard and by the book. A young Yeti grows up hearing tales of the “Small Foot” (humans) and told he can never leave his mountain due to monsters we are (well that’s true). After an encounter with a crashed pilot, he now believes in the humans and is exiled. Thus, his story of self-discovery to venture forth and bring back the pilot. I’m sure there will be a dance sequence or two, pop culture references that won’t age well, zany side characters that are more annoying than not, and a shoved in romantic interest. I’ll check back in after I see it to see how right I was.
Metacritic is more positive than I, averaging at 58, 20 posted reviews, with remarks around “better than it seems to be.” Rotten Tomatoes is at a solid 75%; 39 fresh from 52 posted, averaging 62.
I say go rent our friend John Portanova’s Hunting Grounds instead.
Also this week there are a ton of limited releases, here are a few:
There seems to be a modern update of Little Women dropping into 600 screens. I’ve seen no posters or trailers for it. Just box office mojo’s schedule. I didn’t know it was modern until I looked it up for THIS article. Written and directed by Claire Niederpruem and it has Lea Thompson, so that’s something I guess. It has a 34 on Metacritic.
David Lowery’s The Old Man & The Gun comes to 5 theaters. I’m very excited for it, but will wait to talk more when it goes wide. For the record it has a 81 Metacritic – finally a solid one!
All About Nina: Comedian Mary Elizabeth Winstead gets fame, but her life goes to hell. Metacritic: 67.
Bad Reputation: Documentary about Joan Jett. I’m in for it. Meta Critic: 68.
Free Solo: The tale of Leia breaking into Jabba’s Palace. Wait, no it’s not. It’s a National Geographic documentary about a free climber. I’m ready to watch it have my balls retreat to my stomach. MetaCritic: 84.
For more releases check out boxofficemojo.com and for local times fandango.com