First off, the best thing in theaters this weekend is our friends over at The Grave Plot Podcast are putting on their own short film festival. Four hours of great horror shorts at the Ark Lodge in Columbia City, Seattle! More information here!
This week is a light week (next week will be crazy though – see our Podcast, as always, for more talk about Winter on the whole.) Releases are based upon what’s listed on boxofficemojo.com at the time of writing.
Miss Bala, action drama; Written by Gareth Dunnet-Alocer; Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Lord of Dogtown, Thirteen); Starring Gine Rodriquez, Anthony Mackie; 103 minutes; remake of the 2011 film.
I’ll be honest. I have NO interest in this. At. All. Gina Rodriquez and friend party in Tijuana and are kidnapped by the cartels and forced to commit a terrorist act. The CIA or someone makes her go undercover for them to clear her name. She gains their trust, revenge occurs. From the trailer, much hinges on every side trusting her. Why in any mind would the cartel trust her? I expect many logical stretches to make this work. Double crosses, triple crosses. She’s suddenly playing everyone and the best shot of all time. Blah. Hardwicke shows we could get some good character work out of it – outside of Twilight she does great in that aspect. Go see Thirteen. Trust me.
Reviews are all over the place, although they average down to 39, but they seem to say it takes a morally ambiguious well done original into a shallow action film.
That’s the only wide release this week but we do have a few limited releases or expansions
They Shall Not Grow Old, war documentary, directed by Peter Jackson. 99 minutes.
An expansion of one of last year’s best films. I’m going to quote myself from my year end retrospective.
Peter Jackson directs a World War I documentary like you’ve never seen. Given the opportunity to go through 100 hours of footage from the war and 600 hours of interviews made in the 1960s from veterans, Jackson was given carte blanche to make any documentary he wanted in honor of the 100 year anniversary of the war. Instead of the standard war narrative focusing on particle battle or war plan, he chose to look at the soldiers themselves; how they lived, now they laughed, how the cried, how they died. To properly do so, Jackson and his production company restored the footage using a variety of techniques, making all the difference. Instead the washed out, undetailed faces of fourth generation footage we’re used to, Jackson presents World War I lives with incredible detail. To see the lines on their faces, along with colorizing and adding sounds moves these men from historical statistics to then-living people. In addition to the footage and interviews, he uses actors to read what lip-readers state the men were saying. I’m going to cut myself off here before I end up writing the whole thing now. But if you have any interest in history, particularly of the Great War, see this as soon as you can.
With an astounding 92 at Metacritic, landing at #6 of 2018, They Shall Not Grow Old is a must-see.
Arctic, Survival Drama, written and directed by Joe Penna. Starring Mads Mikkelsen. 97 Minutes.
A plane crash leaves Mads stuck in the arctic with a dying woman, forcing him to make decisions to survive. A well played plot, true, but I’m in for Mads. The trailer looks beautiful and bleak; full of harrowing situations (maybe just a tad too many?). The reviews have been solid, a 68 average, raning from 50 to 83; at the most a B+ type. But I’m in. Playing in 4 theaters, I hope for expansion and VOD soon.
Piercing, horror-comedy, written by Nicolas Pesce from the book by Ryu Murakami; starring Mia Wasilkowska and Chris Abbot; directed by Nicolas Pesce. 81 minutes.
This I’ve heard about a while, since premiering at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. From the director of The Eyes of My Mother! I’ll watch anything with Mia Wasilkowska in it! And a horror-comedy? I’m all set. The plot finds a businessman on a trip who decides to kill a prostitute. Of course, this goes wrong. I love the style of the trailer and it does a good job of setting up the premise but not giving away what happens directly; I’m very intrigued.
Reviews are good, at 63 average, all but one positive.
Coming to 25 screens and VOD.