Tag Archives: movie opening

Coming Soon: ‘All is Lost,’ ‘Oldboy,’ ‘The Wicker Man,’ and More

Robert Redford in 'All is Lost'
Robert Redford in ‘All is Lost’

Only one new indie title is scheduled to open this coming Friday, October 25, but there’s a wealth of slightly older movies that could keep you out every night this week. (Title links lead to official sites for more information.)

  • Birth of the Living Dead.’ Documentary on George A. Romero and the making of ‘The NIght of the Living Dead.’ (The Texas Theatre)
  • Oldboy.’ Park Chan-wook’s harsh revenge tale is an ugly, magnificently disturbing drama. See it before Spike Lee’s new version opens in late November. (The Texas Theatre) Screens 10/25-27 only.
  • The Wicker Man: The Final Cut.’ Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, and Britt Ekland star in a classic tale of pagan practices vs. Christian teachings in an isolated community. Directed by Robin Hady; this version is said to restore footage cut from the original edition and thought to have been lost. (Angelika Dallas)

Retro Scene: One-off screenings of repertory titles this week offer a remarkable range of work:

  • Mon: ‘Ghostbusters II.’ Bill Murray easily dominates the comic supernatural proceedings. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/21 only.
  • Tue: ‘Creepshow.’ George A. Romero’s highly entertaining anthology of horror shorts. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/22 only.
  • Wed: ‘Strange Brew.’ Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas in a Canadian tale of mounties, hosers, and beer. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/23 only.
  • Wed: ‘Night of the Demons.’ Gnarly old-school horror in 1988. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/23 only; projected from VHS; only $1!
  • Thu: ‘E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.’ An alien comes to Earth, is strangely attracted to young boy. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/24 only.
  • Sun: ‘Dracula.’ Todd Browning’s influential version of Bram Stoker’s night-stalking legend. (Alamo Richardson) Screens 10/27 only.

Opening in wide release across the Metroplex:

  • The Counselor.’ Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz in a high-toned legal thriller. Directed by Ridley Scott, based on the first original screenplay written by novelist Cormac McCarthy.
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.’ Johnny Knoxville disguises himself as an old man and travels around the country with his “grandson” as the ‘Jackass’ crew engages in more physical hijinks.

Opening next week in wide release:

Indie Weekend: ‘Chinese Zodiac,’ ‘All the Boys Love Mandy Lane,’ and More


Can you smell the autumn in the air? Yeah, me neither, but at least we’ve had some cleaning rain this week and actually been able to justify wearing a jacket again, which makes this the perfect weather for an indie movie weekend. (Title links lead to official sites for more information.)

  • Chinese Zodiac.’ Jackie Chan in what he says will be his final action movie, an adventure sequel in his ‘Armour of God’ series. Not previewed. (AMC Valley View, Stonebriar, Grapevine Mills)
  • All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.’ Amber Heard in a horror thriller. Delayed from 2007, it’s the first film from director Jonathan Levine, who went on to direct ‘The Wackness,’ ’50/50,’ and ‘Warm Bodies.’ Not previewed. (Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano)
  • Beyond the Farthest Star.’ A minister must decide between television stardom and his family. With Barry Corbin as a small-town Texas sheriff. Not previewed. (Cinemark West Plano, Harkins Southlake)
  • The Stream.’ A family comedy benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. With Mario Lopez and Kelly Rutherford; narrated by Rainn Wilson. Not previewed. (UA Grand Prairie)

Opening in wide release across the Metroplex:

  • Carrie.’ Indie director Kimberly Peirce gives Stephen King’s characters a different spin around the horror clock. With Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore. Reviewed here. Recommended.
  • Escape Plan.’ Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger team up to break out of a secret prison, said to be impregnable. With Jim Cavaziel; directed by Mikael Hafstrom. Reviewed here. Not recommended.
  • The Fifth Estate.’ Benedict Cumberbatch stars as political activist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. With Daniel Bruhl; directed by Bill Condon. Not previewed.
  • I’m in Love With a Church Girl.’ A former drug dealer is “torn between a life that he knows and a love that he feels.” With Jeff “Ja Rules” Atkins and Adrienne Bailon. Not previewed.
  • Seasons of Gray.’ A spiritually-themed drama. Not previewed.
  • The Snitch Cartel.’ Crime drama, based on true events, about a man involved with Colombian cartel. With Manola Cardona and Tom Sizemore. Not previewed.

Indie Weekend: ‘Escape From Tomorrow,’ Dallas Video Fest, and More

'Escape From Tomorrow' at the Texas Theatre
‘Escape From Tomorrow’ at the Texas Theatre

Disney, Dallas, and adult children of divorce are among those who come under scrutiny in this weekend’s openings.  (Film title links lead to official sites for more information.)

  • Escape from Tomorrow.’ Filmed at a Disney theme park on the sly. Advance word has been mixed to positive, with the setting and guerilla-style production perhaps pushing it into must-see territory. Not previewed. (Texas Theatre)
  • Dallas Video Fest. The longest-running film festival in the Metroplex is now in full swing, celebrating its 26th edition. Much more information here. (Alamo Richardson)
  • A.C.O.D.‘ Comedy starring Adam Scott about Adult Children of Divorce. Advance word has been mixed. Not previewed. (Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano)
  • Concussion.’ A 40-something housewife reexamines her life and pursues a romance with another woman. Not previewed. (Angelika Dallas)
  • Ghost Team One.’ Two men accidentally awaken the dead, and then team up with a “sexy amateur ghost hunter” to deal with the evil they’ve stirred up. Not previewed. (AMC Grapevine Mills)
  • We Are What We Are.’ A tight-knit family in West Virginia harbors a horrific secret. Reviewed here. Recommended. (Angelika Dallas)

Opening in wide release across the Metroplex:

  • Machete Kills.’ Danny Trejo returns in the second installment of Robert Rodriguez’s trilogy of self-styled Mexican exploitation / action-comedies. With Demian Bichir and Mel Gibson. Reviewed here. Recommended with reservations.
  • Romeo and Juliet.’ A new version of Shakespeare’s classic tale about two young lovers from feuding families. Reviewed here. Not recommended.
  • The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.’ Two young boys are set loose on the mean streets of New York City. Not previewed.

Indie Weekend: ‘Blue Caprice,’ ‘Parkland,’ ‘Pulling Strings,’ and More

Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond in 'Blue Caprice' (Sundance Selects)
Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond in ‘Blue Caprice’ (Sundance Selects)

Talk about variety!

  • Wadjda.’ The titular character, a 10-year-old girl living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, gently kicks against the patriarchal system in which she lives; meanwhile, all she really wants is a bicycle. The beauty of the film is in its simplicity, perspective, sincerity, and gravity. Reviewed here. Recommended. (Angelika Dallas)
  • Bad Milo.’ A man discovers that a demon is living in his intestines. It’s a horror comedy starring Patrick Warburton, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Marino, Peter Stormare, and Mary Kay Place. Not previewed. (Texas Theatre)
  • Blue Caprice.’ The real-life case of the young sniper who terrorized Washington, D.C. under the command and control of another man. Advance reviews have been mostly positive. Not previewed. (Texas Theatre) Pictured above.
  • Parkland.’ Billy Bob Thorton and Paul Giamatti head an all-star ensemble cast in a movie that revisits November 22, 1963, focusing on the supporting characters on that terrible day in Dallas. Not previewed. (Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano)
  • Running Wild: Life of Dayton O. Hyde.’ Described officially as “a documentary that chronicles a cowboy’s triumph in his quest to protect wild horses and the American West.” Not previewed. (AMC Grapevine Mills)

Opening in wide release across the Metroplex:

  • Gravity.’ Gripping, often spectacular thriller set in orbit around the Earth, as Sandra Bullock and George Clooney desperately struggle to stay alive after a disaster in space. Reviewed here. Recommended highly.
  • Runner Runner.’ Justin Timberlake plays a college student who thinks he’s been cheated at online gambling and heads to Costa Rica to get his money back, only to be ensnared by the evil, evil Ben Affleck. Not previewed.
  • Grace Unplugged.’ Faith-based drama set in the musical world follows a teen facing a crisis of conscience. Not previewed.
  • Pulling Strings.’ Romantic comedy about a diplomat who becomes involved with the Mariachi singer whose visa she has rejected. Not previewed.

Review: ‘Wadjda,’ A Young Girl Unveils Modern-Day Life in Saudi Arabia

Waad Mohammed in Haifa Al-Mansour's 'Wadjda' (Sony Pictures Classics)
Waad Mohammed in Haifa Al-Mansour’s ‘Wadjda’ (Sony Pictures Classics)

From Vittorio De Sica to Pee-wee Herman, bicycles have been a source of motivation and inspiration for film artists who want their characters to take a journey of discovery.

The latest example is the titular character in Haifa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda, a young and willful Saudi girl, all of 10 years of age, who sets her sights on buying a bicycle so she can race her childhood friend Abdullah. No matter that bicycles are not ‘toys for girls’ in modern Saudi Arabia, according to everyone from Abdullah to the toy shop owner to Ms. Hussa, the stern principal of Wadjda’s school, to Wadjda’s own mother, a devout Muslim who believes that riding a bicycle will cause a woman to lose her virginity.

Wadjda marries a time-honored Hollywood storyline — Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) decides to enter a contest to win the money to buy the bicycle, and learns unexpected lessons in the process — with a Middle-Eastern perspective. From her toes to the top of her head, Wadjda is different than the other girls in her school: she wears old sneakers instead of the modest black shoes that are de rigeur; she resists covering her head; she likes to sing, even though “a woman’s voice is her nakedness” and she is instructed to keep her voice down so that men do not hear it.

The most significant figures in her life are her mother (Reem Abdullah) and Ms. Hussa (Ahd). Wadjda’s mother lives apart from her husband, for reasons that I was not able to glean, and works far away from home; she worries that her husband (Sultan Al Assaf) will take a second wife in about equal measure to how much she worries that Wadjda ignores her parental directives and does what she pleases.

Ms. Hussa runs the school with an iron fist, but she is not entirely without a heart; she is firm for what she believes and insists that all the girls follow the dictates of Islam and the law of the land. She is on the verge of suspending Wadjda for her rebellious behavior — among other things, possessing tapes of illegal musical acts and making bracelets for football clubs, which are banned — when Wadjda realizes that she can win the money she needs by ‘reforming,’ joining the religious club, and entering a school-run contest requiring a close study of the Koran.

Haifa Al-Mansour, who wrote and directed, is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia. She previously made three short films and the documentary Women Without Shadows. As her debut narrative feature, Wadjda is impressive beyond the circumstances of its production. (Reportedly, the director had to shoot exterior scenes from inside a van so as not to violate laws prohibiting women from working in public with men.)

The film tells an easily-relatable, familiar story with simplicity and subtlety, never trumpeting its main themes nor over-dramatizing the turning points. The challenges for women in Saudi Arabia who want to follow their own path in life are definitely more difficult than in certain other lands, but, really, any country in which a patriarchal society holds sway — which is everywhere — poses unfair and often demeaning situations for women. The larger question is, How do you change and/or influence change that will make things equitable and fair for everyone?

In its modest manner, Wadjda calls attention to Saudi Arabia with refreshing acuity, and unfolds an engaging character study along the way.

The film opens on Friday, October 4. exclusively at Angelika Dallas and Angelika Plano. Visit the official site for more information.

Indie Weekend: ‘Enough Said,’ ‘Inequality for All,’ ‘Metallica,’ and More

James Gandolfini and Julia Louise-Dreyfuss in 'Enough Said' (Fox Searchlight)
James Gandolfini and Julia Louise-Dreyfuss in ‘Enough Said’ (Fox Searchlight)

I spent the past week (plus) in Austin attending Fantastic Fest, watching two dozen films and filing 11 reviews at Twitch. So apologies for being late with the updates last week and this. But there are good indie options this week.

  • Alone Yet Not Alone.’ Faith-based drama about a German family beginning a new life in 18th century Pennsylvania. (Cinemark 17)
  •  ‘Enough Said.’ James Gandolfini gives one of his final perforomances in a romance that also stars Julia-Louise Dreyfuss. (Landmark Magnolia, Angelika Plano)
  •  ‘Inequality for All.’ Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich expounds on the vast disparity between the rich and the poor. (Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano)
  •  ‘Metallica: Through the Never.’  Concert doc mixed with narrative footage. Directed by Nimrod Antall. (AMC Northpark, AMC Mesquite, AMC Firewheel)
  •  ‘On the Job.’ Lacerating Filipino crime film inspired by real-life events that are hard to believe. Reviewed here. Recommended. (Cinemark Legacy)
  •  ‘Snake and Mongoose‘ Documentary about real-life rivalries in the nascent world of drag racing. (AMC Mesquite, Rave North East Mall)

Opening in wide release:

  • ‘Don Jon.’ Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed, and stars as a lothario faced with the scary prospect of love and romance. With Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore. Recommended.
  • Rush.’ The real-life story of the rivalry between two Formula 1 race car drivers in the 1970s. With Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl; directed by Ron Howard. Recommended.
  • ‘Baggage Claim.’ Comedy. Not previewed.
  • ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.’ Animated sequel. Not previewed.