October 2016: Coming to Theaters

Posted on October 1, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Happy October! We’ve got some scary movies, of course, but also some possible Oscar contenders, and some family fun, too. Here’s some of what I’m looking forward to this month.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

A boy rebels against his tyrannical principal in this warm-hearted comedy featuring “Gilmore Girls'” Lauren Graham, based on the James Patterson YA series.

The Girl On The Train

Emily Blunt stars in this film based on the international thriller by Paula Hawkins.

The Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker wrote, directed, and stars in the story of the bloodiest slave rebellion in the pre-Civil War era, led by Nat Turner, a slave/preacher.

American Honey

This festival favorite about young traveling salesman stars Shia LaBeouf.

Denial

Professor Deborah Lipstadt was sued by a self-proclaimed “historian” who insisted that there was no Nazi program to murder Jews, because she called him a “Holocaust denier.” The trial raised the deepest questions about how we can be certain about history. The movie, based on her book, stars Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14

The Accountant

Ben Affleck stars as a high-functioning person with autism whose extraordinary skill with numbers makes him very valuable to some very dangerous people.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Tom Cruise is back as the itinerant veteran with a passion for justice and a knack for trouble.

Keeping Up With The Joneses

An action comedy about an ordinary suburban couple (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) have new neighbors who are impossibly glamorous and possibly spies (John Hamm and Gal Gadot).

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28

American Pastoral

Philip Roth’s novel about the culture clash between the generations in the 1960’s is now a movie directed by and starring Ewan McGregor.

Inferno

Tom Hanks returns as Harvard professor Robert Langdon, in another race to save the world, based on Dan Brown’s book.

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Coming to Theaters: Fall Preview 2016

Posted on September 6, 2016 at 8:00 am

Happy fall! Here’s some of the most intriguing and exciting of what’s coming to theaters.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

“Sully”

Tom Hanks plays “Sully” Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who saved all of his passengers when he made an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Clint Eastwood directed.

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16

“Snowden”

Who better than cinema-of-paranoia director Oliver Stone to tell the story of Edward Snowden? Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the NSA contractor-turned leaker, and Zachary Quinto plays journalist Glenn Greenwald.

“Bridget Jones’s Baby”

Renee Zellweger is back as the romantic comedy heroine, here not sure whether her ex (Colin Firth) or a possible new boyfriend (Patrick Dempsey) is the father of her baby.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

“Storks”

Jennifer Aniston, Andy Samberg, and Key and Peele provide voices for this animated story about storks who have to make sure a baby is delivered to the right home.

“The Dressmaker”

A woman returns to the town that treated her badly to show them how wrong they were.  Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth star.

“Queen of Katwe” Director Mira Nair brings us the real-life story of a young African girl who became a chess champion.  Lupita NYong’o plays her mother.

“The Magnificent Seven”

First it was “The Seven Samurai.” Then, “The Magnificent Seven” with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen and an unforgettable Elmer Bernstein score. There was also a television series. This remake stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

“Deepwater Horizon”

Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich star in the story of the explosion of a BP oil rig that led to the worst oil spill in US history.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children”

A sort of “Avengers” crossed with “Harry Potter” and a bit of “X-Men,” this film based on the best-selling series of books is about a school for children with special powers.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7

“Middle School: The Worst Years of Your Life”

A middle schooler who doesn’t like rules end up in a school with way too many of them.  It’s based on the popular series of books by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts.

“Birth of a Nation”

Actor Nate Parker directed and stars in this powerful festival favorite about the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner.

“The Girl on the Train”

The Paula Hawkins best-seller about an alcoholic woman who becomes caught up in the disappearance of a young woman she watched from a commuter train stars Emily Blunt.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14

“The Accountant”

Ben Affleck stars in a thriller about a man on the autism spectrum who has been cooking the books for gangsters.

“Mr. Church”

Eddie Murphy takes on a serious role as a cook who cares for a dying woman and her daughter in a film from “Driving Miss Daisy” director Bruce Beresford.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21

“American Pastoral”

Philip Roth’s 1997 novel, set in the political upheavals of the 1960’s, is about a man who embraced and exemplified traditional notions of success only to have his daughter challenge everything he believes and trusts.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28

“Inferno”

Tom Hanks is back as Robert Langdon, once again off to save the world, this time teamed up with “Rogue One’s” Felicity Jones.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4

“Trolls”

Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, John Cleese, Kunal Nayyar, and Gwen Stefani lend their voices to this colorful musical about those cute little creatures with the tufts of hair.

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Opening This Month Trailers, Previews, and Clips

August 2016 — What’s Opening This Month

Posted on August 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

August is usually when the summer movie season slows down, but this month we have some movies that are sure to win at the box office and even a couple that might turn up on some end of the year best lists.

August 5

“Suicide Squad” — think “The Avengers” crossed with “The Dirty Dozen.” This “bad guys have to be the good guys” movie from DC Comics stars Will Smith, Cara Delevingne, Jared Leto (as The Joker), and, as Harley Quinn, “Wolf of Wall Street’s” Margot Robbie, my pick for the break-out performance of the summer.

“Don’t Think Twice” Mike Birbiglia wrote, directed, and stars in one of the best movies of the year, the story of an improv troupe, and what happens to the team when one of them gets offered a job on television.

August 12

“Sausage Party” A very R-rated animated story about food in the grocery store that finds out the release of being purchased is not the happy ending they had thought.

“Peter’s Dragon” Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard star in the remake of the Disney fantasy about a boy and his dragon.

“Florence Foster Jenkins” It takes a great actress to play a terrible singer.  Fortunately, we have Meryl Streep, who plays the real-life wealthy woman who loved to sing opera and Hugh Grant as the husband who protected her from finding out that she was awful at it.

“Hell or High Water” Two brothers, one an ex-con (Ben Foster), one who has never broken the law (Chris Pine), rob some banks in Texas.  Two Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) go after them in this exceptionally smart, thoughtful crime story.

August 19

“Ben Hur” Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman star in this classic story of the Jewish prince who becomes a slave and wins a chariot race in the time of Jesus.

“Kubo and the Two Strings” An enchantingly beautiful stop-motion animation fantasy set in ancient Japan is a story in some ways about stories and how the stories we tell ourselves and those around us can transform our lives.  Voices include Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, and Matthew McConaughey.  I’ve seen it.  The ending had me in tears — and then took my breath away.

“War Dogs” Miles Teller and Jonah Hill star in this fact-based black comedy about two guys in their 20’s with no experience who won a $300 million contract to supply weapons to the Pentagon.  It did not go well.

August 26

“Southside With You”  Barack Obama was working at a Chicago law firm the summer after his first year of law school.  Michelle Robinson was his supervisor.  This is the story of their first date.  Even if their names were Smith and Jones it would be one of the most romantic movies of the year; knowing what was ahead of them makes it even more meaningful.

 

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Opening This Month

Opening This Month: July 2016

Posted on July 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Happy July! And welcome to the height of the summer movie season. Today, we kick off the 4th of July weekend with two big movies, Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG,” based on the book by Roald Dahl and starring Oscar-winner Mark Rylance.

And a new version of the classic story with “The Legend of Tarzan,” starring Alexander Skarsgård, Christoph Waltz, and Margot Robbie.

Some of the other highlights of July 2016 at the movies:

July 8

“The Secret Life of Pets” answers the question we all wonder about. What do our dogs, cats, fish, bunnies, reptiles, and other pets do all day while we’re away from home? Voice talent includes Louis CK, Jenny Slate, Kevin Hart, and Eric Stonestreet.

“Life, Animated” is a heartwarming documentary based on the best-selling book about Owen Suskind, a young man with autism whose love for animated films helped him learn how to communicate with his family.

“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” stars Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, Adam Devine, and Aubrey Plaza in a wild, raunchy comedy about two brothers who advertise on Craigslist for dates to take to their sister’s wedding.

July 15

“Ghostbusters” Who ya gonna call? In this reboot, it’s Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Wiig, with Chris Hemsworth as their administrative assistant.

July 22

“Star Trek Beyond” There are a couple of intriguing new names in the credits of this latest in the beloved series. Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty, co-wrote the script. And Justin Linn of the “Fast/Furious” films, takes over as director.

“Ice Age: Collision Course” Pegg stars in this film, too, along with fellow returning cast members Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Keke Palmer, Queen Latifah, and Jennifer Lopez.

July 29

“Jason Bourne” Matt Damon is back as Bourne. I just hope there’s one of those scenes where the CIA boss says he’s in his office and Bourne is all, “No, because then I’d be looking at you.”

“Bad Moms” Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn decide to stop trying to be perfect moms like that meanie Christina Applegate.

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Opening This Month

Movies This Month: June 2016

Posted on June 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

Happy June! Lots to celebrate — Father’s Day, graduations, the end of the school year, and summer movies! Here’s some of what we have to look forward to this month:

June 3

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” The heroes on a half shell take on Shredder and Tyler Perry as a mad scientist.

“Me Before You” The best-selling book by JoJo Moyes is about a cheerful young woman who gets a job as a caretaker for a man who was paralyzed in an accident.

“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” Andy Samberg, whose musical spoofs with Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone were a highlight of his time at SNL, joins forces with them again along with SNL alums Maya Rudolph and Tim Meadows in this story of a rapper in a slump.

June 10

“Now You See Me 2” Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan join the cast in this sequel to the hit heist film about the magicians. More twists this time, including a dual role for Woody Harrelson.

June 17

“Central Intelligence” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart star in this action comedy about a CIA agent to gets help from a high school friend.

“Finding Dory” Nemo and his dad have to help their memory-impaired friend find her family.

June 24

“Independence Day: Resurgance” It’s been 20 years since Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum uploaded that virus to the aliens. Now the aliens are back and so are many from the original cast including Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, and Bill Pullman.

“Free State of Jones” Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Keri Russell star in this fact-based historical drama about a pre-Civil War integrated community that rebelled against the Confederacy.

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Opening This Month
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