A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong to meet with NSA whistleblower-on-the-run Edward Snowden. Whether you think of him as a traitor or a patriot, this even-keeled collection of up-close-and-personal interviews (recorded over the course of eight days) will make you think twice about the former CIA analyst's narrative concerning abuse of government power in the data age. 114 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 9/3)
Who doesn't love a good BMX dirt bike movie ... other than non-BMX dirt bike riders? Here, a passionate but "self-focussed" BMX rider (Joel Moody) aspires to become the next stunt champion. Sent to court for some unpaid citations, our protagonist is ordered into community service and finds himself reluctantly mentoring a tough, troubled teen (William Martinez). The film promises to feature dirt jumping by "legendary pros and hardcore locals." 98 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 9/4)
Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center teases the upcoming Pornotopia Film Festival (scheduled for November) with this special presentation/preview/fundraiser featuring clips of this year's special guest, "genderqueer porn phenom" Jiz Lee. 90 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/4)
The short life and shocking death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is picked-apart in this first-ever fully authorized documentary. Cobain's personal archive of art, music, written word and home movies is blended with animation and interviews to create a kaleidoscopic portrait of the mercurial musician. Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/4)
David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, "Eastbound & Down") presents this acidly comic, slice-of-life indie about two NYC brothers, loose cannon Mat (Josh Lucas, Sweet Home Alabama) and put-upon Alan (Stephen Plunkett), as they stumble toward some semblance of adulthood. There's precious little in the way of narrative, but first-time writer-director John Magary shows promise in the realm of wickedly observed, no-budget character studies. 111 minutes Unrated. (Opens Tuesday 9/8)
Writer-director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) and writer-actress Greta Gerwig (Hannah Takes the Stairs) reunite after 2012's Francis Ha for their warmest, most audience-friendly comedy. Gerwig plays a freewheeling, 30-ish, New York confabulist who hooks up with her soon-to-be sister-in-law, a lonely wannabe writer and college freshman played by brilliant newcomer Lola Kirke. As the young co-ed feeds off her older friend's charisma and crazy stories, the burned-out party girl starts to realize it might be time to grow up. FULL REVIEW:Baumbach and Gerwig reunite for some screwball sophistication by Devin D. O’Leary (9/3/2015). 94 minutes R. (Opens Friday 9/4)
This sporting documentary covers Dirk Nowitzki's rise from German regional baskeball league player to NBA champion. It's also about his relationship with coach, mentor and discoverer, physicist Holger Geschwindner. In English and German with English subtitles. 105 minutes Unrated. (Opens Sunday 9/6)
In the tradition of "shamanistic teachers" like Carlos Castaneda comes this art documentary which "brings hidden Nagual teachings from the last members of the Quetzalcoatl lineage." Amid this theater of "ritual, ceremony and magic" (most of which involves a lot of rock hugging), viewers are "transported into worlds beyond this world" through a portal to "the ancient holders of time, daring to be humanly existent on our earth again by surpassing the boundaries of the fashion of the times." So, there's that. 136 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 9/5)
Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief) tackles the thorny, techno-popular figure of Apple guru Steve Jobs. No punches are pulled in this probing look at the life and aftermath of a brilliant, ruthless Silicon Valley icon. 127 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/4)
Bill Murray, John Candy and Harold Ramis star in this 1981 comedy about a group of dissatisfied friends who quit their jobs to join the army. You'd better believe hijinks ensue. 106 minutes R. (Opens Sunday 9/6)
After beginning life as a series of BMW commercials, Luc Besson's Transporter raced through three action movies and a French-Canadian TV series. Now it reboots its way back to theaters with Ed Skrein (who?) replacing Jason Statham as the fast-driving, tie-wearing mercenary. This time around he's stuck between a femme-fatale and a sinister Russian kingpin. 96 minutes PG-13. (Opens Thursday 9/3)
Evidently popular in Latin America, the Mexican series "Huevo Cartoon" gets the big-screen CGI treatment. In it, a literal and figurative "chicken" (voiced by Bruno Bichir) joins forces with his farmyard friends (most of whom are eggs--presumably because they're easier to draw) to save his home. In order to accomplish that, our timid hero must transform himself into a scrappy rooster. ... Yeah, this appears to be a kids' cartoon about cockfighting. The title means "The Rooster with Many Eggs" or, colloquially speaking, "The Cock with Big Testicles." In Spanish with English subtitles. 98 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 9/4)
Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in this innocuous adaptation of Bill Bryson's equally innocuous nonfiction book. Redford is the conservative, stay-at-home type of guy. Nolte is the troubled ne'er-do-well. Together these two mismatched old pals reunite and vow to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. 104 minutes R. (Opens Tuesday 9/1)
This weirdly ethnographic documentary unearths a perfect subject: the Angulo brothers, six artistic outsiders who spent 17 years locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan learning about the world exclusively through the movies they enthusiastically devoured on a daily basis. Their childhood was spent reenacting their favorite films using homemade props and costumes. Now, aged 16 to 23, these oddly sheltered, paradoxically pop-culture literate kids are the subject of their own fascinating/disturbing film. 89 minutes R. (Opens Tuesday 9/8)
It's the summer of superspies, apparently. In this action comedy we've got dork icon Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Social Network) as a do-nothing stoner who just happens to be a sleeper agent trained and then brainwashed by the United States government. When he's deemed a liability and marked for extermination, his hidden skills take over, turning him into a pot-addled, super-powered killing machine. 96 minutes R.
The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe offering is smaller than its fellow superhero movies in a number of ways. Paul Rudd is fine and dandy as a cat burglar recruited by an aging scientist (Michael Douglas) to don a powerful shrinking suit and fight the bad guys. The size-changing special effects are a blast, but the film is neither fish nor fowl. There's not enough humor to make it a comedy, and too little action to compete with the big boys of summer. It's perfectly entertaining in moments, but this one needed a lot more style and spark to avoid the "generic Marvel movie" pit it occasionally stumbles into. FULL REVIEW:Marvel gets small for latest addition to its cinematic universe by Devin D. O’Leary (7/23/2015). 117 minutes PG-13.
The life of a black nerd (or "blerd," as the kids say) in a tough LA neighborhood threatens to change when he gets mixed up with a cornrowed beauty, an underground party and $100,000 worth of stolen drugs. Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood, Brown Sugar, Our Family Wedding) writes and directs this stylish flashback comedy, which has as much in common with the films of John Hughes as it does with the hip-hop exploitation flicks of the early '90s. 115 minutes
Jason Segel and Jessie Eisenberg (who's everywhere these days) headline this comedy-drama based on the real-life, five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and reclusive novelist David Foster Wallace. 106 minutes R.
After a couple of less-than-stellar outings, 20th Century Fox tries to reboot the Marvel Comics franchise with director Josh Trank (Chronicle) at the helm. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell are our quartet of (decidedly younger) scientific explorers who teleport themselves to an alternate dimension and are imbued with a wide range of superpowers. Yes, it's as bad as you've heard. It's 80 percent boring set-up and 20 percent random bad-guy battle. A decade ago this might have scraped by. But not today. 100 minutes PG-13.
Actor Joel Edgerton (Warrior, The Great Gatsby) turns writer-director to deliver this mystery-thriller. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play a married couple whose lives are "thrown into a harrowing tailspin" when an old high school acquaintance of the husband's shows up. Edgerton takes the plum role of the unwanted house guest who starts delivering an increasingly extravagant string of housewarming gifts--all of them hinting at a nasty secret from the past. The film clearly references such late-'80s/early-'90s yuppies-in-peril films as Fatal Attraction and Single White Female, but Edgerton manages to keep things creepy and surprising throughout. 108 minutes R.
The 2007 action-movie adaptation of the Hitman videogame series starring Timothy Olyphant wasn't very popular. But Hollywood's reboot machine isn't even slowed down by failure these days. So here's a reboot/sequel starring Rupert Friend (who played Mr. Wickham in the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice) as a mysterious, gentically enineered killer. It will be less popular than the original. 97 minutes R.
Pixar mixes up another can't-miss instaclassic. This stunningly original, digitally animated toon takes us inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl and introduces us to the anthropomorphized feelings at work inside her head. Chief among them is Joy (perfect Amy Poehler), who's stuck working with a bunch of negative Nellies (Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust). But when Joy and Sadness get lost in the recesses of the young girl's mind, the film warps from an inventive workplace comedy to a wildly imaginative, Willy Wonka-esque fantasy. It seems silly to say that a film about emotions is emotional, but trust me when I say this film has all the feels! FULL REVIEW:Pixar’s emotional new fantasy has all the feels by Devin D. O’Leary (6/25/2015). 94 minutes PG.
I'm not upset that Hollywood has decided to make a third Jurassic Park sequel. Because, you know, money. I am, however, ticked off that the fictional executives at InGen thought they could get away with this. Did someone at the corporation send out a memo saying, "Hey, everybody. Remember that dinosaur theme park we were trying to open? You know, the one where the tourists kept getting eaten over and over and over again? Well, we're pretty sure we've got all the kinks worked out. Fourth time's the charm!" I mean, come on. ... Ah, well, at least we've got Chris Pratt. He's cool. 124 minutes PG-13.
Ten international directors (led by The Lion King's Roger Allers) tackle Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran's much-loved collection of prose poetry. The spiritual life lessons of Ghibran's text have been reduced to three-minute stranzas, and an overarching story has been added--something about an exiled artist fleeing his homeland with daughter and housekeeper in tow. It's imaginative, but choppy. Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek and Quvenzhane Wallis provide the voices. 84 minutes PG.
Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) take over for Robert Vaughn and David McCallum in this remake of the mid-'60s spy-fi TV series. Writer-director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) gives the film plenty of style and temporal flair, turning this Cold War team-up between American and Russian spies into a witty buddy cop drama. Whereas the Mission: Impossible films want you to watch them from the edge of your seat, this one wants you to sit back and absorb the mid-century cool. FULL REVIEW:‘60s spy saga retuns with style by Devin D. O’Leary (8/13/2015). 116 minutes PG-13.
This jaw-dropping documentary about high-altitude climbing follows three friends up the slopes of the infamous "Shark's Fin" on Northern India's Mount Meru. After enduring storms, setbacks, injuries and near-starvation, the men gave up, calling the mountain unclimbable. Astonishingly, they tried again three years later. Somehow--based in what happend to the men in the intervening years--this gorgeous, frightening film makes that seem less like an act of insanity and more like an inspiring, spit-in-the-face-of-mortality challenge. FULL REVIEW:High-altitude documentary hits viewers like an avalanche by Devin D. O’Leary (8/27/2015). 87 minutes R.
The lovable yellow sidekicks from the Despicable Me films finally get their own spin-off. History tells us that the Minions have been around since the dawn of time, looking for evildoers to whom they can pledge their slavish devotion. This hectic, anarchy-driven toon takes us to swingin' '60s London where a trio of semi-moronic Minions try to help the world's first female supervillain (voiced by Sandra Bullock) steal the Crown Jewels. The plot is terribly inconsequential--but it's hard to deny the silly fun to be had along the way. 91 minutes PG.
For a series as star-packed in front of and behind the camera as these movies have been, the individual films sure are forgettable. As usual, this fifth installment features jaw-dropping stunt work ... and some kind of storyline in which IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team (Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames) are tasked with stopping an international villain who's framed them for something-or-other. Tom Cruise buddy Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie, Jack Reacher, Edge of Tomorrow) writes and directs. FULL REVIEW:Cruise and Co. do the impossible: make the stiff spy series silly fun again by Devin D. O’Leary (8/6/2015). 131 minutes PG-13.
An elderly, retired Sherlock Holmes (Sir Ian McKellen) looks back on his life and career, trying to come to grips with one long-unsolved case involving a beautiful woman. Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls) directs from the novel by Mitch Cullin. 104 minutes PG.
Who's ready for Owen Wilson, action star? The same ones who rushed to see him in 2001's Behind Enemy Lines, I suppose. Here, the Wes Anderson fave and his wife (Lake Bell from "Children's Hospital") move to a new home in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the family gets caught up in a military coup, and is forced to race across the bullet-riddled country to safety. 101 minutes R.
A disfigured concentration camp survivor (Nina Hoss from A Most Wanted Man), unrecognizable after plastic surgery, searches postwar Berlin for the husband (Ronald Zehrfeld) who may have betrayed her to the Nazis. While it sounds melodramatic, this German offering toes the line between twisty, Hitchockian drama and allegorical war story. In English and German with English subtitles. 98 minutes PG-13.
When space aliens misinterpret video game signals from Earth as a challenge to war, a group of former arcade nerds (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad) are recruited by the government to fight off the likes of Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Space Invaders. The story (based on a short film) is loaded with nostalgic potential ... all of which is squashed by bored-to-be-here Adam Sandler and his pals. 106 minutes PG-13.
Jonathan Demme (Something Wild, Silence of the Lambs) directs and Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult) writes this excuse for mother-and-daughter duo Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer to share the screen. Streep plays a failed musician who gives up her over-the-hill stardom-chasing to return home (to Indiana) and make things right with her dysfunctional family. Streep makes for a surprisingly good wannabe rock star, but the domestic drama is overly familiar. 101 minutes PG-13.
From the makers of "Wallace & Gromit" comes this charm-filled claymation spin-off about a smart-alec (albeit silent) sheep who decides to take the day off and ends up searching the big city for his amnesia-prone farmer. There is much silliness, physical humor and sight gags to be had--all of it wonderful. 85 minutes PG.
Movie-loving demon with a goofy name Bughuul is back haunting another rural family in this sequel to the 2012 horror hit Sinister. Ethan Hawke is out. Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight's Tale) is in, doing parent duty. This unimaginative rehash is little more than a collection of jump-scares. 97 minutes R.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams star in this gritty sports drama about a boxer trying to get his life back on track after losing his wife to a tragic accident and his daughter to child protective services. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter, The Equalizer) directs. Gyllenhaal gives it his all, but his greatest opponent is sports movie cliché. 123 minutes R.
F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, The Negotiator) directs this dutiful biopic relating the origin story of controversial, groundbreaking LA rap group NWA. O'Shea Jackson Jr. is particularly convincing as the young Ice Cube--not too surprising, considering he's Cube's son. The film has generated some serious buzz; too bad it's so by-the-numbers. 147 minutes R.
Red-hot sketch comedian Amy Schumer writes and stars in this surprisingly deep comedy for director Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up). It's just as raunchy as you're imagining, but Schumer contributes a lot of realistic drama as a commitment-phobic party girl who finds herself attracted to a nice-guy sports physician (Bill Hader). The film ignores all the usual plot tropes of romantic comedies that keep the main characters apart. Here, it's just the people, their emotions and their histories that make things complicated. Ass-smackingly funny and unexpectedly grown up. FULL REVIEW:Judd Apatow + Amy Schumer = Love by Devin D. O’Leary (7/16/2015). 125 minutes R.
At least this reboot/sequel starts with a clever idea: Some 30 years after that fateful vacation to Wally World with his parents, now-grown-up Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms, taking over from Anthony Michael Hall) vows to recreate the journey with his wife (Christina Applegate) and kids. 99 minutes R.
From the writer-director of such Christian films as Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous comes this drama about a "seemingly perfect" African-American family who try to fix their problems (hubby grapples with "temptation"--maybe from Ashley Madison?) with the help of an older, wiser, Bible-endorsing woman. Spoiler alert: All they need is prayer. 120 minutes PG.
Why aren't there more dramas about aspiring EDM DJs? Just wondering. In this one High School Musical's Zac Efron plays a twentysomething who dreams of playing sweet MP3s on his laptop for stoned-out dudebros and drunk girls in Yeti boots. He finds a mentor in big-shot California DJ Wes Bentley (Ricky from American Beauty). Like Mariah Carey in Glitter and so many more show-biz wannabes before him, will our protagonist abandon his homies on his meteoric rise to fame or stay true to his crew? 96 minutes R.
Earth's mightiest mortals are back for a second go-around. Seems that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has built a super-powered robot named Ultron (voiced by James Spader) who wants to bring peace to humanity by wiping it out. Can Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and newcomer The Vision stop this metallic madman before his plan comes to fruition? Probably, otherwise we don't get any more movies. Overstuffed? Sure. Exciting. Hell, yeah. 141 minutes PG-13.
Cheap, "found footage" horror film "from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious" about a group of people wandering into a claustrophobic location and videotaping themselves while they're stalked and killed, one by one? Check. TV commercials emphasizing "hidden camera" footage of real audiences jumping at the film's various "Boo!" moments? Check. So what's new? ... Well, Kathie Lee Gifford's daughter is in it. 80 minutes R.
Some 30 years after the the third Mad Max film (Beyond Thunderdome), legendary director George Miller returns to reboot the road-wrecking series. This time around, Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) is our reluctant, ex-cop antihero Max, wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland looking for peace and quiet. What he finds is a furious woman of action (Charlize Theron) on the run from a sadistic warlord and his band of motor-mad psychos. For this rule-breaking action classic, Miller eschews old-fashioned niceties like dialogue and character development in order to tell an explosive, operatic myth through movement, explosions and heroic bloodshed. 120 minutes R.
The ab-having studs of Magic Mike (Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriquez) return. It's been three years since our "magic" hero got out of the male stripper business, but he's recruited by the remaining Kings of Tampa to go on one last, blowout performance in Myrtle Beach. Bottom line: Hot guys take off their clothes to the Backstreet Boys. Who needs more information than that? 115 minutes R.
Lassie gets a patriotic, post-9/11 makeover. A dog that helped U.S. Marines in Afghanistan returns to America and is adopted by his handler's teenage brother after "suffering a traumatic experience." Troubled teen and troubled dog bond. Then somebody gets lost in the woods, and there's an adventure. 111 minutes PG.
Author John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) contributes another YA drama for Hollywood adaptation. In this one a young man (Nat Wolff from The Fault in Our Stars) and his friends embark on a road trip to find the girl next door (British fashion model Cara Delevingne) who has vanished under odd circumstances, leaving behind a set of clues. 109 minutes PG-13.
After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas (including way-too-old for college Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson) enter an international singing competition in order to regain their status. Goofy hijinks, sassy sisterhood and an a cappella rendition of "Flashlight" by Jessie J ensue. 115 minutes PG-13.
The B-movie disaster flicks of the '70s get a CGI facelift courtesy of the guy who directed Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as an emotionally wounded rescue copter pilot who has to race across California and save his college-bound daughter (Alexandra Daddario) when the San Andreas fault splits in two. It's got all the collapsing buildings and corny one-liners you'll need this summer. 114 minutes PG-13.
The Terminator series reboots itself with a partially new cast (Jai Courtney from "Spartacus: War of the Damned" as Kyle Reese, Emilia Clarke from "Game of Thrones" as Sarah Connor), a muddled script and an "alternate timeline." Seems it's 1984 again. Young Sarah Connor has been fully warned of Skynet's plans for Judgment Day and is protecting herself with a reprogrammed (and rather old) Terminator (played, of course, by Arnold Schwarzenegger). Then John Connor shows up from the future, only he's a Terminator now, and things get super confusing. See what you did, Star Trek? 122 minutes PG-13.