New movies this week: 'The Foreigner,' 'Marshall,' 'Lucky,' 'The Meyerowitz Stories' and 'Loving Vincent' in theaters, Oct 13
Usually a Friday the 13th in October would be reserved for a slew of horror movies, but this year we are only getting one. Instead, the theaters (and even streaming sites) will attempt to fill the seats with a plethora of new releases this weekend. Are any of them worth your time?
Here are reviews for all of the new movies being released this Friday, October 13, 2017:
Although "The Foreigner" stars Jackie Chan, this is no "Jackie Chan Movie." It does contain action and Chan - now in his 60s - can still do amazing things with his body. But "The Foreigner" allows Chan to do something that he hasn't really been asked to do over his movie career: Act. And he delivers.
Chan plays a father on a mission of pure revenge after a terrible tragedy befalls his family. When the police and government officials give him the run around, he decides to take things into his own hands. He gets entangled in a situation with much higher political stakes, with a former IRA member, Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan) trying to balance his motives and his career, while simultaneously trying to hunt down the terrorist threat.
Both Brosnan and Chan are very good, maybe the best either of them have ever been. The story is smart, because it isn't a typical revenge flick...it's a revenge flick baked into a political thriller. Chan's character isn't even at the center of things for portions of the film, so there are multiple threads that tangle beautifully together. All in all, "The Foreigner" is a delightful and well-made action thriller.
Genre: Action, Thriller. Run Time: 1 hour 54 minutes.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Rufus Jones, Charlie Murphy, Michael McElhatton.
Directed by Martin Campbell ("Green Lantern," "Casino Royale," "The Legend of Zorro," "GoldenEye").
Chadwick Boseman has played Jackie Robinson and James Brown, and now he takes on another legendary icon in "Marshall". Thurgood Marshall was one of the most - if not THE most - influential figures in American history when it comes to the civil rights movement in this country: He was a fantastic lawyer, argued Brown vs. The Board of Education and several other cases in front of the US Supreme Court, and went on to become the first African-American Supreme Court justice. His career was long and his reach was vast, so one could imagine how difficult it might be to try to boil down his essence into one single story...the film "Marshall" attempts to do this by highlighting a case that Marshall was involved in early in his career, before Thurgood Marshall really became Thurgood Marshall.
The chosen case sends Marshall, on behalf of the NAACP, to defend a man (Sterling K. Brown) wrongfully accused of raping a wealthy white woman (Kate Hudson). The Southern judge (played pitch-perfect by the curmudgeonly James Cromwell) won't even allow Marshall to speak in his court room, so Marshall must try the case through a young, inexperienced Jewish lawyer, Sam Friedman (Josh Gad). In doing so, Freidman grows into a worthy defender...the two lawyers, both facing prejudice (one for his race, the other for his religion) have much to overcome.
And while Thurgood Marshall is without question a worthy subject of a film, "Marshall" is just a conventional court-room drama when all is said and done. Both Gad and Boseman are so good in it though, that you may forget that at times. Even cliches, when done well, can be entertaining. This select court case is such a small sample size of Marshall's impact on this country, however, that you'll leave feeling like you hardly know the man...and that you wish you knew more.
Genre: Biography, Drama. Run Time: 1 hour 58 minutes.
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, James Cromwell, Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown, Keesha Sharp.
Directed by Reginald Hudlin ("The Ladies Man," "The Great White Hype," "Boomerang," "House Party").
It's a film that is no doubt ground-breaking and will stick with you for quite some time. "Loving Vincent" is the world's first fully painted animated film...yes, each of the film's 65,000 frames are actually canvas oil paintings, having used the same techniques that the famous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh became famous for. The filmmakers boast that over 115 painters were involved in the film's creation.
It's a stellar achievement. The story is somewhat of a crime who-dun-it, a special "Van Gogh" episode of "Law and Order," where a man is investigating the alleged suicide of Van Gogh and trying to figure out what made this man tick, and eventually crack. From this perspective, the film doesn't offer up anything special and you have to wonder whether or not you'd care about this story if it wasn't so mesmerizingly beautiful to look at. The answer is probably not. We learn more about Van Gogh in the titles that flash at the end of "Loving Vincent" than we do during the film's entirety. Yes, it might be impossible to ever get inside the mind of such a genius, but unfortunately for this one, there isn't much more than meets the eye. The good news is, what meets your eyes is unlike anything you've ever seen and worthy of acute admiration.
Genre: Animation, Biography, Crime. Run Time: 1 hour 34 minutes.
Starring: Douglas Booth, Josh Burdett, Holly Earl, Chris O'Dowd, Anastazja Seweryn.
Written and Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman ("The Flying Machine").
Death comes to us all, as it sadly did for actor Harry Dean Stanton just last month. Lucky for us, he left us with "Lucky", an absolute tour de force for the late character actor and amazingly only one of two leading roles spanning his 60+ year career.
You have to imagine that Stanton is his character, a loner known as Lucky. Having passed age 90, Lucky is a man who exists in routine...he wakes up every morning and does the same yoga stretches, makes the same long walk into town and sits at the same seat at the local diner, where he knows everybody and everybody knows him. After a fall, his doctor (Ed Begley Jr.) tells him that he's "old, and getting older." Despite smoking multiple packs a day and still being alive at his age, Lucky has no family, no true friends, just the people he knows from town and from the local bar (one of which is played by real-life friend of Stanton's, director David Lynch). He wants to go fisticuffs when a life insurance salesman (Ron Livingston) tells him he should think about getting his affairs in order.
Funny enough, 2017 has now brought us a movie called "Logan," a movie called "Lucky," and a movie called "Logan Lucky." To add a laugh to this mix, "Lucky" was co-written by a guy named Logan (Sparks). You can't make this stuff up, people.
Not much happens over the course of "Lucky," but we feel this man's existence...we get to know this man pure and deep. He doesn't fall in love, he doesn't find God, he just...smiles. What a powerful way to say good-bye, Mr. Stanton. It's one of the year's most unforgettable performances.
Genre: Drama. Run Time: 1 hour 28 minutes.
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, Beth Grant.
Directed by John Carroll Lynch (feature-fulm debut).
"The Meyerowitz Stories"
And for something completely different this week, please go check out the newest Noah Baumbach film now streaming on Netflix, called "The Meyerowitz Stories". If you're a fan of Baumbach's previous work - films like "Mistress America," "Frances Ha," "Greenberg," "Margot at the Wedding," "The Squid and the Whale" - you will recognize the quirky, eccentric style, this time applied to an estranged family who reunites after their artist father falls ill.
What may not surprise you is that this film features a dynamite, scene-stealing performance by the legendary Dustin Hoffman. What WILL most likely shock the heck out of you, is that it also features a powerful, superbly effective performance by Adam Sandler. Yes, you read that right and no, it's not a joke or a typo. Adam Sandler - that Adam Sandler - gives the dramatic performance of his life and even has Oscar buzz surrounding it. He's that good.
The film itself isn't one of Baumbach's best, but it is an endearing and interesting portrait of a family, and of a father's relationship with his two sons (opposite Sandler, Ben Stiller plays the other, more successful sibling). It did receive a limited theatrical run in NY and LA, so it will qualify for year-end award consideration, but you can find it now streaming on Netflix. It's worth checking out, both for Hoffman and - cough - Sandler's great performances.
Genre: Comedy, Drama. Run Time: 1 hour 52 minutes.
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Grace Van Patten, Elizabeth Marvel, Judd Hirsch.
Directed by John Carroll Lynch (feature-fulm debut).
All of these movies open locally on Friday, October 13, 2017.
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