On The Gallows And The Rest Of This Weekend's New Releases.

Minions.
Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Writer: Brian Lynch.
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney.
Playing At: Wide.
They've already taken over your aunt's Facebook page, and now they're here to take over movie theaters as well. These cuddly little yellow creatures were scene-stealers in both Despicable Me films, but the prevailing logic is that it's hard to see how they'll be able to carry their own feature — technically a Despicable Me prequel — even with a talented voice cast. According to our own Angela Jones' review, though, it somehow works.

Self/Less.
Director: Tarsem Singh.
Writers: David Pastor, Alex Pastor.
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Matthew Goode, Natalie Martinez.
Playing At: Wide.
So this one's probably going to be terrible, even if director Tarsem Singh makes the most gorgeous-looking bad movies on earth (Immortals, Mirror Mirror). Here, Ben Kingsley assumes the body of Ryan Reynolds to continue his reign as one of the richest men in New York. Things get tricky when he starts recalling memories of Reynolds' past life. Our own Javier Fuentes attempts to find some redeeming qualities to this one in his review of it. Alas, he can't.

The Gallows.
Directors: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing.
Writers: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing.
Cast: Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Cassidy Gifford.
Playing At: Wide.
I’ve had just about enough of these found-footage horror movies. They're cheaply produced, they're poorly acted and they unfairly make a shit-ton of money while other, better horror films languish. Hopefully, we've reached the end of the line with this one, which finds a group of high school kids summoning the ghost of a student who died 20 years earlier. A boy can dream, right?

Amy.
Director: Asif Kapadia.
Cast: Mitch Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Blake Fielder-Civil, Pete Doherty.
Playing At: Wide.
Reviews are strong for this documentary about the tragic life of Amy Winehouse. Working with extensive amounts of archival footage as well as new interviews, the film ponders where things went wrong for the talented singer, and it isn't necessarily shy about pointing fingers. In his review of the film, our own Javier Fuentes wonders if that's such a good thing.

Batkid Begins.
Director: Dana Nachman.
Cast: Teresa Clovicko, Audrey Cooper, Katie Cotton, Ama Daetz.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas.
From the lighter side of the documentariy spectrum comes this feel-good story about the boy with leukemia who got to fulfill his wish of being Batman for a day in San Francisco. Now, if you'll excuse me, I’ve got something in my eye.

Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot.
Director: Sebastian Dehnhardt.
Cast: Dirk Nowitzki, Holger Geschwinder, Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson.
Playing At: The Magnolia, Texas Theatre.
If you've already seen the Fox Sports documentary Wurzburg to Worldwide, there's not a whole lot of new information to be found here about Dallas' favorite basketball player. But it does get a little deeper into Dirk's family and the methods of his enigmatic trainer, Holger. Perhaps most important, though, the film provides Dallas Mavericks the chance to relive the glory days of 2011, when the Mavs beat Lebron and the Heat to win the NBA Championship.

Strangerland.
Director: Kim Farrant.
Writers: Michael Kinirons, Fiona Seres.
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Joseph Fiennes, Sean Keenan.
Playing At: Angelika Plano.
Nicole Kidman gives a commanding performance in this Australian film, playing a mom searching for her kids, who've both disappeared. As tensions flare and a dust storm approaches, the townsfolk begin to suspect Kidman and her husband (Joseph Fiennes) of doing the deed themselves. This sort of unsettling thriller — in a gorgeous but eerie location — is the kind of thing that's right up my alley. So, y'know, it should be right up yours, too.

Accidental Love.
Director: David O. Russell.
Writers: Kristin Gore, Matthew Silverstein, Dave Jeser.
Cast: Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Marsden, Bill Hader.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas.
Once upon a time, there was a razor-sharp political satire called Nailed that was directed by David O. Russell and starred a slew of brilliant comedic actors. But that movie kind of fell apart and Russell never finished it. Then somebody decided to splice together what was left over and release this monstrosity, which will go down as one of the most infamous films ever made. Here, Jessica Biel plays a woman who accidentally gets a nail in her brain and is refused medical treatment because she doesn't have insurance. She takes her crusade to Washington and falls in love with a handsome but duplicitous congressman (Jake Gyllenhaal). What a mess.

Meet Me in Montenegro.
Directors: Alex Holdridge, Linnea Saasen.
Writers: Alex Holdridge, Linnea Saasen.
Cast: Alex Holdridge, Linnea Saasen, Rupert Friend, Jennifer Ulrich.
Playing At: Texas Theatre.
It's a classic battle of romance versus cynicism as Anderson (Alex Holdridge) reconnects with his old flame Lina (Linnea Saasen) in Berlin. Does he go for it, seeing the sparks again? Or does he run and bury himself deeper in his job? I think we all know how this one plays out, but hopefully there's enough magic to make it work.

Repertory Pick of the Week.

Surf Ninjas.
Director: Neal Israel.
Writer: Dan Gordon.
Cast: Ernie Reyes Sr, Ernie Reyes Jr, Nicolas Cowan, Rob Schneider.
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse.
Showing: Tuesday, July 14.
Objectively, Surf Ninjas is not a good movie. Subjectively, however, it's one of my all-time favorites. I grew up watching this on VHS with my sister on a regular basis and I can't help but love it. Here, Ernie Reyes, Jr. and Nicolas Cowan play brothers who are adopted by an American chef after their home country is overthrown in a military coup. Later, a mystery man (Ernie Reyes, Sr.) shows up, imploring them to return home to fight the evil dictator Colonel Chi. Yes, Leslie Nielsen plays the bad guy. And, yes, he’s part robot, too. The '90s were a weird time. But the best part of this screening is that it's a benefit for Ernie Reyes, Jr, who needs a kidney transplant. If you can't make this one, you can still donate to his GoFundMe page.

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