On Force Majeure And The Rest Of This Weekend's Special And Wide Releases.

The ABCs of Death 2.
Directors: Rodney Ascher, Julian Barratt, Robert Boocheck, Alejandro Brugués, Kristina Buozyte, Alexandre Bustillo, Larry Fessenden, Julian Gilbey, Jim Hosking, Lancelot, Oduwa Imasuen, E.L. Katz, Aharon Keshales, Steven Kostanski, Marvin Kren, Juan Martínez Moreno, Erik Matti, Julien Maury, Robert Morgan, Chris Nash, Vincenzo Natali, Hajime Ohata, Navot Papushado, Bill Plympton, Dennison Ramalho, Todd Rohal, Jerome Sable, Bruno Samper, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Sôichi Umezawa
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse.

The ABCs of Death series has a pretty awesome premise: 26 directors from around the world are given a letter of the alphabet. They pick a word and create death around it. The directors are handpicked and have something cool enough on their resume to be asked to be a part of this. Results vary: Some are super creative, some will gross you out and then there are a few that are lazy and uninspiring (I'm looking at you, Tie West). I think my favorite part of ABCs of Death 2 is the animated intro. Good job on that, dudes.

Before I Go to Sleep.
Director: Rowan Joffe.
Writer: Rowan Joffe (screenplay), S.J. Watson (novel).
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong.
Playing At: Wide.

I missed the press screening of this, but the cast is pretty stellar. This one's about a woman (Nicole Kidman, if I had to guess) who spends every day not knowing what happened in the last. But since this a movie and those things need a conflict to make things interesting, this woman starts to learn about her past and and the shit that went down that made it difficult for her to remember things.

Force Majeure.
Director: Ruben Östlund.
Writer: Ruben Östlund.
Cast: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren.
Playing At: Angelika Film Center (Dallas).

Force Majeure has gotten a lot of acclaim since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. I saw it last week and I still can't tell you if I liked it or not. Conceptually, it's pretty powerful. It's about a family who go vacationing in the French Alps, only to have the rest of the trip ruined when an avalanche heads towards their hotel. Sure, this would scare the hell out of anyone, but the avalanche stops short of the hotel and what ruins the whole trip — and probably the rest of the family's lives altogether — is the father's quick, selfish decision when he thinks he's about to be in real danger. Force Majeure is Sweden's submission for Best Foreign Film for the 87th Academy Awards, and it will probably get nominated and even win, so you should probably see it.

Horns.
Director: Alexandre Aja.
Writer: Keith Bunin (screenplay), Joe Hill (novel).
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Heather Graham.
Playing At: AMC Parks Mall.

Horns is based on a book written by the great Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill. That said, this movie had legs before its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Unfortunately, those broke once it screened to the public. Horns is a real piece of shit — and one of the films from this year that I wish I could un-see. This is quite tragic since it's made by French auteur Alexandre Aja, whose wild horror film High Tension will always be on every “Best Horror Films” list you'll read each October. I still think about that one like I saw it yesterday. It's been 11 years.

Nightcrawler.
Director: Dan Gilroy.
Writers: Dan Gilroy.
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Michael Papajohn.
Playing At: Wide.

Oh, Nightcrawler. I love you so. Here's why.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
Director: Isao Takahata.
Writer: Isao Takahata, Riko Sakaguchi.
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen.
Playing At: Angelika Film Center (Dallas).

Studio Ghibli has a new film out and, if you’re a fan of animation, this film sold you at “Studio Ghibli.” Rejoice, film snobs: The Angelika will also be showing this one in its original language with English subtitles. Or, y'know, the way foreign films are meant to be seen.

The Two Faces of January.
Director: Hossein Amini.
Writer: Hossein Amini (screenplay), Patricia Highsmith (novel).
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac.
Playing At: Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art.

Well, Viggo Mortensen is a face we haven’t seen much of lately. Welcome back, dude! Please stay for a while.

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages.
Director: Benjamin Christensen.
Writer: Benjamin Christensen.
Cast: Benjamin Christensen, Elisabeth Christensen, Maren Pedersen.
Playing At: Texas Theatre

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages is an old-ass documentary made in 1922 Denmark. Criterion Collection restored it on DVD, and the Texas Theatre is now showing the 76-minute version, narrated by William S. Burroughs. Guess all this means is that, if you want to up your hip movie knowledge, this would be a good one to see.

Night of the Living Dead.
Director: George A. Romero.
Writers: John A. Russo , George A. Romero.
Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman.
Playing At: Angelika Film Center (Dallas).

Hey, it's the film that kickstarted the zombie craze — and one of the only ones in that subgenre that doesn't suck! This one raised a lot of fuss when it was released in 1968 because the public then just wasn't ready for its violence and gore. If only they knew what was to come.

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