On Kevin Smith's Tusk And The Rest Of This Weekend's Wide and Special Releases.

The Guest.
Director: Adam Wingard.
Writer: Simon Barrett.
Cast: Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe.
Playing At: AMC Northpark and Cinemark West Plano.

If you went to our screening of The Guest, you know how crazy we are about this film. The most important thing about film is the humor in it all. Writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard (writer and director of You're Next, respectively) understand the comedy in action and horror movies, which is what this movie is a crazy cool salute to. It helps that their ab-tastic lead Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) has the calm and suaveness of Ryan Gosling's Driver in Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive. This movie is is meant to be seen with a crowd.

The Zero Thereom.
Director: Terry Gilliam.
Writer: Pat Rushin.
Cast: Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, Lucas Hedges, Mélanie Thierry.
Playing At: Texas Theatre.

Goofball-genre director Terry Gilliam and nutty character actor Christoph Waltz seem like a dream paring for a bigger-than-life dystopian epic, right? Not according our Kip Mooney, who says this one lacks Brazil's wit and 12 Monkey's evocative imagery and commitment. Bummer.

Director: Kevin Smith.
Writer: Kevin Smith.
Cast: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment.
Playing At: Wide Release.

Kevin Smith's first real horror film, Tusk, just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to mostly unkind reviews. Doesn't matter to me; I will sink my teeth into any movie Michael Parks stars in. This actor chews up every scene he's in. Tusk is about blogger Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) who interviews seafarer Howard Howe (Parks) in the middle of nowhere. This is not a spoiler, but slowly Howe tortures Bryton a la Misery while cutting parts of his body off and putting limbs of a walrus on. I haven't seen this movie yet, but it can only end on The Beatles' “I Am The Walrus.”

This Is Where I Leave You.
Director: Shawn Levy.
>Writer: Jonathan Tropper (screenplay), Jonathan Tropper (novel).
Cast: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shephard.
Playing At: Wide Release.

This Is Where I Leave You is a movie I've been waiting to see. It's based off the book of the same name by Jonathan Tropper about a lovable loser and his pleasantly awkward family. I can't recommend this brisk-but-great read enough. The book is full of colorful characters, so the adaptation is turkey-stuffed with all the lovable losers you enjoy to watch on screen — Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Girls' Adam Driver, Ben Schwartz and Corey Stoll, to name a few.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.
Director: Ned Benson.
Writer: Ned Benson.
Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis.
Playing At: Angelika Film Center (Dallas).

Thematically similar to David Fincher's Gone Girl, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is a love story gone wrong told by His and Her point of views. Rigby is actually three films — Him, Her and together, Them, which is what you will see in theaters (Him and Her screened at Toronto last year and Them is the final work).

The Notebook.
Director: János Szász.
Writer: András Szekér (screenplay); Agota Kristof (novel).
Cast: László Gyémánt, András Gyémánt, Piroska Molnár.
Playing At: The Magnolia.

Not to be confused with Nick Cassavetes' cry-fest starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, János Szász' haunting The Notebook retells the brutal account of two siblings during World War II.

My Old Lady.
Director: Israel Horovitz.
Writer: Israel Horovitz.
Cast: Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith.
Playing At: Angelika Film Center (Dallas).

It's always lovely when Kevin Kline pops up in a lead role. In My Old Lady, he plays Mathias Gold, a failed author and three-time divorcee who inherits an apartment in Paris from his estranged pops. Broke, he heads there to sell it and finds people are living in it. Those people are played by the always extraordinary Maggie Smith (Harry Potter series) and Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas.

The Maze Runner.
Director: Wes Ball.
Writers: Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, T.S. Nowlin (screenplay); James Dashner (novel).
Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter.
Playing At: Wide Release.

Based on the hit post-apocalyptic science fiction novel of the same name, The Maze Runner chases Thomas (Dylan O'Brien from MTV's Teen Wolf) through a maze of survival after his memory is wiped. Things are looking good for this franchise — the sequel, The Scorch Trials, starts shooting this month.

Director: Alan White.
Writers: Luke Davies, Carmine Gaeta.
Cast: John Cusack, Jackie Weaver, Ryan Phillippe, Rachelle Lefevre.
Playing At: AMC Grapevine Mills.

This one is tough to measure. On the one hand, it stars Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom), who mops the floor with every role she takes. On the other, it stars the once-great John Cusack, whose films now rarely see a theatrical release. Watch at your own risk.

The Skeleton Twins.
Director: Craig Johnson.
Writers: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman.
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell.
Playing At: Cinemark West Plano.

A bunch of colleagues of mine caught The Skeleton Twins at Sundance earlier this year and really enjoyed it. It's always wonderful when comedians step outside their awkward zone and take on a serious role. This go-round stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as twins who reunite after both cheating death.

A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Director: Scott Frank.
Writers: Scott Frank (screenplay), Lawrence Block (novel).
Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour.
Playing At: Wide Release.

Liam Neeson puts his particular set of skills to good use in the new action thriller, A Walk Among the Tombstones. It also stars Dan Stevens, whose other film The Guest also released this week. According to our own Kip Mooney, it's worth your money.

Autumn Blood.
Director: Markus Blunder.
Writers: Stephen T. Barton, Markus Blunder.
Cast: Sophie Lowe, Peter Stormare, Maximilian Harnisch.
Playing At: AMC Valley View.

Autumn Blood is slowly playing catch-up in the U.S., as it released on DVD in Sweden in 2011. It stars Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate) and Gustaf Skarsgard, whom you will only forever know as “brother of Alexander Skarsgard.”

16 Candles.
Director: John Hughes.
Writer: John Hughes.
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Justin Henry.
Playing At: Angelika Film Center (Both Locations).

John Hughes' sweet ode to being a girl is screening this weekend at both Angelika theaters. Since we will never get a movie from Hughes ever again, it's pretty important to see his classics on the big screen every chance you get.

The Professional.
Director: Luc Besson.
Writer: Luc Besson.
Cast: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman.
Playing At: Inwood Theatre.

Luc Besson will never make a movie better than The Professional, and that's OK, because this film is one of the greatest action films of the 20th century — and perhaps of all time.


















































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