On The Walk And The Rest Of The Weekend’s New Film Releases.

The Martian.
Director: Ridley Scott.
Writer: Drew Goddard.
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena.
Playing At: Wide.
Disappointed by most of this summer's blockbusters? You weren't alone. But The Martian is the brilliant, brainy blast we waited all year for. Matt Damon is at his absolute best as the marooned astronaut here who has to figure out a way to survive until rescue comes. Like Gravity and Apollo 13, it focuses on the people and not just the incredible special effects — and it's all the better for it. See a more in-depth review here.

The Walk.
Director: Robert Zemeckis.
Writers: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne.
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, Ben Schwartz.
Playing At: Cinemark 17 IMAX, AMC NorthPark IMAX. (Opens wide next week.)
If you've already seen the Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire, you know Phillip Petit pulled off the miraculous feet of walking on a tightrope between the two World Trade Center towers. But if anyone can pull off the spectacle of recreating it in breathtaking detail, it's Robert Zemeckis, who blew minds with groundbreaking special effects in the Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump and Death Becomes Her.

Finders Keepers.
Directors: Bryan Carberry, Clay Tweel.
Playing At: Texas Theatre.
True stories don't get much stranger than Finders Keepers. A decade ago, Shannon Whisnant bought a grill at auction. Unbeknownst to him, there was a human foot inside. When John Wood tried to get his amputated limb back, Whisnant refused. Hence the title of this film. What happened afterward was bizarre and hilarious, but the directors found a way to make it moving, too. Head here for a longer take.

Shanghai.
Director: Mikael Hafstrom.
Writer: Hossein Amini.
Cast: John Cusack, Gong Li, Chow Yun-Fat, David Morse.
Playing At: Angelika Plano, Angelika Dallas.
An acclaimed writer and director. A talented cast. An intriguing cloak-and-dagger story. What could go wrong? Well, for some reason, this movie sat on the shelf for five years. That's never a sign of faith by the studio. It saw a release in China back in 2010, but it's just now coming to the States in a very limited release with absolutely no publicity. If I didn't know any better, I'd say the Weinsteins were trying to bury this movie.

Mississippi Grind.
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck.
Writers: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck.
Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Yvonne Landry, Anthony Howard.
Playing At: Angelika Plano, LOOK Cinemas.
Ben Mendelsohn is one of our greatest character actors. Here, he gets to shine in a lead performance as Gerry, a down-on-his-luck gambler. He teams up with the effortlessly charming Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), who's slightly luckier at the card table. Together, they hit up all the un-glamorous casinos and racetracks of the South, trying to scrounge up enough dough for Gerry to settle his debts. Expect lots of great character moments thanks to the highly personal filmmaking style of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who have knocked it out the park with their last three films (Half Nelson, Sugar and It's Kind of a Funny Story, one of my all-time favorites).

Hell and Back.
Directors: Tom Gianas, Ross Shuman.
Writers:Tom Gianas, Ross Shuman, Zeb Wells.
Cast: Nick Swardson, Mila Kunis, Rob Riggle, T.J. Miller.
Playing At: Cinemark West Plano, LOOK Cinemas.
A stoner Claymation comedy about demonic possession? File that under things I did not want or need. If you must see this, wait until you're at home with your munchies of choice.

A Brilliant Young Mind.
Director: Morgan Matthews.
Writer: James Graham.
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas.
Asa Butterfield (Hugo) plays Nathan, an especially gifted but socially inexperienced teen who gets recruited for Britain's national math team (which is a thing, apparently). Expect plenty of feels as his single mother (Sally Hawkins) and tutor (Rafe Spall) try to support him while simultaneously getting him to come out of his shell.

Goodnight Mommy.
Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz.
Writers: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz.
Cast: Susanne Wuest, Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Hans Escher.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas.
If you really want a movie to give you the willies long after you leave the theater, go see this Austrian import. When their mom returns home from facial reconstruction surgery, twins Elias and Lukas become convinced the woman in their home isn't their mother. What follows is an increasingly disturbing series of discoveries. Think it's just a cheap horror flick? Austria loves it so much they submitted it as their official selection for the upcoming Academy Awards.

Attack on Titan: The Movie — Part 1.
Director: Shinji Higuchi.
Writers: Yusuke Watanabe, Tomohiro Machiyama.
Cast: Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara, Kanata Hongo, Satomi Ishihara.
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse.
I'm not sure why someone decided to do a live-action adaptation of the popular manga when there's already a universally adored anime series as well. Did the filmmakers learn nothing from Dragon Ball Evolution? The trailer got trashed online, but as always, you can only truly judge a movie once you see it. Part 2 will be out in a few weeks. Really.

Repertory Pick of the Week.

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn.
Director: Sam Raimi.
Writers: Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel.
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley.
Playing At: Inwood Theatre.
Showings: Friday, October 2; Saturday, October 3 at midnight.
There will be no shortage of scary movies to see this October, so it will be hard to limit this section to just one pick each week. But Dead by Dawn is the best of the Evil Dead trilogy. With a bigger budget and more laughs than the original, but more scares than Army of Darkness, it strikes the perfect balance. For the right viewers, there's a glee to all the gore, bliss in all the blood.

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