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

Pan.
Director: Joe Wright.
Writer: Jason Fuchs.
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Levi Miller.
Playing At: Wide.
Like Tim Burton’s dreadful Alice in Wonderland, there's really no need for yet another version of this story. But, hey, here we are! Joe Wright (Atonement) is an extremely talented director, but this looks like an overblown disaster, even for all its twists (Captain Hook and Peter are actually BFFs in this version) and odd flourishes (Hugh Jackman’s Blackbeard the Pirate is introduced to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). Just know what you're getting yourself into before you head to see this one.

99 Homes.
Director: Ramin Bahrani.
Writers: Ramin Bahrani, Amir Naderi.
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Tim Guinee.
Playing At: Wide.
Andrew Garfield and his family get evicted from their Florida home. Then he makes a deal with the devil (Michael Shannon, not playing the actual devil) to get it back. The acting and direction (by Ramin Bahrani, who was championed by the late Roger Ebert) will be top-notch, but the story is likely to veer into preachy territory, vilifying all banks and anyone involved in foreclosures as greedy, soulless villains. But it's still bound to be a timely, powerful film.

He Named Me Malala.
Director: Davis Guggenheim.
Playing At: Wide.
There are few people on the planet as inspiring as Malala Yousafzai, who dared to defy the Taliban's ban on girls receiving education. She survived a cowardly assassination attempt and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Now she speaks on equality the world over. Davis Guggenheim doesn't really have a style as a filmmaker, and he often ignores any contradictions to get his message across (Waiting for Superman, An Inconvenient Truth), but I'll be damned if Malala doesn't become one of your heroines by the end of the film.

Freeheld.
Director: Peter Sollett.
Writer: Ron Nyswaner.
Cast: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carell.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.
Sometimes the road to movie hell is paved with good intentions. Based on the Oscar-winning documentary short, Freeheld tells the true story of Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore), the New Jersey cop who fought to see her pension given to her domestic partner (Ellen Page). Most critics seem to agree the performances are all first-rate, but that they suffer under the weight of an unsubtle script and pedestrian direction. Plus, you can always just watch the documentary.

The Final Girls.
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson.
Writers: M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller.
Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Nina Dobrev, Alia Shawkat.
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse.
Self-aware horror comedy? Sign me up! Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) plays Max. While at a showing of her mom's (Malin Akerman) star-making '80s slasher flick, she and her friends get sucked into the movie itself. Expect plenty of quips and film references as the group tries to escape the serial killer hunting campers.

Knock Knock.
Director: Eli Roth.
Writers: Eli Roth, Nicolas Lopez, Guillermo Amoedo.
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand.
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse.
On a rainy night when his wife and kids are out of town, Keanu Reeves opens the door to two soaking wet, stranded co-eds. They seduce him, then try to murder him. As with all Eli Roth movies, you're either on his sick wavelength or you wonder what the point is. I'm firmly in the latter camp.

Peace Officer.
Directors: Brad Barber, Scott Christopherson.
Playing At: Texas Theatre.
As anyone who saw the disturbing images from Ferguson, Missouri, last summer can attest, police forces around the country are looking more and more like the military, upgrading their weapons and driving tanks up to front doors. For one former cop, the increased tension and firepower hit home. William “Dub” Lawrence popularized the use of SWAT teams in the 1970s, but he second-guessed their power when one shot his son-in-law. Expect a powerful but infuriating experience.

Repertory Pick of the Week.

House of Wax.
Director: Andre de Toth.
Writer: Crane Wilbur.
Cast: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones.
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse.
Showing: Sunday, October 11.
We take 3-D for granted these days, but there's something special about the three-dimensional horror flicks of 1950s, including Creature from the Black Lagoon and Dial M for Murder. House of Wax is one of my favorites from this time period, because it uses 3-D so effectively, and because it's so unsettling, even for a movie that's more than 60 years old. Oh, and because Vincent Price always captured the sadness behind his mad characters, too.

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