On The 5th Wave And The Rest Of The Weekend’s New Film Releases.
The 5th Wave.
Director: J Blakeson.
Writers: Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner.
Cast:Chloe Grace Moretz, Zackary Arthur, Live Schreiber, Maria Bello.
Playing At: Wide.
Once again, a dystopian sci-fi adaptation featuring a female lead tries to become the next Hunger Games franchise. It won't happen, even though this one does feature some major talents. Aliens kill most everyone and destroy some notable landmarks. But then they invade and can look just like humans, making it a lot harder to kill them without some collateral damage. There might be room for nuance, but I doubt that a movie whose marketing constantly reminds me to checkout its Snapchat is interested in nuance.
Director: Dan Mazer.
Writer: John Phillips.
Cast:Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Julianne Hough, Aubrey Plaza.
Playing At: Wide.
One day, it might make sense why Robert De Niro has followed up his string of critically acclaimed performances in David O. Russell movies with this flaming pile of dog shit. Here he's the horny widower who guilt-trips his grandson Jason (Zac Efron) into driving him down to Florida so he can get jiggy with some partying college students. Julianne Hough plays Jason's emasculating fiancé who doesn't want him to have any fun. Geez, I wonder where this going.
Director: William Brent Bell.
Writer: Stacey Menear.
Cast: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, James Russell, Ben Robson.
Playing At: Wide.
Creepy dolls coming to life and trying to murder people? Check, please!
Ip Man 3.
Director: Wilson Yip.
Writers: Lai-yin Leung, Chan Tai-Li, Edmond Wong.
Cast: Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Jin Zhang, Mike Tyson.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas, Cinemark Legacy, AMC Mesquite.
While the life of Yip Man, the martial arts legend who trained Bruce Lee, is fascinating, it really doesn't need three films in its series (plus two separate biopics The Grandmaster and The Final Fight). At least this one has Mike Tyson playing a ruthless crime boss, which is a sentence I never thought I'd write. As always, there will be some truly impressive fight scenes.
Son of Saul.
Director: Laszlo Nemes.
Writers: Laszlo Nemes, Clara Royer.
Cast: Geza Rohrig, Levente Molnar, Urs Rechn, Sandor Zsoter.
Playing At: The Magnolia, Cinemark West Plano.
Break out the Xanax! It's time for the most depressing movie of the year! Likely to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, this Holocaust drama from Hungary has been widely praised as being one of the best and most devastating films of 2015. Geza Rohrig plays Saul, a concentration camp worker whose job it is to bury the bodies of Jews after they've been killed. One day, he becomes convinced his estranged son is among the latest round of dead, and he tries to arrange for a proper burial. Meanwhile, I could barely finish that sentence because of that punch in the gut.
Director: William Monahan.
Writer: William Monahan.
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, Walton Goggins, Mark Wahlberg.
Playing At: AMC Mesquite.
I love Oscar Isaac a lot. And if you don't, you're lying to yourself. But even great actors make a stinker every once in a while. And, boy howdy, is this one awful. Garrett Hedlund plays a “troubled artist” (cue eye roll) who goes wandering in the desert and finds himself stalked by Oscar Isaac's mysterious drifter. The movie is also showing on DirecTV, but it's so bad you may want to just disconnect your satellite dish. Read my full review here.
Director: Stanley Kubrick.
Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, Peter George.
Cast: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens.
Playing At: The Magnolia.
Showing: Tuesday, January 26.
Stanley Kubrick's absurd dark comedy remains sadly timely in 2016 as our leaders continue to get us involved in foreign conflicts that just make things worse. But for a movie that's only slightly more ridiculous than real life and features ones of the bleakest and best movie endings ever, it's still howlingly funny. Remember, gentlemen: You can't fight in here. This is the war room.