2 Guns – Two gentlemen look to rip off a bank and steal about $40 million US. They are wise cracking, professional, and very good with a gun. Then it turns out that one of these gentlemen (Denzel Washington) is not who he says he is, he’s actually an undercover DEA agent. But the other gentleman (Mark Wahlberg) is not who he says he is either, he’s from the Navy! Well, that is awkward. Too bad that this is all one big set-up, and surprise surprise, they have to work together to uncover the mystery. Bill Paxton shows how good he can be as a heavy, Paula Patton brings sex appeal, and James Marsden lends a hand. Directed by Baltasar Kormákur and out in wide release from Universal Pictures.
The Artist and the Model – Occupied France isn’t a great place to live, but it’s slightly better than Franco’s Spain. An old man (Jean Rochefort) is winding down the days of his life, but wants to work on one last masterpiece. A young Spanish woman (Aida Folch) is seeking shelter and refuge. The artist agrees to hide and take care of the woman, but she has to model for him, and he like’s his models nude. The beautiful Claudia Cardinale joins the cast and this movie explores the murky boundaries to separate art and desire, artists and subject, and male/female relationships. Written by Fernando Trueba and Jean-Claude Carriere with Trueba directing. Out in limited release from Cohen Media Group.
Cockneys vs Zombies – London’s East End has been populated with an awful lot of less than savory characters. Because of this, it has bred a different sort of person, a hardened, cynical, violent person. Just the type of people to kick some serious zombie ass. Furthering the comedy, they seek refuge in a retirement home, letting Grandma and Grandpa get in on the action. Sounds like a bloody good time for all. Starring Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan, Honor Blackman, Alan Ford, and Georgia King. Written by James Moran and Lucas Roche with direction by Matthias Hoene. Out in limited release from Studio Canal.
Drift – Australia, 1972. The Kelly brothers grew up in Margaret River, a seaside town home to some of the best and most dangerous waves. Andy (Myles Pollard) and (Xavier Samuel) are two great surfers, but they are also quite adept at getting into trouble as well. A nomadic surf photographer and filmmaker, JB (Sam Worthington), shows up and tries to help them out, but he might get them into even worse trouble. The two brothers open a surf shop and try to turn their lives and luck around. Written by Morgan O’Neill and directed by O’Neill and Ben Nott. Out in limited release from Wrekin Hill.
Europa Report – Europa, one of Jupiter’s eight major moons, is young and has a smooth surface. This has led astronomers to believe that under the cap is an ocean, possible of sustain extraterrestrial life. Well, if there is the possibility of life, you can bet than mankind will do it’s best to seek it out. Europa Ventures, a privately owned company, sends six of the best astronauts up to Europa to do a little snooping, and this footage is what was sent back. Doesn’t look like the mission was much of a success. Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist, Christian Camargo, Embeth Davidtz, Dan Fogler, and Anamaria Marinca are in a lot of trouble as writer Philip Gelatt and director Sebastián Cordero combine documentary and found footage to put their actors through the ropes. Out in limited release from Magnolia Pictures.
Our Children – Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, girl gives birth to one, two, three children. Boy’s life long financier moves in with the clan. Queue the tension. A painful and honest look at how difficult it can be to be a parent, how frustrating it is to be under someone’s thumb, and that need to have an individual identity away from love and family. Not an easy sit, but a rewarding one. Starring Tahar Rahim, Émilie Dequenne, Niels Arestrup, Stéphane Bissot, Baya Belal, and Duncan Smith. Written by Joachim Lafosse, Matthieu Reynaert, and Thomas Bidegain with Lafosse in the director’s chair. Out in limited release from Les Films du Losange.
Rising From Ashes – Rwanda has suffered one of the worst cases of genocide during the 20th Century, which was a particularly bad century for genocide. Roughly 20% of the country’s population was exterminated in 100 days. A country like this needs hope and a way to escape the pain and suffering. Cyclist Jock Boyer did what he could to be that hope by moving to Rwanda and trying to form a cycling team that could compete in the London Olympics. If the doping scandal and Lance Armstrong has left a bad taste in your mouth, then this will rinse it clean. Narrated by Forrest Whitaker, directed by T.C. Johnstone, and in limited release from First Run Features.
Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers – Heist films are great because not only do we get to see the meticulous and delicate nature of how to steal from the super wealthy, but because it gives us a chance to root for the bad guys. Here is a documentary about those real life bad guys, and how they pulled off their heist. Some are delicate, meticulous, artful, others, involve ramming a car into a store, scooping up as much as they can carry and speeding away before the cops come. I suppose there is elegance to that as well. Both side are represented in this documentary that blends talking heads, archival footage, animation, and re-enactment. From director Havana Marking and out in limited release from Music Box Films.
The Spectacular Now – Nothing burns brighter, crashes harder, and leaves a mark quite like a high school romance. Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber and director James Ponsoldt look to explore this memorable moment in all of our lives, but with a tinge less nostalgia. It wasn’t easy then, so why should we look back on it with rose-colored glasses? Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley star as the unlikely couple that falls for each other and tries their damndest to make it work while grappling with the realities of a difficult family life, past roles that seem to bind them, and an uncertain future. The only thing to do, is to forget all that and live in the now. The Spectacular Now. Supporting performances from Kyle Chandler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Out in limited release from A24.
When Comedy Went to School – Most of these comedians are now household names, but they had to start somewhere. The Catskills, the Improv, black box theaters, all these are the stopping ground of the comic, who decides that they are going to stand in front of an audience, armed with nothing more than a microphone and their ideas, and make people laugh. No performer is more naked than the comic, and boy do they love to tell stories. The archival footage alone is worth the price of admission. If you love Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, than you will dig this one. Written by Lawrence Richards and directed by Mevlut Akkaya & Ron Frank. Out in limited release from International Film Circuit.