After last week’s $100 million opening of the latest ‘Fast and Furious’ sequel, it’s surprising to see so many new movies being thrown at us this weekend. No title would go head-to-head against Vin Diesel and the gang last week, but many counterprogramming options are challenging it now.
The widest release of the weekend is a thriller from successful producer turned first-time feature director Denise Di Novi. The scandalous cinematic catfight ‘Unforgettable‘ stars Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson. Heigl plays the seemingly loony disgruntled ex-wife of a man who remarried Dawson’s character. When Heigl suspects the new woman of an intentional master plan of sabotage, she fights to take back what once was hers: her family. The movie looks like a Lifetime Original. I’m avoiding it at all costs.
‘The Promise‘ comes to us from Oscar-winning filmmaker Terry George (‘Hotel Rwanda’). Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale and Charlotte Le Bon lead the cast in this hybrid war drama/love triangle romance. The film takes place in the early 1900s during the Armenian Genocide, an event that’s still controversial today. Isaac plays a promising medical student, Bale plays an American journalist, and Le Bon plays the woman standing between them. Romance-based war dramas can go either way, so here’s to hoping ‘The Promise’ is worthwhile.
Next is a quiet horror movie that I had no idea existed until today. From a slew of no-name actors and filmmakers, ‘Phoenix Forgotten‘ is a Found Footage thriller that revolves around a true event that occurred in March 1997. For three hours, strange lights appeared hovering over the city of Phoenix, Arizona that many believe were UFOs. The film spins a fun tale of the event by “finding” footage 20 years later from three teens who went missing that night and were never heard from again. Who knows how ‘Phoenix Forgotten’ will turn out, but with a runtime of just 85 minutes, it ought to at least be better than ‘Fire in the Sky’.
Narrated by John Krasinski, DisneyNature’s ‘Born in China‘ follows a trio of animals in the wild. The species appearing the most in the advertisements are pandas, but families of golden monkeys and snow leopards are also included.
Ben Wheatley’s fun and funny crime shootout comedy ‘Free Fire‘ features an awesome cast of Guy Ritchie-like characters. Set in 1978 Boston, Cillian Murphy plays an IRA operative attempting to acquire assault rifles to send back to Ireland. Michael Smiley plays his right-hand man and the father-in-law of their junkie henchman-for-hire, Sam Riley. Brie Larson is the third-party broker who represents the buyers, while Armie Hammer is the broker who represents the sellers: Sharlto Copley and Babou Ceesay. The seller’s henchmen include Noah Taylor and Jack Reynor. As you can imagine, the deal goes south quickly and all are shot-up and trapped within an abandoned warehouse that becomes a free-for-all for survival.
In addition to those new wide releases, ‘The Lost City of Z‘ (or should I call it “The Lost City of Zzzzzzzzzzz”?) is expanding out to 750 screens.