Even though this weekend features four new wide releases – a Jason Statham action flick, a boxing drama, a horror entry, and an Obama bio-pic – and two notable limited releases, don’t get your hopes up. There’s not as much potential as you’d hope for from a weekend of this size.
Of the big releases, the widest is the horror entry that comes to us from the director of the 2013 ‘Evil Dead’ remake. Despite my love of the horror genre, I’m in the minority of those who disliked that movie. Having said that, I’m willing to give his latest, ‘Don’t Breathe‘, a shot. Filled with a mostly unknown cast, the story follows a group of troubled friends who make the stupid decision to rob the home of a wealthy blind man who turns out to be a Daredevil-like badass. Not only does ‘Don’t Breathe’ look freaky and terrifying, but reviews out of regions lucky enough to have pre-release screenings (not mine) are claiming that it delivers. ‘Don’t Breathe’ hits more than 3,000 screens.
Debuting on north of 2,200 screens is ‘Mechanic: Resurrection‘, the sequel to Summit’s 2011 action flick ‘The Mechanic‘. Jason Statham reprises his role as a talented killer. This time, he’s brought out of retirement and tasked with assassinating three individuals by methods that make the deaths look like accidents. Even for those who love mindless action flicks, the first ‘Mechanic’ was a drag, which is why it’s curious that the floundering studio would pump out a sequel five years after the first. Jessica Alba managed to land a co-starring role in it, despite this movie not being directed by Robert Rodriguez. Tommy Lee Jones and Michelle Yeoh also appear.
Before completing his second term as the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama already has a bio-pic in theaters. However, the story it tells isn’t likely the one you’re expecting. Instead of following his political career or dramatizing how he became the first black President, ‘Southside with You‘ takes a step back and tells a rom-com story of his first date with future First Lady Michelle Obama. With a high Rotten Tomatoes score, this just might be our best dramatic option for the weekend – assuming that your local cinema is one of the 811 screens showing it.
Our final wide release is the boxing drama ‘Hands of Stone‘, which hits 810 screens. The Weinstein Company seems to have reservations about its reception; just one day prior to its release, the studio trimmed back the number of screens for its debut. If you know boxing, then you know the story of Sugar Ray Leonard and competitor Roberto Duran. If not, I’ll refrain from spoiling the 36-year-old true story – but it’s interesting and unexpected. Starring Edgar Ramirez as Duran and Robert De Niro as his trainer, the film tells a pensive tale about the general lives of professional athletes. Usher – or, as Luda calls him, “Ursher” – co-stars as Sugar Ray. No, this isn’t the boxing drama starring Miles Teller. That one (‘Bleed for This’) is set to debut in late November.
No matter your personal feelings toward Mel Gibson, if you don’t want to see ‘Blood Father‘, then something’s wrong with you. Bearded Gibson stars as a character who feels like a hodge-podge of his past roles. With nothing to lose, in a “Give me back my son!” kind of way, he’s out to get revenge on the drug-dealers who are trying to kill his daughter. There’s no word on how many screens the movie will open on, but I suspect most viewers will have to wait for VOD to see it.
In partnership with Amazon Studios, IFC has the new thriller ‘Complete Unknown‘ hitting a few screens. Michael Shannon stars as a content and successful married man whose world is turned upside when a long-lost girlfriend (Rachel Weisz) who mysteriously disappeared 15 years earlier re-enters his life and seduces him with off-the-grid and nostalgia-fueled temptations. Playing in very limited release, we may have to wait for Amazon Prime to stream ‘Complete Unknown’ before we can see it.