Even if it tanks a massive 80% this weekend, there’s no way that any of this week’s new movies stand a chance of dethroning ‘It’ at the box office.
The widest of the weekend’s releases is Lionsgate/CBS Films’ ‘American Assassin‘, which is hitting 3,100 locations. From the director of the so-so ‘Kill the Messenger‘ and more writers than you like to see in a movie’s credits, the film is adapted from a popular book series by Vince Flynn. The story follows a twenty-something guy (Dylan O’Brien from ‘The Maze Runner’) whose fiancée is killed in a terrorist attack. While attempting to sneak into the terror cell responsible for her death, he’s made by the CIA. Fueled by revenge and trained thoroughly, he gets inducted into a special ghost unit tasked with missions too sticky to be sanctioned by the U.S. government. Michael Keaton co-stars as the unit’s leader, and Taylor Kitsch plays the villain. With a relatively small $33 million budget, the action flick is a little too big for its britches. The made-for-TV feel doesn’t do any justice to its odd and unfitting grand scale. My recommendation is to wait to watch ‘American Assassin’ when it starts playing on based cable every Saturday afternoon.
Paramount execs must be absolutely out of their minds with ‘mother!‘, Darren Aronofsky’s latest art house picture. I see two problems with the studio’s 2,367-screen rollout plan. First, the heavily-symbolic psychological thriller isn’t a dish that should be served to the masses. My prediction is that 95% of those who see it will absolutely hate it. Two, it appears as if the sole reason that ‘mother!’ is being released so widely is because it stars Jennifer Lawrence. However, after the fiasco of ‘Passengers’, we’ve learned that Lawrence doesn’t have the star power that everyone once thought she did.
Back to the film, Lawrence leads ‘mother!’ as a housewife who spends all of her time remodeling the secluded childhood home of her author husband (Javier Bardem), who’s suffering from writer’s block. Things get odd when strangers start showing up at their home, including Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. If you’ve seen Aronofsky’s other films, you’re aware of how bananas things can go – but you haven’t come close to seeing the batshit craziness that ensues here. Unless you’re into films that require constant analysis for entertainment and understanding, then I recommend steering clear of ‘mother!’. But if you’re into what feels like the lovechild of ‘The Fountain‘ and ‘Noah‘, don’t miss this masterpiece. The meaty political, social, religious and philosophical commentary are a whole lot to chew on.
Annapurna and Amazon Studios are responsible for the notable limited release of ‘Brad’s Status‘. The Ben Stiller dramedy comes to us from writer/director Mike White and is said to be a gem. Stiller stars a middle-aged father who compares himself to his peers’ success and feels that he hasn’t made the most of his life. All of this occurs while on a road trip to tour potential universities with his son. Co-stars include Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen, Jemaine Clement and Luke Wilson. Although ‘Brad’s Status’ is only opening on four screens, plans are to expand it over the coming weeks prior to its inevitable Amazon Prime debut.