Since when did the summer blockbuster season come to a halt in August? Instead of opening big titles atop one another for the past three months, the studios should have saved some of their big stuff for this and the coming slow weeks.
This weekend’s new options include a sequel to a lesser ‘Conjuring’ spinoff, a long drama that’s joining the early Oscar race, yet another awful-looking kids’ movie, and two promising limited releases that need to expand wide sooner than later.
Do you remember ‘The Nut Job‘, the 2014 animated movie about a dickish squirrel who coaxes fellow animals into heisting a nut store (because such a thing exists), only to pull off their mission at the same time a group of humans attempt to rob the joint? Me neither. But some Einstein exec at Open Road thought it would be a good idea to bring it back to 4,000+ screens with ‘The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature‘. Once again, the animals have to thwart the sinister plans of crooked humans to save their hides. When they learn that the mayor is going to bulldoze the park that they call home and replace it with a rickety amusement park, they’ve got to work together to save the day again. This miserable movie stars a voice cast consisting of Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph (who also lent her voice to the competing ‘Emoji Movie’), Jackie Chan, Tom Kenny and others whom I don’t feel like mentioning.
‘Annabelle: Creation‘ is the sequel to ‘The Conjuring’ spinoff ‘Annabelle‘. After losing their child, a mourning doll maker and his wife bring in a nun (I sure hope it’s Valek, the nun from ‘The Conjuring 2’) and a handful of orphans. As you’d expect and hope for, the creepy evil doll starts bringing out the crazy. From the director of ‘Lights Out‘ and the writer of the upcoming adaptation of ‘It’, the reportedly flawed ‘Creation’ is being praised for delivering some well-earned, solid scares. Of this week’s three wide releases, this one is definitely the most promising.
Arthouse Oscar-bait typically opens in limited release and only expands after earning some buzz, but Lionsgate is saying to hell with that by pushing out ‘The Glass Castle‘ wide from the get-go. From the director of ‘Short Term 12‘ and based on a true story, the film tells past and present stories about a character played by Brie Larson. As a child, her hippie parents (Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts) raised her off the grid. As an adult, she’s learning to cope with her normal life and that of her aging squatter parents. Bouncing back and forth between the two parts of her life, we see the contrasts. With a PG-13 rating, it doesn’t seem like the most edgy of Oscar-contending pictures, but it also might stand a chance if it can distance itself from the many other movies like it – the most recent being last year’s ‘Captain Fantastic’.
Both of Aubrey Plaza’s 2017 Sundance movies were liked. The better liked of the two was ‘Ingrid Goes West‘. In it, she plays a celebrity-obsessed stalker who moves halfway across the country to attempt to become friends with her idol (Elizabeth Olsen). Like any teen movie from the ’90s, she succeeds and all goes well… until it doesn’t. The indie comedy hits three screens this weekend.
Marc Webb made it big in a very short amount of time. Immediately after knocking it out of the park with ‘(500) Days of Summer’, Sony handed him the big-budget ‘Amazing Spider-Man’. While it did well enough, they jerked him around while he was attempting to make ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’, and stripped the franchise from his hands afterward to pass it over to Marvel Studios. He bounced back with this year’s ‘Gifted’, a feel-good drama that was much better than any synopsis could make it out to be. This weekend brings him back to the big screen for the second time this year with the 15-screen release of his new drama ‘The Only Living Boy in New York‘. British up-and-comer Callum Turner stars as a lovesick young man who is desperate to earn the affection of his friend-zone female friend. Taking the advice of a seemingly wise neighbor (Jeff Bridges), he gets wrapped up in a bit of scandal involving his parents (Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon) and his father’s mistress (Kate Beckinsale).