Weekend Movies: The End (of Summer) Is Near

Here we go, folks. August is the final month of summer blockbusters. I would hardly define any of this weekend’s movies as “blockbusters,” but they’re much closer than next weekend’s releases, so this is it.

Yet another teen book series has been adapted for film in an attempt to fill the void left by ‘Twilight’. Fortunately, as proven by ‘Beautiful Creatures‘, no one really wants that void filled. I imagine that ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones‘ will follow that same doomed path. Lily Collins and her eyebrows play the lead, a teenage girl who learns that she’s a guardian of goodness on Earth. Functioning as an angel, she possesses powers that can balance heaven and hell. With the help of friends (in the form of a love triangle), she must save the world and her mother. If I didn’t know any better, I’d assume that ‘Mortal Instruments’ was fan fiction that combined ‘Star Wars’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Twilight’, ‘Ghostbusters’ and much, much more. Anyone who’s ever seen one of those titles will recognize the B.S. scent of this hack from a mile away. Sadly, the first two-thirds of ‘City of Bones’ aren’t too bad, but the movie quickly crashes and burns after that.

Since horror movies have been the real winners this summer, the weekend’s second widest release is ‘You’re Next‘. Director Adam Wingard (‘V/H/S‘) gives us this no-name thriller about a family terrorized by killers during a wedding anniversary. Following the form of way too many recent scary movies, the killers wear creepy masks. While there have been several good horror movies this year, I’m told that ‘You’re Next’ is not one of them.

The widest release of the weekend is the one that should be the grandest. Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost close out their “Three Flavours Cornetto” trilogy with ‘The World’s End‘. Pegg and Frost play two of the leads in this ensemble flick (the others being Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan) about a group of high school buddies who reunite to attempt the epic 12-stop pub crawl that they failed to complete in their youth. When they return to town, they quickly learn that things are not as they once were. Like the Stepford Wives, the townsfolk are strange. Are they monsters? Are they robots? Are they aliens? You’ll have to see for yourself. As with the previous two films in the Cornetto trilogy (‘Shaun of the Dead‘ and ‘Hot Fuzz‘) be prepared to see ‘The World’s End’ more than once just so you can catch more of the fast humor.

Joining the ranks of nationwide releases is Woody Allen’s uncomfortable comedy ‘Blue Jasmine‘. Sony Pictures Classics is expanding the previously-limited release to more than 1,200 screens.

On a limited number of screens, the Weinstein Company is distributing the much-buzzed Chinese martial arts flick ‘The Grandmaster‘. [Ed.: But only after cutting ten or so minutes out of it, as Harvey Weinstein is so fond of doing to every foreign movie he acquires. -JZ] The biographical, action-infused drama tells the story of the martial-arts master, Ip Man, who trained Bruce Lee. Friends of mine say that the film demands to be seen on the biggest and best screen possible. Could this be the year’s best foreign film?

After a few weeks on VOD, ‘Drinking Buddies‘ finally comes to the big screen. Olivia Wilde and Ron Livingston play a couple. Anna Kendrick and Some Other Dude play another couple. When the two couples become drinking buddies, alcohol pushes Wilde and Other Dude into an affair. Labeled as Comedy/Drama/Romance, it sounds depressing to me.


  1. ‘The Grandmaster’ left me surprisingly cold. Beautiful images, but empty storytelling. Let us know what you think, Luke, but I wouldn’t call this the year’s best foreign film. If it were, I’d say 2013 hasn’t been the best year for foreign movies.

    • Julian, have you seen Donnie Yen’s Ip Man movies? A friend gave me the first one, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. I’m curious how it compares to this one.

      • Ip Man? No, sorry, haven’t seen those. Can’t compare. ‘The Grandmaster’ is Kar-Wai clearly having fun after his more brooding, somber work. Which is good thing (Spielberg did the same after Munich), but ‘The Grandmaster’ comes off as ‘interesting concept, mediocre execution’.

  2. I mean, the entire film was in slow-motion. I nearly walked out of that film. I’d rather watch Gigli and any David Schwimmer movie 10 times in a row than watch Grandmaster again.

  3. I have interest in seeing The World’s End this weekend, but I just looked up the showtimes, and it’s not playing in any premium theaters near me. In the riff-raff multiplexes, it only’s only one one screen per theater (as opposed to The Mortal Instruments, which is on two or three), and likely the smallest auditoriums.

    So if that movie bombs, it’s because the distributor and theaters have conspired to make going to see it as unappealing as possible.

  4. William Henley

    Mortal Instruments was alright, but nothing spectacular. I was impressed that, on opening weekend, how few people were in the auditorium with us. It was like how you expect a theater to look on a weekeday matinee, not a Saturday 7PM showing on opening weekend. Got a feelign this movie will bomb.

    Love triangle is a bit of an understatement. Girl is liked by 2 boys, she only likes one of them, but that boy is liked by another boy.

    My biggest issue with the movie is that, aside from the 3 main characters, you never get much insight into the other characters. People are hurt, names are yelled out, and you are like “Um, who is that?” Characters are just never really established other than the three main ones. In fact, half the time, you don’t even knwo what species a certain person is supposed to be.

    It seems like there is a great story behind it, but just a lacking script. May try reading the book

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