Weekend Movies: Bear with It

This weekend offers a single wide release, one nationwide expansion, a small expansion and a couple of indie flicks – but does anyone actually expect them to make a dent in the ongoing box office success of ‘Star Wars’?

The lone wide release is a PG-13 horror flick that puts ‘Game of Thrones’ actress Natalie Dormer to the test as a big screen lead star. As little interest as I have in the movie itself, the real locale that it’s based on has my attention. ‘The Forest‘ tells a fictional tale of a twin girl whose sister traveled to the real-life notorious Aokigahara forest at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji. The creepy 17-square-mile area is said to be haunted and is known for a high suicide rate that happens within it. As she searches the for her twin in “Suicide Forest” – a wooded area so dense that no outside sounds enter it – scary events begin to occur that point to it actually being haunted. From a no-name director and starring no other familiar faces, ‘The Forest’ appears to have a grim outlook.

On the indie front, Tim Blake Nelson steps behind the camera to direct ‘Anesthesia‘. The ensemble drama stars Glenn Close, Gretchen Mol, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll, Sam Waterston and Nelson himself. In the vein of ‘Crash’, it follows the people involved in or affected by a single event – the mugging of professor in the dark city streets of New York City. The heavy-hitting topics within include social struggles, crime, violence, alcoholism, drugs, sex, addiction, loneliness, terminal illness and self-inflicted wounds. Sounds like a blast.

James Franco once again pops up in a very artsy indie film. ‘Yosemite‘ is the second short story adaptation taken from the same book written by Franco (the first being 2013’s ‘Palo Alto’). The film stars Franco and a cast of no-name youngsters. It follows the connected stories of each of their suburban characters that beneath the fear created by an intruding mountain lion lingering in their neighborhood.

Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion animated drama ‘Anomalisa‘ expands this weekend to an unnumbered screen count, but that lackluster picture isn’t the expansion worth taking note of. Instead, you should be more interested in the nationwide push for ‘The Revenant‘. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t see Alejandro González Iñárritu’s gorgeous and brutal Oscar-worthy film now that it’s playing everywhere.


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