This weekend offers a big blend of new movies, two of which go head-to-head for the same R-rated comedy-loving crowd.
Getting a head start on the weekend, Warner’s big-screen addition to HBO’s ‘Entourage‘ series debuted on Wednesday. It’s safe to assume that the mid-week opening was to help rake in some extra income prior to Melissa McCarthy’s equally R-rated comedy opening today. After earning between $6 to $7 million on Wednesday alone, the decision appears to have been a wise one. For the feature film, Vinny, Turtle, Drama and E continue their hijinks – highs and lows – in sunny Southern California. The movie opens by quickly catching us up to characters and setting the background behind the plot. Ari (Jeremy Piven) is now a studio head who wants Vince (Adrian Grenier) to star in his first big picture – but Vince will only do it if he also gets to direct the picture. The rest of the movie takes place eight months later, but before completely diving into the plot, there’s a section dedicated to getting the non-‘Entourage’ fans up-to-speed. Once that’s complete, the rest of the movie fits an entire season’s plot and cameos into 104 minutes. With Vince’s over-budget directorial debut in post-production, he refuses to show the movie to anyone until Ari locks in several million dollars more to finalize the effects – which Ari can’t do under the pressure of his financier’s son (Haley Joel Osment). As an ‘Entourage’ fan, I loved the movie.
The comedy trying to trump ‘Entourage’ today is ‘Spy‘. Writer/director Paul Feig (‘Bridesmaids‘, ‘The Heat‘) reteams – once again – with Melissa McCarthy in this action hybrid. After ‘Tammy’ and ‘Identity Thief’, the actress needs a solid hit. While the trailers don’t make ‘Spy’ look any better than her past failures, early word-of-mouth and critic reviews tout it as a perfect summer comedy. McCarthy stars as an unlikely CIA agent who takes a covert mission to save the world. Jude Law and Jason Statham co-star, with Rose Byrne playing the villain.
Also opening widely today, but without much hype or advertisement, is ‘Insidious: Chapter 3‘. The third installment of this successful PG-13 micro-budget horror franchise takes an odd turn by not having the leads from the first two movies (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) return. Functioning as a prequel, ‘Chapter 3′ takes us back in time to tell the story of the psychic (Lin Shaye) who saved the family in the first round.
Opening in limited release is Roadside Attractions’ Brian Wilson bio-pic ‘Love & Mercy‘. From the producer-turned-director of fantastic films like ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘Into the Wild’, ‘The Tree of Life’ and ’12 Years a Slave’, Paul Dano and John Cusack portray the 1960s and ’80s versions of the Beach Boys leader. Bouncing back and forth between the two periods in his life, we witness Wilson’s two biggest struggles. With glowing reviews, the expansion of ‘Love & Mercy’ appears to be worth anticipating.
Hot off the success of ‘Ex Machina’, Alicia Vikander stars in Sony Picture Classics’ ‘Testament of Youth‘. Much like the recent sleeper hit ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, this period piece drama tells the story of a woman recounting her memories from growing up during World War I. Also coming hot off success (of the best episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ yet!), Kit Harrington co-stars alongside Emily Watson, Dominic West and Taron Egerton of ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’.