This seemingly lackluster weekend comes with three new wide release movies, one of which just might leave audiences surprised by how good it is. Which do you think it is: the Ben Affleck thriller, the Kevin Hart stand-up concert, or the kids’ superhero flick based on a series of Mattel toys? I’ll give you a hint: I haven’t seen the latter movie, but even I’m smart enough to know it’s not that one.
The widest release of the weekend of is Gavin O’Connor’s ambitious and intense new thriller ‘The Accountant‘, which opens on 3,332 screens in North America. Ben Affleck stars as a high-functioning autistic man who has taken his weakness and turned it into a strength. With unmatched mathematical genius, he has become the underground go-to for un-cooking the books of organizations suffering embezzlement. Accruing a list of enemies along the way, he’s also been trained to clean up any messes that may come after him. Like ‘Dexter’, he has a code, and you certainly don’t want to break it. Shooting for the stars, the two-plus-hour action thriller occasionally bites off more than it can chew – but that surprisingly doesn’t damage the integrity of the movie. Instead, a few scenes and plot lines feel a tad too brief and a couple of tonal shifts are somewhat uneasy, but the overall quality of the film is never compromised.
When Kevin Hart first took to the silver screen for a stand-up special, he exploded into the market. His second similar outing was also a hit. His first starring roles in features were huge, but over time his movies started to fizzle. Opening on 2,568 screens is the stand-up release ‘Kevin Hart: What Now?‘. Kicking off with a cinematic short that spoofs the James Bond spy franchise, it’s estimated that Hart’s third taped-live comedy show will break the records set by his past two. I’m not entirely certain that will be the case, so we’ll have to wait until Monday to see if Hart’s fans are as loyal as they used to be.
Not only had I never heard of Mattel’s Max Steel toys until today, I’d never heard of the new cinematic adaptation either. Open Road has barely promoted the 2,034-screen release of ‘Max Steel‘, which was directed by a mostly unknown filmmaker and stars a bunch of unknowns alongside falling stars Maria Bello and Andy Garcia. The superhero origin story explains how the teenage lead and his alien sidekick form a symbiotic bond that allows them to do heroic things and fight otherworldly evil. Considering that the shoot wrapped well over two years ago, it looks like this dud sat on shelf waiting for a seemingly light weekend like this to hit theaters without much competition.
Jonás Cuarón, co-writer (alongside his Academy Award-winning father Alfonso Cuarón) of ‘Gravity’, has co-written and directed this week’s limited release of ‘Desierto‘. The thrilling drama follows a group of optimistic Mexicans attempting to sneak across the United States border in hopes of a better life on the other side. Not only must they survive the elements during their journey, they must escape the sights of a hate-fueled racist and his long-range rifle. STX is debuting ‘Desierto’ on 73 screens.