Weekend Movies: Leak of the Devil

This weekend’s two biggest new movies revisit familiar ground. One takes us back in time to ’80s buddy action flicks, the other remakes a horror classic. Pick your poison.

With a bumped-back release date (due to reshoots) and a noticeable lack of promotional/press screenings, I doubted that Kimberly Peirce’s ‘Carrie‘ remake would be the widest release of the weekend. Much to my surprise, the film debuts on 3,000+ screens. Based on Stephen King’s novel (which was adapted for film by Brian De Palma in 1976, sequelized in 1999 and already remade once before for TV in 2002), it tells the story of a bullied teenager and her religious nutbag mother. Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore play the leads, so I can’t foresee this lacking in the acting category. I’m curious to see how prom plays out for Carrie, so I’ll try to check this out over the weekend.

Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have teamed up for the buddy action movie ‘Escape Plan‘. Everything about this film echoes genre flicks from twenty-something years ago. Sly leads as a professional escape artist – but not the magical kind. Hired by the feds, he enters high profile prison with a fake rap sheet and exposes their security weaknesses by breaking out. After demonstrating his abilities, he’s hired for a new high-tech, no-holds-barred facility that’s nothing like anything he’s ever seen. With the help of a new inmate buddy played by Arnie, he must find a way to escape the inescapable before the prison gets the best of him.

Oscar-winner or not, I have a hard time seeing director Bill Condon as anything but the man who made the final two crappy ‘Twilight’ movies. Word had it that he would redeem himself with ‘The Fifth Estate‘, but Rotten Tomatoes says otherwise. I can’t imagine the story of WikiLeaks being a “thriller,” but that’s the label that the drama has been given. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Julian Assange and Daniel Brühl (‘Rush’) plays his colleague in controversy. Just like every other one-sided, based-on-a-true-story film (including ‘Captain Phillips’), plenty of people are already claiming that it’s far from accurate. You’ll just have to form your own opinion.

Fox Searchlight’s Oscar hopeful ‘12 Years a Slave‘ opens on 12 screens. The drama stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as free black man in the 1800s who is abducted and sold into slavery. ‘Shame‘ director Steve McQueen has locked a large cast including Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch (is that guy in every new movie?), Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt and Quvenzhané Wallis.

Also buzzed-about is ‘All Is Lost‘. Robert Redford stars in this one-man-show that’s being deemed “Gravity on the high seas.” When disaster strikes, Redford’s nameless character is stuck at sea fighting for his survival. After playing at dozens of festivals, the word-of-mouth has spread far. Here’s to hoping that Roadside Attractions expands it beyond this week’s six-screen release.

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