Why studios slate multiple wide release movies on jam-packed weekends is beyond me. Sardined into theaters this week are five – you read that correctly – five movies opening on 1,300 screens or more. These include a brain-dead disaster epic, a true story tragedy, a Tyler Perry sequel, a grizzly serial killer thriller, and a feel-good character drama. Which will you choose?
The widest of the five releases is the effects-heavy disaster flick ‘Geostorm‘. Just like its subject matter, the movie is expected to be a complete disaster. Gerard Butler leads the cast in a story that sounds like it would have come from a Brosnan-era James Bond film. Set in the near future, scientists have learned to control Earth’s climate. If ‘Jurassic Park’ (and countless other science fiction films) taught us anything, it’s that nothing good comes from mankind playing god. The world is ravaged by terrible ‘Day After Tomorrow’-like storms that are forecasted to bring the end of the world. Jim Sturgess, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris and Abbie Cornish co-star. From what I’ve heard, ‘Geostorm’ wasn’t screened for press in the vast majority of markets, which may speak louder than the reviews that it may have received otherwise.
Sony’s entry to this cluster-cuss of a weekend just might be the only one of the five that’s worth watching. ‘Only the Brave‘ tells the tragic true story of a team of Arizona Hot Shots, specialized firefighters who are certified to engage on out-of-control wildfires. The unexpected and refreshing element to it is the novel screenplay approach that dedicates 90% of the film to building up the elite team of characters. While other true story dramas (for example, the solid ‘Deepwater Horizon’) may focus purely on a sensationalized singular climactic events, ‘Only the Brave’ first and foremost profiles several of the team members and shows how they became the first municipal firefighting group to earn the Hot Shot certification. The tragic event that they’re known for is really only portrayed in the last 20-25 minutes of the 133-minute film.
Tyler Perry’s brand seemed to have fizzled out, but was revitalized last year with a Madea Halloween movie. Just one year later, Perry is back to milk it some more with ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween‘. That just might be the worst-ever title for a sequel. Not screened for press in my not-so-diverse region, I can’t comment on the movie itself, but I think it’s safe to assume that it will basically be a carbon copy of the stereotypical antics of the first.
I was initially excited for our fourth release, but that was before I saw anything about it. From the director of ‘Let the Right One In’ comes ‘The Bone Collector’‘The Snowman‘, a by-the-numbers serial killer thriller about a murderer who leaves trope-laden clues for a detective to find. The cast (which initially raised my excitement) includes Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, J.K. Simmons, Val Kilmer, Toby Jones and Chloe Sevigny.
Finally comes ‘Same Kind of Different as Me‘, Pure Flix’s latest heavy-hearted feel-good drama. Here’s hoping that it performs better than the distributor’s lame dog-centric picture from a few weeks ago. Originally set to be released in April 2016, the shelved picture finally saw the light of day when Paramount handed distribution over to Pure Flix. Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger play a couple that experiences marriage-ending problems after 19 years. When they take to a troubled homeless man (Djimon Hounsou) and start to lose themselves in a good cause, they become closer than ever. Jon Voight co-stars.