Weekend Movies: A Light in the Darkness

Welcome to September, the month that’s usually the dullest and dreariest on the movie calendar. This year, however, each week features at least one wide release with potential. Accompanying this weekend’s generic horror movie is a worthy drama that’s vying for Oscar attention.

Coming just one week after the successful debut of ‘Don’t Breathe’ is another freaky horror flick attempting to dethrone it. Considering the buzz around ‘Don’t Breathe’, I don’t think ‘Morgan‘ stands a chance, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Fox’s marketing campaign has been wishy-washy with its approach. The initial trailers introduced us to a lab-created girl with dangerous powers, but now the studio is painting the movie to be something else. The latest spot I saw reminded me of ‘Ex Machina‘, only with the intelligence replaced by gore. A cast of B- and C-list actors (aside from Paul Giamatti) play corporate suits deciding whether or not to put down their artificially intelligent cyborg. Reviews are mostly negative, so enter at your own risk.

Getting a head start on the Oscar season, Buena Vista storms theaters with a gorgeous drama, ‘The Light Between Oceans‘. From writer/director Derek Cianfrance, the novel adaptation stars real-life couple Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander. Fassbender plays a broken World War I vet who takes an isolated job as the caretaker of a lighthouse on a tiny island. Vikander plays his wife, the beacon of hope in his life that brings him out of his PTSD funk. After two awful miscarriages, the characters reverse roles. When a rowboat washes ashore with a crying baby and a dead man, the couple face a moral dilemma of how to react. Should they report the incident and allow the child to be raised in an orphanage, or bury the man and raise the child as their own? Either way, the consequences aren’t easy to accept. Co-starring Rachel Weisz, the film’s performances are top-notch. Although the subject matter is brutal, the unforeseeable ending makes it entirely worthwhile.

Rob Zombie has a new horror picture that opened in limited release one day ahead of the others. ‘31‘ tells the story of a handful of carnies who end up captured by an insane clown posse and forced to play disturbing games for their survival. Knowing Zombie’s style, it’s probably safe to assume that the first 90 minutes of the film are fueled with terrible dialogue and zero action, only to bow with a hyper-violent climax. Malcolm McDowell and a bunch on unknowns star.

Speaking of washed-up directors, Kevin Smith also has a new movie in limited release. If you watch the trailer for ‘Yoga Hosers‘ and can manage to extract any sort of coherent plot, please spell it out in the Comments section below. Aside from the dead brain cells, all that I’m left with is a disgust that something that looks this awful could possibly get funding. Smith’s daughter stars alongside Johnny Depp’s daughter. After ‘Jersey Girl’, Smith claimed he’d never make another PG-13 movie again, but we all do stupid things for our kids, right?

Hands of Stone‘ was supposed to expand to 2,000 screens this past Wednesday, but it appears that the movie only hit 1,500 screens after a very weak debut.


  1. Bolo

    Lots of stuff playing near me that looks good. I do want to see ‘Light Between Oceans’ despite the reviews mostly calling it sappy. And I’ll catch ‘Don’t Breathe’ and ‘Kubo & The Two Strings’ at some point. But I think I’ll go see ‘Hell Or High Water’ because it might be one of those movies that just vanishes and I never get another chance of seeing it unless I want to shell out for the blu ray.

  2. I really like Kevin Smith, but when it comes to his movies, he’s all over the map with his comments. First of all, a few years back he claimed that “Hit Somebody” (a hockey movie) was going to be the last film he ever directed. The movie never happened. Then he was going to make Clerks III. That never happened. Then it was Mallrats 2. Nope, nothing there either…although I guess they’re still talking about a TV series based on it.

    Furthermore, every single movie Kevin makes he touts as “the best thing he’s ever done.” It’s like the boy who cried wolf – after a while, you can’t buy any of the BS coming out of his mouth.

    I still really enjoy Smith, and think he missed his calling as a stand-up (his podcasts can be wonderfully entertaining) instead of a movie director…I just never believe anything he says about projects he’s working on until he’s actually in front of the camera doing them.

    One of my good friends saw ‘Yoga Hosers’ and said he thought it was a little bit better than ‘Tusk’. High praise, heh? 🙂

  3. Pedram

    I wouldn’t say that Kevin Smith is “washed up”. He’s just in a place where he wants to make weird movies that he wants to see and doesn’t really care how they’ll be reviewed. He even makes fun of how much people dislike his latest films (the ones in his “true north trilogy”), and freely admits that they may not be for everyone. He says that they’re important to him because they made film making fun for him again, and brought him out of “retirement”. Also, each one has an interesting story of its genesis, which sheds light on why he even made them.

    • Chris B

      Right, but he’s even dissapointing his fans at this point. I loved Clerks and Mallrats as a teenager, Chasing Amy and Dogma were great to, and even Jay and Silent Bob Strike
      Back had it’s moments (Chris Rock’s Choca Luther King was hysterical), but even the most ardent Smith fan would be hard-pressed not to admit that he’s on a losing streak. Clerks 2, Red State, Tusk etc. He’s difinitely loat his groove, as a fan of his earlier stuff I sincerely hope he finds it again soon…

      • Pedram

        Well, I would consider myself a fan, and I can understand that he just needs to go through what he’s going through now. I was really disappointed with (the second half of) Tusk, but I’m willing to give Yoga Hosers a shot. My main complaint with it at this point is that it’s seemingly mocking Canadians and reinforcing stereotypes. I’ve lived in Canada most of my life and travelled all around, and have never heard anyone speak with the accents the people in the movie have, or even say “aboot”. The funny thing is that he even admitted that his daughter said that Canadians don’t say aboot, and he said “they do in this movie”.
        Also, I thought Clerks 2 was great! And Red State was alright.
        At least we still have his podcasts and his Q/A sessions, which are really entertaining still.

        • EM

          The eye-spelling aboot might suggest the word is homonymous with “a boot”, but that spelling is misleading in my experience. However, in Canadian English that “ou” vowel is indeed often pronounced differently from American English or other varieties of the language, with the tongue higher, albeit not so high as for an “oo” sound. I tend to think of that vowel (a diphthong) as gliding from a schwa or schwa-like sound, but reportedly some Maritime speakers would pronounce about like “a boat”.

          • Pedram

            Yeah I’ve heard some Canadians pronounce “about” like “a boat” (that’s definitely in the minority though), but never “a boot” like most Americans tend to say when trying to sound Canadian.

            Yoga Hosers would be akin to someone making a “Clerks” type movie, but giving the clerks and other characters redneck accents, having the shelves in the background be stocked with guns and hamburgers, and having the people constantly yelling out “‘MURICA!”. There might be some element of the population like that, but it’s in the great minority. It’s the stereotype people often use to mock Americans, so it probably wouldn’t come off well if a non-American film maker who professes to like America makes a movie like that.

  4. Ryan

    The wife and I saw Light Between The Oceans. I thought it was really good.
    Having also read the book, it was a very faithful adaptation…(just missing a few inessential sub plots).
    The movie definitely had an old school feel to it…I’m not surprised it hasn’t caught on. Pity.

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