When the only nationwide release of the weekend is a sequel to a nine-year-old Vin Diesel flop, you should know that it’s time to stay home. Ready or not, September is here.
I know two people who are fans of the Riddick franchise, so I had them join me for the IMAX press screening of ‘Riddick‘. Even they were disappointed with the second sequel. ‘Pitch Black‘ introduced us to the criminal antihero, and ‘The Chronicles of Riddick‘ expounded on his character and set up the series for an epic following. Sadly, the new ‘Riddick’ completely writes off the grand ending of ‘Chronicles’ and basically repeats the exact same plot from ‘Pitch Black’: Riddick is stuck on a deadly planet with a bunch of mercenaries – some good, most bad. Get ready for a slow-paced rehash of content that you paid to see 13 years ago.
With the void of new nationwide openers, the indie market is exploding with new releases. 15 independent films hit the big screen this weekend, 14 of them on ten screens or less. I’ll share just a few of the more notable titles.
The biggest of the little guys is ‘The Ultimate Life‘, a follow-up to the feel-good family film ‘The Ultimate Gift’. Directed by Michael Landon, Jr., the film follows the same lead character after having received the “ultimate gift.” The young tycoon’s integrity is once again put to the test, but luckily he has his grandfather’s journal to help him get through. From what I can tell, none of the original cast has returned.
If you like what Lynn Shelton did with ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ (and I did), then you can be excited for her new feature, ‘Touchy Feely‘. Rosemarie DeWitt returns in a leading role as a massage therapist set back when she suddenly cannot handle physical touch. Her brother, on the other hand, achieves success when he has the opposite reaction. Co-stars include Ellen Page, Allison Janney and Ron Livingston.
Also opening is the horror comedy ‘Hell Baby‘, co-written and co-directed by ‘Reno: 911’ stars Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. Rob Cordry and Leslie Bibb play an expecting couple who don’t expect what lies ahead for them. After moving into a haunted house in New Orleans, the only hope they have for not being consumed by a demonic baby lies in the hands of a Vatican-sent team of exorcists. Co-stars include Key from ‘Key and Peele’, David Wain, Michael Ian Black, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Garant and Lennon.