Weekend Movies: Hope Floats

Since each week in this month features at least one potentially interesting new movie, there’s definitely hope that September will be much better than usual this year. Even though three of this weekend’s four wide releases look like dogs, thanks to Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks, September is already looking up.

I either despise or love Clint Eastwood’s films. They only land on the ends of the spectrum for me, with no in-betweens. There are the terrible ones, like ‘Flags of Our Fathers‘, and there are brilliant ones, like ‘Letters from Iwo Jima‘. More often than not, I find them on the terrible end, but every once in a while ‘ol Clint knocks it out of the park. Although the trailers haven’t been appealing, much to my delight, ‘Sully‘ is on the magnificent end.

The film tells the true story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and the “Miracle on the Hudson.” After a pack of geese were mulched by his twin-engine U.S. Airways jet, the plane was rendered into a glider that the pilot quickly and safely landed on the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey. All 155 passengers survived with very minimal injuries. The movie not only tells that story, but explains the post-crash landing investigation by the NTSB. Although it may seem impossible to expand this story into a feature length film, the screenplay solidly carries the it along with a brisk pace. I don’t know how accurate the investigation info is, but it certainly makes for a great film. Combined with solid supporting performances, including Aaron Eckhart, Eastwood and Hanks deliver.

While the Warner Bros. marketing department has made damn sure that you were aware of ‘Sully’ coming to the big screen, none of the studios behind our other three wide releases have done as much for their titles.

As shown by recent flops like ‘Mechanic: Resurrection’, the last ‘Divergent’ movie and its latest release, Summit Entertainment (which is part of the Lionsgate family) simply won’t give up. With all of its other properties failing left and right, the studio is throwing a Hail Mary this weekend with the animated family flick ‘The Wild Life‘. The CG-animated movie follows a group of animals living on the small island that stranded seaman Robinson Crusoe ends up on. With the help of the native creatures, Crusoe will fend off the pirates that seek to do him harm. Without a single known actor in the voice cast, part of me wants to stand at the box office and fend off the young moviegoers who might be mentally harmed by this disaster. Another part of me thinks that this 2,200-screen release doesn’t stand a chance of anyone seeing it anyway, so what’s the point?

Also landing on 2,200 screens is Screen Gems’ new ‘Hand That Rocks the Cradle’ knockoff thriller ‘When the Bough Breaks‘. Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall play a couple with fertility problems. When all options fail, they resort to contracting a surrogate (Jaz Sinclair) to carry their child. Little do they know that she’s completely bananas. The further along her pregnancy gets, the more obsessed she becomes with the husband, ultimately putting all lives at risk. Having not heard of this generic PG-13 thriller until this week, I’m not putting any stock into something looks like it should be a Lifetime Original Movie.

I want to like director D.J. Caruso (‘Eagle Eye’, ‘I Am Number Four’), but his track record isn’t getting better and ‘The Disappointments Room‘ doesn’t look like it’s helping. Kate Beckinsale (whose face may be ageless, but her smoky voice certainly isn’t) leads the cast in a generic horror thriller about a family that moves into a new home with deep dark secret: a hidden room that contains pure evil. Having seen so many great horror flicks this year, it’s going to take a surprise for this one to not be a disappointment. With no pre-release critics’ screenings, I doubt we’re going to be that lucky.


  1. Chris B

    I have today off and am thinking I’ll catch an afternoon matinee. Unfortunately none of this week’s new movies are all that appealing so I’ll probably end up checking out “Don’t Breathe” instead…

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