October 18th, 2013 — Coming this Weekend

Theater ThursdaysHello again, my fellow geeks.

I have been working on this weeks column in my head for several days. I’ve been trying to figure out how I would write about so many different films, all coming out at the same time. I’ve talked in the past about how there are weeks where there is almost nothing at all to talk about and other weeks where the abundance is too much to fit into one column.

I thought that was going to be a problem this week as well, but Hollywood intervened on my behalf and a couple of the films I was going to talk about had their releases downsized and are only opening on a few screens, and since I have decided to only write about films that are actually opening in the Charlotte area, that makes my job somewhat easier than I thought it was going to be.


CARRIE      ( R  100 Minutes)xxx

This film was originally supposed to open in April of this year, but a smart person at the studio looked at the calendar and thought this movie might do better if we were to open it in October. They also saw that there wasn’t a new Paranormal Activity film coming out, so they pretty much have the Horror genre to themselves this Halloween season.

Based on Stephen King’s first published novel, Carrie tells the story of Carrie White, a shy, awkward young girl who wants more than anything to just fit in. She is also the daughter of a very scary, neo-religious woman who, when she can’t find scripture to back up her position, just makes up her own. We’ve all known people who are scary religious types, but Margaret White is in a whole different category altogether.

When boys and girls hit puberty, their bodies begin to change in new and interesting ways but Carrie is also developing a very scary new power as well. She is starting to be able to….well to say much more would be to ruin the surprises. Most people with a passing knowledge of pop-culture remember the famous scene in the original 1976 film where the bucket of blood pours onto the head of Sissy Spacek even if they’ve never seen the actual film.

There is more to the story than that and more to King’s original novel than what made it to the screen in Brian De Palma’s classic due to effects limitations of the era.

Bases on what I’ve seen and heard, director Kimberly Peirce stays a little more faithful to the novel than De Palma did, which, for me, can only be a good thing. I’ve been a life long Stephen King fan since my Aunt Dianne gave me a copy of The Stand when I was 14 years old. As a fan though, I have watched over the years as director after director and studio after studio have done everything in their power to screw up his stories.

I understand that a novel is a novel and a film is a film and there is no such thing as a straight adaptation, but over the years they have all seemed to take the most cinematic elements of his stories and thrown them out in favor of tired horror clichés and tropes. What was left on the screen has led many people who have never actually read a Stephen King novel to wonder what the big deal was.

I have my fingers crossed that this will be the first horror adaptation of a King novel to really get it right.

* I recognize and agree that Stand by Me and Misery by Rob Reiner and The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile by Frank Darabont were exceptional adaptations but they weren’t really horror stories. Frank Darabont also did a really good version of The Mist, but so far he is the only director to nail it. I’m hoping this will start a trend.

I have been a fan of Chloe Moretz since the first Kick-Ass and she is a powerhouse actress, so I have no doubt she can do the heavy lifting involved with this character.



ESCAPE PLAN      ( R  117 Minutes )

Back in the 1980’s when they were both the box-office action gods, there was a well-known and good-natured rivalry bexxxxtween Stallone and Arnold  (no way am I typing both those names over and over)  over who was the bigger bad-ass. I had my favorite and I’m sure every other kid did as well. We all thought it would be awesome to have them team up on-screen and take on the bad guys together.

After one scene in The Expendables and half a film together in The Expendables 2, I think we now know what studio executives knew back then: that is an idea best left as a fantasy.

Well, be that as it may, we have them teamed up yet again in The Tomb Escape Plan.  This film finds Stallone starring as Breslin, a guy who designs escape proof prisons and has found himself set-up and double crossed by someone who wants him out of the way. He finds himself locked up in a prison of his own design called The Tomb.

Teaming up with Arnold, playing an inmate called Rottmayer, they decide to break out of the escape proof prison and make them pay. Make him pay. Make her pay? I’m not sure, but someone will pay.

If it seems like I’m making fun, it’s because I am. The whole plot is ludicrous, but in a good way. 14 year-old me is jumping for joy that this movie exists. You can always pick apart a film like this. The film’s logic falls apart sometimes as it’s running through the projector, but if you’re the type of person who does that, then you’re probably leading a sad life. This is the very definition of a fun friday night flick.

My only complaint is that I wish this film had existed back in the mid 1980’s when Arnold and Stallone were at their physical peak. I know they are in great shape for their age, but sometimes I worry about them when they go flying through windows and smashing through walls now. Especially Stallone. He looks like he is turning into Thing from Fantastic-Four.



THE FIFTH ESTATE     ( R   128 Minutes )

Wikileaks. The movie.xxxx

Sometimes I enjoy these kinds of thrillers when they’re done right. I’ve heard very mixed things about this film, but Bill Condon doing penance for/capitalizing on the success of The Twilight Saga:Breaking Dawn Pt 1 and 2 could lead to an interesting film.

Also, to my knowledge, Benedict Cumberbatch has never given a bad performance, so that is also a plus.

If you enjoy movies like All the Presidents Men and have any interest in or understanding of Wikileaks and that whole controversy, then enjoy, just realize that we don’t know the complete story yet and likely won’t for years to come.





Well that just about does it for this week. I was going to talk about the devastating 12 Years a Slave and the film that will probably finally win Robert Redford an Oscar, All is Lost, but those films have had their initial releases scaled back a bit and will be platforming their release, which means they will open slow and expand over the next Month or so.

As they open in Charlotte, I will talk about them in more detail.

Until next time, Keep the Projector Threaded.



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