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Film

29 August

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As Above, So Below

Director: John Erick Dowdle
Cast: Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Perdita Weeks
27 August
As Above, So Below


More found footage, this time by someone who has actually excelled at this cinematic gimmick. John Erick Dowdle made his initial macabre splash with The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and followed that controversial film up with his remake of [REC], Quarantine, and the M. Night Shyamalan produced, Devil. All three of those films delivered on their promise, so it stands to reason that Dowdle will make it four for four with this weird look at a group of explorers traversing the catacombs under Paris. Of course, considering its placement in the grand Summer movie scheme of things, that may be wishful thinking. Still, the preview has us intrigued.


 

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Jessabelle

Director: Kevin Greutert
Cast: Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, Joelle Carter, David Andrews, Amber Stevens, Ana de la Reguera
29 August
Jessabelle

What? More horror? Seriously? Anyway, this one boasts Saw editor turned Part VI and VII director Kevin Greutert going James Wan on some silly Southern gothic. What do we mean by the comparison? Well, when you consider that both men are constantly mentioned when it comes to the now dead subgenre known as torture porn, and the latter is a legitimate filmmaker who reinvented the haunted house film with Insidious and The Conjuring, this little PG-13 nod from someone who made their name as part of the gorno franchise makes a bit of sense. Even for confirmed a fright fan like yours truly, however, this is a bit much.


 

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The November Man

Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorsone, Bill Smitrovich, Will Patton
29 August
The November Man

Pierce Brosnan is a former CIA-operative brought in to protect a potential witness against… wait, hold on. Doesn’t this all sound a bit familiar? Especially considering the star and the whole espionage angle? Even with Roger Donaldson behind the lens, this still feels like an attempt by an ex-Bond to recapture some of his previous 007 glory. And it turns out, it is. When he was ousted as the famed British spy, Brosnan decided the title series of books by Bill Granger would be a perfect return to cloak and dagger form. Apparently, The November Man is, since there’s already a sequel in the works.


 

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The Congress

Director: Ari Folman
Cast: Robin Wright, Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm, Danny Huston, Harvey Keitel
29 August
The Congress

This Ari Folman follow-up to his 2008 Oscar nominated film Waltz with Bashir will, initially, seem foreign to fans of his engaging aesthetic. We just aren’t used to seeing live action elements in what is typically a high tech animated effort. Soon enough, however, Robin Wright’s alternative reality, in which she sells her likeness to a computer company, which will utilize it in various media projects, returns to Folman’s former pen and ink glory. The surreal sci-fi parable, based on a work by Stanislaw Lem, can be a real head scratcher at times, but thanks to the visual aplomb on display and Wright’s performance, it’s quite compelling.


 

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One Chance

Director: David Frankel
Cast: James Corden, Julie Walters as Yvonne Potts, Colm Meaney, Alexandra Roach, Mackenzie Crook
29 August
One Chance

Considering this film came out in 2013 with enough time to earn a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song, it seems strange that the distributor would wait so long to release it here in America. However, one look at the brain trust behind such a decision, The Weinstein Company, explains everything. Besides, does the US really care about a comedy centering on the story of an English bloke who becomes a country-wide phenomenon thanks to an appearance on Britain’s Got Talent? Okay, we’ll see almost anything featuring fave Julie “Educating Rita” Walters, but this does seem a bit late to the game.


 

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Life of Crime

Director: Daniel Schechter
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Mos Def, Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Mark Boone Jr., Tim Robbins, John Hawkes
29 August
Life of Crime

Considering his prodigious output, it’s amazing how few of the late Elmore Leonard’s books have made the transition to the big screen. With more than 40-plus works to choose from (and many of them Westerns) that kind of makes sense. Still, it’s interesting to see this adaptation of The Switch, even if the man behind the camera is a relative unknown. The cast is solid, but we have to mention the inclusion of our own piece of cinematic kryptonite in the form of Jennifer Aniston. She’s enough to keep some of us from ever seeing this otherwise worthy effort.


 

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Cantinflas

Director: Sebastian del Amo
Cast: Luis Arrieta, Magali Boysselle, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Michael Imperioli
29 August
Cantinflas

He was born Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes. He was a boxer early on in his career, where his wit often saved him. From there, it was the circus, then the legitimate theater, then film. After changing his name to Cantinflas, he became a Hispanic superstar, though few in the US know him or his work. Now, a biopic has been made, starring Óscar Jaenada as the Mexican icon. Apparently, the story will follow his humble beginnings and feature the moment when Reyes “crossed over” starring in Michael Todd’s Oscar winning adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days. While a documentary might have done a better job, this looks intriguing.

Since deciding to employ his underdeveloped muse muscles over five years ago, Bill has been a significant staff member and writer for three of the Web's most influential websites: DVD Talk, DVD Verdict and, of course, PopMatters. He also has expanded his own web presence with Bill Gibron.com a place where he further explores creative options. It is here where you can learn of his love of Swindon's own XTC, skim a few chapters of his terrifying tome in the making, The Big Book of Evil, and hear samples from the cassette albums he created in his college music studio, The Scream Room.


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