The PopMatters Fall Preview

September 2014

by Bill Gibron

5 September 2014

 


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The Equalizer

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo
26 September
The Equalizer

Denzel Washington is back, and he’s bringing the man who made him a two time Oscar winner (for Training Day) with him. That’s Antoine Fuqua, in case you’ve forgotten. Oddly enough, this is based on the Edward Woodward TV series from the late ‘80s, though it’s unlike any episode I remember. There’s a definite Taxi Driver vibe here, with our hero defending a young prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz) from the Russian mob. Fuqua is an excellent choice for this material. He has a flare for the modern thriller. Looks like another edge of your seat entertainment from the pair.

 

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The Boxtrolls

Director: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Cast: Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan
26 September
The Boxtrolls

Stop motion animation is a (nearly) lost artform. Most films pretend to employ the technique, when all they are really doing is substituting CG for meticulous, hand-on creativity. Laika, the company behind the brilliant Coraline and ParaNorman, believe in this age-old idea, and are applying it to an adaptation of Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters. Unfortunately, early reviews out of the festival circuit have not been kind, many knocking the character design as well as the storytelling. That’s too bad. It would be nice to see an alternative to the stunt casting, pop culture riffing of today’s family film. Laika’s previous movies were magic. This one is apparently just mediocre.

 

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The Two Faces of January

Director: Hossein Amini
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac
26 September
The Two Faces of January

Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac star in screenwriter turned director Hossein Amini’s (Drive, Snow White and the Huntsman) feature film debut. Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel and set in 1962, the story involves con men, stolen investments, and more than a few dead bodies. Apparently, it’s been a pet project for Amini for the last 15 years. Many in the foreign film critic community (the movie has already opened overseas) are suggesting it should have stayed a dream. Their main complaint? It just can’t compare to other adaptations of Highsmith’s work (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley)

 

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Two Night Stand

Director: Max Nichols
Cast: Miles Teller, Analeigh Tipton, Jessica Szohr, Leven Rambin, Scott Mescudi.
26 September
Two Night Stand

Talk about high concepts. A pair of anonymous sex partners, having just completed an intended one night stand, are stuck together in his NYC apartment after an overnight blizzard shuts the city down. Naturally, they take the time to get to know each other. Max Nichols, son of Academy Award winner and post-modern icon Mike Nichols, gets his nepotistic groove on, making his feature film debut with this revisionist RomCom, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing (may we point out Jason, son of Ivan, Reitman’s illustrious career). Hopefully, this is another case where the creative apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

 

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Good People

Director: Henrik Ruben Genz
Cast: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Omar Sy, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Spruell
26 September
Good People

James Franco and Kate Hudson are the title couple, a pair of nice people who, until recently, were renting a room to a now-deceased tenant. And what do they find among his belongings? Why, a bag full of money. And what do they do when they find this cash? Why, since they’re drowning in debt, they decide to take it. What happens then? Why, the real “owner” of the stash, the criminal who originally stole it, comes calling. Danish director Henrik Ruben Genz is behind the lens. Hopefully, he can make what’s going to happen in front of it a lot more clever and compelling than this overdone idea.

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