Oh thank heavens. Finally, it’s Academy Awards weekend. On Sunday evening, we’ll all tune in to watch a parade of the anointed in sparkly haute couture gowns and even sparklier diamonds hand out golden statues of little nude men. And groan and nod sagely and screech out, “I told you so!” as the winners are announced. And be utterly thankful that at long, long last the awards season is over. Minus the sad fact that Jennifer Lawrence probably won’t be dispensing bon mots with the same frequency; the “Catching Fire” press tours can’t come soon enough! So, if you’re all caught up with the Oscar contenders, and have watched enough GIFs of J-Law to make your eyes bleed but are itching for something to do before Sunday’s gala, there’s always the awards un-hopefuls debuting in theaters this weekend. Kids are creepy; The Rock is a government snitch; Brendan Fraser is back for seconds, this time in live action; and writer-director-actor-Lena–Dunham-friend Alex Karpovsky tops that by having TWO movies out on the same day. Ballots in, folks — tell us what you’ll be watching in the comments below!
“Dark Skies.” Directed by Scott Stewart. Starring Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, and J.K. Simmons. Our review: “The ultimate alien abduction movie, something that could do for peaceful nighttime slumbers what ‘Jaws‘ did for a day at the beach, has yet to be produced and ‘Dark Skies,’ a new sci-fi horror thingee that grafts the alien abduction theme onto what is essentially a loose remake of ‘Poltergeist,’ certainly attempts such a feat. And it is pretty scary. Unfortunately, all its hard work is undone by a bewilderingly goofy ending that is roughly the cinematic equivalent of an unwanted anal probe.” Metacritic: no score yet Rotten Tomatoes: 33% The Playlist: C
“Red Flag.” Directed by and starring Alex Karpovsky. Also starring Jennifer Prediger, Onur Tukel, and Caroline White. Our review: “It’s a fun, laugh-out-loud dark comedy, and proves that Alex Karpovsky and crew have made their mark.” MC: 64 RT: 82% PL: B+
“Stand Off.” Directed by Terry George. Starring Brendan Fraser, Martin McCann, Yaya DaCosta, David O’Hara, and Colm Meaney. Our review: “The movie is toothless and cute enough that it will easily win over art house audiences who don’t like to be challenged or hassled. But everyone else will find ‘Stand Off’ banal and aggravating.” MC: n/a RT: no reviews yet PL: D
“Inescapable.” Directed by Ruba Nadda. Starring Alexander Siddig, Marisa Tomei, Jessica Anstey, and Joshua Jackson. Ah yes — another “Taken” doppelganger. Father blah blah daughter abducted blah confronting a violent past and lots of dudes with guns blah BANG! EXPLOSION! Set in South Africa. MC: 34 RT: 22%
“11 Flowers.” Directed by Xiaoshuai Wang. Starring Liu Wenquing, Wang Jinchun, and Yen Ni. This coming-of-age-meets-murder-mystery tale succesfully captures its young protagonist’s worldview — it is, after all, a story firmly rooted in the director’s childhood — but drags a bit along the way. MC: 71 RT: 100%
“Future Weather.” Directed by Jenny Deller. Starring Perla Haney-Jardine, Amy Madigan, Lili Taylor, and William Sadler. Balancing female melodrama and environmental crusading can be tough, but Deller manages a delicate blend that also showcases promising new talent in Haney-Jardine. MC: no score yet RT: no score yet