Reiterating a suggestion I previously made… if you’re a filmmaker/producer/distributor reading this, and your film is streaming on Netflix, please let me know. Netflix unfortunately doesn’t have what I feel should be a more efficient search/sort method, and it can be quite a chore trying to find something worth watching. So, help me out if you can.
The same goes for non-filmmakers. If you stumble across any titles that you think should be featured in this series, let me know!
Without further ado, here is this week’s list of 5:
1 – So… Michael Bay takes a break from bloated, mega-budgeted action movies to make a “low budget” (low for Michael Bay – $25 million) action-comedy, centered on bloated extortioners – bloated as in muscle heads.
As someone who actually once considered a career as a body-builder (many moons ago, while I was in college), some of the sequences in this actually cracked me up, because they reminded me of a few muscle heads I knew way back when.
Anyway… Anthony Mackie joins Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay’s “low-budget” action-comedy, set in the world of bodybuilding, titled Pain And Gain.
The plot for the project, which is based on a Miami New Times article from 1999, follows a pair of Florida bodybuilders who get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.
You can read the Miami New Times article the film is based on HERE.
The script was penned by the pair who wrote the Captain America screenplay, and was previously compared in tone to the Coen brothers’ Fargo. I don’t know about that, based on the film I watched. A better comparison would be something closer to Bad Boys (which Michael Bay also directed) than Fargo. But you can now check it out for yourselves.
Johnson and Wahlberg play the 2 starring characters; Mackie plays a character named Adrian Doorbal, described as “a big-hearted bodybuilder who works out with Wahlberg’s character, Daniel Lugo. Doorbal has little to show for his hard work, leading him to get involved with Lugo’s scheme.“
Check out the red-band trailer for the film below:
Jennifer Hudson and Ernie Hudson both appear in the same story, titled Maggie, directed by Ashley Judd, which centers on a female veteran (J. Hudson) who returns home from war to her son and father (E. Hudson), only to have her life shattered by the onset of posttraumatic stress disorder.
Meanwhile, Octavie Spencer stars in Lucy, which is directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, which follows the film’s title character (played by Brittany Snow), a law student who finds herself amidst the horror of schizophrenia, landing her in an institution where, through the support of her psychotherapist (played by Spencer), she begins her path to not only healing, but a promising future.
Written by Deirdre O’Connor (Five) and directed by Howard, Lucy follows the film’s title character (Snow), a law student who finds herself amidst the horror of schizophrenia, landing her in an institution where, through the support of a new friend (Ritter), meds and her psychotherapist (Spencer), she begins her path to not only healing, but a promising future. Lucy also features Clint Howard (Fringe).
Grace, directed by Maguire and written by Howard J. Morris (Five), explores bipolar disorder through the experience of a teenage daughter (Hyland) whose mother (Leo) grapples with the condition. Also starring in Grace are Melissa Farman (Temple Grandin) and Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights).
Allison weaves together comedy and family drama in a story about healing when its eldest daughter “Lucy” (Snow) returns home from inpatient treatment and spoils her sister “Allison’s” (Vassilieva) unveiling of her new boyfriend to their parents (real-life wife and husband Smart and Richard Gilliland, Desperate Housewives). Allison, also featuring Ken Baumann (The Secret Life of an American Teenager), was written by Jan Oxenberg (Parenthood) and is directed by Dern.
Eddie, directed by Hunt and written by Stephan Godchaux (Five), delves into the world of depression as seen through the eyes of a comedian’s wife (Thompson) as she grapples with understanding how her husband Eddie (Mitch Rouse, According to Jim), whom is so loved, can be so withdrawn and overcome with sadness. The short also stars Handler and features appearances by Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall), Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers), James Avery (The Closer) and Ross Mathews (Chelsea Lately).
In Maggie, penned by Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary) and directed by Judd, a female veteran (Hudson) returns home from war to her son and father (Ernie Hudson), only to have her life shattered by the onset of posttraumatic stress disorder, through which her lawyer, “Lucy,” helps her. Griffith also stars in Maggie.
Here’s the trailer:
3 – The drama Life of a King starring Cuba Gooding Jr., directed by Jake Goldberger from a script penned by Goldberger, David Scott and Dan Wetzel, is based on the true story of Eugene Brown, who, after being incarcerated for eighteen years, established the Big Chair Chess Club for black youth in the Washington, DC area. The film tells his inspirational story.
Life of a King is the unlikely true story of Brown and his one-man mission to give inner-city kids of Washington D.C. something he never had – a future. He discovered a multitude of life lessons through the game of chess during his 18-year incarceration for bank robbery. After his release and reentry into the workforce, Eugene developed and founded the Big Chair Chess Club to get kids off the streets and working towards lives they never believed they were capable of due to circumstances. From his daring introductory chess lessons to groups of unruly high school students in detention, to the development of the Club, and the teens’ first local chess competitions, the film reveals his difficult, inspirational journey and how he changed the lives of a many with no endgame.
Gooding stars as Brown, and he’s joined by Malcolm Mays, Richard T. Jones, Paula Jai Parker, Carlton Byrd, LisaGay Hamilton, Dennis Haysbert, Kevin Hendricks, Pepi Sonuga, Jordan Calloway and Rachel Thomas.
Life of a King is produced by Serena Films’ Tatiana Kelly and Animus Films’ Jim Young.
4 – One of 3 or 4 titles produced under Lionsgate’s micro-budget initiative, announced a couple of years ago, this so-called comedic look at life after the fallout of a religious apocalypse, is titled Rapturepalooza, and stars Craig Robinson as the Anti-Christ.
In the movie, taking place a year after “the Rapture” has removed much of humanity from Earth, and the
planet has been rendered as a hellish proving ground, a young couple try to reestablish their sandwich cart business. Beyond the
occasional blood rainstorm and talking locusts that surface, the sandwich sellers have a new problem: the Anti-Christ
decides he wants to take Lindsey as his bride.
The couple are played by Anna Kendrick (Lindsey, who the Anti-Christ, Craig Robinson, wants to take as his bride), and John Francis Daley of Bones (as the husband).
Chris Matheson wrote the script, which was previously billed as “Zombieland meets The Big Lebowski,” and Paul Middleditch (an acclaimed director of commercials) is the director.
The film’s trailer, which is also red-band, is embedded below.
5 – And finally, a documentary (the only one in the group) that premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, titled Muscle Shoals, from director Greg “Freddy“ Camalier, which tells the story of the tiny Alabama town called Muscle Shoals, where a group of unassuming, yet incredibly talented, locals came together and spawned some of the greatest music of all time: “Mustang Sally,” “I Never Loved a Man,” “Wild Horses,” and many more.
During the most incendiary periods of racial hostility, white folks and black folks came together to create music that would last for generations and give birth to the incomparable “Muscle Shoals sound.”
Muscle Shoal in Alabama, located alongside the Tennessee River, was an unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music, that produced several huge hits by artists you would be familiar with, like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Wilson Pickett and Lynyrd Skynyrd to name a few. The documentary sheds light on the people and the place responsible for the distinct sound that came from the area – a combination of rock, pop, R&B and funk.
It includes interviews with Aretha Franklin, Bono, Gregg Allman, Alicia Keys, Jimmy Cliff, Steve Winwood and others.
Watch 2 clips below: