This weekend, you have no excuse not to get out to the movies, as one of the most satisfying popcorn films of the summer, and a gobsmacking Irish drama, hit theaters.
Fans of John Michael McDonagh’s 2011 “The Guard” will revel in his followup “Calvary,” another dark-minded exploration of Ireland’s collective psyche starring Brendan Gleeson, here as a guilt-addled priest entangled in crime and corruption and trauma in the Catholic Church. This suspenseful, crisply told mystery wowed festival audiences and boasts strong dramatic performances from Gleeson, especially, and comedy TV’s unassuming Chris O’Dowd as a surly butcher. See it in select cities.
You don’t need to be a comic-nut to love “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which critics are eating up. Anne Thompson writes, “Marvel knows how to throw audiences into a new world crammed with characters, deliver an origin myth (for those who haven’t read the comics) and have a bit of fun.” Vin Diesel stands out of the starry pack as Groot, one of the best animated characters Marvel has delivered yet. With galactic pre-sale figures — presaging a $65 million debut or more — this will be one of the biggest hits of the year.
Also in wide release, “The Help” director Tate Taylor’s James Brown biopic “Get On Up” is charming critics. Given Taylor’s pedigree, and with producers Brian Grazer and Mick Jagger at the helm, we will certainly see Universal push for an Oscar later this year for Chadwick Boseman (“42”) as the iconic funk founder.
Meanwhile, on opposite ends of the crowdpleaser spectrum arrive two of the year’s freshest fest favorites: debut director Charlie McDowell’s twisty relationship comedy “The One I Love,” and Kim Ki-duk’s creepy-crazy “Moebius.” On VOD ahead of its August 22 theatrical release, “Love” centers on Mark Duplass (also a producer) and Elisabeth Moss as a thirtysomething couple limping toward the finish line of their marriage. So they head to a private retreat to patch things up — only to find some very weird goings-on afoot. The brainy plot will keep you guessing, but its the relationship details that ring true.
Told without music or dialogue, South Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk’s (“Pieta”) raw, racy, button-pushing “Moebius” is a punishing psychodrama about a destructive family whose nuclear bonds are undone, in Greek-tragic fashion, by incestuous desires. This nasty little film experiment from RAM Releasing will struggle to find the audience it deserves — but an imminent VOD release could capture must-see cult viewing status. There hasn’t been a more disturbing arthouse family-gone-wrong film since Takashi Miike’s 2001 “Visitor Q.”
Finally, rolling out in limited release, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning doc “Rich Hill” plumbs the lower-class dregs of the titular small town in Missouri, focusing tightly on three youths who dream of a richer life.
Trailers and reviews after the jump.
Dir. John Michael McDonagh, Ireland | Fox Searchlight
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Dylan Moran, Kelly Reilly, M. Emmet Walsh
88% Fresh | New York Times: “The stark, natural landscapes are among the movie’s most seductive attractions, even if the characters populating them seem calculated for maximum repulsion.”
Read our review
Guardians of the Galaxy
Dir. James Gunn, USA | Disney
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Bradley Cooper, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Vin Diesel, Josh Brolin
90% Fresh | Rolling Stone: “‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ does the impossible. Through dazzle and dumb luck, it turns the clichés of comic-book films on their idiot heads and hits you like an exhilarating blast of fun-fun-fun.”
Read our review and interview with director Gunn
Get On Up
Dir. Tate Taylor, USA | Universal
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd
81% Fresh | Boston Globe: “A messy, qualified triumph that even at 138 minutes makes an incomplete case for Brown’s meaning to American life and culture, but a triumph nevertheless.”
Dirs. Andrew Droz Palermo & Tracy Droz Tragos, USA | The Orchard
71% Fresh | AV Club: “The movie exists mainly as an act of social advocacy, showing how one portion of the population lives and offering a sobering rebuke to pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps rhetoric.”
Watch an exclusive clip and read our review
Dir. Kim Ki-Duk, S. Korea | RAM Releasing
Cast: Jo Jae-hyeon, Eun-woo Lee, Young Ju Seo, Cho Jae-hyun
77% Fresh | Indiewire: “‘Moebius’ makes its freakish images so credible it demands the silent treatment, since its vulgar ingredients practically defy verbal limitations.”
The One I Love, Now on VOD and in theaters August 22
Dir. Charlie McDowell, USA | RADiUS-TWC
Cast: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson
78% Fresh | Variety: “Charlie McDowell makes an incredibly assured directorial debut with this smart crowd-pleaser, featuring spectacular performances from Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss.”
Read our interview with Elisabeth Moss
The Killing (Season Four)
Created by Veena Sud, Streaming on Netflix
Cast: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Joan Allen, Gregg Henry
51 on Metacritic | Entertainment Weekly: “‘The Killing’ shines brightest when its stars aren’t mired in gloom and their characters just do their jobs.