By Steve Greene | Indiewire August 1, 2014 at 8:05AM
Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, August 1st. (Synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.)
4 Minute Mile
Director: Charles-Olivier Michaud
Cast: Kelly Blatz, Richard Jenkins, Cam Gigandet, Kim Basinger, Analeigh Tipton
Synopsis: "Drew (Kelly Blatz) is about to graduate from school, but the dire economic straits of his broken family have set a fence around his horizons. Drew seems destined to remain stuck in his rough neighborhood, following his older brother’s downward spiral into drugs and violence. But he does have one advantage on his side: a runner’s body, however untrained and in need of discipline. His efforts at track and field glory catch the eye of neighbor Coleman (Richard Jenkins), a former coach who’s bitter over past regrets. Admiration for Drew’s potential softens Coleman’s hardened reserve, and he offers the young man guidance on achieving his dreams on and off the track." [Seattle International Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Tampa, Toronto and Washington, DC
The Almost Man
Director: Martin Lund
Cast: Henrik Rafaelsen, Janne Heltberg, Solvei Grimen Fosse, Per Kjerstad, Tore Sagen, Tov Sletta
Synopsis: "A big new home, a lovely wife and a new job seem to steer Henrik firmly towards the middle age and a bourgeois lifestyle. There is, however, a substantial amount of boyish prankster still in him - sometimes a little bit too much."
Theatrical Release: New York
Director: Tim Garrick
Cast: Nat Wolff, Selena Gomez, Mary-Louise Parker, Elisabeth Shue, Heather Graham, Ashley Rickards, Cary Elwes, Jason Lee, Dylan McDermott, Gary Busey, Patrick Warburton
Synopsis: "Socially awkward high schooler Rick Stevens is willing to do whatever it takes to win the heart of the girl of his dreams … and he does mean anything. But love’s a bitch! Particularly when your sights are set on the most beautiful and popular girl at school."
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero
Director: Kaare Andrews
Cast: Jillian Murray, Currie Graham, Ryan Donowho, Brando Eaton, Mitch Ryan, Solly Duran, Lydia Hearst, Claudette Lali and Sean Astin
Synopsis: "A group of friends planned the perfect vacation in the Caribbean, but when they head ashore to explore a remote island, their ultimate bachelor weekend devolves into their worst nightmare. After an ill-fated swim in contaminated water, they stumble upon a seemingly abandoned research facility where a deadly, flesh-eating virus has been unleashed."
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Marie-Josée Croze
Synopsis: "Father James is a good priest, driven by spiritual integrity. One day in confession, an unseen man tells James that he’s going to kill him precisely because he’s done nothing wrong. Given a week to make his peace with God, James ministers to sundry lost souls—visits that double as a guided tour of suspects. His preparation for death is further complicated by the arrival of his daughter, who has recently attempted suicide."
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (20 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles (expands to Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington, DC on August 8th)
Child of God
Director: James Franco
Cast: James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Parrack, Fallon Goodson, Vince Jolivette, Jeremy Ambler, Scott Haze
Synopsis: "Based on the acclaimed 1973 Cormac McCarthy novel, 'Child of God' takes place in 1960s Tennessee, where Lester Ballard is a dispossessed, violent man. Deprived first of his family and then his home, Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller, falling deeper into a disturbing life of crime and degradation."
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (12 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Tampa and Washington, DC
Director: Alex Gibney
Synopsis: "No individual better embodies African music of the 1970s and ’80s—and its pivotal role in postcolonial political activism—than Fela Kuti. After quickly taking his native Nigeria by storm, the pioneering musician’s confrontational Afrobeat sound soon spread throughout the continent and beyond, even as it made determined enemies of the repressive Nigerian military regime. As a result of continued persecution, increasingly unorthodox behavior, and, eventually, complications due to HIV, Kuti’s final years saw his musical output and influence wane." [Sundance Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (4 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Rockland, ME (expands to various cities throughout August and September)
Get on Up
Director: Tate Taylor
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Dan Aykroyd, Octavia Spencer, Nick Eversman, Tika Sumpter, Lennie James, Nelsan Ellis, Jill Scott, James DuMont, Fred Melamed, Keith Robinson, Billy Slaughter, Ritchie Montgomery
Synopsis: "Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century."
Criticwire Grade Average: B (6 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Wide
Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Lee Pace, Vin Diesel, Josh Brolin, Laura Haddock, Benicio del Toro, Dave Bautista, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Michael Rooker, Glenn Close, Ophelia Lovibond, Lloyd Kaufman
Synopsis: "Brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits--Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon; Groot, a tree-like humanoid; the deadly and enigmatic Gamora; and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand--with the galaxy's fate in the balance."
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (11 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Wide
Louder than Words
Director: Anthony Fabian
Cast: Adelaide Kane, David Duchovny, Timothy Hutton, Xander Berkeley, Hope Davis, Victoria Tennant, Craig Bierko, Scott Cohen, Ben Rosenfield, Olivia Steele-Falconer, Morgan Griffin
Synopsis: "John (David Duchovny) and Brenda (Hope Davis) are trying to put their life together after the tragic death of their young daughter, Maria (Olivia Steele-Falconer). As they deal with their numbing grief, they discover a way to honor their daughter’s wish for health and well-being for all children. With the help of their community, led by good friend Bruce (Timothy Hutton), they establish a children’s hospital called the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital… a state of the art health facility that brings the whole family into the healing process. Instead of being torn apart by their tragedy, John and Brenda celebrate their very special daughter and help thousands of children and their families."
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington DC
Director: Kim Ki-duk
Cast: Cho Jae-hyun, Youngju Seo, Lee Eun-woo
Synopsis: "Consumed with hatred against her husband for his long time infidelity, the wife wants to take revenge against him but ends up inflicting a fatal wound to the son, and then disappears overwhelmed with guilt. For the son, who has become miserable because of him, the father tries, only to realize that it is not recoverable, so he cuts off his manhood which is the source of all this misery and dedicates himself entirely to his son. As a result, the wound somewhat heals, but when the wife returns home one day the family is driven towards a more horrific destruction." [Venice Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (9 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Los Angeles (opens in New York on August 15th and Chicago on August 22nd)
Director: Tracy Droz Tragos & Andrew Droz Palermo
Synopsis: "If you ever find yourself traveling down Interstate 49 through Missouri, try not to blink—you may miss Rich Hill, population 1,396. Rich Hill is easy to overlook, but its inhabitants are as woven into the fabric of America as those living in any small town in the country." [Sundance Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (13 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York (expands to various cities nationwide throughout August)
The Strange Little Cat
Director: Ramon Zürcher
Cast: Anjorka Strechel, Jenny Schily, Matthias Dittmer, Armin Marewski, Lea Draeger, Luk Pfaff, Mia Kasalo, Monika Hetterle, Kathleen Morgeneyer, Gustav Körner, Leon Beiersdorf, Sabine Werner
Synopsis: "It is a Saturday in autumn, and Karin and Simon are visiting their parents and youngest sister Clara. This family gathering provides the occasion for a dinner together, at which other relatives appear over the course of the day. While the family members animate the apartment’s space with their conversations, everyday activities and cooking preparations, the cat and dog range through the various rooms. they too become a central element in this quotidian familial dance that repeatedly manifests stylized elements, disrupting any naturalistic mode of presentation. In this way, adjoining spaces open up between family drama, fairy tale and the psychological study of a mother."
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (15 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York
Missed last week? Here are all the releases from the weekend of July 25th.