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Here Are All the Movies Opening Today, May 16th. What Will You See?

Here Are All the Movies Opening Today, May 16th. What Will You See?

These days, the number of indies premiering on a weekly basis can be both thrilling and intimidating. To help sift through the number of new releases (independent or otherwise), we’ve created the Weekly Film Guide. Below you’ll find basic plot, personnel and cinema information for today’s fresh offerings. 

Happy viewing!

Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, May 16th. (Synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.)

Horses of God
Nabil Ayouch
Abdelhakim Rachid, Abdelilah Rachid, Hamza Souideq, Ahmed El Idrissi Amrani
Synopsis: “
Ten year-old Yachine and his 13-year-old brother Hamid live in Sidi Moumen, an impoverished slum on the outskirts of Casablanca. Hamid, though just a child, works hard to sustain his family by any means, but eventually get involved with the ‘wrong crowd’ and becomes one of the local neighborhood bosses. Yet, he continues to fiercely protect his brother Yachine – until the day he is thrown into prison. After years in jail, Hamid returns home a changed man: he is now an Islamic fundamentalist. Now back home, he persuades Yachine and his pals to join their brother.”
Theatrical Release: New York

A People Uncounted
Director: Aaron Yeger
Synopsis: “With special emphasis on the genocide of the Roma during the Holocaust, A People Uncounted tells the little known story of the Roma, commonly referred to as Gypsies, who have long been both romanticized and vilified in popular culture, politics and the arts — from Cher and Shakira to Bizet’s Carmen. But the Roma persevere, even as they have been singled out for intolerance and persecution throughout Europe, most notably the Holocaust genocide where an estimated 500,000 were murdered. Seen as outsiders, the Roma continue to struggle with chronic poverty and disenfranchisement.”
Theatrical Release: New York

Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case
Director: Andreas Johnsen
Cast: Ai Weiwei
Synopsis: “After 81 days of solitary detention world famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is put under house arrest. He suffers from sleeping disorder and memory loss, 18 cameras are monitoring his studio and home, police agents follow his every move, and heavy restrictions from the Kafkaesque Chinese authorities weigh him down. Journalists, the art world and his family all want a piece of him and on top of that he is hit with a gigantic lawsuit from the Chinese government, which he soon names ‘The Fake Case’. Ai Weiwei is shaken, but during the year on probation he steadily finds new ways to provoke and challenge the mighty powers of the Chinese authorities in his fight for human rights. Ai Weiwei strongly believes that China is ready for change. And he will do everything to make it happen.”
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in various cities across the country through July)

Chinese Puzzle
Director: Cédric Klapisch
Cast: Kelly Reilly, Audrey Tautou, Sandrine Holt, Cecile De France, Romain Duris
Synopsis: “Life is complicated, just ask the ghosts of Hegel and Schopenhauer. That’s what Xavier does, a genial fortyish author who, wanting to remain close to his young children, trades the comforts of Paris for the cultural kaleidoscope of New York City. Camped out in the living room of his old friend, Isabelle, and her female companion, and making ends meet as a bicycle courier, the freewheeling Xavier rides headlong into a series of fresh emotional ‘complications’ that just might be the thing he needs to get him past a creative slump.” [COLCOA]
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in San Francisco May 23rd and other cities the rest of May and June)

The Discoverers
Director: Justin Schwarz
Cast: John C. McGinley, Dreama Walker, Griffin Dunne, Madeleine Martin, Becky Ann Baker, Cara Buono, David Rasche, Stuart Margolin, Devon Graye, Scott Adsit, Ann Dowd, Ato Essandoh
Synopsis: “Washed-up history professor Lewis Birch takes his begrudging teenage kids – Zoe and Jack – on a road trip to a conference in hopes of putting his career back on track. But, when Lewis’s estranged father Stanley goes AWOL on a Lewis and Clark historical reenactment trek, Lewis is forced to make a family detour. The Birch family find themselves on a journey of discovery and connection as they make their own passage west.”
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in Los Angeles May 30th)

Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Victor Rasuk, Brian Markinson, Al Sapienza, Patrick Sabongui, Yuki Mortia
Synopsis: “A powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, when the awe-inspiring Godzilla rises to restore balance as humanity stands defenseless.”
Criticwire Grade Average: B (11 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Wide

Half of a Yellow Sun
Director: Biyi Bandele
Cast: Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, John Boyega, Joseph Mawle, Genevieve Nnaji
Synopsis: “Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the ‘revolutionary professor’ Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu (John Boyega) in the dusty university town of Nsukka; Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises herself when she falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), an English writer.”
Criticwire Grade Average: C- (3 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York

Hanna Ranch
Director: Mitch Dickman
Synopsis: “Hanna Ranch is a feature documentary about visionary cattleman Kirk Hanna and his personal struggle to protect a once prominent way of life in Colorado. Born into a life on the family ranch, Hanna became a leader in the environmental ranching movement that set out to protect the West from the relentless encroachment of development and misuse. Featured in the book Fast Food Nation and dubbed the ‘eco-cowboy,’ he was an early adopter of Holistic Resource Management practices, sat on numerous environmental boards and was president of the Colorado Cattleman’s Association. Hanna’s opinion was so widely sought and respected, many even saw him as a future governor of Colorado. But when his dream of harmony and sustainability ran up against the reality of family conflict and mounting threats to the land, Hanna lost hope. Kirk’s legacy and fight live on as his family and friends continue to protect the West by saving Hanna Ranch.”
Theatrical Release: Los Angeles

The Immigrant
Director: James Gray
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner
Synopsis: “1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulski and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, Ewa quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, she encounters Bruno’s cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.” [Cannes Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (28 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles

Million Dollar Arm
Director: Craig Gillespie
Cast: Jon Hamm, Bill Paxton, Lake Bell, Suraj Sharma, Aasif Mandvi, Madhur Mittal, Pitobash, Alan Arkin, Bar Paly, Al Sapienza, Tzi Ma, Allyn Rachel
Synopsis: “In a last ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called ‘Million Dollar Arm.’ With the help of a cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout he discovers Dinesh and Rinku, two 18 year old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India – the boys, who have never left their rural villages – are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball – JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda – learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.”
Criticwire Grade Average: B (6 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Wide

Next Year Jerusalem
Director: David Gaynes
Synopsis: “Choosing life in life’s final chapter is the poignant subtext of the new independent documentary Next Year Jerusalem, a lyrical portrait of eight nursing home residents who travel to Israel on a tour. Earnest and nuanced, Next Year Jerusalem is a poetic exploration of living and dying, hope and fear, travel and memory. It is a celebration of human experience and a reverent tribute to life’s eldest travelers.”
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in Los Angeles May 30th)

A Night in Old Mexico
Director: Emilio Aragón
Cast: Robert Duvall, Jeremy Irvine, Angie Cepeda, Luis Tosar, Joaquin Cosio, Rene Rhi, Eric A. Williams, Javier Gutiérrez, Jim Parrack, James Landry Hébert, Michael Ray Escamilla, Abraham Benrubi
Synopsis: “Forced to give up his land and home, Texas rancher Red Bovie isn’t about to retire quietly in a dismal trailer park. Instead he hops in his Cadillac and hits the road with his estranged grandson for one last wild adventure filled with guns, women and booze. It’s just another night in Old Mexico.” [SXSW Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles

Director: Bernard Rose
Cast: Caitlyn Folley, Ian Duncan, Julie Marcus, Daniel Faraldo, Diana Garcia, Eric Neil Gutierrez
Synopsis: “Jill’s an artist. Ian’s a filmmaker. And their love life is off the chain. There’s no experience too wild, no dare too dangerous – not even when Jill lets Ian strap her to a gurney in the abandoned hospital they’re scoping out for their next art show. But he shouldn’t have left her alone. Not even as a joke. Now, Jill’s hookup with horror has awakened something in that place. Something with a lust for more than flesh.”
Theatrical Release: New York

Wolf Creek 2
Director: Greg McLean
Cast: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn, Shane Connor, Chloé Boreham
Synopsis: “The Australian outback is a lonely, isolated place—the perfect playground for a sadistic serial killer with a penchant for bloodthirsty sport. A red wasteland, the stifling, oppressive heat isn’t the only menace that should be feared. Bored with the so-called commercial tourism of the city, young and idealistic backpackers Rutger and Katarina yearn to explore the ‘real’ Australia and travel to the hauntingly beautiful but desolate Wolf Creek National Park. Far from civilization, the breathtaking vistas and vast open spaces belie a danger lurking in the shadows. Psychopathic pigshooter Mick Taylor is the last man any outback traveler wants to meet and now his irreverent attitude towards human life has escalated to a sadistic new level.” [Venice Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (5 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles

Missed last week’s? Here are all the releases from the weekend of May 9th.

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