Week of October 14
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Ben Affleck, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, J.K. Simmons, Jean Smart, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow, Jon Bernthal
Synopsis: Christian Wolff is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town
Kevin Hart: What Now?
Director: Kevin Hart
Synopsis: In Universal Pictures’ “Kevin Hart: What Now?,” comedic rockstar Kevin Hart follows up his 2013 hit stand-up concert movie “Let Me Explain,” which grossed $32 million domestically and became the third-highest live stand-up comedy movie of all time. Hart takes center stage in this groundbreaking, record-setting, sold-out performance of “What Now?”—filmed outdoors in front of 50,000 people at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field—marking the first time a comedian has ever performed to an at-capacity football stadium.
Director: Stewart Hendler
Cast: Ana Villafane, Andy Garcia, Ben Winchell, Josh Brener, Maria Bello
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Max McGrath has just moved to a new town – and is desperately trying to fit in – when he discovers his body can generate the universe’s most powerful energy. Unbeknown to Max, a slightly rebellious and hilarious techno-organic extraterrestrial named Steel has been keeping an eye on him, hungry for his super-human energy. When they finally meet, they discover that together they form Max Steel, a superhero possessing powerful strength beyond anything in our world. These two unlikely friends soon find themselves hunted by sinister forces who want to control Max’s powers, as well as an unstoppable enemy from another galaxy.
Director:Kleber Mendonça Filho
Cast: Barbara Colen, Buda Lira, Carla Ribas, Daniel Porpino, Fernando Teixeira, Germano Melo, Humberto Carrão, Irandhir Santos, Julia Bernat, Maeve Jinkings, Paula de Renor, Pedro Queiroz, Sônia Braga
Synopsis: Clara (Sônia Braga), a 65-year-old widow and retired music critic, is the last resident of the Aquarius, one of the few buildings of its age and character that remains in a rapidly changing seaside Recife neighborhood. Now that the other apartments have been swept up by a company with ambitious plans for redevelopment, pressures to move on surround Clara from all sides. But she has pledged to leave only upon death, and will engage in a cold war with the developers to keep a home that has been a silent witness to her entire life. The resulting confrontation is mysterious, frightening and nerve-wracking, tingeing even Clara’s most familiar routines with the tension of a thriller.
Asura: The City of Madness
Director: Kim Sung-soo
Cast: Hwang Jung-min, Ju Ji-hoon, Jung Man-sik, Jung Woo-sung, Kwak Do-Won
Synopsis: Detective Han, who for years has been secretly doing dirty work for the corrupt mayor Park Sungbae, is now pressured by a ruthless prosecutor Kim Cha-in to cooperate in an investigation against the mayor. Feeling trapped, Han persuades his young partner Sunmo to take over his work for the mayor, but things start to get tangled in unpredictable ways. As things are getting worse, only the most evil survives in this dog-eat-dog world.
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast: James Le Gros, Jared Harris, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Lily Gladstone, Michelle Williams
Synopsis: “Certain Women” drops us into a handful of intersecting lives across Montana. A lawyer (Laura Dern) tries to diffuse a hostage situation and calm her disgruntled client (Jared Harris), who feels slighted by a workers’ compensation settlement. A married couple (Michelle Williams and James Le Gros) breaks ground on a new home but exposes marital fissures when they try to persuade an elderly man to sell his stockpile of sandstone. A ranch hand (Lily Gladstone) forms an attachment to a young lawyer (Kristen Stewart), who inadvertently finds herself teaching a twice-weekly adult education class, four hours from her home. [Sundance Film Festival]
Director: Antonio Campos
Cast: J. Smith-Cameron, Maria Dizzia, Michael C. Hall, Rebecca Hall, Tracy Letts
Synopsis: Christine (Rebecca Hall) is an ambitious 29-year-old news reporter in Sarasota, Florida, circa 1974. Relentlessly motivated to succeed, she knows she has talent, but being a driven career woman in the 1970s comes with its own challenges, especially when competition for a promotion, unrequited love for a coworker, and a tumultuous home life lead to a dissolution of self. With ratings in the cellar, WZRB’s station manager issues a mandate to deliver juicier and more exploitative stories, a style firmly at odds with Christine’s serious brand of issue-based journalism. To accomplish her goals, she must overcome her self-doubt and give the people what they want. [Sundance Film Festival]
Director: Jonás Cuarón
Cast: Alondra Hidalgo, Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Synopsis: What begins as a hopeful journey to seek a better life becomes a harrowing and primal fight for survival when a deranged, rifle-toting vigilante chases a group of unarmed men and women through the treacherous U.S.-Mexican border. In the harsh, unforgiving desert terrain, the odds are stacked firmly against them as they continuously discover there’s nowhere to hide from the unrelenting, merciless killer.
Jack Goes Home
Director: Thomas Dekker
Cast: Britt Robertson, Daveigh Chase, Lin Shaye, Louis Hunter, Natasha Lyonne, Nikki Reed, Rory Culkin
Synopsis: Jack is an educated and well versed magazine editor living in Los Angeles. Grappling with the natural release of his childhood and the promise of his forthcoming adulthood, he is hit hard by the news of his father’s death. In a violent and horrific car crash, his father has perished while his mother has survived. He returns to his hometown of Denver, Colorado to nurse his mother through her physical and emotional injuries. During his stay at home, he uncovers long buried secrets and lies within his family history, his friends and his very identity. Jack’s journey to the truth is fueled by madness, sexuality, hauntings and violence. For Jack, there truly is no place like home. [SXSW Film Festival]
Director: Zach Clark
Cast: Addison Timlin, Ally Sheedy, Barbara Crampton, Keith Poulson, Kristin Slaysman, Molly Plunk, Peter Hedges
Synopsis: October, 2008. Young nun Colleen is avoiding all contact from her family, until an email from her mother announces, “Your brother is home.” On returning to her childhood home in Asheville, NC, she finds her old room exactly how she left it: painted black and covered in goth/metal posters. Her parents are happy enough to see her, but unease and awkwardness abounds. Her brother is living as a recluse in the guesthouse since returning home from the Iraq war. During Colleen’s visit, tensions rise and fall with a little help from Halloween, pot cupcakes, and GWAR. “Little Sister” is a sad comedy about family – a schmaltz-free, pathos-drenched, feel-good movie for the little goth girl inside us all. [SXSW Film Festival]
Director: Christopher Guest
Cast:Bob Balaban, Chris O’Dowd, Ed Begley Jr., Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Parker Posey, Zach Woods
Synopsis: The high-stakes world of professional sports mascots, who are engaged in a cutthroat competition for the annual “Gold Fluffy Award.”
Maya Angelou And Still I Rise
Director:Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack
Synopsis:Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep deep roots in American culture,” icon Maya Angelou gives people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. Dr. Angelou’s was a prolific life; as a singer, dancer, activist, poet, and writer she inspired generations with lyrical modern African American thought that pushed boundaries. [Sundance Film Festival]
Director: Keiichi Hara
Cast: Kumiko Asô, Gaku Hamada, Kengo Kôra
Synopsis:As all of Edo flocks to see the work of the famous painter Hokusai, his daughter O-Ei toils diligently inside his studio, unknown to the public. Her masterful portraits, dragons and erotic sketches – sold under the name of her father – are coveted by upper crust Lords and journeyman print makers alike. In public, O-Ei knows and respects “her place,” but at home in the studio, she’s as brash and uninhibited as her father, smoking a pipe while sketching erotic drawings that would make contemporary Japanese ladies blush. But despite her talent and fiercely independent spirit, O-Ei struggles under the domineering influence of her father and is ridiculed for lacking the life experience that she is attempting to portray in her art. “Miss Hokusai’s” lively Edo (present day Tokyo) is filled with yokai spirits, dragons, and conniving tradesmen, while O-Ei’s relationships with her famously impetuous father and blind younger sister provide a powerful emotional underpinning to this rollicking and sumptuously animated feminist coming-of-age tale.
Director: Lee Kirk
Cast:Billie Joe Armstrong, Chris Messina, Fred Armisen, Judy Greer, Madisyn Shipman, Selma Blair
Synopsis:A comedic drama about a former punk rocker Perry facing 40. Ten years into his band’s “indefinite hiatus,” Perry is having trouble coming to terms with his lot in life. Although married to a highly successful, beautiful woman and having two great children, his rock dreams never came true and he’s living a sedate life in Queens, working in his family’s hardware store. When his wife and kids forget his 40th birthday, his brother takes pity and gives him the money to throw a huge rockstar blowout in a fancy Manhattan hotel. This is his chance to get it out of his system. Over the course of a day, Perry’s punk past clashes with his middle-aged reality as he encounters crazy former bandmates, a former flame-turned-manager, an overeager “Dad’s Group,” his in-laws and the police.
Director: Ben Smallbone
Cast: Amber Midthunder, Bianca Santos, David Koechner, Jim Parrack, Joel Smallbone
Synopsis: James Stevens was, at one time, a good man with a great life — but that was then and this is now. After the tragic death of his wife and losing custody of his little girl, James is at the darkest crossroad of his life. Angry, desperate, and unable to hold down a steady job, he agrees to drive a box truck on a shady, one-time trip cross country for cash — no questions asked. But when he discovers what he is delivering is actually who, he is compelled to save two beautiful and frightened sisters who are unaware of the danger that awaits them.
Director: Johan Grimonprez
Synopsis: Haliburton may be the shining example of an out of control arms industry, where the profit is billions of dollars and the loss is human lives. In “Shadow World,” based upon the 2011 book by Andrew Feinstein, “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade,” there are other weapons manufacturers, world leaders, arms dealers, military leaders, and behind-the-scenes movers that come under director Johan Grimonprez’s (“Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y”) scrutiny in an eye-popping assemblage of news and archival footage. [Tribeca Film Festival]
Sky Ladder: the Art of Cai Guo-Qiang
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Synopsis: Cai Guo-Qiang is an electrifying artist who creates massive drawings from fireworks, meant to unite Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues. Most famous for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Cai Guo-Qiang explores the connections between the human and the cosmic, destruction and creation, the eternal and the fleeting. The film follows the artist across the globe as he creates large-scale, visually stunning new work with explosives, and it traces his rise from an ordinary child growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution to the art superstar that he is today. [Sundance Film Festival]
Director: Keith Maitland
Synopsis: On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand. Combining archival footage with rotoscopic animation in a dynamic, never-before-seen way, “Tower” reveals the action-packed untold stories of the witnesses, heroes and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others. [SXSW Film Festival]
For all the films opening the week of October 21st, see the next page.