The Weekender: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance ‘Runner’


Gravity (PG-13)
Starring George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Ed Harris
Written by Alfonso & Jonás Cuarón
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Here it is: the movie I’ve been waiting several years for. Cuarón’s labor of love promises to be a visual feat, one that deserves to be witnessed on the largest screen possible. Bullock and Clooney play astronauts separated from their spacecraft, trying to make their way back to the space station. It sounds thrilling and daring and the kind of smart, big-budget sci-fi film that comes along so rarely.

Runner, Runner (R)
Starring Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton
Written by Brian Koppelman & David Levien
Directed by Brad Furman
Absolutely nothing works in this thriller about a grad student (Timberlake) who ends up working for an online casino kingpin (Affleck). There’s no drama, no intensity, no chemistry between Timberlake and Arterton. It’s just a complete failure. Read my review at College Movie Review.

Pulling Strings (PG)
Starring Jaime Camil, Laura Ramsey, Omar Chaparro
Written by Issa López, Georgina Riedel, Gabriel Ripstein, Oscar Orlando Torres
Directed by Pedro Pablo Ibarra
Not long after Instructions Not Included became the sleeper hit of the summer, this Spanish-language rom-com looks to be a big hit, opening in fairly wide release. It concerns a Mariachi singer who tries to woo a diplomat.

Read about movies opening in limited release after the jump…

Parkland (PG-13)
Starring Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden
Written and directed by Peter Landesman
The other Kennedy brother gets the Bobby treatment: a star-studded cast in a mediocre movie about people who happened to be there during the assassination.

Wadjda (PG)
Starring Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Sultan Al Assaf
Written and directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour
Saudi Arabia’s official selection for the Oscars is this drama, the first from that country to be directed by a woman. Mohammed plays the title character, a spunky girl who hopes to win a Koran recitation contest to get the money she needs for a bicycle. If it sounds like the kind of dull foreign movie you wouldn’t want to see, the reviews are outstanding and the movie is said to possess a lot more excitement than that description seems to provide.

Bad Milo (R)
Starring Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Patrick Warburton
Written by Benjamin Hayes & Jacob Vaughn
Directed by Jacob Vaughn
Halloween comes early this year in this comedy about an overworked guy whose stresses manifest themselves as a little hellion, which looks like Baby Sinclair on crack.

Blue Caprice (R)
Starring Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Tim Blake Nelson
Written by R.F.I. Porto
Directed by Alexandre Moore
Actual horror in this film, starring Isaiah Washington as the sniper who terrorized the D.C. area in the early 2000s. Tequan Richmond plays his protégé.

Also opening:
Cinemark West Plano: Grace Unplugged (PG)

Top Pick

House of Wax
House of Wax
One of my favorite B-horror pictures as a kid was this Vincent Price thriller. It doesn’t have the camp value of The Tingler or the emotional throughline of The Abominable Dr. Phibes, but it’s chilling and entertaining nonetheless. This Blu-ray edition offers a remastered picture, including the 3-D version, which hasn’t been seen publicly in years.

To rent:
100 Bloody Acres (87%)
The Croods (69%)
The Frozen Ground (57%)
This is the End* (84%)

To buy (click the link to watch on Netflix):
TV: Beauty and the Beast (Season 1), Glee (Season 4), How I Met Your Mother (Season 8), Jack Irish (Season 1), New Girl (Season 2)

Blu-ray: The Amityville Horror Trilogy, The Big Parade, From Here to Eternity, The Little Mermaid*, Stuck on You, Torn Curtain, Vital Signs, Volcano*

(Release dates and locations subject to change.)

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