The Weekender: You’re ‘Killing’ me, Smalls


Paranormal Activity 3 (R)
Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
We’re actually going further back in time in this franchise, which started as one little $15,000 found-footage film and grew into a full-blown phenomenon. I didn’t care for the first one very much, but quite enjoyed the second installment. But this just seems like we’ve done all this before, despite the directors’ gift for misdirection (as seen in last year’s maybe-fake doc Catfish). Here, we learn about the original curse placed on the two sisters as little girls, the curse that would haunt them in the first two movies.

The Three Musketeers (PG-13)
Starring Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Christoph Waltz
Written for the screen by Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Speaking of things we don’t really need, that other Paul Anderson is up to his schlocky tricks again, giving the world a video-game-inspired bastardization of Alexandre Dumas’s classic novel, which already exists as several entertaining films, most recently starring a pre-Winning Charlie Sheen and Oliver Platt. While I love that Christoph Waltz will get to sink his teeth in the role of Cardinal Richelieu, I can’t get excited about anyone else in the cast. Plus it’s in 3-D and “influenced by steampunk” for no apparent reason. And why do they have guns?! What’s the point of a swashbuckler if our heroes can give up buckling swash to shoot a guy in the face?

Johnny English Reborn (PG)
Starring Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West
Screenplay by William Davies, Hamish McColl
Directed by Oliver Parker
So, why does this exist? I mean, I can understand it being a big hit in the UK and all, and Atkinson is a certified comic genius (check out Bean and Blackadder for proof), but the original made a measly $23 million in the U.S. eight years ago. Plus, Atkinson looks really old. I mean, really old. If he’s being reborn, it’s definitely a Benjamin Button situation. Yikes.

Margin Call (R)
Starring Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey
Written and directed by J.C. Chandor
One of the more divisive films out of Sundance this year was this high-stakes drama about an investment bank on the brink of collapse. Some found it compelling; others claimed it was nothing more than a 100-minute shout-fest. Still, that cast (which also includes Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore and Paul Bettany) is probably reason enough to rent this in a few months.

More new releases after the jump…

Texas Killing Fields (R)
Starring Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Chloe Grace Moretz
Written by Don Ferrarone
Directed by Ami Canaan Mann
Loosely based by horrific events that took place in Texas City, this procedural finds two cops who team up to solve a series of murders that turns out to have a much higher body count than they initially suspected. While it sounds pretty generic, the director (making her debut here) is the daughter of the legendary Michael Mann. That in and of itself is reason enough to check out this thriller.

Take Shelter (R)
Starring Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Kathy Baker
Written and directed by Jeff Nichols
Shannon (an Academy Award nominee for Revolutionary Road) is getting serious Oscar buzz again as a man obsessed with building a tornado shelter in his backyard. Is he a latter-day Noah, or is he off his rocker? Maybe both?

Burke & Hare
Starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher
Written by Piers Ashworth, Nick Moorcroft
Directed by John Landis
We’re in tricky territory here, since the last time an acclaimed director took his stab at putting gross-out humor in an historical context, we got a complete disaster. I have a little more faith in Landis, returning 13 years after the twin misfires of Susan’s Plan and Blues Brothers 2000. And, as readers will know, I’ll see anything with Simon Pegg. He’s one half of a real-life Scottish duo who enjoyed grave-robbing and the occasional murder in the 1820s. It’s all played for laughs, and Landis sure knows how to blend horror and comedy. Should make for great Halloween viewing.

Also opening:
Limited release: The Mighty Macs (G)
Angelika Dallas: The Tree (NR)
The Magnolia: Blackthorn (R)
Texas Theatre: The Oregonian (NR)

To rent:


To buy:
Comedy: Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40, Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to Be Said?

TV: American Pickers (Season 2), Californication (Season 4), Gigolos (Season 1), Pawn Stars (Season 3), The Real L Word (Season 2), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Season 3)

Blu-ray: Cape Fear (1991)*, The Crow, The Goonies, The Guns of Navarone, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Criterion: Kuroneko


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