It’s the dog days of summer and the reviews (mostly) prove it.
Let’s bitch it out…
The general conceit is that August films fall into two categories: late entry blockbusters and duds (not September duds, mind you, but films that are still worthy of critical drubbing). This weekend very clearly encapsulates this idea, with The Dark Tower falling into the former category and Kidnap falling into the latter. Never mind that terrible marketing and reviews are sure to doom the Stephen King adaptation before it even gets out of the gates. Thank goodness there’s Detroit!
August 4, 2017
The Dark Tower
- Cast: Idris Elba (Thor), Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
- Official Synopsis: There are other worlds than these. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, the ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors, makes its launch to the big screen. The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black (McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.
- Good for fans of: alternate worlds, universe(s) in peril, Stephen King adaptations
- Is it worth your time? No. The advance reviews came out Wednesday night and they are essentially wall to wall pans. While The Dark Tower is not the year’s worst film, it appears that the King adaptation is a wasted opportunity. Despite good performances from Elba and McConaughey, the film never bothers to dedicate itself to its world or character building, opting instead for bland action sequences that don’t even thrill. This is the very definition of a “watch it at home” flick.
- Gross: $20 million / Final Gross: $80 million
- Cast: John Boyega (Attack The Block!), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
- Official Synopsis: Amidst the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, with the city under curfew and as the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel.
- Good for fans of: historical dramas, exceedingly well directed action, Selma
- Is it worth your time? Yes, though (full confession) I’m a big fan of director Kathyrn Bigelow. She is one of the few female directors who has managed to hold her own in the Hollywood boys club, which is especially applause-worthy considering she primarily makes action/testosterone-driven films. Lots of people know her for The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, but she’s been directing kick ass films for decades (see also: Near Dark, Strange Days, Point Break). For her latest, Bigelow has tapped into a topical subject and assembled a stellar cast and the reviews are great. This is the only respectable choice if you’re seeing a new film this weekend; it’s also a possible Oscar contender so we could be talking about Detroit for quite some time.
- Gross: $12 million / Final Gross: $40 million
- Cast: Halle Berry (Swordfish). She is literally the only name.
- Official Synopsis: The film is a heart-stopping action thriller following a mother (Berry) who will stop at nothing to rescue her kidnapped son.
- Good for fans of: ticking clock narratives, generic action films, Halle Berry?
- Is it worth your time? Is this even a movie? I literally hadn’t heard of this until a few weeks ago. The premise sounds uninspired and, well, boring and the reviews don’t reveal anything that might change that opinion. This feel like an obligatory August dump, which means that someone will go and see it. Just make sure that that one person isn’t you.
- Gross: $6 million / Final Gross: $20 million
Limited Release: This week we have an inspirational – if slight – female college film Step and the middle-of-the-road reviews with a great climax Elizabeth Olsen/Jeremy Renner drama Wind River.
That’s it for this week. Next week we have another Conjuring prequel in the form Anabelle: Creation, the Brie Larson starring mondo-depressing biopic The Glass Castle and the mind-numbing Nut Job sequel. Watch out for that one!