It’s Friday and that means one thing for us, new movies! Some of them you’ve heard of like Apollo 18 and Shark Night 3D, others are a little more under the radar like Seven Days in Utopia. Still, you’ll have plenty of choices to fill your time this weekend. But to help you out, go through our list of new releases and figure out what best suits you. Will it be the raunchy comedy A Good Old Fashion Orgy or the new action-packed Renny Harlin flick 5 Days of War? So many choices!
Get ready to see Helen Mirren kick some Nazi butt in The Debt. This film is a remake of the 2007 Israeli film of the same name by Assaf Bernstein. The film is split into two different time periods and follows a trio of Mossad secret agents who were once on a mission to track down Nazi war criminal Vogel in East Berlin. The film stars Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, and their younger counterparts are played by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington. Is the remake worth watching?
- “For 2/3 of the running time, I think “The Debt” is a really smart, solid thriller, well-constructed, well-shot, and well-cast. There is an interesting moral dilemma at the center of the film, and the script grapples with it in a meaningful way. The problem is, there’s a cheap action movie ending tacked onto the film that undermines almost all of the good work that comes before it…” –Hitfix
- “Mirren is definitely the stand out talent in this film, portraying the older and complex version of Rachel Singer convincingly.” — Culture Mob
- “The Debt has occasional moments of suspense, but the human element of the story—including a romantic rivalry—plays out in clunky, heavy-handed fashion. By the time we get to the modern-day climax it’s hard to care or even take it seriously, despite a few last-minute surprises.” — indieWire
Based on 87 reviews, The Debt got a 77% on the Tomatometer.
Shark Night 3D
I love a good, scary shark tale! Even when they are bad, they are still fun (most of the time). Shark Night 3D is just in time to scare you out of the water (now that summer is over — hmmm… odd timing). The film follows seven vacationers who become the prey of a shark-infested lake. Does Shark Night 3D have the chops of a good thriller? Here’s some commentary:
- “The film shamelessly sticks things in your face, and considering some of that happens to be particularly pretty flesh of both genders, the film is just pleasant to sit through.” — Hit Fi
- “The first problem with “Shark Night 3D” is that despite being a film that purports to emphasize suspense over gore, it has no idea how to construct that suspense, and then no confidence in pulling it off.” – indieWire
Rotten Tomatoes hasn’t given this film a rating yet. That’s what happens when studios don’t let film critics do their job.
This new sci-fi thriller follows NASA’s supposed last abandoned mission to the moon. The filmmakers have said that the footage in the movie is real. The film stars English actors Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen. So is it any good? Here are few things our fellow critics had to say:
- “Apollo 18 doesn’t have much scares but the character development is good enough for you to feel for the main characters.” — Get The Big Picture
- “Unfortunately Apollo 18 proves that not every found-footage scenario can deliver an entertaining time at the theater. Whether due to an overly-long set-up, a predictable plot progression, ho-hum reveals, as well as an idiotic and mostly familiar threat, Apollo 18 fails to build tension, deliver legitimate scares, or introduce an intriguing sci-fi mythology.” — Screen Rant
And like Shark Night 3D, Apollo 18 is M.I.A on the Tomatometer as there were no screenings for the press. Bad sign. Though I’m sure by Monday everyone will be having their say!
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
Here’s an end-of-the-summer flick about a group of 30-year-olds who have been friends since high school, and are now set on throwing an end-of-the-summer orgy. The film stars funny man Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb and Tyler Labine, which makes it kinda promising. But is this sex-comedy worth watching during your Labor Day weekend? Let’s see what the critics have to say about that:
- “Aside from a handful of raunchy jokes and a lot of nudity, though, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy plays it too safe, when it had the cast and the premise to do a lot more.” — Cinemablend
- “Granted, this movie isn’t exactly ha-ha funny; very little of it will leave you rolling in the aisles because there are, quite simply, too many cooks in the soup, too many stories to juggle and conflicts to resolve, not all of them inherently humorous. But this nice little coming-of-delayed-age story wisely shies away from treacly sentiment, and for that we should be grateful” — Filmcritic
And the Tomatometer rating for A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is 28%.
5 Days of War
This film, as the title would suggest, is about the war that broke out between Russia and Georgia in 2008. The film stars Rupert Friend as an American war correspondent who is caught in the midst of it all. Andy Garcia and Val Kilmer also have parts in this movie, unfortunately, their roles are small and their time onscreen is brief. Has director Renny Harlin outdone himself in this war-flick? You can read ScreenCrave’s review of the film now in which I give it a 6/10 or see what some of the other critics think:
- The action scenes make [5 Days of War] watchable, but the attempts at being a message film are lost amidst the gunfire, explosions, and generic posturing — Film School Rejects
- “This film fails to make an impression because there is no foundation to the violence. The South Ossetian War (aka Russian-Georgian War) is an almost-impossibly complex morass of sectarian and political infighting. Simply stated, the film does nothing to help understand the situation. It attempts to define one side as the good and the other side as bad but it is hard to buy what they are selling.” –Monsters and Critics
- “…the drama has some exhilarating moments, but they’re dampened by concessions to conventionally bloviating music, overly theatrical dialogue and inadvertently comic slo-mo.” — Chicago Tribune
Seven Days In Utopia
Seven Days in Utopia follows the story of talented young golfer Luke Chisolm, and the public disaster that occurs during his first big shot in the pro circuit. The film stars Lucas Black, Robert Bear, and Robert Duvall. Here’s some of the buzz on Seven Days in Utopia:
- “Seven Days in Utopia” is flawed in so many ways — the editing, writing, acting and Matthew Dean Russell’s direction are uniformly weak — that this well-intentioned film does its positive messages a disservice.”– Salon
- “Not a second of it is convincing—or compelling—but then the film is about “utopia,” a blandly idealized place unblemished by hardship, malice, sin, or errant golf strokes.” A.V. Club
Seven Days in Utopia gets a rotten on the Tomatometer at 9%.
And for the those of you looking for something foreign, here are a few choices (all limited releases):
- There’s the Mandarin film Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, about an exiled detective who is recruited to solve a series of mysterious deaths that threaten to delay the inauguration of Empress Wu. Film Journal reviewed the film saying, “…Tsui Hark offers up a period mystery with fantasy elements and explosions of action. Extraordinary costumes and sets sweep viewers along with the action, but it’s the story—rooted in historical truth—that is one of the most intriguing elements of Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame.”
- The French film Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is also hitting limited theaters. The film follows the life of French singer Serge Gainsbourg as he grows up in the 1940s Nazi-occupied Paris, through the late 60s when he was a famed singer and ’til his death in 1991. Here’s what ComingSoon had to say about the film, “The film does get a bit silly and off-the-wall at times, which probably should be expected when you include a fantasy creature in a story that isn’t too concerned with historic accuracy, but the music and cast really drive Sfar’s debut in a way that will make you immediately want to learn more about Gainsbourg if this film is in fact your first introduction.”
- And lastly, there’s the Mexican film Saving Private Perez, about a Mexican crime lord who is forced by his mother to plan a suicidal rescue mission to find his lost brother in the most unexpected place on Earth. Here’s a quote from Variety: “[Director Beto] Gomez’s crisp comic timing and refusal to milk gags keep “Perez” percolating briskly.”
So there you have it, there’s enough films to go around.
What will you watch this weekend?