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Some Movies Out This Weekend, January 9, 2015

Friday, January 09, 2015 Rob Samuelson

It's been a little bit since I've done one of these, mostly because of the holidays and such. Plus nothing of note came out last week 'round these Midwestern parts. This week is a different story, however. There's one big action sequel and a couple Oscar contenders making their way to Chicago after limited releases last month/year. Let's shake off the dust and get to it, shall we?

Taken 3
Director: Olivier Megaton
Writers: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Forest Whitaker

The first Taken spawned a thousand jokes about how cool it is to see an old guy (Neeson) do “badass” things. It's a fine little action movie, if nothing to write home about, despite its oddly gigantic fan base. The second one, which I didn't see, looked like the exact same thing as the first.

This third one, though, changes things up. This time it's a chase film in The Fugitive vein, with Neeson on the run trying to clear his name for his ex-wife's murder – kudos on the confident move, whoever made the trailer, for showing that major plot point, by the way. I doubt you'll need to have seen either previous entry in the series to understand what's going on in this one. It looks like a fun way to be away from the cold and snow for a couple hours.

Director: Ava DuVernay
Writer: Paul Webb
Starring: David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tim Roth, Tom Wilkinson

With its 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, calling Selma “universally praised” would be literally correct. Of course, using Rotten Tomatoes to judge a film's worth is folly, but it's a nice way to take the temperature of what people think about something.

And that something is a quasi-biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr., except unlike most biopics, it spans only a very short time of his life, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, that helped bring about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Word has it it's a ground level, evenhanded account of the lives of those who worked for what they believed in. You can expect a review from me once I see it.

Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Joanna Newsom, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson

My most anticipated movie of 2014 when the year began – I love me some Paul Thomas Anderson, and I've actually read the source novel before its adaptation is released for once – finally makes its way to me, a month after it reached those jerks in New York and L.A. first. It's a spoof of detective stories, with a constantly drug-addled detective going on a “shaggy dog/wild goose/adjective describing another animal” journey with plenty of wild loose ends. As it's the only one of the three I've seen to date (you can expect my review in three, two...) it's my recommendation for the week, although you probably won't go too wrong with any choice.

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