Cinderella film

Some Movies to See This Weekend, March 13, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015 Rob Samuelson

We live in a transitionary time for the film industry. The biggest of the big movies still make it to thousands of theaters, as you'd expect, and a slew of lower budget action and art films get released if they have someone with cultural currency backing them or a beloved star. But the mid-budget movies have mostly been pushed out of the conversation, partially replaced by an even bigger swath of micro-budget indies released on demand. This weekend is a perfect example of this.

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Chris Weitz
Starring: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter

This is the big budget one, retelling the fairy tale or fable or whatever the correct term is – I took a folklore class and I should know this, but I don't, so we'll carry on nonetheless – that everyone is familiar with. Orphan girl is taken in by a crummy female caretaker (her aunt in this case) and is tortured by that caretaker's three “prettier” daughters while she is an indentured servant for the family. Sometimes mice are involved. Then a magic lady puts her in a pretty dress, takes her to a ball, and the prince of the kingdom falls in love with her.

Basic stuff, done already as one of the greatest animated films ever, should be something to blow off, right? Not quite. Critics across the spectrum are praising it, plus the cast and crew is nothing to shrug off. Branagh is the Shakespearian guy who in recent years has branched out into crowd pleasing stuff like the first Thor. Writer Weitz did the heartwarming About a Boy. And up-and-comers like Lily James (hello, Lady Rose) and the erstwhile King of the North, Richard Madden, join some of our best actresses to form a super duper talented core.

It Follows
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Writer: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi

And here's the on-demand option that really should be seen with a crowd, like all horror movies. It's a clever concept, taking young people's sexual fears – mostly STIs but also things like pregnancy and abortion – and literalizing them for dramatic effect. Maika Monroe, co-star in one of my favorite movies last year, The Guest, stars as someone who has had something “passed on” to her. Like the title suggests, it's about her trying to outrun whatever it is that's following her, likely with some insidious plans in hand. I'm super excited for this one based on the slick, artfully directed moments in the trailer.

Run All Night
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Brad Ingelsby
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman

Low budget adventure starring everyone's favorite Irish action dad. I think after several years of Liam Neeson in this type of role, we can finally put to rest all the “I can't believe Liam Neeson is doing action movies!” jokes. They were stale about two weeks into the marketing campaign for the first Taken, so let's stop now, please.

Anyway, Neeson is a New York mafia enforcer type whose son, Joel Kinnaman, kills the son of his friend/rival, Ed Harris. Revenge tropes abound, and it looks like some fun will be had, for the audience at least.

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