Alan Alda Britt Robertson

Some Movies to See This Weekend, April 10, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015 Rob Samuelson

This weekend, the studios know how to go about their business. They will stay out of the way of the $406 million (and counting) behemoth, Furious Seven, and instead offer some counter programming choices for those moviegoers not vehicularly inclined. You know, the boring fuddy duddies. But lest we offend said fuddy duddies, let's take a look at what they can see this weekend that doesn't include fast cars parachuting from airplanes.



Desert Dancer
Director: Richard Raymond
Writer: Jon Croker
Starring: Reece Ritchie, Freida Pinto, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Cullen



Iran is a yucky place for creative people. That's what dictatorships do – they make absurd rules about what kind of activities people can and cannot take part in. In this case, it's about dancing. Reece Ritchie plays Afshin Ghaffarian, a young man who wants to be a dancer but is threatened every step of the way with imprisonment or worse. So he does it in secret. He starts an underground crew, including Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto, to follow their dreams, like the trailer says. However, with this taking place during the Green Revolution in Iran concurrent with the Arab Spring across the Middle East, it's a turbulent time to rock the boat. I'm keeping myself in the dark as to what happened to the real Ghaffarian, but there will probably be plenty of places to tell you how this one shakes out.

The Longest Ride
Director: George Tillman Jr.
Writer: Craig Bolotin
Starring: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Alda



Scott Eastwood looks disturbingly like his dad. So, of course, he is put to good use as a cowboy hat-wearing rodeo dude who must give up what he loves for who he loves – his brush with death might have something to do with it. This comes from another novel by Nicolas Sparks, whose The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and more have made uncountable tears spill in the early part of movie release schedules for 15 years or more. They're made with factory precision now, with lots of magic hour sunlight and angst. That doesn't mean they can't be good, of course, as The Notebook was one of the strongest romances of the 2000s.

What has me personally excited is Britt Robertson's lead role as the Sparksian girl. Next month she will headline Disney's big action adventure-sci-fi thing, Tomorrowland, opposite George Clooney. That movie has a lot of huge deal talent attached to it, and getting an early look at her acting chops in a less pressurized environment sounds like a good idea.

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