Feature film

Some Movies to See This Weekend, July 10, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015 Rob Samuelson

The fireworks are gone, unless you live in a neighborhood with a lot of children, in which case they may continue for the rest of the summer. This means we have reached the tipping point of the summer movie season, with the studios' biggest offerings likely behind us. What is left is mostly "untested" concepts (re: things not based on older movies, books, or comics), the things studios aren't sure will set the box office on fire. And the four movies you'll be able to catch in most theaters this weekend are examples of that, even if they are in tried and true genres like horror and science fiction. Let's take a look at what's playing in your local movie house as we start the march toward the end of blockbuster season.

Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Writer: Brian Lynch
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton

Okay, forget what I said for a second about the untested concepts thing. This is a spinoff of the popular Despicable Me animated children's films, with super villain Gru's army of cute yellow nonsense-babbling creatures getting an origin story that begins at the dawn of time.

The Minions are on the hunt for the most perfect evil master to serve throughout all of Earth's history. They fail with dinosaurs and vampires and other traditionally bad characters. But they make it to the 1960s and meet Sandra Bullock's Scarlet Overkill and think they have a match. There's a heist involving Queen Elizabeth and probably some good jokes for the whole family.

Director: Tarsem Singh
Writer: David Pastor, Alex Pastor
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Natalie Martinez

Ben Kingsley is an old, rich man who is about to die, so he transfers his brain into the body of Ryan Reynolds. Not a bad way to go out. But after the body swap, his brain starts melting away or something, and the scientists who made the change might be evil.

It's a science fiction thriller with a good cast. It might be a little muddled in advertising, but it could very well be good. Or garbage. Maybe it can be both! That would be wacky and fun.

The Gallows
Directors: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Writers: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Starring: Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos

A group of high school students put on a play in a possibly haunted auditorium where a disaster struck 20 years earlier. Bad things start happening to them. Everything looks bathed in red.

Whether the mystery killer turns out to be a ghost(s) or a serial killer doesn't really matter. What's exciting about this movie is the color saturation. Horror films have a tradition of going all out with the mechanics of visual storytelling to give you that visceral connection, and I hope, based on nothing more than the trailer of this, that The Gallows will be successful in following that tradition.

Director: Asif Kapadia

The documentary about the late Amy Winehouse has been getting some good buzz, and given that it comes from a production company, A24, that has been knocking so many movies out of the park the last couple years (Enemy, Obvious Child, Ex Machina), it could very well be a good one.

No matter what, it will have good music. Winehouse's low register was able to meld perfectly with a musical style that was a bizarre but enveloping mix of Motown and modern dance pop. Her demons are apparently on full display, which will likely make this a tough movie to watch, but an important one for people who want to learn more about the triumphs and pitfalls of the creative mind.

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