Best of Enemies Fantastic Four

Some Movies to See This Weekend, August 7, 2015

Friday, August 07, 2015 Rob Samuelson

If you're the type of person (lunatic) who sees every movie that comes out, this weekend will be a busy one for you. There are five new releases, each of a different genre. As you bounce from one movie to the next, you won't have to worry about everything feeling same-y. Superheroes and family drama, thrillers and stop-motion animation, more and more, you get the idea. Let's see what awaits you.



Fantastic Four
Director: Josh Trank
Writers: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell



Four young people get subjected to science-y mumbo jumbo that gives them elemental powers. Reed Richards (Miles Teller) can stretch his body to obscene lengths, Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) lights on fire, Sue Storm (Kate Mara) turns invisible and can move things with her mind, and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) becomes a big rock. They have adventures and brood a bit.

This is the second attempt to make a Fantastic Four movie on a serious level, after a two-film series a decade ago was received with lukewarm shrugs. This time around, the CGI technology is at a place to properly render the Thing as a believable monster with a heart of gold.

Ricki and the Flash
Director: Jonathan Demme
Writer: Diablo Cody
Starring: Meryl Streep, Rick Springfield, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer



Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody are good at movies. Both have done excellent work in the past (with their highest points probably being The Silence of the Lambs and Young Adult, respectively) and now they have teamed with Meryl Streep to tell the story of a worn out cover band singer trying to reintegrate herself into the lives of her estranged family.

That's enough. Sign me up.

The Gift
Director: Joel Edgerton
Writer: Joel Edgerton
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton



The mysteries of a man's (Jason Bateman) past begin to unravel when he and his new wife (Rebecca Hall) move into a mansion and run into an old acquaintance of Bateman's, played by Joel Edgerton, who makes his feature writing-directing debut here. From the trailer, it appears Edgerton has a knack for handsomely composed shots and deep focus, so it appears he knows what he's doing behind the camera as well as in front of it.

It may all amount to a big ball of nothing, but there seems to be a genuine fear soaking through the frames of the clips currently available. The trailer announces a big twist, which may only be part of the rug being pulled out from under the audience. It seems worthwhile.

Shaun the Sheep: The Movie
Directors: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
Writers: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
Starring: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili



A family of stop-motion animation sheep get lost in the city, some go to jail, and an escape plan is hatched. Plus there's a doofus-looking guy with a goatee trying to capture them, presumably for their curly wool.

It all looks fairly paint-by-numbers, but the critical reception to the movie has been downright rapturous, so the old “if there's smoke, there's probably a fire” saying applies here. It appears there is no traditional dialogue, with everything coming through as grunts and other sound effects, so that's interesting. Other than that, it's a fairly big mystery to me.

Best of Enemies
Directors: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville
Writers: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville




William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal were celebrities for being smart about politics and culture. That doesn't really happen anymore. For that depiction of a bygone era alone, Best of Enemies would probably be a fascinating documentary to catch. Apparently, though, beyond their televised sparring, the two men really despised each other. This wasn't a Siskel and Ebert competition thing, but they did not want the other – or, perhaps more accurately, the other's ideas – to succeed. I'm curious to see how that relationship, driven by conflict for TV ratings, changed over the years.

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