Bill Murray Brie Larson

Some Movies to See this Weekend: October 23, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015 Rob Samuelson

This week is a little confusing as far as releases go. There is the now-obligatory attempt to get Bill Murray an Oscar in a movie most people don't care for, and there is a real-deal contender for best of the year. But there are also two movies that would normally be smack dab in the middle of the summer season. Let's see what's up with this weekend at the movies.

Jem and the Holograms
Director: Jon M. Chu
Writer: Ryan Landels
Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayley Kiyoko

I have known two people in my life who loved the Jem and the Holograms TV show, but never once have I experienced what I have been promised as sheer wonderfulness – I suspect those recommendations were either facetious or based on nostalgia. Or maybe it's good! I don't know.

Pretty much everyone here in the film adaptation is a newcomer, with the exception of director Jon M. Chu, whose work, mostly in music videos and dance-related films, I personally have not seen. This one's a total wild card as far as quality goes, but it sure does feel like it's out a few months late, doesn't it?

Rock the Kasbah
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Mitch Glazer
Starring: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany

Bill Murray plays a rock music manager looking for a spark, that artist who can do the things of his dreams. He finds it in a young woman, played by Leem Lubany, in the Middle East. Hence the Clash-inspired title. Get it? The cast surrounding Murray is fun when they're not sleepwalking – I'm looking at you, Bruce Willis. But there has not been a good reception to it so far from the critical community, so I'm not exactly rushing to get my ticket.

The Last Witch Hunter
Director: Breck Eisner
Writers: Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Starring: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Michael Caine

The other “why didn't this come out during the summer” movie has everything you could want from a big-budget action adventure. It has Vin Diesel. That's all you need. It also has witches and sorcery and a couple good jump scares in the trailer. This one seems weirdly, maybe unfairly, sandwiched into a season just because the studio didn't know what to do with it.

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Writer: Emma Donoghue
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Wendy Crewson

This one's the main event for my personal taste. I've had it on my radar for a while. Brie Larson plays a young mother kidnapped with her son and forced to live in a tiny shed in the back of some psychopath's home. She pretends to her son that this is the world. It's just the two of them. She wants to protect him, but probably has to shatter his entire worldview in order to get him to escape when the chance arrives. And once they get out – not a spoiler, it's in the trailer you can see right above this paragraph – they have to adjust to society after suffering through years of trauma. Brie Larson has quickly risen to “must watch” status in recent years so her turn here could be the tipping point into her becoming one of the performers of her generation.

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