Demolition film

Some Movies to See This Weekend, April 8, 2016

Friday, April 08, 2016 Rob Samuelson

After a slate of small offerings last week, it appears Hollywood has incrementally moved up the ladder this time around to release a few ever-so-slightly higher-profile movies. These aren’t the types that are likely to light the box office on fire, but they might be enjoyable. You might even learn a little something from them. But enough of my babbling. Let’s see what they are.



The Boss
Director: Ben Falcone
Writers: Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory, Melissa McCarthy
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage



In all likelihood, this will go down as 2016’s “other Melissa McCarthy movie,” with her rebooted Ghostbusters hitting the big screen in the summer. But this one might happens to be a more personal project for her. It might be silly to say that about a raunchy comedy that seems like it might be a throwaway piece of fluff, but it’s another project she has co-written with her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directed. That counts for something in my own calculations about whether to see something.
McCarthy stars as a businesswoman who is basically Oprah-level rich, but some legal issues get in the way. She goes to prison and loses her fortune. When she gets out, she must move in with her single-mom former assistant, played by Kristen Bell. While trying to help out, she develops a plan to use her cutthroat business skills to sell Bell’s daughter’s Girl Scout cookies in massive amounts. Gangland-style fights happen between rival troops and other goofiness ensues. McCarthy is always a likable presence, but she also offers the upside of being able to take control of a movie and be the funniest person onscreen at any moment. Here’s hoping that’s the case here.

Hardcore Henry
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Writers: Ilya Naishuller, Will Stewart
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth



After JeruZalem earlier in the year, it appears 2016 will be the year small-budget genre pictures work their tails off to make the point-of-view style work. That apocalyptic-horror picture was awful and did not make the gimmick work for it in the least, but at least from the trailer, the gonzo action flick Hardcore Henry might stand a better chance.

By placing the camera exclusively in the eyes of the Henry of the film’s title, it theoretically gives the audience a chance to feel like they are experiencing the explosions, fist fights, and other action thrills firsthand. I’m skeptical in one sense because movies are not participatory in nature like a video game -- viewers don’t control the actions onscreen -- but there seems to be potential for a transporting experience anyway. If this can pull it off, it might be a worthwhile new genre. If it fails like that rough one I reviewed a couple months ago, I’ll get mighty sick of this gimmick in a hurry.

Demolition
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer: Bryan Sipe
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper



This character drama seems like an odd fit for this time of year. Indeed, it was initially ticketed for a late 2015 release. That could be a bad sign for its quality that it was moved to a not particularly prestigious part of the calendar, or it could be a surprise counterprogramming option among the current slate of movies in theaters.

Jake Gyllenhaal, who has been on a run in the last decade that’s been even better than the more heralded Matthew McConaughey, works with McConaughey’s Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée to tell the story of a guy who’s struggling to mourn for his wife, who died in a car accident. Between Dallas Buyers Club and 2014’s Wild, Vallée has carved out a niche of better-than-average movies about people going through extraordinary changes in their lives. Nothing has tipped into outright greatness despite McConaughey’s Oscar-winning performance in the former, but these are watchable films that make you feel a little something. That’s worthwhile.

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