film High-Rise

Some Movies to See This Weekend, May 13, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016 Rob Samuelson

Hollywood is putting up something of a fight against the Marvel machine this weekend, with some new releases. Of course they’re not throwing the full weight of the machine against the unstoppable Captain America: Civil War, instead choosing to release a couple counter-programming options and a limited release that has been driving people wild since the film festival circuit last fall. Let’s see what awaits us at the movies this weekend.

The Darkness
Director: Greg McLean
Writers: Shayne Armstrong, Shane Krause, Greg McLean
Starring: Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Bacon, Lucy Fry, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz

A set of siblings go hiking in former American Indian territory and the youngest brother finds some old stones with indecipherable markings all over them. Turns out the Indian spirits are angry at these kids because all movie Indians have to be vengeful spirits. Parents Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell then must deal with their youngest son (David Mazouz) slowly devolving into a possessed demon person who drools black goop from his mouth and barks at people for trying to move their breakfast plate. For those gorehounds out there, you may be inclined to catch this one if you’re not into the superhero thing. There’s plenty of room for optimism because of The Darkness’s production company, Blumhouse, which also made the Paranormal Activity and The Purge movies. If you have a certain moviegoing sensibility, that’s an exciting thing.

Money Monster
Director: Jodie Foster
Writers: Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West

A pair of megastars, George Clooney and Julia Roberts, reteam for a message movie about media manipulation and money, hence the title. Clooney plays a Jim Cramer-style TV host who is not held accountable for his (often false) stock predictions that ruin the portfolios and livelihoods of people. Roberts plays his producer and Jack O’Connell is a desperate man who takes the entire studio hostage during a live broadcast.

Jodie Foster has become a fascinating filmmaker to go along with her prodigious acting talents, but this one has not been getting great buzz. Everything I’ve heard about it revolves around the idea that it’s overly preachy about its subject, but sometimes preachiness can be a blunt and effective tool in the film toolbelt. If nothing else, it’s a movie aimed at an age group a little older than we’re used to with a summer release.

Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Amy Jump
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss

The big release for me personally is High-Rise, a movie I’ve been hearing great things about for the better part of a year. It’s a stylish allegory about class and power, done with copious amounts of violence and some truly out-of-left-field imagery, if the trailers are to be believed. Tom Hiddleston plays a man from the near future who moves into a massive apartment complex that is structured exactly how you’d think it would be for a class-based parable: the rich live up on top and they keep the desperate masses confined the lower floors to serve them. In this future, these communities are enclosed and self-sufficient, meaning nobody ever really leaves once they enter the high-rise. The societies of these massive buildings break down in ugly, perhaps revolutionary ways. Plus there’s a Portishead cover of ABBA’s “SOS” that everyone who has seen the movie raves about. This has been available to rent on-demand for a couple weeks, but like many people I’ve waited to see it on a big screen with a crowd because of the word of mouth.

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