Tag Archives: Jennifer Lawrence

Fall 2017 Movie Preview: Horror/Thriller

You’ve most likely already seen the decorations, costumes and candy littering the shelves of stores. While we are still weeks away from October, much less the end of October, Halloween is already right in our faces. Why? Because the overhead for these items is low and the profit margins are high. Not to mention that consumers buy it up by the truck load. The opportunity to pretend to be a celebrity, superhero, or ghoul is just too good to pass up and the lure of free candy keeps kids of all ages excited about the holiday.

In the same way, Horror films are usually pretty inexpensive and quick to make and there is always a desire for them. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie out with your friends to see who flinches last at all of the jump scares and blood-curdling screams or if you are a teenager looking for a dark room and a place to sneak your arm around that special someone as they hide themselves from the perceived danger.

I’m not a huge Horror fan, but I do appreciate the art of a good scare and the psychology that goes into it. When we find those films that defy the traditional plot devices and tropes to keep the audience riveted then I am fully on board. So what delicious horrors are in store in our coming attractions? We actually have a Friday the 13th during October this year so expect that to be the epicenter for horror flicks this fall.

September

IT – 9/8

When young children in the little town Derry of Maine starts to begin to be found dead a group of seven kids find out that the killer is not a man. The killer is the evil clown Pennywise who is actually a creature that can shapeshift into the thing you are most afraid of. The kids also known as the Losers Club decide to fight and kill It. But how can you fight something who knows all your biggest fears?

I hear that it is good to face your fears head on. That’s great. I have been stuck with this irrational fear of clowns ever since I read Stephen King’s IT back when I was 10-11 years old. At some point, I dug up a copy of the 1990 TV miniseries and I’ve never looked at Tim Curry the same way again. This one looks like it is going to be much more true to the source material and people that I trust have said that it is terrifying in all the right ways. So, lets band together my Loser’s Club and we’ll get rid of our coulrophobia once and for all.

Mother! – 9/15

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Man it’s fun to just say the name of this film with that exclamation point, but we haven’t been given much to go on with this one and I for one am totally fine with that. The trailer is frenetic and creepy and with a cast featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer I have no doubt that the performances will be superb. Jennifer Lawrence said that she hyperventilated and dislocated a rib during filming so it’s going to be a wild ride. If you weren’t aware, this is coming from Darren Aronofsky, the same guy that gave us Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. He is an amazing director and I’m ready to see what this is all about.

Flatliners – 9/29

Five medical students, obsessed by the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring and dangerous experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife. But as their experiments become increasingly dangerous, they are each haunted by the sins of their pasts, brought on by the paranormal consequences of trespassing to the other side.

I know what you’re thinking, “Another remake of a 90’s Horror property?” Yep, but don’t count this one out yet. That first movie with Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt, and Billy Baldwin is surprisingly good and I think this one has a chance as well. Ellen Page leads this cast with Diego Luna and Nina Dobrev, even Keifer Sutherland comes back for the fun. Hopefully the nostalgia gets people into the theaters and the story will take them the rest of the way. If it doesn’t, then maybe there are just some lines we’re not meant to cross.

October

Happy Death Day – 10/13

A college student (Jessica Rothe) relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.

Imagine Groundhog Day with every day ending in your murder. It’s an interesting twist on this familiar plot device. It will be interesting to see it utilized for terrifying effects. There is no big name attached so it could either be a surprising hit or a big flop. I hope it’s good. The trailer looks solid.

The Snowman – 10/20

When an elite crime squad’s lead detective (Michael Fassbender) investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit (Rebecca Ferguson), the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.

Based on the international best selling novel of the same name from Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, Michael Fassbender plays Harry Hole (what a horrible name for a character). I don’t know if they have struck the right tone in the trailer. It almost looks like a dark comedy with the childish drawings of snowmen. It has to be better than the only other snowman based horror film I can think of: Jack Frost. It’s rare to see the Fassbender in anything awful (except Assassin’s Creed).

November

The Killing of a Sacred Deer – 11/3

Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

Yorgos Lanthimos is an enigmatic director who doesn’t like clean common sense plots. You might have heard of a couple of his previous films, Dogtooth and The Lobster. They are both very dark, very strange and full of a twisted masochistic humor. Lanthimos reunites with Colin Farrell who starred in The Lobster and adds Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone as well as a crop of young actors with few roles under their belts. It appears to be his most accessible film to date. That doesn’t mean that he is adopting a standard narrative style. That’s not what this Greek director does. This will be a crippling psychological thriller that will not give us any clear answers and will stick with us for days.

December

Polaroid – 12/1

High school loner Bird Fitcher has no idea what dark secrets are tied to the mysterious Polaroid vintage camera she stumbles upon, but it doesn’t take long to discover that those who have their picture taken meet a tragic end.

This doesn’t look very impressive to me, but it is the only horror movie coming in the traditionally quiet month of December. It looks like a knock off of the Ring and Final Destination films.  With no a list star to get people into the theater and such competition from other films this one probably won’t do anything, but even if it only makes 20 million it will still be profitable and we might even see a sequel in coming years. That is the way horror franchises get started.

Others to Watch:

Friend Request coming on September 22nd. When a college student unfriends a mysterious girl online, she finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends.

Til Death Do Us Part coming on September 29th. Michael and Madison Roland had planned to spend the rest of their lives together, until one day Michael’s controlling ways turned their perfect marriage. With the help of her best friend, Madison decides to get away. After adopting a new identity, she meets Alex Stone (Taye Diggs) and learns to love again. All is well, until Michael discovers Madison’s whereabouts, and recreates the nightmare she once lived all over again.

Leatherface coming on October 20th. A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell while being pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge. It’s the Leatherface origin story we never knew we needed.

Jigsaw coming on October 27th. Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade. The week after we get Leatherface’s origin story, we get a deeper dive into the Jigsaw killer from Saw. Two fictional serial killers that we don’t need to see any more.

Are you looking forward to any of these films? Which one would you go to if you were trying to sneak an arm around the girl you liked? Coming up next, we’ll take a look at the Comedy/Family movies coming this fall.

Click here for the other installments of the 2017 Fall Movie Preview:

Details on Jennifer Lawrence’s New Oscar Vehicle

Deadline reported that Jennifer Lawrence and Adam McKay have their names attached to a new project, which delves into the history of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the startup company Theranos. With a product that was supposed to revolutionize the field of blood testing, Holmes rode the wave to a $9 billion evaluation, and a personal wealth of half that amount.

Jennifer Lawrence is a pretty good at finding Oscar-worthy projects. With three nominations and one win at the Academy Awards, she might have found her fourth nomination, and possible second win. Even better, she’s teaming up with Adam McKay for this riches-to-rags story.

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After winning an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Big Short this past year, Adam McKay must have the golden bug himself. With his directorial hand guiding the Elizabeth Holmes story in production, he could at the very least land another nomination for Best Director with this picture. Though it wouldn’t be a surprise if he decided to do some punch-up work on the script, gaining him another Best Adapted Screenplay nomination.

The team-up between McKay and Jennifer Lawrence seems to sound like a match made in Oscar heaven, and I can’t wait to hear where further developments take the project. As of now, I don’t have any further details on when the project is aiming for production or release, but as soon as I hear something of interest, you’ll be the first to know.

X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

The X-Men are back on the big screen for a sequel (or is it a prequel?) featuring a whole slew of characters with dual identities, giving these actors resume credits such as “Scott Summers/Cyclops,” “Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver” and of course “En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse.” I tried to avoid any real spoilers, but as always, reviews are always best when you’ve already seen the movie and can add your commentary.

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X-Men: Apocalypse is set in 1983, some 10 years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (the fantastic Michael Fassbender), is living in Poland under an assumed name, laboring as an iron-worker (can you imagine a better blue collar job for Magneto?) and coming home each night to his loving wife and adoring daughter. For this tortured soul, it’s as close to paradise as he’ll ever come — as long as nobody finds out who he really is and what he did in Washington 10 years ago. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I tell you that Erik does not spend the entire movie reading bedtime stories to his little girl. I was impressed with the powerful and even realistic tone of this story line. It could have made for a fine film all its own.

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I was surprised to find out that Oscar Isaac played Apocalypse, a man whom some believe to be the first mutant, he was so covered in makeup, prosthesis, and tubing that he was completely unrecognizable. Apocalypse awakens from the slumber of many thousand years and is shocked to find that weak, normal people have managed to assume control of the world through government, technology, and weapons. This is appalling to him and he vows to destroy the world and rule over the survivors as he rebuilds it in his twisted image.

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Meanwhile, back at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Professor Charles Xavier (The talented James McAvoy) mentors two familiar young mutants. Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), has yet to learn how to control the deadly beams that shoot from his eyes, and the telepathic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner from “Game of Thrones”) draws whispered stares from other students because they are frightened of her unbridaled abilities. Sparks are definitely flying between these two.

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There are so many more characters that received excellent treatment. The introduction of Psylocke (played by every fanboy’s dream, Olivia Munn), and the return of the Blue X-Man Group featuring young KurtWagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Raven/Mystique (played by every other fanboy’s dream, Jennifer Lawrence), and Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Alexandra Shipp’s first turn in the iconic role of Ororo Munroe/Storm was solid, although in my opinion you average weather reporter could do better than Halle Berry.

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This isn’t the best X-Men film of the franchise, but it’s a visual spectacle, brimming with great performances. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, with characters making self-referential jokes about the third movie in a series always being the worst as they walk out of a theater having just seen Return of the Jedi. And they fully embrace the 80’s setting with TAB soda, Rubik’s Cubes, Ms. Pac-Man Arcade games, and a great in school cameo by my favorite Breakfast Clubber Ally Sheedy. Plus, it can’t hurt that it contains perhaps my favorite scene of any movie this year. As an explosion rocks Xavier’s school, Quicksilver (My new favorite young actor, Evan Peters) uses his mind bending speed to save dozens of students, all to the tune of and unforgettable Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the Eurythmics. That one scene is worth the ticket price and is as entertaining as anything I’ve seen at the movies in a long time.

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The timing isn’t the best for X-Men: Apocalypse, coming so closely after the recent releases of Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. Even the hardcore geeks who like to get their Comic-Con on might be feeling a little superhero fatigue right about now. However, with an estimated haul of $8.2 million from Thursday night previews alone, perhaps the hunger has not completely been quenched. That’s a solid start and compares nicely to the $8.1 million X-Men: Days of Future Past launched with in 2014 before opening with $90.8 million over the three-day and $110.5 million for the 2014. (BoxOfficeMojo.com). Whether or not you consider yourself a comic book adaptation fan, you owe it to yourself to see Quicksilver do his thing. How long until Fox coughs up his rights and we get to see him cross over to become an Avenger? Sweet Dreams indeed.

Joy (2015)

I must disclose at the outset that I am a tremendous Jennifer Lawrence fan, and she was a shining star in this movie. However, I am faced with judging a movie as a whole and not simply the performances therein. I think that Jennifer Lawrence is deserving of her Oscar nomination for Best Actress for this role, because she was the only salvageable part of a rare misstep by David O. Russell. This is Lawrence’s third collaboration with the director, and it has the ambition of Silver Linings Playbook but is undone by script and tone problems.

For fans of David O. Russell films (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, and American Hustle) what makes them so thrilling is the bravery of the writer-director’s storytelling ability. As the plots make bold shifts in tone and the characters spout highly scripted but thoroughly quotable dialogue, audiences seemingly hold their breath to see if he can get to the finish line without having these beautifully crafted world collapse.

joy3Russell hopes for a Jennifer Lawrence hat trick with Joy, but unfortunately, this time his delicate balloon pops. It’s a movie about a lower middle class single mother rediscovering her creativity, her fight not to be exploited by the world of commerce or her dysfunctional family, and about the birth of QVC and the show-business of retail sales. However, Russell (who shares story credit with Bridesmaids co-writer Annie Mumolo) doesn’t quite figure out how to tell these stories at the same time, or even back-to-back, resulting in a pile-up of characters and incidents and emotions that just never works. Continue reading Joy (2015)