Films that opened in America on October 23-25, 2015

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The Last Witchunter (IMDb rating 6.2) – Clearly I’m not the target audience for this as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Vin Diesel film. In contrast, I didn’t realise until seeing the trailer that Michael Caine is in this and I reckon I’ve seen at least 50 of his films. As it is, the trailer makes it look like an OK timewaster although blighted by the typically elaborate but fake CGI. One of the many films that has underwhelmed at the box office in recent weeks.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (4.5) – Like Vin Diesel, this series is not aimed at me as I’ve never seen any of the films. Looking at the trailer, there was a funny comment on YouTube observing that all these types of ghost stories seem to occur only to well-off families that live in two storey houses with a giant yard, so as long as you’re poor you’ll be alright.

Rock The Kasbah (5.4) – As I commented in the Random Thread,  despite being a critically-panned flop I find this film significant because of its star Bill Murray. Basically since Groundhog Day, Murray has been an untouchable in terms of critical respect. Even in the many bad films he’s made he’s almost always singled out as the brightest spot in the film. But here, critics seems to have turned on him en masse and now seem to be sick of his style of playing obnoxious self-centred jerks that get redemmed by the end.

I wonder where Murray goes from here as perhaps the critical pillaging will make him revitalise his career. On the other hand, not much hope for director Barry Levinson whose career has been a major disappointment since the early 1990s. When you make a film that gets a lower Rotten Tomatoes rating than the infamously loathed Fantastic Four film it’s hard to come back from.

Jem And The Holograms (3.3) – Based on a 1980s cartoon I’d never even heard of, let alone seen, this is yet another financial disappointment to come out in October. I did chuckle in the trailer when they promoted it as coming from the same studio (!) as Pitch Perfect. Yeah, young folk are drawn in by which studio did a film bigtime these days.

Shaandaar (4.1) – Indian romantic comedy film.

Suffragette (6.6) – The story of British women fighting for the right to vote in early 20th century England has high expectations but due to a moderate critical response and disappointing box office returns it could result in those rarest of occurrences: a year without Meryl Streep being nominated for an Oscar.

The Advocate: A Missing Body (5.8) – This South Korean film according to IMDb has the plotline of a lawyer and a prosecutor taking on a murder case that has no evidence or a body. Frankly, it sounds like the most interesting film to be released this weekend.

I Smile Back (6.1) – A change of pace for well-known comic Sarah Silverman with this dramatic role (although she has appeared in dramas like “Take This Waltz” previously) where she plays a seemingly contented middle-class married suburbanite tormented by inner demons and facing self-destruction. An underwhelming critical reponse suggests this is unlikely to be a breakout hit.

Heart Of A Dog (6.5) – From the little information I could find about this, apparently a personal documentary that was largely shot on an iPhone!

Attack On Titan: Part 2 (5.4) – Japanese fantasy film

Nasty Baby (5.6) – A drama about a male gay couple trying to have a baby with the help of their close female friend. Much delayed film that actually got rejected by a film festival, it’s getting only a token release. Kristen Wiig is the female friend and I’ve always found her irritating since seeing her in ‘Ghost Town’ so this probably wouldn’t interest me much. But if nothing else, it has a trailer that goes pretty wild by the end

Difret (6.6) – Ethipoian drama (executive produced by Angelina Jolie) that looks to have the best reviews of any films reviewed this weekend.

Blackhats (no rating) – Not the flop Michael Mann film from early this year, but about a bounty hunter tracking down cyber hackers. Admittedly had a tiny box office on its opening weekend but pretty amazing it’s gotten literally no user ratings on IMDb as yet.

Julia (4.4) – Horror revenge film that actually got released at film festivals in mid-2014 but is finally getting a small cinematic release now.

The Looking Glass (4.8) – American drama that is notable as being directred by John Hancock, who has had a lengthy but intermittent career. Directed Robert DeNiro in one of his first notable roles, 1973’s “Bang The Drum Slowly” which got a 4-star review from Roger Ebert amongst others.

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