Opening this week at a theatre near you:

Focus

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

“Focus”  (2015)

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Nicky (Will Smith) is a long time con-man who agrees to show Jess (Margot Robbie) the tips of his trade.  They get involved, and Nicky breaks it off when Jess gets too involved in his life.  Three years later, Nicky is doing one last con, a con that could set him up for life.  The only problem:  Jess shows up and throws his plan out the window. “Focus” Website

What to Watch For:  The legendary slight-of-hand artist and self-titled “gentleman thief,” Apollo Robbins, was a consultant on the film.  He conceived and choreographed the tricks that Smith and Robbie perform in the film.

Word on the Street:  This is Margot Robbie’s first film after wowing everyone with her performance in, “The Wolf of Wall Street.” (2013)

My Take:  It will be interesting to see how this film does at the box office for Will Smith after the disastrous box office failures of, “After Earth” (2013) and “Winter’s Tale.” (2014).

The Lazarus Effect

Photo courtesy of Relativity Media

“The Lazarus Effect”  (2015)

A team of medical researchers find a way to bring dead patients back to life by using a serum called, “Lazarus.”  The serum has only been used on animals, but when one of the lead researchers, Zoe (Olivia Wilde), dies in an accident, the team uses the serum to revive her.  It’s a decision they all will regret. “The Lazarus Effect” Facebook page

What to Watch For: This  is Olivia Wilde’s first headlining film, so it will be interesting to see how well it does at the box office.

Word on the Street:  Many critics are comparing this film to the 1990 film, “Flatliners” which starred Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon and Julia Roberts.  That film is about medical students experimenting with “near death” experiences.

My Take:  One of the film’s stars is Mark Duplass, who mostly works in small, independent films.

Leviathan

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

“Leviathan”  (2014)

In a small Russian costal town, Kolya’s (Aleksey Serebryakov) house is about to be taken away from him by corrupt government officials.  He asks an old army buddy, who is now a high power Moscow attorney, to help him combat the local government. “Leviathan” Website

What to Watch For:  The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Picture at this year’s Oscars.

Word on the Street:  The film has been winning award after award at film festivals around the world, including winning Best Screenplay at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

My Take:  I have heard from other critics that Elena Lyadova, who plays Kolya’s wife in the film, is outstanding in the role.

What We Do In the Shadows

Photo courtesy of Unison Films

“What We Do in the Shadows” (2015)

It’s hard being a vampire in the modern world.  You have to pay rent, do household chores, try to keep up with the latest trends and still keep your vampire coolness.  Will thus group of vampires get along long enough to survive another 8,000 years? “What We Do in the Shadows” Website

What to watch for:   This comedy is from the creators of the HBO hit series “Flight of the Conchords.”

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Word on the Street:  Critics are raving about this film.  The co-writers / directors of the film, Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi, were also responsible for the 2007 cult film “Eagle vs. Shark.”

My Take:  I need a good comedy after seeing a bunch of bad ones lately.

Maps to the Stars

Photo courtesy of Focus World

“Maps to the Stars”  (2014)

The Hollywood dream of becoming a star is a hard one to achieve and even harder to maintain. The Weiss family, long a part of the Hollywood scene, is falling apart at the seams as they desperately live their lives. “Maps to the Stars” Website

What to Watch For:  The film stars Best Actress winner Julianne Moore.

Word on the Street:  I hear that cinematography and the music are outstanding.

My Take:  Director David Cronenberg always makes interesting films.

 

If you can’t go to the theatre this weekend, stay at home and watch movies on Atlanta’s CW:

Saturday

1:00 pm

“The Net”  (1995) Sandra Bullock comes across a conspiracy that has wide-ranging implications. Now her life is being threatened. Can the hacker survive being hacked?

Sunday

1:00 pm

“Swimfan”  (2002)  Ben (Jesse Bradford) is the star of the high school swim team.  His life changes when he hooks up with the new girl in town (Erika Christensen).  That will be the biggest mistake of his life, as the new girl is a stalker.

3:00 pm

“The Net”  (1995) Sandra Bullock comes across a conspiracy that has wide-ranging implications. Now her life is being threatened. Can the hacker survive being hacked?

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