In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish
Rogers Cinema is the distributing headquarters for the films that eventually show up on our mall screens. Usually once a month, the firm sends out a list of that month’s offerings – from which most find their way here. For September, the following list and brief descriptions have been sent (Note: times & films may eventually change):
“Riddick,” September 6. Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick fights against alien predators and becomes more dangerous than ever before.
“The Family,” September 13. The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France, under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.
“Insidious Chapter 2,” September 13. The haunted mysterious childhood that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world, the Lambert family seeks to uncover the secret to that world.
“Battle of the Year,” September 20. The dance battle of the year attracts all the best teams from around the world, but Americans haven’t won in fifteen years. Dante enlists Blake to assemble a team of the best dancers and bring the Trophy back to America.
“Prisoners,” September 20. A Boston man kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend.
“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,”
September 27. Flint Lockwood now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V, but he’s forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational and is churning out menacing hybrids.
“Don Jon,” September 27. A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find true love.
The above titles do not indicate, of course, the full roster of movies being released into the general market, but rather to the Upper Midwest, where weeding has been done, hoping on past basis for the largest possible box office draw. After all, it’s a commercial venture, right? A sampling of some of the films not chosen, that might be located with other venues, are as follows:
“Blue Jasmine” – “A brilliant, shattering Cate Blanchett plays a wealthy woman brought devastatingly low, is Woody Allen’s most sustained and satisfying film since ‘Match Point.'”
“Blackfish” – “Through the rueful voices of former trainers, this delicately lacerating documentary uses the tragic tale of a single whale and his human victims as the backbone of a hypercritical investigation into the marine park’s SeaWorld Entertainment.”
“The Canyons” – “This dispirited drama about very bad people scheming, sleeping around and sometimes making movies in Los Angeles (the canyon) isn’t good by any conventional cinematic standards. Yet its seriousness helps give the movie a crude integrity.”
“Europa Report” -“With a coherence and clarity foreign to most ‘found-footage’ dramas, an Ecuadorean director follows a doomed spaceflight to one of Jupiter’s moons, effortlessly communicating the chilling vastness of deep space and the human cost of probing its secrets.”
“Fruitvale Station” – “A first time director turns the 24 hours leading up to the day when a young black man was shot and killed by a transit police office at an Oakland subway station. The drama is both a snapshot of American life and an expression of outrage.”
“Kid-Thing” – “In an interesting yet fragmented exercise, the Zellner brothers follow a socially maladjusted 10-year-old girl who spends her solitary days shoplifting and bashing things with a baseball bat and then hears a woman calling for help from within an abandoned well in the woods with fascinating results.”
“Our Children” – In French and Arabic, beautifully realized and brutally uncompromising, this drama pivots on the story of a young woman who’s increasingly isolated and bullied by her demanding male relatives. It’s an exploration of the power and cruelty that bring her to a very dark place.”
“The Spectacular Now” – “Charting a journey through the high stakes of adolescence is a charming teenager with a fondness for drink and his estranged father, as he finds his way through the end of high school and strikes up a bond with a very together girl.”
“Still Mine”? – This film, like ‘Amour’ and ‘Away From Her,’ is a story about old age, a love story told with minimal sentimentality. It refuses to pity the aged couple at its center, who are beautifully played by James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold with a magnificent thorniness.”
“When Comedy Went to School” – “A kind of documentary with pretty low production values, elevated by the comedians who vividly recall working the ‘borscht belt’ circuit and the historical footage that evokes the era.”
“Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers” – “It’s about the Serbian thievery ring of the title, named after the Inspector Clouseau movies a titillatingly informative film from Havana Marking that essentially lets two criminals (whose identities have been concealed) give a master class in high-stakes robbery. The insider’s level of detail gives the crime movie its worth, and also what makes the movie so absorbing.”
Rotten Tomatoes averages: “Riddick,” B-; “The Way, Way Back,” B+; “This is the End,” C+