After last week’s wealth of great new wide releases, this week offers up only the Tyler Perry-starring action thriller Alex Cross and the fourth Paranormal Activity film. The Rotten Tomatoes scores of those two combined doesn’t even reach 50 percent, so it’s probably a good week to look to smaller releases.
Of those, one should definitely hold some appeal for those out there lamenting the long, Aaron Paul-less months between the two halves of the final season of Breaking Bad. Paul co-stars in Smashed, a drama with comedic touches from director James Ponsoldt about an alcoholic couple in a booze-fueled tailspin that only one of them wants to pull out of. The one trying to get sober here—and the main focus of the movie—is Kate, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a performance that’s widely being hailed as the most honest and affecting she’s given. Husband-and-wife sitcom stars Megan Mullaly and Nick Offerman also turn up in supporting roles, she as the principal of the school where Kate teaches (and where, in her lower moments, she’s also drunk while with the kids), and he as a colleague who gets her to go to AA. But the film focuses on the friction that occurs in the marriage of Winstead and Paul’s characters, when one partner decides to go dry while the other is still gleefully getting blitzed every night.
Given that weak slate of new wide releases, now’s also a good time of year to catch up on old horror flicks, and as it does every year, the AFI has a great selection of scary movies running from now until Halloween. That includes the standard annual presentation of Nosferatu with live musical accompaniment, as well as Shaun of the Dead, which has become a regular at this time of year, as well. There are also well-known titles such as Carrie and the trashy Tarantino/Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse, which also coincides with Silver Spring’s annual Zombie Night on Saturday the 27th. But there are also some lesser-seen titles: the Bob Hope comedy-with-scares of The Ghost Breakers, and Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani (who won Best Actress at Cannes for her performance) in the full cut of Andrzej Zulawski’s notorious 1981 Possession. Leading things off last night and continuing with screenings throughout the festival in a brand new 35-millimeter print is Wake in Fright, an Australian classic from 1971 about a British teacher terrorized by the locals in a small outback town.
Continue reading the rest of this week’s picks over at Washingtonian.
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