The weekend warriors of August 22, 2014 includes Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, If I Stay, and When the Game Stands Tall. Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars, Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious.
Last weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy destroyed the competition and smashed August box office records. And this weekend, the intergalactic team is up against some lean mean green fighting ninja machines. Can our heroes of the galaxy defend themselves against our heroes from the sewers? Cowabunga! This is the Box Office Battlefield:
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller) Rated R [102 min] – Some of Sin City’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with a few of its more reviled inhabitants. Starring Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Powers Booth, Ray Liotta, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Jamie Chung, Dennis Haysbert, and Juno Temple
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 43% • Audience – 73%
Sadly, as much as I have been anticipating this release, and as much as Sin City is one of my favorite movies of all time, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For does not stack up to its predecessor. The visual style and fun characters are all there, but there is a certain lack of energy and noir that makes the Sin City so spectacular and daring. The title sequence is great, but the newly written stories from Miller feel too forced. It’s an interesting watch, and it’s definitely great to revisit this world, I just wish it was better executed. MATINEE IT IF YOU HAVE TO! BUT DEFINITELY RENT IT!
When the Game Stands Tall (Thomas Carter) Rated PG [115 min] – The journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur, who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport. Starring Jim Caviezel, Alexander Ludwig, Michael Chiklis, and Laura Dern
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 18% • Audience – 75%
If the trailer which showed you the entire movie in less the three minutes enough, here are two reviews from other critics who have actually seen the film:
“A true tale of high school football achievement becomes a strained, by-the-numbers grab bag of uplift in the Christian sports drama When the Game Stands Tall.” – Robert Abele (LA Times)
“When Ladouceur gets offered a contract to coach for a major college, it gets treated like a scene from Faust. That’s how goody-two-shoes this movie is.” – Scott Tobias (Dissolve)
I wouldn’t even bother. Sounds like you’re better off with a night in with Remember the Titans. SKIP IT!
If I Stay (R.J. Cutler) Rated PG-13 [106 min] – Life changes in an instant for young Mia Hall after a car accident puts her in a coma. During an out-of-body experience, she must decide whether to wake up and live a life far different than she had imagined.Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, and Joshua Leonard
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 41% • Audience – 76%
As much as I admire Chloë Grace Moretz’s filmography and range, this one is a bit of a departure for her. Me thinks this is where she tries to evolve herself from young, cool teen to young adult who wants to be taken more seriously.
Like the car riding along that snowy road, the movie starts to swerve into uncomfortably melodramatic territories, and it isn’t long before any forward progress established by director R.J. Cutler smashes into an embankment, as well.” – Sean O’Connell (CinemaBlend)
“Plays like a high school version of ‘Ghost.'” – Richard Roeper (RichardRoeper.com)
It looks overly melodramatic. The whole moping around as a “ghost” or whatever she is while her body lays in a coma is too silly to pay for and should have been sent straight to Lifetime. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!
The One I Love (Charlie McDowell) [Limited] Rated R [91 min] – Struggling with a marriage on the brink of falling apart, a couple escapes for a weekend in pursuit of their better selves, only to discover an unusual dilemma that awaits them. Starring Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson, and Kiana Cason
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 78% • Audience – 80%
I’ve heard really great things about The One I Love, and it has two great leads, Duplass and Moss. I can’t really picture their on screen chemistry together because they both come from different worlds – The League and Mad Men – but I believe.
“‘The One I Love’ is diverting, but nothing catches fire, despite Ms. Moss, an amazing actress fast breaking free of the limits imposed on her by “Mad Men.” – Manohla Dargis (New York Times)
“The One I Love is a smart and funny film that puts an enterprising spin on a familiar subject, and the result is an inspiring stab at something new.” – Rob Thomas (Film School Rejects)
Sounds delightful, but something you should be optimistically cautious about. MATINEE IT!
Are You Here (Matthew Weiner) [Limited] Rated R  min – Two childhood best friends embark on a road trip back to their hometown after one of them learns he has inherited a large sum of money from his recently deceased estranged father. Starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, and Jay Gates
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 8% • Audience – 38%
From the creative mind behind Mad Men, Matthew Weiner attempts his first written and directed feature film. It hosts a slew of decent actors, so how could this go wrong?
“Are You Here lacks more than just the question mark that should go on its title. It lacks a point-of-view that makes sense, that feels central.” – Steven Rea (Philadelphia Inquisitor)
“Everything about Are You Here feels like a bottom-drawer script idea that was put together too casually and carelessly.” – Liam Lacey (Globe and Mail)
Well, there you have it. It’s not playing near me, so I haven’t had a chance to see it, but a 8% on RT and pretty sour reviews tells me you should SKIP IT!
It’s been almost 10 long years since Sin City made its debut on the big screen. The careers of many of many of the stars involved haven’t really shot upward, and Robert Rodriguez certainly hasn’t made anything great since. It boasts a hard R rating, full of sex, booze, and violence. If I Stay is another YA romance novel with some street cred while When the Game Stands Tall provides a “true story” element infused with high school sports. Both appropriate for most ages, these two have a better chance of scoring big than a sequel no one is really talking about. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend shall be:
Winner: If I Stay
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