Box Office Battlefield: Project Almanac, The Loft, and Black or White

Box Office Battlefield Project Almanac, The Loft, and Black or White

The weekend warriors of January 30, 2015 includes The Loft, Project Almanac, and Black or White. 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, American Sniper demolished the new combatants – The Boy Next Door, Mortdecai, and Strange Magic – on the battlefield last weekend, leaving no survivors. And again, we have three new films, all of which are original features, vying for a spot at being the true supreme. GREAT SCOTT! This is the Box Office Battlefield:

Project Almanac Movie Title Logo

Project Almanac (Dean Israelite) Rated PG-13 [106 min] – A group of teens discover secret plans of a time machine, and construct one. However, things start to get out of control. Starring Amy Landecker, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Virginia Gardner, and Jonny Weston (WATCH THE TRAILER)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 35% • Audience – 55%

What I’m saying:

From what I enjoyed of this poorly paced film, I thought the characters and the premise were well conceived. However, there is so much technical jargon and exposition spewed out quickly that it’s hard to appreciate the rules that it sets for itself, unlike Looper or Back to the Future. There is a lot of build up to the time traveling that doesn’t pay off well, but I enjoyed my time in this world to see what would happen next. If the first two thirds of the movie were condensed, the third act and climax a bit more fleshed out, and more urgency was placed on their consequences, I think that Project Almanac would have worked a lot better. And as far as the found footage aspect, it actually fit into the story. RENT IT!

The Loft Title Movie Logo

The Loft (Erik Van Looy) Rated R [108 min] – Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved. Starring Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, and Eric Stonestreet

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 0% • Audience – 64%

What I’m saying:

Here’s a movie that is trying way too hard to keep you interested in a story with poorly written characters and uninteresting turn of events. Takeaway all of the twists and turns, The Loft has nothing to offer. I had this on my most anticipated films of 2014 list last year thinking this was a great concept, but unfortunately the execution and direction of the story was far and away what I believed it would be. And the movie isn’t even overly convoluted, it’s just bland and left me feeling empty. SKIP IT!

Black or White Title Movie Logo

Black or White (Mike Binder) Rated PG-13 [121 min] – A grieving widower is drawn into a custody battle over his granddaughter, whom he helped raise her entire life. Starring Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Gillian Jacobs, and Anthony Mackie

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 34% • Audience – 63%

What they’re saying:

“If I were as unfair as director Mike Binder is to his African-American characters, I’d say this project is a white filmmaker’s rationalization to have a white character occasionally say (and certainly think) the N-word while raising a black child.” – Inkoo Kang (The Wrap)

“The film’s sentiments are so hollow they wind up doing an injustice to the very real problems that exist in a world where racial inequality and the myriad of concerns the spring from it, are far more complex than simply black and white.” – Kevin Jagernauth (The Playlist)

What I’m saying:

Based on the trailer and the reviews, I can only imagine that Black or White is so middling with its cookie-cutter story, much like The Blind Side. It feels like the themes are very pandering to its target demographic. My guess is that there are one too many moments where unsubtle moments of life lessons hit you over the head hard enough to knock the view unconscious.  It’s too Hallmark to truly tackle the injustices of inequality it so desperately tries to bring into the conversation. SKIP IT!

Wild Card Title Movie Logo

Wild Card (Simon West) [Limited] Rated R [92 min] – When a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal skills and a gambling problem gets in trouble with the mob, he has one last play…and it’s all or nothing. Starring Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Dominik García-Lorido, and Milo Ventimiglia

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 25% • Audience – 62%

What they’re saying:

“The rest of the film doesn’t feel particularly coherent, mainly because the story moves with the help of cameos rather than character development.” – Andrew Lapin (The Dissolve)

“A largely forgettable lark, notable more for its slight diversions from action-movie norms than anything else.” – Josh Modell (AV Club)

What I’m saying:

You’re either on the Jason Statham train at this point in his career or you’re not. He’s basically become a self-parody of himself and so are the scripts the screenwriters deliver to him. Wild Card looks like all sizzle, no steak, and very flat. SKIP IT!

Timbuktu Title Movie Logo

Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako) [Limited] Rated PG-13 [97 min] – A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives — which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith — abruptly disturbed. Starring Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki, and Layla Walet Mohamed

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 97% • Audience – 70%

What they’re saying:

“A provocative, sometimes satiric drama about the sort of Islamic extremists who make life, especially in the outer reaches, so treacherous these days.” – Betsy Sharkey (LA Times)

“In the hands of a master, indignation and tragedy can be rendered with clarity yet subtlety, setting hysteria aside for deeper, more richly shaded tones. Abderrahmane Sissako is just such a master.” – Jay Weissberg (Variety)

What I’m saying:

Nominated for the Best Foreign Picture of the Year, Timbuktu is a very timely movie. Unlike B or W, the themes speak louder than words through careful direction and finesse in its script. I have yet to see this, but I gather it makes a big impact for those unaware of the way life is in that part of the world. MATINEE IT!

The Loft and Project Almanac are only being shown in less than 2,000 theaters this weekend. Black or White is the biggest release this weekend and I can’t see too many people flocking into the theaters to go see it. American Sniper is on such a hot streak, I can’t see how it could lose. However, I want to express how much I enjoyed seeing Paddington last night and suggest you see it. It’s fun for the whole family and has some real heartwarming moments. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:

Winner: American Sniper


Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes

Find me on the Twitter @TyRawrrnosaurus

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