Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of June 5, 2015 includes Insidious: Chapter 3, Spy, and Entourage as well as a slew of limited releases. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em? Find out after the break.
Last weekend, San Andreas shook the box office with a surprise win over its competitors, hauling in a massive $54 million in domestic ticket sales. On the other side of the coin, Cameron Crowe’s Aloha tanked hard with $9.6 million despite its star-studded cast. Entering the arena this weekend are three heavyweights vying for box office supremacy. Will Melissa McCarthy prove she’s not just a one trick pony? Does a first time horror director have what it takes to bring a promising franchise out of The Further? Or will a once beloved, niche television series have the last laugh? Come tiptoe through the tulips with me! This is the Box Office Battlefield:
Spy (Paul Feig) Rated R [120 min] – A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Allison Janney, Miranda Hart, and Peter Serafinowicz
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 95% • Audience – 84%
Aside from Melissa McCarthy’s role in Bridesmaids, I have not been impressed with anything she has been associated with. I don’t think writers or directors understand how to utilize her talents to the best of her abilities. But if one man can, it’s definitely director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids; The Heat). Regardless of how low my expectations going into this movie were, I believe I would have liked Spy nonetheless. What Feig has been able to capture in McCarthy’s bag of tricks goes beyond anything we’ve seen her abilities prove up to this point. By far this is her best role to date, but there are still some kinks to work out. There are many surprises to be had here, and the supporting cast are such a treat. And not only has Feig created a smart, gut-busting comedy, but it’s actually a fairly decent espionage movie. SEE IT!
Insidious: Chapter 3 (Leigh Whannell) Rated PG-13 [97 min] – A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity. Starring Lin Shaye Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, and Leigh Whannell
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 59% • Audience – 78%
Now my expectations were also very low for Insidious: Chapter 3 because Chapter 2 is a nightmare of a film because it shattered all good will the first entry of the franchise built. Having that said, I walked away from Chapter 3 somewhere in the middle, feeling as though it tried to accomplish something greater with story, but ultimately pretty mediocre in the horror department. Some images are frightening, especially the villain, the man who can’t breathe. However, Chapter 3 doesn’t have the same built up tension Chapter 1 has and it relies too heavily on jump scares. The characters and the themes are also surface level and do not provide a big enough impact to make you care about anything presented in the film. RENT IT!
Entourage (Doug Ellin) Rated R [104 min] – Movie star Vincent Chase, together with his boys Eric, Turtle, and Johnny, are back – and back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold on a risky project that will serve as Vince’s directorial debut. Starring Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon, and Jeremy Piven
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 30% • Audience – 83%
“Entourage has long promoted the idea that ‘this is how dudes really talk!’ and yet feels like it was written by an alien who learned about dudes from back issues of Esquire.” – Vince Mancini (FilmDrunk)
“Entourage: The Movie arrives in theaters offering too little, way too late, for anyone but the die-hard fans to enjoy it.” – Kofi Outlaw (ScreenRant)
I have a putrid dislike for Entourage that dates back as far as I can remember. My belief as to why I hate the the franchise is based on the premise of an “entourage,” it seems so archaic and meat-headed that this film enters a time where it makes Clint Eastwood look hip. Fans of the series will probably eat this stuff up, but I’m sure many will see past its many interesting cameos to watch it fade away out of existence where it belongs. SKIP IT!
Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad) [Limited] Rated PG-13 [120 min] – In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy. Starring John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Giamatti
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 88% • Audience – 97%
” It’s a loving tribute to the Beach Boys and the man responsible for their distinctive sound, but it goes to deeper and stranger places than most movies of its kind.” – A.O. Scott (New York Times)
“[The film] breezily reference Brian Wilson’s multiple lives through shorthand, achieving a sharply focused and admirably dense narrative that feels as crowd-pleasing and as creatively searching as their protagonist’s own work.” – Inkoo Kang (TheWrap)
This has all the ingredients for an Oscar bait film: medically ill main character, forbidden love, ties to the entertainment business, classic music, and Paul Giamatti. It’s also a biopic over dramatizing the life of a Beach Boy. I dislike biopics because they’re too stuck in the past and present nothing to grasp onto once you leave the theater. The rare biopics that succeed in my mind are those that hit resonating themes of today and can keep carry a discussion well after the credits have rolled. Love & Mercy looks coherent enough to be more than a reflection of one man’s life, and it also has the cast to really come out on top. MATINEE IT!
Testament of Youth (James Kent) [Limited] Rated PG-13 [129 min] – A British woman recalls coming of age during World War I – a story of young love, the futility of war, and how to make sense of the darkest times. Starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Taron Egerton, and Dominic West
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 84% • Audience – 79%
“Vikander is the main event here, and if Testament Of Youth is a testament to anything, it’s to her ability to embody great women with grace and battle-ready precision. ” – Kate Erbland (The Dissolve)
“Striking an elegantly sustained balance between intimacy and historical scope, director James Kent’s WWI-set epic Testament of Youth encompasses nearly all of the virtues of classical British period drama and nearly none of the vices.” – Leslie Felperin (The Hollywood Reporter)
I feel the same way toward period pieces as I do biopics. We’re so caught up in telling tales of the past that many of which tell the same sad story over and over again. But from what I’m hearing about Testament of Youth is that breakout star Alicia Vikander does an extraordinary job captivating your interest. She’s incredible in Ex Machina and there appears to be something in this film that other critics are finding refreshing compared to other stuffy British period, war pieces. MATINEE IT!
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson) Rated PG-13 [101 min] – Sam and Jonathan, a pair of hapless novelty salesman, embark on a tour of the human condition in reality and fantasy that unfold in a series of absurdist episodes. Starring Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom, Viktor Gyllenberg, and Lotti Törnros
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 89% • Audience – 71%
“The circumstances are grim, but Andersson compels us to laugh at a grand joke – no less than existence itself – and the punchline stings.” – Eric Kohn (indieWIRE)
“‘Pigeon’ is a master class in comic timing, employing pacing and repetition with the skill of a practiced concert pianist.” – Peter Debruge (Variety)
If you’re not laughing at the first few seconds of the trailer then A Pigeon Sat on a Branch may not be your cup of tea. I have not seen the other two films in this trilogy, but from what I’ve seen and heard about this film my interest is definitely piqued. MATINEE IT!
Hungry Hearts (Saverio Costanzo) [Limited] Unrated [109 min] – The relationship of a couple who meet by chance in New York City is put to the test when they encounter a life or death circumstance. Starring Adam Driver, Alba Rohrwacher, Roberta Maxwell, and Al Roffe
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 54% • Audience – 62%
“It simply collapses in a ridiculous muddle. But the performances of Driver and Rohrwacher lend some weight to the movie.” – Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)
“Beginning as an adorable romcom, ‘Hungry Hearts’ morphs into a disturbing but not particularly illuminating story of mental illness.” – Kyle Smith (New York Post)
Adam Driver has a lot going for him. He’s gained a lot of street cred in the indie/comedy scene, he’s proven he can be an action star based on the fact he’s in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII, and now he’s tackling this strange drama. Seems like the man has quite the range. Sadly, from what others are saying, the story isn’t all that Hungry Hearts is cracked up to be. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!
We’ve got the three main contenders, Spy, Entourage, and Insidious: Chapter 3; all of which certainly draws in varying different cinematic tastes. I believe those who wanted to see The Rock live through a disaster movie have gotten their fill and will be first weekend heavy. Entourage is way too niche and focused on its core fans that no one outside that realm will care to take up the franchise at this point. Spy is rated R but has a strong review presence going in and will definitely be the talk of the town this weekend. And Insidious: Chapter 3 is PG-13 and there haven’t been a number of great, mainstream horror films to satisfy the hunger of genre lovers. It’ll be close, but it’s between Insidious and Spy. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:
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Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoe