Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of August 28, 2015 includes We Are Your Friends, No Escape, and Z is for Zachariah. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em? Find out below!
Last weekend, Straight Outta Compton continued its dominance over the competition, holding its own against three opposing new releases. This weekend the boys from the hood will have to face up against Zac Efron and Owen Wilson. Who will come out on top? Drop that bass! This is the Box Office Battlefield:
We Are Your Friends (Max Joseph) Rated R [96 min] – Caught between a forbidden romance and the expectations of his friends, aspiring DJ Cole Carter attempts to find the path in life that leads to fame and fortune.Starring Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski, and Jonny Weston
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 42% • Audience – 52%
With strange tonal correlations, We Are Your Friends serves as a unique character study in the world of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) comparative to Magic Mike in the realm of male entertainers. I’ve never seen director Max Joseph’s documentaries before, but he has quite the refreshing style for feature films. However, the story is brisk and leans heavily on plot conveniences to move the story along. It wants to be a Soderbergh-esque character drama so badly but doesn’t have the depth to quite reach those heights. And despite its youthful visual flair, the end result isn’t as captivating as the potential it beholds. Ratajkowski is distractingly gorgeous and fairs well opposite more seasoned actors, Bently and Efron, who both do a pretty stand up job. I wish We Are Your Friends didn’t come down to such a simple ending because it wants to be so much more. As far as the music goes, I don’t listen to EDM, but I didn’t mind listening to it in the film and thought it integrated really well. RENT IT!
No Escape (John Erick Dowdle) Rated R [103 min] – In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape in an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed. Starring Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Owen Wilson, Thanawut Kasro
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 41% • Audience – 71%
“The B-movie kicks of scenes like the one in which Jack, with the assistance of some speed ramping, hurls his children across rooftops into his wife’s arms as part of an escape plan, never overcome the rankness of the underlying premise.” – Alison Willmore (Buzzeed)
“I respect No Escape’s attempt at intense, hyper-realism, but that realism tends to be undercut by a bad guy with cheesy scars on his face like The Lion King.” – Vince Mancini (FilmDrunk)
From what I gather from only seeing the trailer and a few review headlines, No Escape looks like a really silly concept that executes tension and action favorably for us viewers. Something about the tone and the extreme thrill of the situation reminds me of Taken, even down to its ridiculous plot. Didn’t this family research what kind of area they were moving to before heading off to restart their lives? RENT IT!
Z for Zachariah (Craig Zobel) [Limited] Rated PG-13 [95 min] – In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors. Starring Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine,
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 80% • Audience – 64%
“While the film isn’t without a few tonal flaws, the performances — particularly Robbie’s — keep the story grounded in a sublime, post-apocalyptic reality.” – Max Nicholson (IGN Movies)
“This minimalist but deeply affecting morality play slowly tugs you in.” – Jeanette Catsoulis (New York Times)
Out in very limited release, I’ve been waiting for Z for Zachariah since the buzz out of Sundance. I’m not keen on its loose adaptation of the source material by adding Chris Pine into the mix, but I’m open to accepting the film on its own merits. I think the cast has a lot to offer and I’m excited to check it out once it hits theaters near me. MATINEE IT!
So here we have a weekend with titles consisting of terrorism in a foreign estate and EDM. Such choices for moviegoers to choose from. And last weekend’s films were pretty much DOA. Compton had a fairly strong second weekend, but theaters are so full of different options now that it may not stick it out for a third weekend in a row at the top. Then again, there really is very few good options for audiences to see. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:
Winner: Straight Outta Compton
Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes