OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams
For movies opening February 20, 2015
BIG BUDGET FILMS
The DUFF (PG-13 for profanity, partying, pervasive sexuality and constant crude humor) Mae Whitman plays the title character in this coming-of-age comedy as a homely teen upset about her reputation around school as her pretty BFFs’ (Skyler Samuels and Bianca Santos) “Designated Ugly Fat Friend.” Cast includes Bella Thorne, Allison Janney, Romany Malco, Robbie Amell and Dr. Ken Jeong.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (R for pervasive profanity, incessant sexuality, crude humor, graphic nudity, violence and drug use) Sci-fi sequel, set a decade in the future, finds buddies Jacob (Clark Duke) and Nick (Craig Robinson) getting back into the hot tub to travel back in time to undo pal Nick’s (Rob Corddry) murder at the hands of an unknown assassin. With Chevy Chase, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, Thomas Lennon and Kellee Stewart.
McFarland, USA (PG for violence, mild epithets and mature themes) Kevin Costner stars in this true tale, set in 1987, about a high school track coach who transforms his underachieving cross-country team into championship contenders after recruiting some fleet-footed Latino students. Ensemble cast includes Maria Bello, Hector Duran, Daniel Moncada, Vincent Martella and Carlos Pratts.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Accidental Love (PG-13 for profanity and sexuality) Romantic comedy adapted by David O. Russell from the best-seller “Sammy’s Hill” by Kristin Gore (Al’s daughter). Principal shooting began in 2008, but Russell abandoned the troubled project a couple years later, and subsequently refused to take a directing credit. The plot revolves around a small-town waitress (Jessica Biel) who turns into a nymphomaniac after being shot in the head by a nail gun. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Tracy Morgan, Bill Hader, Kirstie Alley, James Marsden, Catherine Keener and James Brolin.
Approaching the Elephant (Unrated) Alternative education documentary chronicling year one at the Teddy McArdle Free School located in Little Falls, New Jersey, where classes are optional, challenging authority is encouraged, and conflicts are resolved by majority rule.
Blackbird (Unrated) Bittersweet coming-of-age drama revolving around a black choir boy’s (Julian Walker) struggle with his sexuality while a member of a tight-knit, Southern Baptist community. With Mo’Nique, Isaiah Washington and Kevin Allesee.
The Business of Disease (Unrated) Holistic medicine expose’ warning about how physicians have conspired with the pharmaceutical industry to hypnotize the masses into forgetting the body’s natural ability to heal. Featuring commentary by Sonia Barrett, Brad Bartholomew and Brian David Anderson.
A Convenient Truth (Unrated) Politically-incorrect mockumentary about a camera crew which chronicles a California assemblyman’s (Alan Berman) solution for a host of societal ills, including climate change, unemployment, obesity and illegal immigration. With Kevin Hauver, Elise Rovinsky and Gilli Lesser.
Drunktown’s Finest (Unrated) Navajo drama examining a promiscuous transsexual (Carmen Moore), a college-bound Christian (Morningstar Angeline), and her absentee baby-daddy (Jeremiah Bitsui) as they attempt to escape their harsh lives on the reservation. Cast includes Loren Anthony, Shauna Baker and Pierre Barrera.
Gloria (R for profanity, sexuality, graphic nudity) Musical biopic chronicling the meteoric rise and ultimate disgrace of Gloria Trevi (Sofia Espinosa), the politically and sexually provocative salsa singer popular in the Nineties when she was celebrated as the Mexican Madonna. With Osvaldo Rios, Ricardo Kleinbaum and Marco Perez. (In Spanish with subtitles)
Queen and Country (Unrated) John Boorman wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical drama, a sequel to Hope and Glory (1987) revolving around a patriotic Brit (Callum Turner) who enlists in the army to serve his country in the Korean War. Featuring Caleb Landry Jones, David Thewlis and Pat Shortt.
Wild Tales (R for violence, profanity and brief sexuality) A half-dozen discrete dramedies, exploring the very destructive effect of stress, depression, deception, inequality, infidelity and injustice on different individuals. Cast includes Liliana Ackerman, Luis Manuel Altamirano, Damian Benitez and Cristina Blanco. (In Spanish with subtitles)