In this week’s column, we examine alternative fare to the wide-release remakes, detail two new distribution deals, and highlight a broadly-appealing indie comedy.
OPENING THIS WEEKEND
Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan play small-town detectives tracking a serial murderer in Texas Killing Fields, opening on three screens. Inspired by a true story, it’s a very dark tale, reportedly too dark for Danny Boyle to direct, so he passed on the project, which wound up in the hands of Ani Canaan Mann. The film also stars the now-ubiquitous Jessica Chastain (who also appeared with Worthington in the recently-released The Debt) and features Chloe Grace Moretz as a potential victim. (See trailer.)
Home invasion thriller Trespass is receiving a limited theatrical release nationwide on Friday, the same day it becomes available via various Video On Demand (VOD) platforms. It’s an interesting strategy, especially when you consider the film stars Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman, and was directed by Joel Schumacher. With such big names attached, it doesn’t take an expert to guess why it’s not receiving a wider release. But even if it’s a complete train wreck, any movie with two Academy Award winners should draw interest. (See trailer.)
Labios Rojos is a romantic comedy from Mexico that will be opening on 60 screens in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, El Paso, and Harlingen, Texas, through Lionsgate. Jorge Salinas and Silvia Navarro star as a happily married couple who “resort to desperate and absorb measures to try and rekindle their romantic life.” (See trailer.)
Last, but certainly not least, the newest film from Pedro Almodóvar edges toward horror territory. The Skin I Live In stars Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeon who keeps his assistant locked up in his mansion. The film reunites Banderas with Almodóvar, who discovered him, for the first time in more than 20 years. Reviews have been mixed, but it’s Almodóvar! And Banderas! And women in body suits, fighting! And a guy who licks a television monitor! (See the trailer, as well as Jenni Miller’s New York Film Festival review for Movies.com.) The films opens on six screens via Sony Pictures Classics. (All theater counts from Box Office Mojo.)
It’s a slow time of year for acquisitions, as the rush from the Toronto International Film Festival has passed; the action should begin to heat up next month when the American Film Market opens in Santa Monica, and then again when the lineup for the Sundance fest is announced at the end of November.
But there are still deals being closed for titles that premiered at Toronto, such as Neil Young Journeys; indieWIRE reports that Sony Pictures Classics has picked up worldwide distribution rights, excluding Latin America. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the documentary travels along with Young on a road trip from his hometown of Omemee, Ontario to downtown Toronto, where he performs on the last two nights of his solo tour. It’s the third collaboration between Young and Demme. A release date has yet to be announced.
The Rescuers, a documentary by Michael King, has been acquired by Menemsha Films. It follows an activist and a historian as they travel across the world interviewing the survivors and descendants of brave diplomats who went against their own countries’ policies to save Jews from Nazi death camps. Adding a further level of complexity, the activist lost 100 members of her family to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The Rescuers has been playing the festival circuit since debuting at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January. Specific release plans have not yet been announced; indieWIRE has the press release.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK
Chalet Girl, which opens on one Manhattan screen this weekend, stars Felicity Jones in the title role, a young woman from the UK who unexpectedly lands a job as a household servant at an upscale ski resort in the Alps. A down-to-earth former skateboarder who began working in the fast food industry in order to support her family, the teenager finds herself a little out of her element at first before quickly adapting to her new, posh surroundings. She drifts into snowboarding and begins to fall for a handsome lad (Ed Westwick), whose parents (Brooke Shields and Bill Nighy) are her employers. “It all works as breezily as can be,” says Maryann Johanson at Flick Filosopher.
The film is also available via VOD systems. Check out the trailer below.