Cold in July (IFC Films)
Cold in July
(IFC Films)

In Theaters

We’ve got several exceptional indies heading our way this week, starting with Cold in July from We Are What We Are and Stake Land director Jim Mickle.  The taut thriller stars Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson, all of whom are in prime form, and goes in unforeseen directions that keep you glued to the screen.  Not far behind it is Locke, a one-man show by Tom Hardy (Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) comprised entirely of fateful phone calls his character makes on a drive to London.  Take my word that it’s immensely more interesting than it sounds and that Jon Favreau’s Chef, about a celebrity cook who achieves creative independence by opening a food truck, isn’t as hot as it looks.  The film’s food photography and character conflicts in the first half are compelling, but once the new business gets going, these assets take a backseat to bland road tripping.

That leaves the two unseen mainstream releases.  Not being a fan of Family Guy or Seth MacFarlane’s other TV shows, I was surprised how much I enjoyed his first foray into directing, the stuffed bear comedy Ted, which probably makes my expectations for his western comedy follow-up A Million Ways to Die in the West unfairly high.  I’m looking forward to it more than Maleficent, Disney’s live-action retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story with Angelina Jolie as the evil enchantress.  The supporting cast (Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple) is worth getting excited over, but little in the trailers have piqued my interest since I first saw them in front of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug back in December.

Fleeing the Scene

Only Lovers Left Alive got its two-week run, which I’ll gladly take.  Thanks again to everyone who supported this wonderful film.  Outside of that one, when Million Dollar Arm is the next best thing on the way out, you know we’re not losing much.  Heaven is For Real, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and The Other Woman are the other dishonorable mentions.

(Open Road Films)
Machete Kills
(Open Road Films)

On DVD

I’ve not seen the adults-accepting-dares-for-money-until-things-turn-bad Cheap Thrills, but have heard pretty good things.  I have, however, seen the corny-as-hell-and-avoid-at-all-costs Endless Love and all I can say is you have even more reason to go see Cold in July and Locke this weekend.

On Netflix Instant

After you see Cold in July, the Grindhouse-on-crack pleasures of Machete Kills would make for a fun follow-up.  I wish I could recommend Escape From Tomorrow, the overhyped Disney nightmare, and the confoundedly adored experimental documentary Leviathan, but wishes don’t always come true, do they?

Of the interesting unseen titles I’ve added to my queue…err, “My List”…the German drama Museum Hours looks the most appealing, followed in no particular order by the apiology documentary Vanishing of the Bees; Quentin Tarantino’s favorite movie from last year, the crime thriller/comedy Big Bad Wolves; and Birth of the Living Dead, a documentary about the George A. Romero zombie classic.

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