If you’re a sentimental type, this could turn out to be a great opening weekend. If you’re not, well, better luck next week.
Meeting your girlfriends’ parents can be stressful. It’s even more stressful when you’re black and she’s white. And it’s more stressful still when the place is haunted and they want to kill you before you get a chance to go home. That’s more or less the plot of Get Out, and while that sounds like typical horror fare (haunted house, get out before they kill you), the framing of the trailer in the setting of a biracial relationship makes me think that there could be more nuance to this picture. Race relations are a key part of the tension here – many other black people have come to this estate and gone missing – which could have some thought-provoking ideas about social equality and civil rights, even in the context of the thriller/horror genre. At the very least, I’m intrigued, and certainly more so than I am with the vast majority of horror films.
Get Out is rated R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references
So here’s the set-up: Beast and Jyn Urso are dating, then they strip to their underwear in the winter for some dumb teenage game. So Jyn needs a kidney transplant, which means Beast has to turn to a life of crime.
That’s a little tongue-in-cheek. I’ll admit that. Those comments aside, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, this could be an interesting action film with things to say about violent lifestyles, utilitarian ethics, and whether love is actually always worth it. With the acting talent of Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins added to the mix (not to mention that Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones have rarely given us opportunity to doubt them), that could make for a very good film. However, if, on the other hand, the film takes advantage of a “do anything for love” attitude and turns that into a shallow “shoot-em-up” action flick, then it will hardly be worth our time. I’m hoping for the former, but I’m afraid the latter appears more likely.
Collide is rated PG-13 for violence, frenetic action, some sexuality, language, and drug material
Since it’s been a while since Oliver and Company (and Bolt wasn’t very successful), we have another upcoming animated film about dogs talking like people: Rock Dog. The synopsis is pretty simple: a dog who is told he’s going to be a guard wants to be a musician and marches off in search of his dream. The trailer promises optimism, quirky humor, and an emotional roller coaster ride as our dog Bodi travels abroad in search of his dream.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m something of a sucker for these “fulfill your dream” stories, so take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt, but I think this could turn out to be pretty great. Particularly because the film seems to be levying Bodi’s rejections, not his successes, as learning points, and could potentially set up a redemptive story about dreaming big, but without setting the expectation that everyone who has a particular dream in an overcrowded industry (such as becoming a musician, actor, or author) will necessarily achieve that specific thing. The film almost seems to me like a sort of Inside Llewyn Davis for a family-friendly audience, which would be a very welcome change to that concept. I’m inclined to support it, and I think it could be the best choice for this weekend. And if you’re not yet sold, consider this – director Ash Brannon previously worked on films including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and A Bug’s Life, and is even credit with the original story for Toy Story 2.
Consensus: Rock Dog is my pick, although it is admittedly quite sentimental. For less sentimental types Get Out could be worthwhile, although it is slightly more risky.