Opening Weekend: Fury, Life and Nicholas Sparks

October 17, 2014

For the weekend of October 17th, there is a little something for everyone. In the mood to face the incoming cold weather with the determined mindset of a militant tanker? Or, maybe you are pining for the sweet summer sun still, and the inevitable romance that it brings? No, you probably want to just forget the past and not stress about the future, curl up and escape into an adventurous, animated world. Well, whatever the case, you have some good options for wide release in theaters this week.

The top of the pops is likely to be David Ayers’ Fury, starring Brad Pitt as the lead tanker with a crew battling their way through Germany in the vicious end of World War II. The film seems to have achieved its desired level of grit and rawness when it comes to depicting war without the gloss of other Hollywood films. Fury aims to create the atmosphere of a crew forced to tensely operate in close quarters, and the consensus seems to indicate that it succeeds there, but maybe not so much elsewhere. Regardless, well done war films are certainly in no abundance, and Brad Pitt has made several personal praises to LaBeouf’s performance, so if anything, you can be sure to get some good, gritty war action and some solid performances.

It would not be another year without another Nicholas Sparks adaptation begging American audiences to just give things a chance, one more time. Of course, despite the repeated warnings from critics, who are just trying to be the audience’s token skeptical best friend, they also go back to Sparks, and they always walk away in shame and heartbreak. The Best of Me tells the rare story of two high school sweethearts reuniting after 20 years to find that, hey, they still love each other. These sweethearts are played by Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden in this decade-spanning, awe-inspiring tale of devotion, soul mates and the feelings you will never let go of if you are nearing 40, returning home and trying to reclaim your high school glory. The MPAA warns viewers of some violence, language and drug use, so we can safely assume the conflict keeping this rekindled flame from burning bright has to do with James Marsden’s tragic addiction to bath salts and punching holes in sheds.

 

Also telling a story of fighting for love, The Book of Life opens this week. This gorgeously animated film follows Manolo as he embarks on a quest through magical and fantastical worlds to rescue his true love and defend his village. A pretty simple story, and one reiterated in many different forms, but The Book of Life appears to stand its ground by its marvelous universe and the animation style that brings it to life. The cast is pretty welcoming, with Channing Tatum and Zoe Saldana, both of which will have had a pretty solid year, alongside Diego Luna, Christina Applegate and Ice Cube. A straightforward and vibrant film for everyone might be the key to surviving the oncoming temperature drops!

 

 

Also opening: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman hits theater in limited release today before a wide release in November, as does Listen Up, Philip and Dear White People. Available to rent on iTunes same day as release is futuristic sci-fi drama The Young Ones.

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