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Trailers – Summary, Reviews & Buzz: Film Openings USA –July 29 ,  2016…

Jason Bourne (2016) Poster

Jason Bourne

  • Universal Picturesrated-under-review_1

  –   Action | Thriller

Jason Bourne, now remembering who he truly is, tries to uncover hidden truths about his past.

Summary: Matt Damon returns to his most iconic role in Jason Bourne which finds the CIA’s most lethal former operative drawn out of the shadows.


Paul Greengrass


Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel

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Bad Moms (2016) Poster

Bad Moms

  • STX Entertainment

rated-R   –   Comedyrated-thumbs-UP+DOWN_2

When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence.
Summary: Amy (Mila Kunis) has a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

Jon Lucas | Scott Moore


Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate

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Gleason (2016) Poster


  • Open Road Films (II)

rated-R   –   Documentaryrated-thumbs-UP+DOWN_2

At the age of 34, Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS. Doctors gave the former NFL defensive back and New Orleans hero two to five years to live. So that is what Steve chose to do – LIVE: with purpose, for his newborn son, for his wife, and to help others with his disease.
Summary: At the age of 34, former New Orleans Saints defensive back Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS and given a life expectancy of two to five years. Weeks later, Gleason found out his wife, Michel, was expecting their first child. A video journal that began as a gift for his unborn son expands to chronicle Steve’s determination to get his relationships in order, build a foundation to provide other ALS patients with purpose, and adapt to his declining physical condition—utilizing medical technologies that offer the means to live as fully as possible.

Clay Tweel


Steve Gleason

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A powerful look into the disease’s shockingly rapid pace and one man’s battle against it. TWITTER

Sundance Review

An athlete diagnosed with ALS races to create a video testament for his unborn son before he can no longer speak.
Some sports-averse moviegoers may be scared away by the logline for Gleason, which highlights its star’s past as an NFL hero in New Orleans. But football is just a backdrop in Clay Tweel’s powerful documentary, an illustration of the ferocious drive that helps Steve Gleason fight after being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and a means for him to attract national attention in a campaign to help others with the disease. Focused much more intently on video journals Gleason made as his illness progressed, the film both documents his rapid physical decline and ponders the many existential issues it raises — especially for a married couple expecting their first child in a few months. Sure to elicit strong emotional response from viewers, the doc has theatrical potential beyond fests and should have long legs on video.

Gleason was playing for the New Orleans Saints when the Superdome reopened after Hurricane Katrina, blocking a punt in a play that locals came to see as a symbol of post-tragedy rebirth. He retired in 2008, a young man looking forward to an adventurous life with his wife, Michel. Then in 2011, after experiencing strange muscle twitches, he was diagnosed with ALS and told the average life expectancy was two to five years. Six weeks later, the couple learned Michel was pregnant.

Seemingly right away, Gleason confronted the fact that, even if he lives long enough to see his child grow capable of deep conversations, he almost surely won’t be capable of natural speech. He starts recording thoughtful and sometimes eloquent video journals for the boy to watch when he’s old enough, trying to share all the wisdom, experience and love one could want from a lifetime of fathering.

These journals are sweet, sad and sometimes funny. But presented mostly in chronological order, along with other filmed material, they also afford us a frightening view of Gleason’s deterioration. Just four months after diagnosis, he’s sufficiently impaired to where it’s impossible to hide on an outing with friends; before the child’s first birthday, speaking is so difficult he tells the camera, wrenchingly, “I think the last of my talking days are here.”

(At the outset, Gleason worked with sports filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who wound up releasing some damning behind-the-scenes Saints footage without Gleason’s permission that helped document the “Bountygate” scandal. Pamphilon is not mentioned or credited in the doc; reps say that a small portion of the final film was shot by him.)

Gleason learns to use an eye-triggered speech synthesizer, and soon makes distributing these machines a focus of Team Gleason, the group he starts to help others with ALS. Tweel chronicles both the rampant success this effort has and the strain running things places on his family life. Even after she hires a friend to be Gleason’s caregiver, Michel can hardly keep up with tending to both her husband and an infant. “I’m wearing you down to bones,” he types out on his screen one day. Several scenes later, we witness an exhaustion-fueled fight that, given the devotion between the two, is heartbreaking.

Gleason follows its subject for four years, to the point at which the robust, globe-traveling man is completely transformed into a skinny, nonverbal body in a wheelchair. But having followed him from the start, we can’t help but see the active mind inside that body, one full of love for his family and determination to stay with them as long as he can.

Nerve (2016) Poster


  • Lionsgate

  –   Crime | Mystery | Thrillerrated-thumbs-UP+DOWN_2

A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.”

Henry Joost | Ariel Schulman


Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer

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Equity (2016) Poster


  • Sony Pictures Classics

rated-R   –   Dramarated-thumbs-UP

Metascore: 70/100 (5 reviews)
Senior investment banker Naomi Bishop is threatened by a financial scandal and must untangle a web of corruption.
Summary: Top female investment banker Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn) fights to keep her Wall Street firm in the lead as she shepherds the IPO for an emerging tech company and struggles to balance business and ethics in the post-financial crisis world where regulations are tight but aspirations remain high. [Broad Street Pictures]

Meera Menon


Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, Alysia Reiner

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  • Equity takes us inside modern Wall Street in a unique and gripping manner
  • This accomplished finance drama feels fresh for its gender-switch dynamics – but did all the men need to be quite so dim?
  • No matter what the outcome is, this is a toxic and irredeemable system 

Author Jordan Hoffman | The Guardian

Equity is likely one of the more realistic financial sector films out there because I had no idea what the hell anybody was talking about. Well, that’s not exactly true. Director Meera Menon and her three leads, Anna Gunn, Sarah Megan Thomas and Alysia Reiner, extract the drama from Amy Fox’s screenplay while still leaving the jargon intact. I don’t know squat about IPOs (if I did, I’d be on my yacht) but I do know a juicy morality play when I see it, and Equity takes us inside modern Wall Street in a unique and gripping manner.

You may have noticed that all the names listed so far are women. That this is a “female look” at Wall Street is more than a marketing gimmick. Like our main character Naomi Bishop (Gunn) this movie strives to make it on its own terms, avoiding opportunities to draw attention to it being any less of a corporate thriller than one starring men. Of course, when your lead is, in fact, a woman, as is her (perhaps untrustworthy) second-in-command (Thomas) as well as the old college chum now working for the government investigating securities fraud (Reiner), we are seeing this familiar world through new eyes.

New for film audiences, that is, not new for actual working women for whom announcing pregnancy is met with a steely “congratulations” which implies “your career is over, how dare you knife me in the back this way?”

The actual plot of Equity is, to a degree, less interesting than the keenly observed moments of the world of high finance. Bishop is a big shot banker who brings companies in on their initial public offerings. Again, I don’t precisely know how this works, but Menon makes every scene understandable to dunces like me who will never know the difference between buying stocks or playing roulette. Bishop’s last deal went bust because the client decided, at the last minute, that he didn’t trust her. The rumour is as simple as he didn’t like her dress. But this new company, a new social network run by an obnoxious pipsqueak in a hoodie (Samuel Roukin), is going to make everyone a zillion dollars.
There are, however, a few problems. Bishop discovers from a hacker (another woman) that the new company is not quite as impervious to attack as they claim. Then there’s Bishop’s boyfriend (James Purefoy), who is some other kind of banker, but is corrupt, and tries to squeeze info out of Bishop. She won’t offer it up, though. She is ruthless in business, but never dishonest. But her long put-upon assistant might be the weak link. Meanwhile Samantha the investigator (who has two children and a female partner back home) uses her female wiles with men to snoop around for illegalities.

This all builds to a sequence where everyone runs around the floor of the stock exchange shouting: “Buy! buy! buy!” but by this time you’ll realise that no matter what the outcome is, this is a toxic and irredeemable system. (Much like steroids in sports, isn’t just time to assume that everyone making real money on Wall Street is using insider info?)

There are a number of fascinating themes to chew on in Fox’s script, but for me nothing tops watching Bishop tussle with the knowledge that her company’s product may be flawed. The implication is all about how it will effect the deal and her perception in the company’s eyes, and if she’ll be indemnified once the service is inevitably revealed to be bunk. Not once does the issue of screwing over the consumer come up. Keep in mind, this is the good guy we’re talking about!

All of the performances are top notch, and if there’s any justice Equity will propel Anna Gunn to A-list status. The only by-the-numbers characters, actually, are the men. Purefoy is just a boy version of a femme fatale, and Alyssa Reiner’s cheap suit-wearing partner is straight from central casting. Is Meera Menon so dedicated a feminist that she’ll intentionally make the male characters one-dimensional, to counteract that hundreds of movies with bland wives and girlfriends? Probably not, but for a movie all about deception for a bigger payoff, I’d like to pretend that it’s so.

Indignation (2016) Poster


  • Summit Entertainment

rated-R   –   Dramarated-thumbs-UP+DOWN_2

Metascore: 77/100 (6 reviews)
In 1951, Marcus, a working-class Jewish student from New Jersey, attends a small Ohio college, where he struggles with sexual repression and cultural disaffection, amid the ongoing Korean War.
Summary: In 1951, Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman), a working class Jewish boy from Newark, New Jersey, travels on scholarship to a small, conservative college in Ohio, thus exempting him from being drafted into the Korean War. But once there, Marcus’s growing infatuation with his beautiful classmate Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon), and his clashes with the college’s imposing Dean, Hawes Caudwell (Tracy Letts), put his and his family’s best laid plans to the ultimate test.

James Schamus


Sarah Gadon, Logan Lerman, Tracy Letts, Ben Rosenfield

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Author Tim Grierson, Senior US Critic | SCREENDAILY

A college freshman doesn’t come of age so much as slam into the strangeness of adulthood and first love in Indignation, a minor-key drama enriched by a genuinely off-kilter tone that borders on angry paranoia. Based on Philip Roth’s 2008 novel, the directorial debut of long-time screenwriter and producer James Schamus exudes a tasteful reserve, but actor Logan Lerman cuts through the seeming gentility in a performance that seethes with his character’s burgeoning arrogance and cynicism. 

Indignation doesn’t have a plot so much as a series of incidents that combine to showcase the quietly boiling discontent our young hero feels.

After debuting at Sundance and playing at the Berlinale’s Panorama sidebar, Indignation was picked up by Summit for US distribution, where they will undoubtedly trumpet the film’s connection to Roth, also playing up Schamus’ track record as a close collaborator with Ang Lee and as the co-founder of Focus Features. No marquee names populate the cast, so good reviews will be essential for this proudly peculiar period drama that isn’t an easy sell for art houses.

Lerman plays Marcus, an exceptionally bright young man who, in the 1950s, leaves New Jersey to go to college in Ohio where he is one of the campus’s few Jewish students. Focused entirely on getting into law school, he nonetheless becomes bewitched by a beautiful blonde named Olivia (Sarah Gadon), whose sexual assertiveness both attracts and repels him.

Indignation has all the earmarks of a prestige picture — respected source material, excellent production design, a sombre voiceover — but the film’s overly refined air is a bit of a feint. In fact, this university’s seemingly comforting conservatism and well-adorned facilities soon prove to be a stifling, unwelcoming environment for Marcus, who appears to have picked up some of the anxiety and mistrust that riddles his butcher father (Danny Burstein).

That atmosphere of unease permeates Indignation from the start. With the fear of being shipped off to the Korean War an ever-present danger, Marcus sees college not just as a stepping-stone to a career but also as a way to avoid the draft. (Early on, we see what appears to be a nightmare of Marcus behind enemy lines. And one of the film’s first scenes finds Marcus at a classmate’s funeral after he was killed in combat.)

Schamus, who adapted Roth’s script, seeds the film with these anxieties so delicately that they seem to transfer over to college for Marcus, whose attraction to Olivia is mitigated by his fear of being inexperienced with girls. When their first date ends with Olivia giving him an impromptu blowjob in a car, Marcus reacts not with elation but confusion, starting to obsess about how many other men she’s done that with.

Indignation doesn’t have a plot so much as a series of incidents that combine to showcase the quietly boiling discontent our young hero feels. A remarkable sequence between Marcus and the school’s headmaster (Tracy Letts) — highlighted by a debate about whether the young man’s father runs a butcher shop or a kosher butcher shop — crackles with the sort of striking, combative dialogue that is a Roth speciality. The narrative isn’t being pushed forward, per se, but Schamus’ no-fuss directorial style helps to weave a blunt cultural snapshot of 1950s America as Cold War paranoia, suffocating conformity and a blossoming youth rebellion are all conspiring to turn the country into a powder keg.

Granted, the film covers thematic ground that’s hardly unique: life away from home, the scary/exciting proposition of new love. But Indignation keeps subverting our expectations. The sexual interplay between Marcus and Olivia is less romantic and more blasé than we might imagine, while the relationship between Marcus and his parents has a refreshing edginess. (Playing the boy’s mother, Linda Emond is dynamite in a scene nearIndignation’s end in which she tells Marcus in clear terms why he has to avoid women like Olivia.)

Lerman’s portrayal of Marcus is knowingly stilted: He has conceived the character as intellectually superior to his peers (and perhaps even the headmaster), and Marcus makes no apologies for his haughty demeanour. Audiences have seen precocious brainiacs on screen many times before, but they’re usually adorably quirky. Not so with Marcus: Lerman gives him a palpable anger we can only surmise comes from enduring anti-Semitism, not to mention the fact that he’s actually an atheist, finding the college’s Christian leanings utterly nonsensical and even insulting.

The only thing that seems to please Marcus is Olivia, whom we’ll soon learn is a troubled soul. But, again,Indignation doesn’t paint her with the usual brushstrokes. Gadon plays Olivia not as an enigmatic beauty but as a pretty young woman who sees in Marcus a person of real depth — and, one suspects, she hopes he sees the same thing in her. Like Olivia, Indignation has a benign, even familiar surface — but underneath are hints that nothing is quite right.

Tallulah (2016) Poster

Tallulah (2016)

  –   Comedy | Drama | Romance

Metascore: 69/100 (6 reviews)rated-thumbs-UP+DOWN_2
Desperate to be rid of her toddler, a dissatisfied Beverly Hills housewife hires a stranger to babysit and ends up getting much more than she bargained for.

Sian Heder


Uzo Aduba, Ellen Page, Zachary Quinto, Allison Janney

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‘Juno’ stars Ellen Page and Allison Janney reunite in the strong directorial debut of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ writer Sian Heder.

Author Geoff Berkshire | Variety

Ellen Page lands her best starring vehicle since “Juno” in “Tallulah,” a very different story of a young woman coming to terms with the idea of being a mother. The feature-length scripting-directing debut of “Orange Is the New Black” staff writer Sian Heder offers juicy roles not only to Page but also to Allison Janney and Tammy Blanchard, in a strong showcase of female talent both behind and in front of the camera. Netflix acquired SVOD rights prior to the pic’s premiere in competition at Sundance, but Heder’s compassionate, audience-friendly dramedy deserves a shot in theaters, too.

Vagabond Tallulah (Page) lives out of her van and drifts from city to city with no ties to anyone or anything, except her boyfriend, Nico (Evan Jonigkeit), and that’s just the way she likes it. When Nico surprises her one night by suggesting they go back to his hometown in New York and maybe settle down or start a family, she flips out. The next morning Nico is gone, and a penniless Tallulah, who goes by “Lu,” makes her way to New York City anyway and barges into the fancy apartment building of Nico’s mother, Margo (Janney).

Dealing with issues of her own — stemming from Nico’s two-year long absence and her ex-husband (John Benjamin Hickey) coming out of the closet and asking for a divorce — Margo slams her door in Lu’s face, despite the young woman’s connection to her missing son. Wandering into a swanky hotel to scavenge for room service scraps, Lu is mistaken for a maid by spacy trophy wife Carolyn (Blanchard), who is desperately looking for anyone to babysit her 1-year-old daughter, Madison (Evangeline and Liliana Ellis), while she tries to score an extramarital hook-up.

Seduced partly by the wads of cash and jewelry Carolyn leaves lying around, and partly by Madison’s obvious need for a responsible caretaker (the toddler roams around diaper-less, peering out the balcony window and grabbing at bottles of beer), Lu stays and Carolyn bolts. When a drunk and defeated Carolyn returns hours later and promptly passes out on the bed, Lu can’t bring herself to leave a wailing Madison alone and makes a rash decision to bring her into the van overnight.

The next morning Carolyn wakes up in a panic and by the time Lu arrives to hand Madison over, the police are already on the scene and Lu makes another rash decision to take off with Madison in tow. With nowhere else to go, she winds up back on Margo’s doorstep — this time telling her Madison is Nico’s child. Margo reluctantly lets Lu into her home, and even more reluctantly into her life. Meanwhile, Carolyn hopes to prevent her husband (Fredric Lehne) from finding out what happened, which makes both the lead detective (David Zayas) and child protection agent (Uzo Aduba) assigned to the case dubious of her motives.

One woman’s coincidences are another woman’s contrivances, and Heder’s script likely won’t please those who prefer their indie dramas naturalistic and event-free. But the freewheeling storytelling enacted here has an excellent anchor in the grounded work of the ensemble cast. Even Lu’s initially inexplicable actions in holding onto Madison become more understandable as the film progresses, and Heder does a commendable job of opening up the characters’ backstories without over-analyzing their behavior.

Page is simply superb in a complex role that perfectly plays to her gift for balancing deadpan comedy with surprisingly deep emotional reserves. And while she was a sterling support opposite Page in “Juno,” Janney rises here nearly to the level of co-lead as an uptight control freak whose desire to cling to her family only serves to push them away. The film could probably do without a half-baked subplot involving Margo’s relationship with her doorman (Felix Solis), but even in that digression Janney nails the physical comedy and pathos of a woman looking to make a connection.

Reliable character actress Blanchard is perhaps the biggest revelation, playing Carolyn at first as a spot-on parody of a certain kind of real housewife of self-absorption, but gradually peeling back her layers — in collaboration with Heder — to reveal the wounded woman underneath. The men on hand are asked to do more with less, and Jonigkeit sells Nico’s love for Lu with only a handful of scenes. Similarly, Hickey and Zachary Quinto construct an entire world in just a single sequence when Margo and Lu share a tempestuous lunch with her ex and his new b.f.

Heder’s approach is reminiscent of her terrific work on “Orange” in numerous ways — from a boundless compassion for women’s hidden stories to the graceful mix of smart comedy and human drama. It’s only appropriate that Aduba shows up to steal a few scenes as the pregnant agent who puts Carolyn in her place, before seeing the other side of her story.

Tech credits here are aces, especially Paula Huidobro’s unaffected lensing and Darrin Navarro’s graceful cutting — which shifts almost imperceptibly between reality and fantasy in a few pivotal scenes. The visual effects employed to illustrate a key theme that bookends the pic have an ethereal beauty apt for the story’s overall impact.

The Tenth Man (2016) Poster

The Tenth Man (2016)

  –   Comedy | Dramarated-thumbs-UP+DOWN_2

After years away, Ariel (Alan Sabbagh) returns to Buenos Aires seeking to reconnect with his father Usher, who founded a charity foundation in Once, the city’s bustling Jewish district where Ariel spent his youth. In the process of trying to meet his father and getting entangled in his charitable commitments, Ariel meets Eva (Julieta Zylberberg, Wild Tales). Eva’s independent spirit motivates Ariel to come to grips with the traditions that once divided him and his father.

Daniel Burman


Alan Sabbagh, Julieta Zylberberg, Usher Barilka, Elvira Onetto

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