OUTtakes: April 11, 2014

Welcome to OUTtakes, David Atlanta‘s new weekly look at films opening in Atlanta. Each week, we provide you with trailers, film descriptions, and in some cases our thoughts on new films hitting theater screens. This week’s roundup includes eight films hitting theaters on Friday, April 11. From horror and violence to family-friendly outings, this week’s schedule is jam-packed with new releases. Check out what’s coming to town this week!

Oculus

The lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie were altered when Tim was convicted of the murder of their parents. Years later, Tim is released from prison and wants to move on with his life, but Kaylie is convinced her parents’ deaths were caused by a malevolent supernatural force.

My Thoughts: It takes so much these days to craft a film that feels uniquely frightening without seeming like a ripoff of other films in the horror genre. While it isn’t perfect, Oculus succeeds in feeling fresh enough thanks to a feeling of dread that permeates the film. The film takes place in two timelines, and as the film progresses, the two begin to cross over enough where it’s easy to get lost in what’s going on – and what’s real. It helps that Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites give wholly believable performances as the adult Tim and Kaylie, who have two very different reactions to the supernatural storm going on around them.

Draft Day

On the day of the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice.

My Thoughts: Walking in, this film seemed like it would be a hard sell for me. I’m definitely a sports neophyte in general, and specifically with sports like football. Fortunately, as much as this film takes place off the field and in the offices of NFL teams, it doesn’t get bogged down in so much football terminology that it easily loses those not in the know. Instead, the stakes of the film are made human, and focus as much on relationships – professional, familial and romantic – as on the sport itself. My only issue, really, is that sometimes the focus gets away from football a little too much. See: the relationship between Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. Most, if not all, of their subplot could be removed, and the film would feel tighter.

Joe

Hard-living, hot-tempered ex-con Joe (Nicolas Cage) finds a need to fiercely protect a hard-luck kid (Tye Sheridan).

My Thoughts: Joe is a film steeped in Southern atmosphere – it’s easy to get enveloped in this world. In many ways, it feels like a companion piece to last year’s Matthew McConaughey-starring Mud. Nicolas Cage has turned into a punchline with most of his film choices over the last decade (and that’s being generous about it), similarly to McConaughey. In Joe, though, he shows the strengths he has as an actor that once helped him win a Best Actor Oscar. Even the co-lead in both films is played by the same actor, Tye Sheridan. Unlike Mud, though, Joe‘s world feels more expansive. Highly recommended.

The Raid 2

Rookie cop Rama finds himself pulled into an undercover operation in the criminal underworld of Jakarta.

My Thoughts: Do you enjoy films with intense, violent fight scenes? If so, The Raid 2 is for you. In fact, The Raid 2 may be your favorite film of 2014. If it’s not the most violent film released this year, it’s not for a lack of trying. That violence, for the record, is the only reason to watch this film if you’re a fan of it on-screen. Otherwise, you may want to avoid this film. The plot of the film, as threadbare as it is, frequently gets lost in the ensuing fight scenes. Do keep an eye out for the actor who plays Uco, Arifin Putra. He has a remarkable amount of charisma, he’s attractive, and he’s fluent in English. He could easily be a crossover star from this film.

 

Also in Theaters

Cuban Fury

A former child dance prodigy finds himself brought face-to-face with his inner demons, which he must conquer to make his way to the dance floor again.

Finding Vivian Maier

Now considered one of the 20th century’s greatest street photographers, Vivian Maier was a mysterious nanny who took over 100,000 photographs that went unseen during her lifetime.

Jodorowsky’s Dune

A fascinating look at a long-lost sci-fi legend – director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to make an adapration of the novel Dune.

Rio 2

The characters from Rio return for an adventure in the wilds of the Amazon.

 

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