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Nato's Weekly New Release Roundup: 8/30/2013

by Photo of Matt Donato

This week sees, well, not much worth your time…

Nato's Weekly New Release Roundup: 8/30/2013

Wow, what crap-tacular box office results for last week’s new releases. It’s bad enough that I was right about the order, but it’s even worse when you look at the numbers. The Butler still reigned supreme and We’re The Millers came in at second place on the weekend, but neither of them could surpass the $20 million mark. As for our new releases, not a single one could even break the $10 million mark. NOT. EVEN. ONE. The Mortal Instruments raked in a whopping $9.34 million, The World’s End drunkenly stumbled into $8.79 million, and You’re Next couldn’t even break the top ten with $7.02 million. I mean, I got all excited because predictions were putting You’re Next as a favorite on the weekend, but boy, those projections were as far off as my picks usually are. Like I said, the one weekend I actually wanted to be wrong, I nailed it – sad. Whatever, let’s move on to this week’s power line-up (sarcasm).


The biggest release of the weekend is undoubtedly the Ethan Hawke-led Getaway, also featuring teen sensation Selena Gomez. Telling the story of an ex-race car driver who is blackmailed into driving around Bulgaria, taking orders from a mysterious voice, Courtney Solomon’s film is just an hour and a half car chase in a pimped out Shelby Super Snake Mustang. Sounds exciting? You couldn’t be more wrong.

Getaway is loud, obnoxious, repetitive, brutish, dizzying, and incessantly annoying. There’s a reason car chases are used to break up typical action films with a different flavor, and not utilized for a freaking hour and a half. Even a movie like Death Race breaks away from the car driving for scenes on the ground, getting into the characters and whatnot, but Getaway only takes us out of the car for mere minutes. Other than that, you’ll be subjected to a flurry of quick cuts and zooming automobiles that make it impossible at times to comprehend the “action,” which is simply an exercise into how many ways one production can flip a car. According to my press interview with the stars and director, about 130 vehicles were “killed” during the making of this movie – and I couldn’t care about a single one.

Getaway could be one of the worst movies I’ve seen all year. I’m all for simplistic, fun-focused cinema, but not when a movie repeats itself after 5 minutes. This is one car wreck I really wish I looked away from.

One Direction: This Is Us

Documentarian Morgan Spurlock is really good at what he does, there’s no denying that, but then again, this is a movie about One Direction. Following the band on one of their epic tours, capturing the boys dealing with their immediate rise to fame, this is an intimate look into the lives of One Direction. Are you a fan of the X-Factor phenoms? Then you’re going to love this. Plain and simple. Everyone else? You’re on your own.

Closed Circuit

Up next is John Crowley’s Closed Circuit, an underwhelming political thriller starring Rebecca Hall and Eric Bana. The whole draw here is based around the notion that you’re watching a film extremely grounded in reality, one that doesn’t paint its main characters as super agents when they absolutely shouldn’t be, but maybe that wouldn’t have been so bad. I respect the fact that Hall and Bana play simple barristers, and they act like people who are simple lawyers, but Steven Knight’s script was far too bland to effectively push the realism. Maybe some of that insanity could have actually helped?

Aside from the dull nature of this court case, I’ve always got a beef with a script that lets extremely important plot points happen off camera, as we discover the information by reading a simple newspaper headline. You’re going to have one of the only character deaths happen off-screen? Really? In a movie already lacking excitement? While knowledge was supposed to be dangerous in Closed Circuit, we never actually feel the heat or worry about either main character, providing a clichéd and recycled watch for anyone looking for a bit of excitement.

If you like your political thrillers as bland as vanilla paste though, boy do I have the movie for you…

Afternoon Delight

“Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight,” and then never subject her to this terrible movie. Man, I really feel like a dick this week, ripping into so many movies, but Afternoon Delight deserves its thrashing just as much as any other film this week.

What should have been Kathryn Hahn’s welcoming party into the leading lady spotlight ends up being a fruitless, mean-spirited, and depressing journey for one confused woman, with an unjustly happy ending that tries to negate the bullshit leading up to it. I could never actually get a handle on what tone writer/director Jill Soloway was actually shooting for, as the script stumbles clumsily through bouts of comedy, drama, self-discovery, and redemption - but it never actually brings anything together.

It’s a shame because Kathryn Hahn plays a wonderful part as our main character Rachel, but everything else around her absolutely rots. Juno Temple’s prostitute character McKenna is engaging until her exit from the film, which abruptly removes her from the picture and leaves a sour taste in our mouths as the character is utterly destroyed. If there’s one thing Afternoon Delight is good at, it’s finding ways to bring us down - and that's just not what daytime sex is about.

The Verdict

1) One Direction

2) Getaway

3) Closed Circuit

The Limited: Afternoon Delight, The Lifeguard, Passion

Blah, what a terrible week for movies – unless you’re a One Direction fan. I know the Katy Perry movie only opened to about $7 million its opening weekend, but there’s such a big young following for these teen heart-throbs, it’s hard for me to think they won't win opening weekend. Getaway only appeals to a certain audience, those who love car-based action, and Closed Circuit isn’t really marketing itself well enough to drum up big numbers. Honestly, this could be one of the biggest Labor Day weekend duds we see in a very long time.

My recommendation this week? Don’t go to the movies. Go on vacation, enjoy the outdoors (barring the weather), hang out with friends, and enjoy the time off. Spend your three day weekend having fun, not wasting your time on these skipable films.

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