Weekend Preview 2014: 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' Leads New Releases
On Friday, a number of films will debut. The weekend's new offerings include science-fiction, documentaries and comedies.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction" -- After three years away, the Michael Bay franchise returns to cinemas -- with a reboot. The new cast includes Mark Wahlberg and newcomer Jack Reynor. The film tells the story of an automobile mechanic and his daughter whose discovery gets the pair in trouble with the government. The film has been received poorly; early word is that it is too long and one of the worst installments in the franchise. And reviews may not get better. Regardless, early tracking suggests the movie will hit $100 million in sales in its first weekend and could become the biggest movie of the summer season. But it could also be affected by franchise fatigue, especially since the last two films in the franchise got terrible reviews. Additionally, the summer season has seen disappointing results from franchise releases, such as Spider-Man's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
"Snowpiercer" -- Radius TWC will finally release Joon-ho Bong's film after a number of problems. The film, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, was supposed to be released by The Weinstein Co., but the director and Harvey Weinstein could not agree on a cut, so the company handed the rights over to its boutique company, which will release the full director's cut. "Snowpiercer" is set in a future in which a failed global warming experiment has killed off all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, with a class system that separates the passengers. The movie's all-star cast includes Chris Evans, Jaime Bell, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt and Ed Harris. The film has scored rave reviews. Critics have praised it for its intelligent script and its ambition. Radius TWC plans to release the film as counter-programming to "Transformers." Initially, the company will release the movie in 10 theaters, with more later, and the company will not use the on-demand platform it is known for.
"Begin Again" -- The Weinstein Co. will release John Carney's latest film, a musical starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine. It tells the story of a disgraced music business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan who collaborate promisingly. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and closed the Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews. Critics have praised its leads' performances and its upbeat tone. The Weinstein Co. has given the movie a huge marketing push. This weekend will see a limited release, with the nationwide release July 2 -- Independence Day weekend.
"Yves Saint Laurent" -- The Weinstein Co. will also release this biopic about the famous designer's rise to stardom. The French film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival to mixed reviews. Critics praised the production design but panned the movie as bland and cliché. The biopic is the first of two Saint Laurent films being released this year. This weekend's release has not been promoted much, and since it isn't typical summer movie "light fare," audiences may not be interested.
"They Came Together" -- Lionsgate will release this comedy, which stars Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler. It tells the story of Joel and Molly, who hate each other when they meet but fall for each other as their relationship develops. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews. It has a 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics call it generic, but Poehler and Rudd have received rave reviews for their performances. It will be available in limited release and on demand.
Other new releases include Lionsgate's fictional documentary "America," and Filmbuff's critically-acclaimed documentary "The Internet's Own Boy." Meanwhile, Magnolia Entertainment will unveil "Whitney: USA v. James J. Bulger."
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