The week’s new movie will be a bit different than most other summer offerings. Instead of the bombastic, movies with a message and plenty of indie cred are getting the most attention.
The week is a busy one with “Elysium,” “We’re the Millers,” “Planes” and “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” all opening wide. “Elysium” stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster and is Neill Blomkamp’s highly anticipated follow up to 2009’s “District 9.” Mixing a political message with sci-fi action was a winning formula for Blomkamp previously but it appears “Elysium” is having a harder time winning over critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, “Elysium” sits at just 67 percent fresh, compared to the 90 percent fresh “District 9” received. Some critics complain the movie is a bit too heavy-handed while other reviews point out a strong performance by Damon and Blomkamp’s ease with action sequences.
“We’re the Millers” opened on Wednesday and is the first mainstream comedy -- not counting action comedies “Red 2” or “2 Guns” --- to hit theaters since“Grown Ups 2” -- was released on July 9th. Perhaps due to low expectations, the drug caper has been fairly well received critcally.
“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” is a sequel to 2010’s “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and Disney’s “Planes” is a spinoff of sorts to Pixar’s “Cars” franchise. The two movies are tracking poorly on Rotten Tomatoes, “Percy Jackson 2” at 34 percent while “Planes” has a pretty dismal 26 percent rating.
Box Office Mojo notes there could be some sense of audience fatigue, considering the amount of animated fare recently released in theaters, but “Planes” should be a winner at the box office, only falling behind “Elysium,” and grabbing the second spot with an estimated $23.8 million. “Elysium” is expected to gross $34.1 million.
While several movies are opening in thousands of theaters, there's a lot of attention on movies getting limited-releas openings. “In a World,” directed by Lake Bell -- who also stars in the film -- is the most buzzed about indie release this week and has received a rating of 85 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. A satirical romantic comedy about the world of trailer voiceover actors, “In a World” first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
The eclectic David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express” and “All the Real Girls”) returns with “Prince Avalanche,” a movie that straddles the line between drama and comedy. “Prince Avalanche” stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as brothers working a lonely construction job and the movie has earned an 80 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The other buzzed indie release this week is "Lovelace," starring Amand Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard. The movie takes a look at Linda Lovelace, the reluctant actress behind "Deep Throat," a porn film that went mainstream. Early reviews indicate this much-anticipated film is a bit of a disappointment.