MOVIE BUFF-ET: Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher sequel leads a pack of 6 new films in local theaters

Credit Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

There’s a veritable of a smorgasbord of new releases opening in theaters this weekend. Six new movies make their debut, offering a flavor for most tastes.

If you are looking for star power, there are few actors who project as much wattage as Tom Cruise. He checks in with a sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, co-starring Cobie Smulders (Avengers and How I Met Your Mother) in an action-thriller sure to provide some thrills.

New In Local Theaters

  • Denial (PG-13) 1 hr. 40 min.
    (Malco Pinnacle)
    » Watch trailer
  • I’m Not Ashamed (PG-13), 1 hr. 52 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle)
    » Watch trailer
  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (PG-13) 1 hr. 58 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle)
    » Watch trailer
  • Keeping Up With the Joneses (PG-13) 1 hr. 45 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle)
    » Watch trailer
  • Ouija: Origin of Evil (PG-13) 1 hr. 39 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Rogers Towne)
    » Watch trailer
  • Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween (PG-13) 1 hr. 43 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Rogers Towne)
    » Watch trailer

Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman from Batman v Superman), and Isla Fisher headline the comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses, in which Galifianakis and Fisher are spouses who suspect their new neighbors, Hamm and Gadot, are spies.

If you’re in the mood for something more serious, Denial starring Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall and Tim Wilkinson might be the choice. The Mick Jackson film dramatizes a libel case between historians, one who denies that the Holocaust actually happened.

I Am Not Ashamed is a faith-based drama based on the journals of Rachel Scott, the first victim in the 1999 Columbine (Colo.) High School shootings. She was shot four times by the gunmen, with the fourth, reportedly, fired into her temple after professing her faith in God.

If you’re in the spirit for Halloween, there’s a horror film and a comedy that you might find appealing. Early notices for Ouija: Origin of Evil are quite good, according to, if you’re seeking a scare. However if you’d rather have you funny bone tickled then Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween might do the trick.

If none of those films sound appealing, here are my Five Favorite Films Still in Theaters: 5. Storks, 4. Deep Water Horizon, 3. Magnificent Seven, 2. Sully, 1. Queen of Katwe.


Armored Car Productions

The mystery of director Jared Hess’ Masterminds isn’t how a pack of rednecks could steal $17 million in cash from Loomis Fargo, but rather how a comedy featuring the considerable talents of Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Jason Sudeikis could be so bad.

The comedy is based on an actual robbery, but beyond the basic plot, the movie is an exercise in banality that prompts a few cheap laughs, but even more questions of why such talented comedians would sign on to such a weak production.

(R) 1 hr. 36 min.
Grade: D

Classic Corner

The Shining
In conjunction with Fathom Events, the Malco Razorback Theater is holding two special screenings of director Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film The Shining at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Stephen King wasn’t exactly thrilled with Kubrick’s adaptation of his 1977 novel. King actually despises it. He called Kubrick’s film a “big beautiful Cadillac with no engine” in an interview with Deadline because the film’s the main character Jack Torrance, has no character arc. He’s loony when the movie begins and loony when it ends.

King may have a point, but with all deference to him, the movie is still a terrifying piece of filmmaking by the master director.

Jack Nicholson’s performance as Torrance is, well, haunting. Shelley Duvall is a picture of terror as Jack’s embattled wife Wendy. Scatman Crothers works his magic as Dick, the telepathic mentor to Danny Torrance, a boy just coming to grips with his own telepathic abilities

The film features some truly frightening imagery and ideas that holds up today, despite King’s dismissive attitude toward Kubrick’s adaptation.

Dracula (1931)
Vampires have almost become ubiquitous in pop culture. From novels to movies, to TV programs, we almost can’t turn around without bumping in to one kind of bloodsucker or the other.

While Bram Stoker wasn’t the first author to breath life into a vampire in prose, his 1897 novel Dracula practically codified the vampire lore in a work that has fed the imaginations of writers and filmmakers ever since.

In playing Stoker’s Prince of Darkness first on the stage and then in the 1931 Universal Pictures movie Dracula, Hungarian-born actor Bela Lugosi crafted an iconic image that’s as vital today as it was 85 years ago.

Whether Lugosi’s performance is imitated, mocked, or avoided, his Dracula remains in the forefront of every writer, director, or actor who attempts to place his stamp on the character.

Todd Browning’s film was supposed to star silent-film icon Lon Chaney, but the actor known as The Man of a Thousand Faces was diagnosed with cancer just as the film was to begin production. Lugosi stepped into the role. Though he knew very little English and spoke his lines phonetically in the film, Lugosi made history in the part.

The movie itself is terribly dated and like most early talkies is rather stagey. Though quite atmospheric, the movie is unlikely to scare a modern audience. However, Lugosi’s performance is still charismatic and effective. Dwight Frye, who played supporting characters in many other Universal horror films, is excellent as the bug-eating Renfield. His distinctive, staccato laugh made Frye’s mad henchmen memorable.

Horror of Dracula (1958)
With its success a year earlier in reworking Frankenstein for the big screen, British studio Hammer Films called upon Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing once again to play Dracula and his sworn nemesis Professor Van Helsing respectively.

Lee’s Dracula spoke few lines, but standing 6-5 with bloodshot eyes and fangs dripping blood, Lee is by far the most intimidating actor to portray the role.

With the benefit of Technicolor, the Hammer horror films featured more gore, sex, and violence than their Universal predecessors. However to today’s audiences, they may seem tame compared to horror films made a decade or so later. Though he grew to despise the quality of the films, Lee played Dracula seven times for Hammer and three more times in films for other studios.

Turner Classic Movies has celebrated Lee’s work each Monday this month, and on tap this week beginning at 7 p.m. central are Lee’s Dracula movies: Horror of Dracula, Dracula, Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, and Dracula A.D. 1972.

Dracula (1979)
Frank Langella’s portrayal of the Transylvanian count in John Badham’s 1979 version of Dracula, injected some sex appeal into the role. While Stoker’s vampire was far from the romantic character Langella depicts, the movie is a more accurate depiction of the novel than Lugosi’s or Lee’s versions

While the movie wasn’t the first work to dote on the sexual magnetism of vampires — Victorian repressed sexuality is an underlying theme of Stoker’s novel — Langella makes the count a full-on sex symbol, and that aspect has become a core component of most vampire stories since. The character Mina is not only the object of Dracula’s desire in the film, but she’s also more than willing to cozy u with him in his coffin.

Laurence Oliver plays Van Helsing, adding gravitas to the movie that stands up quite well for a 37-year-old film.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is anything but. The movie really should have been called Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, because the director of the 1992 movie takes just as many liberties with Stoker’s novel as any other screen adaptation.

That’s not a gripe, though. It’s an entertaining and visually stunning version with Gary Oldman playing Dracula, Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, Winona Ryder as Mina, and Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker.

Coppola and screenwriter James V. Hart add a prologue, and a romance between Dracula and Mina that are not even hinted at in the novel. But, those additions aren’t bad. In fact, they add an emotional resonance to the film that other adaptations lack.