Fiction be damned this week as the documentary makes an impressively strong showing amongst the new releases. For those who simply must make believe, there are vampire slayers, guys and girls in love, guys and guys in love, and a guy pretending to be a guy who loves other guys.
“Blood: The Last Vampire”
Since beginning its (after)life back in 2000 as an animated feature, the teen-oriented “Blood” saga has spawned a comic book sequel, three novels, a video game and a 50-episode anime TV series. Now “Crouching Tiger” producer William Kong delivers an English language live-action version with a script from “Fearless” scribe Chris Chow and “Kiss of the Dragon” helmer Chris Nahon in the big chair. South Korean actress Gianna Jun stars as Saya, a 400-year-old half-human who, on order from a secret organization known as The Council, hunts and slays the undead minions of a demon named Onigen in post-WWII Japan.
Opens in limited release.
Cinema’s premier shock artist Sacha Baron Cohen returns to unleash another of his provocative alter egos on an (allegedly) unsuspecting populace. As flaming fashionista Brüno, the host of the Austrian fashion TV show “Funkyzeit,” Cohen inflicts his singular brand of assault and battery on a variety of unsuspecting celebrities and members of the public in ways that will divide audiences like a laser. Between this and “Borat,” we should be able to finally calculate the median amount of money your film needs to make before people decide their character has been defamed and file suit.
Muhammad Ali was undoubtedly one of the greatest and most storied fighters in the history of professional boxing. Here, director Pete McCormack takes the unusual step of exploring what it was like to stand in the opposite corner, collecting testimony from a multitude of opponents who found themselves on the receiving end of the flamboyant showman’s punches and, in some cases, his politics. Speaking extensively with ten of Ali’s most famous rivals including Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Sir Henry Cooper, McCormack explores the pain and the paydays of some of the defining bouts of their respective careers.
Opens in Los Angeles.
Now that the Apatow stable has turned bromance into box office gold, it was only a matter of time before someone took the concept to its logical conclusion. Writer/director Lynn Shelton, who likely has a post-mumblecore breakout hit on her hands, wrings out the wince-inducing gags and gets to the core of male friendship with this comic sexual satire. Mark Duplass co-stars as Ben, an easygoing husband and would-be father who feels the pangs of bachelorhood after his free-spirited buddy Andrew (Joshua Leonard) drops in unannounced and the two dare each other to enter a local pornography festival together. Only the simple matter of filming themselves in the act stands between them and total artistic triumph.
Opens in New York and Seattle.
“I Love You, Beth Cooper”
Given that the luster of seeing Hayden Panettiere in a cheerleader outfit has worn off the once mighty “Heroes,” do we really need a movie built on that same idea? Chris Columbus thinks so as he helms Larry Doyle’s screen adaptation of his own novel into this innocuous teen comedy. Once more cast as the high school hottie, Panettiere stars as the titular object of affection for nerdy valedictorian Denis (Paul Rust), who embarks on a wild night of romantic self-discovery after professing his love for Cooper during his graduation speech.