This week’s slate reinvents the wheel, so to speak, unveiling a vast array of twists, tweaks, role reversals and reinventions to satisfy all tastes.
“At The Edge of The World”
Made famous by the weekly embedded correspondence of their TV series “Whale Wars,” the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society puts the active in activism, taking self-described “direct action” (sabotage, vandalism, etc.) against the predominantly Japanese whaling fleets still hunting these gentle giants of the sea. Joining the battle-ready crew on their third Antarctic campaign, documentary filmmaker Dan Stone delivers a firsthand account of the controversial and dangerous tactics employed by these aggressive eco-warriors.
Opens in New York.
Having already explored the symbiotic yet mercurial bond between a sports icon and his fans in last year’s indie smash “The Wrestler,” scripter Robert Siegel hops the security barricade to take in a view from the stands with this bleak but touching black comedy that serves as his directorial debut. Patton Oswalt stars as Paul Aufiero, an amiable sad-sack football fanatic whose eager pursuit of his favorite player is rewarded with a personal beatdown. Disillusioned, he must weigh his heartbreak and the needs of his overbearing family with his steadfast loyalty to his beloved team.
Opens in New York and Philadelphia.
“The Final Destination”
Having skipped out on the previous installment to direct “Snakes on a Plane,” stuntman-turned-director David R. Ellis returns to this franchise for what has been billed as the final “Final Destination,” with its so-high-it’s-orbital concept that’s tailor-made for 3-D cinema. Offering up another gaggle of fresh-faced TV actors primed and prepped for some deadly Tom & Jerry mishaps, the installment sees our group narrowly avoid a hail of tires and shards of glass at a NASCAR meet, only for death to pick them off one by one in gradually more gruesome and inventive ways. Prepare to duck. A lot.
Opens wide and in Digital 3-D.
Rob Zombie’s latest blood-soaked big screen outing is both a sequel to a remake and a remake of a sequel. With much of Zombie’s original 2007 “Halloween” cast returning, this grisly, gory retread will focus on the psychological bond between series anchor Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and undead psychopath Michael Myers (Tyler Mane).
In a field overcrowded with spotty adolescents desperate to lose it, this mind-bogglingly simple feature debut from online sketch comedy troupe Derrick Comedy turns the teen comedy genre on its head with a story of three chaste, naïve simpletons desperate to do anything else. Taking teen detective fiction to its extreme logical conclusion, this trio of high school senior super sleuths (Donald Glover, D.C. Pierson and Dominic Dierkes) — comprised of a master of disguise, a genius and a suspiciously gaunt muscleman — scour their town for clues on the path to recognition as they haplessly hunt down a killer.
Opens in Austin, expanding to select cities throughout September; expands nationwide in October.
“The Open Road”
Apparently, writer/director Michael Meredith never met a cliché he didn’t like with this story centered on a retired sports icon reconnecting with his estranged son on an enforced cross-country road trip to reconcile with his hospitalized ex-wife that comes complete with the tagline “sometimes the best thing about a journey is losing your baggage.” But who knows? Maybe there’s life in the old gal yet. Boasting a magnificent Southern drawl, Jeff Bridges co-stars as the onetime ball-playing great, with Justin Timberlake as his son and reluctant chaperone who brings his girlfriend Lucy (Kate Mara) along.
Opens in Los Angeles.
“Play The Game”
Still going strong at the grand old age of 83, legendary actor Andy Griffith leads this spirited sex comedy for seniors, the feature debut from writer/director Marc Feinberg. In a neat role reversal, Griffith plays the very definition of a late bloomer as the befuddled Grandpa Joe who gets a lesson in pick-up artistry from his ladies’ man grandson, David (Paul Campbell of “Battlestar Galactica” fame), who in turn comes to realize his student may have a few lessons of his own to give.
Opens in limited release.