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We check out this week’s new movies at IMDb:

Pixels (2015) Poster

Pixels (2015)

Certificate PG-13   –   Action | Comedy |Sci-Fi

Metascore: 27/100 (34 reviews)
When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.
Director:

Chris Columbus

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The Buzz: The suddenly hard-to-market Adam Sandler should have his first bona-fide hit since Grown Ups 2 with this nostalgia-baiting attempt to reassert him as a leading man by … making him part of a larger ensemble of heroes. Not a bad move at all, and if you’ve noticed, the trailers and other marketing focus more on the arcade characters than the live-action cast.

Paper Towns (2015) Poster

Paper Towns (2015)

Certificate PG-13   –   Drama | Mystery |Romance

Metascore: 57/100 (28 reviews)
A young man and his friends embark upon the road trip of their lives to find the missing girl next door.
Director:

Jake Schreier

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The Buzz: If Paper Towns connects with a young-adult audience, expect to find The Fault in Our Stars author John Green labeled as “the next” John Hughes. Or Cameron Crowe. Or perhaps neither of those comparisons are accurate, but Green will certainly become defined by his ability to connect with younger people. Personally, this story idea, which on one level seems to suggest that coolness is nothing but artifice, is pulling me into the theater to see what else this road movie has to offer.

Southpaw (2015) Poster

Southpaw (2015)

Certificate R   –   Action | Drama | Sport |Thriller

Metascore: 57/100 (41 reviews)
Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.
Director:

Antoine Fuqua

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The Buzz: The performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, and young Oona Laurence help distinguish Southpaw not only from other boxing movies, but from any other movie about an adult who loses it all and has to fight to rebuild their life. I’d really love to talk with Kurt Sutter about this version of the screenplay that was filmed because it feels like a lot was condensed/omitted/sacrificed despite the ultimate two-hour runtime. Gyllenhaal and McAdams deserve all the attention they’re receiving because they elevate the material, and Tony winner Oona Laurence is excellent on film as the couple’s traumatized daughter.

The Vatican Tapes (2015) Poster

The Vatican Tapes (2015)

Certificate PG-13   –   Horror |Thriller

Metascore: 43/100 (7 reviews)
A priest and two Vatican exorcists must do battle with an ancient satanic force to save the soul of a young woman.
Director:

Mark Neveldine

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The Buzz: There’s an annual Comic-Con tradition in Hall H called “Trailer Park” where, as you can probably imagine, trailers for upcoming movies are shown for the assembled crowd of movie-going fans. I’ve always thought there must be studio and independent marketing types hiding amongst the audience, jotting down reactions to each clip. This year, the biggest groans resulted from M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming The Visit (which I actually liked) and this latest case of satanic forces battling for a young woman’s soul. The best thing we can say about The Vatican Tapes, sight unseen? It’s not a found-footage movie, a fact that its director so desperately wants you to realize.

Samba (2014) Poster

Samba (2014) – [Limited]

Certificate R   –   Comedy |Drama

Metascore: 50/100 (15 reviews)
Samba migrated to France ten years ago from Senegal, and has since been plugging away at various lowly jobs. Alice is a senior executive who has recently undergone a burn-out. Both struggle to get out of their dead-end lives. Samba’s willing to do whatever it takes to get working papers, while Alice tries to get her life back on track until fate draws them together.
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The Buzz: The new film from The Intouchables director duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano and their leading man Omar Sy does not have anywhere near the same advance buzz but the general consensus is that Sy and his co-star Charlotte Gainsburg gamely keep the thematically wobbly story on its tracks.

Unexpected (2015) Poster

Unexpected (2015) – [Limited]

Certificate R   –   Comedy |Drama

Metascore: 63/100 (18 reviews)
An inner-city high school teacher discovers she is pregnant at the same time as one of her most promising students and the two develop an unlikely friendship while struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies.
Director:

Kris Swanberg

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The Buzz: I’ve been wondering if this festival hit will be anywhere near as good as Obvious Child, which was truly groundbreaking. Gail Bean seems like she puts in a breakout performance, and I hear Cobie Smulders is great here, though I really disliked everything about her recent movie, Results. Also keeping an eye on writer/director Kris Swanberg, the wife of filmmaker Joe Swanberg.

Big Significant Things (2014) Poster

Big Significant Things (2014) – [Limited]

  –   Comedy |Drama

Metascore: 40/100 (5 reviews)
A week before they move across the country together, Craig lies to his girlfriend in order to go on his first road trip — to the south. Alone.
Director:

Bryan Reisberg

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The Buzz: Harry Lloyd, who played Viserys Targaryen on “Game of Thrones”, has one fairly well for himself on the big and small screens after being covered in molten gold by Khal Drogo. Hopefully his performance and the script for this early-mid-life-crisis drama will offer a new perspective on a character scenario we’ve encountered quite a bit over the past several years.

Phoenix (2014) Poster

Phoenix (2014) – [Limited]

Certificate PG-13   –   Drama |History

Metascore: 91/100 (17 reviews)
A disfigured concentration-camp survivor (Nina Hoss), unrecognizable after facial reconstruction surgery, searches ravaged postwar Berlin for the husband (Ronald Zehrfeld) who might have betrayed her to the Nazis.
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The Buzz: Director Christian Petzold was destined to have a breakthrough in the U.S. and his latest project, a rumination on identity enmeshed with the nightmare of the Holocaust, has been celebrated by festival audiences and critics around the world. Petzold’s muse, Nina Hoss, should continue making inroads with American audiences with this performance.