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New in Theaters September 18: Black Mass, Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, Captive, Everest

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By Chris Kavan - 09/17/15 at 06:46 AM CT

A rather wide range of films is opening up this weekend - one that should finally give a shot in the arm to a so-far sleeping September. Things are going to be led by a sequel to a popular YA series, along with a welcome return to form by Johnny Depp. We also have two films making a much more limited splash, but should still be on the radar. It should all add up to a much more exiting weekend than we have seen in quite awhile.

MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS I admit that I wasn't that big of fan of the original Maze Runner (nor have I read the books the films are based on). For me, it was a bit too much setup and not nearly enough payoff. Maybe with the first movie out of the way, we can finally get into the meat of the story? I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that Scorch Trials is going to heat up the box office and run away with the number one spot. The original cast is back: Dylan O'Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Kaya Scodelario, Dexter Darden and Alexander Flores as the ex-Gladers who have escaped their maze only to find themselves in a dangerous wasteland and facing an even more challenging task. This time, some adults are around to join the fun including the always-welcome Giancarlo Esposito along with the likes of Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, Alan Tudyk, Patricia Clarkson and Aidan Gillen. Sounds like a fine setup, though nothing I have seen as of yet makes me itching to see it in theaters. Most likely I'll catch it streaming and see if I can finally figure out what's up with this screwed-up world.


BLACK MASS Is there anyone in need of an image makeover more than Johnny Depp? Let's face it, the face we all know and love as Jack Sparrow has had a rouge go of late: The Rum Diary, Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger, Transcendence, Mortdecai - other than Into the Woods, he hasn't been involved in a decent movie in some time (okay, I liked Tusk, but it was a little-seen gem). Black Mass, where Depp plays the notorious James 'Whitey' Bulger (in a stunning transformation) finally looks to get Depp back in his element. The trailers make him seem scarily good - and his portrayal (both appearance and character) have been called nothing short of amazing. Black Mass is going to be very violent, that's for sure, but it also looks highly intriguing. Will awards come calling? He's going to have some stiff competition this fall, but I think he could easily be in the running. Supporting cast looks great - Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Joel Edgerton, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott, Rory Cochrane, Corey Stoll and Dakota Johnson all lend their talents to the film. It's hard to compete against a YA behemoth like Maze Runner, but I have a feeling adults are going to be seeking this one out and it may have a shot at a nice run in theaters. I, for one, think this is the first film of the fall that I am looking forward to.


CAPTIVE Opening one just enough screens to be considered a wide release is the crime/drama Captive. Kate Mara plays a single mother trying to deal with her drug addiction who finds life taking a much more drastic turn when a man (David Oyelowo) takes her hostage after escaping prison and murdering the judge who put him there. Based on a true story, the two, of course, happen to bond and in doing so manage to save both their lives. If it wasn't for the actors involved, I would write this off - but I have confidence the two leads can bring out the best in their characters. The rest of the cast looks pretty solid as well - Mimi Rogers, Michael Kenneth Williams and David's wife Jessica Oyelowo are all along to provide their support. On opening in just 800 or so theaters, Captive will likely only have a light impact in theaters. It's the type of film I will check out later, but I have a feeling it will rise above its somewhat generic premise.


EVEREST Everest is going to open in a unique way. It's premiering in 526 theaters - but they are all IMAX only (before going wide next weekend). I'm not sure if this is the first film to take this approach, but I do have a feeling it's going to work out well for the film. So far the previews have made it very clear this is exactly the type of film the large-screen format is made for. Wide open shots of mountains, in-your-face thrills, snow flying everywhere - better hope the AC is turned down, you might get chills. Anyway, the film is based on a real event - a massive storm that resulted in the loss of the most lives (up until an avalanche in April 18, 2014 - that, coincidentally, happened during the movie's shooting in Nepal) on the world's tallest mountain. Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly and John Hawkes (among many others) make up a rather superb ensemble cast. It looks pretty darn exciting, for sure, I'm just not sold on seeing it in theaters. That being said, it should corner the market on the IMAX screens - we'll see if the gamble pays off and how it does when it goes wide.


It should be a pretty good weekend - another anticipated film, Sicaro, also opens in limited releases, but I'll cover that next weekend (which will also have quite a few new releases). The fall is finally starting to heat up - we'll see how things play out come Sunday.

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