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New in Theaters October 16: Bridge of Spies, Crimson Peak, Goosebumps, Woodlawn

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By Chris Kavan - 10/15/15 at 06:49 AM CT

The box office has been dominated by Matt Damon and The Martian over the last two weeks but the film is about to get some major competition. From high-brow drama to Gothic horror to tween horror to uplifting inspiration - there's a little of everything coming out this weekend and I have a feeling it's going to be too much for The Martian to hand on. It will be interesting to see who wins this battle - my money is on the Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg matchup in Bridge of Spies, but considering we're getting ever closer to Halloween - don't count out the horror films at staking their claim.

BRIDGE OF SPIES It's always a better awards season when you can add some Spielberg into the mix. Bridge of Spies is a cold war drama where Tom Hanks plays an American lawyer tasked with bringing back a downed American pilot in exchange for a Russian spy the Americans have been holding. Obviously this exchange is going to be a highly delicate matter and presents a great deal of danger, both on a personal and a worldwide level, should things not play out as planned. This has tense written all over it - and though I often think Spielberg goes to light, from the trailers it's looking like he's taking things very seriously here. I can only hope the pacing manages to keep up with that dramatic tension, because it's no good to have a cold war drama if things get too boring. I'm going to err on the side of cautious but optimistic, Spielberg has an almost perfect record and rarely does wrong. I don't know if the film will result in awards, but it should result in some good returns, especially if it can draw the older audience out in decent numbers.


CRIMSON PEAK I kind of wish we were getting Guillermo del Toro's take on H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, but I guess this Gothic-looking horror tale will have to suffice for now. Mia Wasikowska plays a young woman trying to escape a recent tragedy when she falls in love with a mysterious, alluring stranger, Tom Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). He lives in a huge mansion with his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain). And this towering manse hides secrets of its own - secrets that bare their bloody, torturous nature to the young woman. If there is one thing del Toro always gets right, it's the visuals - Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim - even if the story sometimes doesn't live up to it, all his films look amazing. I'm hoping Crimson Peak will finally have a story that will match the visuals - because all I have seen of the film makes it look amazing - a Gothic horror that reminds me of the classics like House on Haunted Hill or The Haunting (originals, not the remakes). It has that spirit and with Halloween right around the corner, its a good time for good horror. It's been a good year for interesting horror - I hope Crimson Peak joins the ranks of the notable films.


GOOSEBUMPS If Crimson Peak is going for the serious horror angle, Goosebumps is taking a more family-friendly route. Based on R.L. Stine's series of young-adult horror books, Jack Black plays a fictional version of the author while Odeya Rush plays his daughter. When Zach (Dylan Minnette) moves in next door, he tries to become a good neighbor but things don't quite go as planned when he and his friend Champ (Ryan Lee) find out the monsters in Stine's books are very real - as they accidentally unleash every terror on the unsuspecting town of Greendale, Maryland. This includes The Invisible Boy, the Living Dummy, killer Lawn Gnomes, a werewolf, Abominable Snowman and a giant mantis among other terrifying creations. Despite my best instincts telling me this movie is going to be corny and kind of terrible, I have to admit it also looks like a lot of fun. I would stream this for sure, and I'm interested to see if this can attract a bigger crowd than Crimson Peak - call it the battle of horror.


WOODLAWN Finally, in a more limited scope comes the inspirational film Woodlawn. The film concerns a gifted high school football player who must come to terms with his talent on the field and his faith off the field as racial tension threaten to unravel everything around him. I believe this is going to follow much in the same pattern as other faith-based films recently - but we'll see if the increased competition hurts its chances as playing as strong as the recent War Room film. I have a feeling that with the films coming out and the fact this isn't opening in as many theaters means this is going to have a rather soft impact on the box office. Still, faith-driven films have proven to be strong in the past - we'll see where Woodlawn winds up over the weekend.


It's going to be a packed house at the box office this weekend. Finally, The Martian is going to have some real competition - we'll see how Matt Damon and company hold up against this onslaught come Sunday.

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