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New in Theaters Oct. 04: Gravity, Runner Runner, Metallica: Through the Never

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By Chris Kavan - 10/03/13 at 07:08 AM CT

Families drove the box office last weekend, helping Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs 2 take the fourth-highest opening for any September film. But now September is behind us and October is here. We start the month off with a couple of heavy hitters and some heavy metal to boot. Considering Cloudy 2 is still the only fresh family film out there, it is bound to have some staying power - but will it be enough to hold off a sci-fi thriller that has been getting some tremendous buzz?

GRAVITY I have a lot of respect for Alfonso Cuarón - he has directed one of my favorite films in the past decade (Children of Men) and also still my favorite entry in the Harry Potter series (Prisoner of Azkaban) and has shown he can handle fantasy as well as drama with an equally deft hand. When I first saw the premise for Gravity I was unsure how the idea was going to translate to a full-length film. Sure you have George Clooney and Sandra Bullock - but how can to sustain drifting in space for an hour and a half and call it a film? First, you make it one of the few films that will probably be improved by adding 3D (especially for those who are lucky enough to be near an IMAX theater), second you make this not a movie you watch, but a movie you experience. From early accounts the film is not just visually mesmerizing, it has a depth of character that really connects you to the people on screen. If anyone can pull of this feat, it is Cuarón, and though this is going after a certainly adult audience, with all the good buzz surrounding it, I have a feeling it's going to win the weekend and maybe even translate into some Oscar movement as well.

RUNNER RUNNER Ben Affleck has been on a hot streak lately and Justin Timberlake is, well, Justin Timberlake. Yet despite the pedigree of the people involved (that also includes Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie) I see nothing in Runner Runner that makes me want to rush out to theaters. In fact, this looks like a typical, generic crime thriller. The names involved might elevate it in certain eyes, but to me this looks like nothing but a rental to watch on a boring day inside with nothing better to do. The synopsis tries to spin it as this gambling revenge flick - but if early reports are any indication, this is going to be one of those films that comes and goes in pretty much a week or two and is largely forgotten and relegated to the dustbin of cinematic history. This is exactly the kind of fall film that gets buried because all those involved knows it would be crushed at any other time of release.

METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER Although this technically came out last week in limited IMAX release, this will be the first wider opening for this unique film. This is courting a very niche audience - mainly those who like to head bang to Metallica. Part concert documentary, part surreal adventure - just nailing down the genre of the film is tough. One this is for certain - if you're a fan of heavy metal, you aren't likely to find another film out there that quite captures the fervor of the music like Through the Never is going to do. That being said - I also can't see this being a huge draw for general audiences so I suspect it won't make that many waves (especially with Gravity taking hold of many of the IMAX screens). But for those who like to rock, this film salutes you.

The weekend should be interesting to see if Cloudy 2 can maintain a hold on families or if the great buzz surrounding Gravity translates to big ticket sales. I'll be back on Sunday with the final results.


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