What to See This Weekend: March 6, 2015

This week, another YA franchise sequel opens, Pierre Morel aims to do for Sean Penn what he did for Liam Neeson, and zombie rodents are in very limited release.



What's it about? "Divergent" protagonist Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) continues to fight the power in this film adaptation of the popular YA book series. Who the devil made it? Director Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, RED) takes the reins for this installment, bringing cinematographer Florian Ballhaus along for the ride. Editor Nancy Richardson (Warm Bodies) returns to the franchise, but co-editor Stuart Levy (Foxcatcher) is new to the Divergent series. What are the tech specs? It was shot to ARRIRAW with the ARRI Alexa XT rocking Zeiss Master Anamorphics, Angenieux Optimos, and Hawk V-Lite and V-Plus lenses. [IMDb] The DCP is 2K. Is it any good? Rotten Tomatoes: 34%. Metacritic: 42/100. Where's it playing? Everywhere, including some IMAX engagements. Will it make any money? Oh yeah. It made more then $4 million last night, and is gunning for a $60 million opening weekend. 

The Gunman


What's it about? A mercenary sniper (Sean Penn) finds himself on the wrong side of the crosshairs after a high-profile political hit in the Congo. Who the devil made it? Director Pierre Morel is an ex-cinematographer (The Transporter) whose District 13 and Taken stand as two of the most influential 21st-century action movies. Can The Gunman do for Sean Penn what Taken did for Liam Neeson? What are the tech specs? Cinematographer Flavio Martínez Labiano (Non-Stop) shot raw with the ARRI Alexa XT and Red Epic through Panavision C-series lenses. [IMDb.] The DCP is 2K. Is it any good? Rotten Tomatoes: 15%. Metacritic: 38/100. Where's it playing? Everywhere. Will it make any money? Well, the reviews and the R rating won't help; it'll be lucky to take $8 million over the weekend.


What's it about? In the annals of animal-attack horror films, the beaver does not figure as a compelling adversary. However, other animal-attack horror films have not had zombie beavers. Who the devil made it? Director Jordan Rubin's comic cred includes stints writing for The Man ShowCrank Yankers, MTV and an Inception spoof for the Academy Awards. Editor Ed Marx cut Swimming with SharksJeepers Creepers, and a ton of low-budget horror features. What are the tech specs? Online sources indicate DP Jonathan Hall shot with the ARRI Alexa and Angenieux Optimo zooms. HOAX Films was the principal VFX company, but Rubin says the show largely eschewed CG, opting instead for practical beaver puppets from Creature Effects. Is it any good? Maybe! Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 49/100. Where's it playing? Spotty limited release in 10 theaters from coast to coast, including L.A.'s Los Feliz 3 and New York City's AMC Empire 25. Will it make any money? The ludicrous premise, coupled with a cheerfully ridiculous trailer, should attract a small crowd, at least on digital platforms.


L.A. Repertory and Offbeat: Every career has its ups and downs, and you might think that a filmmaker like Steven Spielberg, who's made some of the most commercially successful and critically lauded films of all time — many of them the same movies — would try to forget misfires like 1941, the shambling, uneasy star-studded World War II comedy he made in 1979. Though it at least recovered its costs, the film was a punching bag for critics and has been ungenerously remembered as a flop. Still, 1941 has enjoyed a healthy cult reputation, and growing fan base, over the years. After it was pruned for theatrical release, Spielberg's preferred cut of the film made it to home video, and a recent restoration of that longer version for Blu-ray release led the director to request that the film be once again be made available for exhibition, according to the Los Angeles TimesThis Sunday's screening at the Egyptian Theatre represents the world premiere of the film's "extended edition." Actors Tim Matheson, Nancy Allen and Dianne Kay are slated to attend along with producer Buzz Feitshans, miniatures supervisor Gregory Jein and co-screenwriter Bob Gale.

Trailer NSFW.

New York Repertory and Offbeat: Fans of giallo, that Italian subgenre of often-gory and/or erotic murder mysteries, already know the Anthology Film Archives kicks off its new film series The Killer Must Kill Again!: Giallo Fever, Part 2 this weekend with tonight's screening's of 35mm prints of director Dario Argento's classic thriller Tenebrae and Mario Bava's hugely influential 1971 slasher film A Bay of Blood. Meanwhile, even though we covered the ongoing Required Viewing: Mad Men's Movie Influences film series at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens last week, it's worth pointing out Saturday afternoon's screening of a rare 35mm IB Technicolor print of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, which recently deposed Citizen Kane on top of the influential Sight & Sound critics' poll of the greatest films ever made.