The Stephen King adaptation Carrie, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Escape Plan, Julian Assange biopic The Fifth Estate and good-girl-gone-bad film Paradise are new to theaters this week.
A new film adaptation of Stephen King’s first published novel, Carrie stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Montauk’s Julianne Moore. It’s been 35 years since Sissy Spacek and John Travolta broke through in the first adaptation of the story about the disturbed clairvoyant who’s bullied to the point of lashing out and destroying her whole town. The original Carrie is considered a milestone in film history—a big-budget treatment of an essentially trashy horror genre story, and the first of a long series of Stephen King adaptations that have shaped modern notions of horror films. It remains to be seen what this new adaptation can add to this legacy.
For those with all kinds of rage pent up inside and no way to let it out, Escape Plan might help. Sylvester Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a professional prison escapee (what’s so strange about that—he gets paid to escape from prisons) who gets hired to escape from the most high-tech, escape-proof, maximum-security prison in the whole universe. The trouble is, the whole thing was a ruse. You see, somebody just wanted old Sly out of the picture, and now he’s not just professionally interested in escape: if he can’t break out, he’ll be in for life! The BETRAYAL! Fighting for his life and getting revenge is always the sweet spot for Stallone, and it’s usually good for some mindless release for the viewer as well.
The Fifth Estate
The exotic Benedict Cumberbatch plays famed wiki-leaker Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, based on Assange’s internet-based crusades against secrecy and confidential information. A hero to some, a criminal in the eyes of many, Assange embodies a contradiction: secret knowledge may confer unwarranted power on the unworthy, and yet the threat of leaking confidential information confers unwarranted authority on those who threaten to leak. One hopes that this film will avoid painting Assange as a figure of high principles and fail to unpack his less noble motivations.
In Paradise, after surviving a terrible plane crash, a well-behaved, pious young woman (Julianne Hough) is shaken in her faith. She decides to go wild, which naturally entails going to Vegas. There she meets a colorful assortment of characters, played by Octavia Spencer, Russell Brand and others, who help her to experience life. A cocktail napkin list of forbidden pleasures includes drinking, sex, getting a tattoo, consorting with hookers and (yikes!) talking about feelings. Perhaps the film is suggesting that paradise is all around us. If Vegas doesn’t strike you as heaven on earth, perhaps this film will change your mind.