These new releases will be available in stores the week of October 5
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (PG-13) Greg (Thomas Mann) is a high-school senior who’s skilled at distancing himself from others. He’s friendly but has almost no friends. His mom makes him spend time with a classmate, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), because she’s been diagnosed with leukemia. While painfully awkward at first, the two hit it off. Greg introduces her to his only friend, Earl (RJ Cyler), who reveals that he and Greg produce intentionally horrible home movies out of mangled film titles–like “A Sockwork Orange,” made with sock puppets. It’s a clever coming-of-age flick that explores the joys and pains of actually connecting with others.
“When Marnie was Still There” (PG) Anna (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) has never felt like she’s inside “the magic circle” that includes most of humanity. Her foster mother sends her on a summer vacation to a small, coastal town in northern Japan, hoping it will do some good for Anna’s asthma and outlook. Once there, Anna becomes drawn to a supposedly abandoned old mansion, where she meets Marnie (Kiernan Shipka), a mysterious and kind-hearted girl about her own age. What does it mean if your only friend is a ghost?
Studio Ghibli (NR) the Japanese animation studio renowned for some of the most amazing and enchanting hand-drawn movies ever–is on its way out, and it appears this could be the last feature with the name. True to the legacy, this movie reels you in visually, and surprises you with perspective and emotion you wouldn’t expect from a children’s movie.
“We Are Still Here” (R) Not all ghosts are as friendly as the one in the above review. The Sachettis (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) find this out after they move from the city to a dreary town in rural Massachusetts. Right away, it’s a perfect storm for a haunting: young married couple, new in town with emotional baggage, weird standoffish locals and an old house with a surprise gruesome backstory! Also, it’s the late 1970s, so there are no cellphones and everything is 15 percent creepier.
First-time director/writer Ted Geoghegan takes all of that familiar haunted-house stuff and does such a good job with it. The script and direction keep you guessing, and the casting gets the right balance of talents for screams, paranoia, and grim comedy.
“Magic Mike XXL” (R) The oiled muscleman with a dream, Mike Lane (Channing Tatum), gets back in the swing of things for One Last Show. In the last movie, Tatum was a stripper who longed to chase his other passion–making custom furniture. Now his furniture-smithing business is doing OK, but he jumps at the chance to hang with his bros when they come through town on their way to a convention in Myrtle Beach. There’s plenty more bumping and dancing, but this time Matthew McConaughey is out of the line up, so the other musclemen from the back move up and get more development. It’s a silly sequel, but the same sense of self-awareness and earnestness is there.
By Sam Struckhoff
Photo Credit: Anne Marie Fox/Twentieth Century Fox
(c) 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.