In Theaters This Weekend: August 31, 2012

Well I guess this weekend unofficially draws an end to the summer movie season. It was a another fun ride that provided a lot of different thrills along the way. As the end of the year approaches, we'll see if any of the big hits from this season stick or not, but as we transition into the fall schedule, here's what you can expect this weekend: "Lawless", "The Possession", "Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure", and, in limited variety, "For a Good Time, Call...". Definitely not the huge draws we've grown accustomed to over the previous months (though last week should be a pretty fresh reminder of the ongoing lackluster schedule), but still I think a few decent titles in that mix.

Hit the jump for a rundown on each, as well as box office projections for the weekend. 

"Lawless" seems like the biggest draw this weekend, and definitely the film I'm looking most forward to. It's not the type of film you necessarily get "excited" for, but the cast looks great, and I just think it will be a well-crafted crime drama. I really enjoy seeing this era on film; it's usually an interesting mix of people trying to be more civilized and elegant and others still trying to be cowboys. It was a crossroads for our country, and the blend of personalities at this time is always interesting to me. The reviews in for the film so far appear to be generally positive, even if not overwhelming. I didn't expect this to blow many people away, but the action and ensemble cast seem to be highlights to most, while the inability for the actors to really open up in the script comes off as an opportunity missed. From a few brief snippets though, it appears that the film is at the very least, entertaining.

John Hillcoat jumps into the director's chair here, who, most notably to me, last directed "The Road" in 2009. Tonally and atmospherically, that movie was fantastic. I enjoyed the visuals he provided quite a bit, too. I think that all of those things should lend themselves well to this picture - or at least I hope he can recreate such aspects.

Unless something drastically changes in the next 24 hours, this will be the film I check out this weekend. I think it will be an enjoyable watch, and almost definitely more of one than any of the other films releasing this weekend.

The other film opening wide this weekend is "The Possession". We just got through one very generic supernatural horror film in "The Apparition" - which has climbed all the way up to a 2% on Rotten Tomatoes - so why do we need another already? Other than a superior cast to what this last film touted, I think the big reason to look for any hope with this film is the inclusion of Sam Raimi in its production. He isn't directing, but it still looks like he could have a noticeable hand in the film. Our own Ben Foutch broke down the film in last week's In Anticipation post, and that does a pretty great job of outlining expectations for the film.

I definitely expect more from this film than last week's laugher,but not a whole lot. Reviews so far aren't looking too positive, though at least it's not at 2%. It seems like people praise the direction, tone, and imagery presented, but are overall just bored of the same generic story being told here; there's only so much more that can be done with this subject.

If you're into the genre, I think you can get away with giving this one a shot. Don't expect the reinvention of the wheel, but it seems like a passable film. I don't expect I make it to the theater for this, but unless I hear terrible things specifically from my colleagues at this site, I'll definitely be giving this a rental on Blu-Ray.

Because it's another wide release this weekend, I'll mention the title, but don't expect any discussion on "Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure". I know literally nothing about this film, but from the poster along it looks like something akin to a Veggie Tales movie. I've heard nothing about it, and don't think it will be anything that ever gets referenced on this site again. I'm not saying anything against the film - it's currently reviewing at an even 50%, which is better than some others I'm discussing -but I just don't see anything here that insists I discuss it. If you have very little ones, they'll probably enjoy the bright colors of the film. For anyone else, well, there's not even a villain; what's the point then?

The last film I'll talk about for the weekend is the independent comedy, "For a Good Time, Call...". I'm not sure what to expect from this film, but I think I'll enjoy it? It only gets its release in a handful of cities this weekend anyway, so most of us don't even have to worry about contemplating a viewing or not, but it's probably one to keep tabs on. I really like Ari Graynor, even though I haven't seen her in very much to-date. I feel like she can probably handle herself in a starring role like this and I'm interested to see how it goes.

The premise, revolving around two girls who start a phone sex business, probably isn't one that I'll have much connection with, but with supporting actors Justin Long and Seth Rogen in the mix, there will probably be entertaining male counterparts presented. The director of the film, Jamie Travis, doesn't inspire much enthusiasm with nothing commercially notable to his name thus far, but for an independent comedy, maybe that's not a bad thing. This is one that probably won't ever hit theaters around here (unless the art house picks it up), so I expect to wait for the DVD release on this film. Reviews have been very respectable so far for a raunchy sex comedy, so that's encouraging. If it hits theaters near you and you have any interest, I'd say go for it. At the very least, this will probably deserve a rental by most of us at some point.

As for the box office numbers - they can't be any worse than last weekend, can they? Our only holdover film that broke the $10MM mark last weekend was "The Expendables 2". Even in the best-case scenarios, there's almost no way it hits that number again, now in its third week. It helps that there's almost no competition, but it still probably won't be too close. And last week's new releases didn't do any better than $6MM, so there's not going to be any real competition there, either.

"Lawless" should make the biggest mark in this weak field; it has the biggest stars, and a story about alcohol and killing. I'm going to go with $12MM-$15MM for the top spot. That's not a very substantial number, but we do have to remember that most all grades are back to school by this point, and that will surely have an effect on total box office dollars (as was probably much of the case last weekend too). "The Possession" can probably hit the $10MM mark, if for nothing other than Sam Raimi's attached name. Genre fans might feel like this is just "The Apparition", part two though, and try to avoid it. Even if it isn't quite able to hit $10MM, it still seems like it should have second place locked up this weekend. Overall, looks like another slow weekend at the theater, but still a few options for those willing to venture out.

That's what we're looking at this weekend. Which film(s) will you be checking out?