This week’s movie releases

This week’s movie releases

FILM: VACATION

CAST: ED HELMS, CHRISTINA APPLEGATE, LESLIE MANN, BEVERLY D’ANGELO, CHRIS HEMSWORTH, STEELE STEBBINS, SKYLER GISONDO, CHEVY CHASE

DIRECTOR: JOHN FRANCIS DALEY, JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN

Everybody has fond memories of family vacations, some enjoyable, some…not so much. Like weddings, reunions or funerals, they never go quite the way they are planned. And sometimes they go wrong.

Horribly…hysterically…wrong.

Famous for their own recreational mishaps, the Griswolds, the First Family of vacations, are on the road again in ‘Vacation’. This time, Rusty Griswold is all grown up and in the driver’s seat and, along with his wife and kids, is pushing the envelope more than ever before.

The Griswolds first hit the screen over three decades ago in the classic comedy ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’, giving audiences lasting memories of the disasters that can befall a family on a cross-country road trip. Getting to Walley World, America’s favourite adventure destination, was a hilarious hassle for Clark Griswold, his wife, Ellen, and their bickering kids, Rusty and Audrey. It was also an unforgettable trip for filmgoers around the world and became a major box office success. Over the years, the Griswolds took audiences on a ‘European Vacation’, a ‘Vegas Vacation’, and even shared a ‘Christmas Vacation’ with us, becoming part of the popular cultural fabric.

And now they’re back. A little older, not so wiser. Ed Helms stars as Rusty Griswold, taking the vacation torch from his father, Clark (Chevy Chase), determined to get his own family to the now bigger, better Walley World theme park and getting into even more outrageous situations along the way.

‘Horrible Bosses’ scribes Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley wrote ‘Vacation’, which also marks their feature film directorial debut. Both are die-hard fans of the film franchise, particularly the one that launched it.

“We love ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’; it’s legendary,” Goldstein attests. “We wanted our new take on ‘Vacation’ to work for people who know and love the original, but also for those who may not be familiar with it.”

Daley agrees. “It was important for the new movie to be able to stand on its own while still paying respects to its classic predecessor.”

“The script was so damn funny, contemporary, totally fresh and original, but still in keeping with the comedic values of the original movie,” Helms states, thrilled to join the family. “It was more than an exciting creative opportunity. As far as I’m concerned Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo are comedy royalty, and it’s a privilege to exist not only in the same universe that they brought to life as the Griswolds, but to actually be in this movie with them.”

Christina Applegate stars as Debbie Griswold, the popular sorority girl who married Rusty. Applegate was also enthusiastic about continuing the ‘Vacation’ legacy. “I’m a huge fan of the Griswolds and their saga. We all came on board because of what Beverly and Chevy created,” says Applegate. She was also drawn to what she describes as the directors’ “rapier wit. It’s sharp and smart and yet they are able to write heart. It can’t all be snark; there has to be an emotional thread and it was there, woven into the crazy comedy and mishaps. That was a big plus for me.”

Goldstein and Daley’s instincts convinced Chase and D’Angelo to slip into their familiar characters once again. Having the ones who started it all bless ‘Vacation’ with their presence was worth the price of admission for everyone involved. “It was a dream come true. We were fan-boying the entire time we were directing,” laughs Goldstein.

Chase, who returns as one of the world’s best known – and wackiest – on-screen fathers, now a grandfather, reflects, “There’s something about the optimism in the Griswolds that is relatable. Regardless of everything going wrong that can go wrong, they’re going to get to Walley World or wherever, and that’s where everything’s going to go right. Of course, it doesn’t, but that’s what it’s all about, wanting it to, and it’s those little comic moments along the way that really make it worth the trip. I loved the script and John and Jonathan’s take and was flattered to be invited along,” he continues. “I think this ‘Vacation’ will make people laugh a lot.”

D’Angelo, who returns as Ellen Griwsold, recalls, “It became a kind of phenomenon that has never really gone away. I just think that there’s something about Clark Griswold that struck a familiar chord in people, to make a dream come true against all odds. Somehow I think the Griswold family vacations embody that.

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FILM: DARK PLACES

CAST: Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicholas Hoult, Andrea Roth, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll, Drea De Matteo, Sterling Jerins, Tye Sheridan

DIRECTOR: Gilles Paquet-Brenner

Charlize-Theron-in-Dark-PlSet in a farming town in Kansas, this dramatic thriller follows Libby Day (Charlize Theron), the only surviving witness of a horrific massacre that took her mother and sisters. Believing the slaughter to be the work of a Satanic cult, Libby testifies in court against her own brother. 25 years after the murder, she remains haunted by the gruesome violence of her past when she meets a group of amateur investigators who call themselves ‘The Kill Club’. Looking to satisfy their morbid curiosity, the group begins their own inquiry about the case, believing Libby’s brother is innocent. In order to help them, Libby must unearth painful memories of the event and learn that her past may not be what it seems. As shocking information comes to light, Libby Begins to question her own key testimony and sets out to discover the truth of her tragic past as the present collides with the things she thought she knew as being the truth – revealing another reality entirely.

Theron heads an outstanding cast that brings to life ‘Gone Girl’ author Gillian Flynn’s celebrated story of family, friends, memories and murder.