Best New Movie Bets: August 8 | 'About Alex' & more!

Best New Bet: "The Maid’s Room"

In 2002 Paula Garces made a memorable impression in the sci-fi adventure movie “Clockstoppers” playing Jesse Bradford’s love interest. Now, 12 years later she takes the lead in this dramatic thriller about a maid who starts working for a wealthy family over the summer and becomes privy to the suspicion that the son might be hiding a lethal secret. Suspense thrillers are currently a rarely produced genre so when one is released there is always a jolt of excitement.

Intrigue set amidst the privilege of the Hamptons might not be a new idea (look no further than ABC’s “Revenge”) however “The Maid’s Room” is offering a glimpse at something a tad dissimilar in its narrative. As the lead character, Drina (Garces), finds herself fighting a battle without the assistance of outside reinforcements. It should be compelling to watch, as she must solely rely on her ingenuity to get out of the precarious scenario.

Also Opening

An incredible close-second for Best New Bet, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” stars Helen Mirren as the owner of a fancy French eatery who gets some competition when the Kadam family opens up a restaurant close by.

Directed by Lasse Halstrom and with music by A.R. Rahman (who did the Oscar winning score for “Slumdog Millionaire”) the movie boasts a bevy of creative support. Manish Dayal, who made a standout run on the CW’s now defunct “90210” as Raj, co-stars as the Kadam’s son Hassan. “The Hundred-Foot Journey” offers movie-goers a cinematic dish served from the heart.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and Donatello are back and this time they are in CGI form. As entertaining as the original movies were in the 90’s this latest attempt to reboot the franchise already faces an uphill battle by mixing animation with live-action. For adults it’s a nostalgic blast from the past and a reminder that Hollywood no longer tackles extraordinary characters with a real world approach.
One of two hipster dramas hitting theaters this weekend (“About Alex” being the other), “What If” tells the story of a friendship between the romantically disenchanted Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) and the in-a-relationship Chantry (Zoe Kazan). So the question becomes, will they gamble their connection as best friends to take it to the next level? Directed by Michael Dowse, whose previous film was the raunchy but heartfelt “Goon”, it will be interesting to see how he tackles the hipster plight of this rom-com.

“Step Up All In”, the latest installment in the “Step Up” franchise offers up more dance numbers as it continues to distance itself from the stripped down appeal of the original. “Into the Storm” is a summer disaster movie that features nature wreaking havoc on the world. The trailer appeared to be attempting to dethrone the 90’s classic “Twister” with the force of gale force winds.

In the millennial version of “The Big Chill”, “About Alex” exchanges yuppies for hipsters as a group of friends come to the aid of their friend, the titular Alex (Jason Ritter) who has survived a suicide attempt. Featuring a cast of Hollywood’s promising 30-ish crowd, the normally comedic Aubrey Plaza will be taking a shot at drama and given her subtle performance in “Safety Not Guaranteed” there’s a strong indication she could shine in the role.

Alternative Viewing: If you can’t make it to see “Into the Storm” this weekend, check out “Night of the Twisters”. The Family Channel threw the gauntlet down with their original movie back in 1996. Simple, effective and sans a tremendous budget, it managed to get across the message of how terrifying storms can be.