New Releases for the Week of November 2, 2018


BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

(20TH Century Fox) Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers, Aaron McCusker. Directed by Bryan Singer

This is the story of Queen, one of the most legendary of classic rock bands and their flamboyant lead singer Freddie Mercury. The band would redefine what rock and roll sounded like and looked like, adding an operatic sound and unforgettable live show to the lexicon of rock bands.

See the trailer, interviews, clips, video featurettes and B-roll video here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard, 4DX, Dolby, IMAX, RPX, XD
Genre: Musical Biography
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language)

Beautiful Boy

(Amazon) Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan. David and Nic Sheff, father and son with the father being an acclaimed writer, deal with the heartbreak and hope of drug addiction.

See the trailer, clips, interviews, video featurettes and B-roll video here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: True Life Drama
Now Playing: AMC Altamonte Mall, AMC Disney Springs, Regal Oviedo Marketplace, Regal Winter Park Village, Rialto Spanish Springs Square

Rating: R (for drug content throughout, language and brief sexual material)

Brewmaster

(The Orchard) Jim Koch, Brian Selders, Jen Kimmich, David Geary. The craft beer revolution is in full swing, with four new breweries coming into being every business day. This documentary follows the forces driving what’s happening in craft beer as seen through the eyes of a New York lawyer struggling to open his own brewery and a Milwaukee brewer trying to pass the  difficult test to become the beer equivalent of a sommelier.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Documentary
Now Playing: Enzian Theater (Saturday only)

Rating: NR

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

(Fox Searchlight) Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone. Lee Israel was once a bestselling author of celebrity biographies but as the 80s became the 90s her profiles had fallen out of favor with the reading public. With nobody willing to publish her anymore and the bills piling up, she takes a desperate turn into something not quite legal.

See the trailer and video featurettes here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Biographical Drama
Now Playing: Enzian Theater

Rating: R (for language including some sexual references, and brief drug use)

The Happy Prince

(Sony Classics) Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson. In the last days of Oscar Wilde’s life he takes the opportunity to reflect on his failures and transgressions with his trademark wit. Everett not only stars as Wilde but he also wrote and directed this passion project.

See the trailer and clips here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Biographical Drama
Now Playing: AMC Disney Springs, Daytona Cinematique, Old Mill Playhouse, Regal Oviedo Marketplace, Regal Pointe Orlando, Regal Winter Park Village

Rating: R (for sexual content, graphic nudity, language and brief drug use)

Nobody’s Fool

(Paramount Players) Tiffany Haddish, Tika Sumpter, Whoopi Goldberg, Omari Hardwick. After being released from prison, a wild child connects with her uptight sister to get her own life back together. However she soon finds that her sister’s online boyfriend may not be what he seems at all and that just won’t fly.

See the trailer and video featurettes here.
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Comedy
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: R (for sexual content and language throughout, and for drug material)

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

(Disney) Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley. A young mother desperately wants the key to open a box that contains the last gift her late mother wanted to give her. When she finds it, she is transported to an amazing land of magic and wonder where three realms live in peace and harmony. It’s the fourth realm that is the problem child as the tyrannical Mother Ginger wants to rule the four realms herself. The courageous girl must retrieve her key from the fourth realm if there’s even a chance of her returning home and bringing stability to the four realms.

See the trailer, interviews and video featurettes here.
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard, 3D, DBOX, DBOX 3D, Dolby
Genre: Family Fantasy
Now Playing: Wide Release

Rating: PG (for some mild peril)

Susperia

(Amazon) Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Grace Moretz, Malgosia Bela. A well-known dance company is wreathed in darkness. Some will succumb to madness, but others will find an awakening.

See the trailer, clips, video featurettes, an interview and a music video here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Horror
Now Playing: AMC Altamonte Mall, AMC Disney Springs, Regal Pointe Orlando, Regal The Loop, Regal Winter Park Village

Rating: R (for disturbing content involving ritualistic violence, bloody images and graphic nudity, and for some language including sexual references)

The Viper Club

(Roadside Attractions) Susan Sarandon, Matt Bomer, Edie Falco, Lola Kirke.  When a mother gets word her son, a journalist, has been kidnapped by terrorists, she tries to work through the system to try and get him back only to find that the system isn’t interested in helping. Frustrated, she finds a clandestine network of journalists, philanthropists and activists who are willing to help – but can they?

See the trailer here.
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Drama
Now Playing: Regal Winter Park Village

Rating: R (for language and some disturbing images)

What They Had

(Bleecker Street) Susan Sarandon, Michael Shannon, Blythe Danner, Robert Forster. A woman returns home to Chicago at the urgent summons of her brother. There, they both must deal with their mother’s deteriorating health and their father’s stubborn refusal to put her into a nursing home.

See the trailer, clips, an interview and a video featurette here
For more on the movie this is the website

Release Formats: Standard
Genre: Drama
Now Playing: Regal Winter Park Village, Rialto Spanish Springs Square

Rating: R (for language including a brief sexual reference)

ALSO OPENING IN ORLANDO/DAYTONA:

4 Estrella
In Harm’s Way
Kayamkulam Kochunni
Sayyasachi

ALSO OPENING IN MIAMI/FT. LAUDERDALE:

Bodied
Daughters of the Sexual Revolution
Hopelessly Devout
Monster Party
Sayyasachi

ALSO OPENING IN TAMPA/ST. PETERSBURG:

Daughters of the Sexual Revolution
In Harm’s Way
Monster Party
Sayyasachi

ALSO OPENING IN JACKSONVILLE/ST. AUGUSTINE:

Sayyasachi

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

Beautiful Boy
Bodied
Bohemian Rhapsody
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Nobody’s Fool
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

FILM FESTIVALS TAKING PLACE IN FLORIDA:

Cine-World Film Festival, Sarasota
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood

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Pick of the Litter – October 2018


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Venom

(Columbia) Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, Jenny Slate. A photojournalist is infected with a malevolent alien symbiote whose moral compass doesn’t exactly point in the same direction as the host. However, the two will not only have to co-exist but the human half must allow the symbiote to take over so as to utilize the incredible powers it gives him if he is to stay alive.  October 5

INDEPENDENT PICKS

The Happy Prince

(Sony Classics) Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson. Everett (who also co-wrote and directed this film) stars as Oscar Wilde, one of the greatest English writers of all time and at one time, the toast of London. Known for his biting wit, Wilde ran afoul of the law due to his sexual predilections which in Victorian England were forbidden. This story is about the last days of his life as he views his failures and his troubles with humor and ironic detachment.  October 5

22 July

(Netflix) Thorbjørn Harr, Anders Danielsen Lie, Jon Ølgarden, Jonas Strand Gravli. Oscar-nominated director Paul Greengrass returns with another true story-based film for the streaming giant. The narrative feature documents the terrorist attacks in Norway on July 22, 2011 when a deranged right wing terrorist detonated a bomb in the central government district in Oslo and followed up two hours later by attacking a summer camp run by the ruling party with rifles and handguns. All in all, 69 people (mainly teens and young people) were killed at the camp and an additional eight in the bombing. It was Norway’s deadliest day since World War II.. October 10

Beautiful Boy

(Amazon) Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan. Based on the memoirs of David and Nic Sheff, a loving father and son try to cope with addiction over the course of many years. Carell gives a performance that some are already touting for Oscar recognition. October 12

I Still See You

(Lionsgate) Bella Thorne, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Price-Francis, Richard Harmon. A massive event has caused the deaths of a vast percentage of the population; the dead however continue to be seen as ghosts who while visible cannot communicate or interact with the living. One young woman, struggling to study the phenomenon, becomes the target of a malevolent entity which may be able to reach out and touch the living and not in a good way. Chalk this one up to “an interesting premise.”. October 12

Liyana

(Abramorama) Gcina Mhlophe, Shofela Coker. A teacher in Swaziland assigns five children to write a story about a young girl their age on a quest that reflects their culture. Their story is captured in dazzling animation while the children’s lives are caught in live action documentary. This is a magical union between reality and imagination. October 12

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

(Fox Searchlight) Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone. Lee Israel is an author without an audience. Once a bestselling biographer of celebrities along the lines of Katherine Hepburn and Estee Lauder in the 70s and 80s, she has fallen out of step with public tastes. Desperate for income, she resorts to deception abetted by her loyal friend Jack. File this under “You Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up.” October 19

Mid90s

(A24) Sonny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, Katherine Waterston, Na-Kel Smith. A 13-year old in L.A. during the 90s has to deal with a group of skater friends and a troubled home life. Directed by Jonah Hill, the movie has been getting quite a lot of buzz even before its debut at last month’s Toronto International Film Festival. October 19

 What We Had

(Bleecker Street) Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster, Blythe Danner. With four leads as good as any you’ll see in a single film this year, this Oscar contender stars Swank as a woman who gets an urgent phone all from her brother in the middle of the night. Her mother who has a degenerative Alzheimer’s-like disease is becoming too difficult to manage at home but her father stubbornly refuses to let go of the life they have together.. October 19

Border

(Neon) Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Viktor Åkerblom, Rakel Warmlander. A Swedish customs officer becomes fascinated with the subject she is investigating but the more she finds out about him, the more she realizes that the two of them are linked in a way she couldn’t prepare herself for. The winner of Un Certain Regard at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it is also Sweden’s official submission for the 2019 Foreign Film Oscar. October 26

The Dark

(Dark Sky) Nadia Alexander, Toby Nichols, Karl Marcovics, Margerete Tiesel. Look, it’s Halloween, right? You gotta have a horror film on this list and this film might just be the best  of the bunch. In a stretch of cursed woods, an undead teen girl meets a blind living boy. Both have been the victims of terrifying abuse. They find solace in each other but even in cursed woods the world won’t let them alone. There is some light at the end of the tunnel, but it might take a body count to get there. October 26

Four-Warned: June 2011


Every month I’m going to look at every movie on the release schedule and try to assign them a numerical value corresponding to how anxious I am to see it. The lower the number, the more I want to see it. A one means I would walk through hell and high water to see it; a four means there’s no interest whatsoever. The numbers are not arrived at scientifically but they aren’t arbitrary either.

The numbers aren’t a reflection of the artistic merit of any of these films, but merely a reflection of my willingness to go to a movie theater and see it. The top four scores will be gathered as a means of reflecting the movies I’m anticipating the most; you may use that as a guide or not.

Each entry is broken down as follows:

NAME OF FILM (Studio) Genre A brief description of the plot. Release plans: Wide = Everywhere, Limited = In selected markets. RATING A brief comment

Keep in mind that release dates are extremely subject to change, even at this late date.

FOUR TO SEE
1. GREEN LANTERN (1.0)
2. SUPER 8 (1.3)
3. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (1.5)
4. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (2.3)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)
1. TROLL HUNTER (1.0)
2. BUCK (1.2)
3. IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT (1.6)
4. BEAUTIFUL BOY (1.8)

RATING SYSTEM: 1) Must-see, 2) Should-see, 3) Perhaps-see, 4) Don’t-see

JUNE 3, 2011

BEAUTIFUL BOY (Anchor Bay) Genre: Drama. A family comes to grips with the tragedy of their son shooting up his school before killing himself. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.8 Stars the great Michael Sheen and the trailer is really compelling, by the way.
BEGINNERS (Focus) Genre: Dramedy. A young man comes to grips with the passing of his father through a relationship with a woman whose joie de vivre brings to mind his late dad. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 This is based on the director’s own relationship with his dad.
THE LAST MOUNTAIN (DADA) Genre: Documentary. Activists try to save a West Virginia mountain from being destroyed by a coal mining corporation. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 The trailer looked both intriguing and inspiring.
LOVE, WEDDING, MARRIAGE (IFC) Genre: Romantic Comedy. A high-strung marriage counselor attempts to save her parents’ marriage at the expense of her own. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 A decent cast but Mandy Moore playing high-strung could be too much for my nerves.
MR. NICE (MPI Media Group) Genre: Espionage Comedy – Maybe. The remarkable story of Howard Marks, a man of many hats. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 Don’t know very much about this movie but the cast (including Rhys Ifans and David Thewlis) is strong.
REJOICE AND SHOUT (Magnolia) Genre: Musical Documentary. A glimpse at the more than 200 year history of gospel music from its beginnings as slave songs into the influential celebratory sounds that it has become. Release Strategy: New York City (Opening in Los Angeles June 17). RATING: 3.8 Not really my cup of tea.
SUBMARINE (Weinstein) Genre: Dramedy. A young British adolescent tries to rekindle the romance between his feuding parents while trying to get laid himself. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 One of the more acclaimed movies to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (20th Century Fox) Genre: Superhero. The origin story of Professor X, Magneto and the Xavier School for Gifted Children – the X-Men with an all-new cast. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.5 Kind of flew under the fanboy radar the past year but only now beginning to generate a positive buzz.

JUNE 8, 2011

ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT (Self-Released) Genre: Documentary. An elephant, unhappy performing in a circus, is taken by an understanding owner by various steps back into the wild. Release Strategy: New York City (Opening in Los Angeles June 24). RATING: 3.2 After seeing Water for Elephants, this might be a balance for circus life.

JUNE 10, 2011

BRIDE FLIGHT (Music Box) Genre: Drama. Three women fly to New Zealand from the Netherlands to meet as mail order brides and remain there for 50 years, the lives of all three entwined. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.6 A terrific looking trailer although it sounds a little on the soap opera side.
THE CHAMELEON (LLeju) Genre: Thriller. The return of a kidnapped boy to his home brings more questions than answers and opens up a deeper mystery. Release Strategy: Limited.RATING: 2.9 A great cast (including Ellen Barkin) and the extra added attraction of a true story.
JUDY MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER (Relativity) Genre: Family. A young girl wants to turn her drab and dreary summer into the best ever – with the help of her eccentric aunt. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.9 Even though it has one of my favorite actresses in it (Heather Graham) the trailer looks just hopelessly awful.
JUST LIKE US (Cross Cultural) Genre: Comedy. A documentary about Arabic stand-up comedians from around the world. Release Strategy: New York City, Los Angeles and Washington DC (Expands June 17). RATING: 2.9 It’s always a good time for cross cultural understanding.
ROAD TO NOWHERE (Monterey Media) Genre: Thriller. A filmmaker making a movie about an actual murder casts an actress with a disturbing resemblance to the victim and in doing so opens the door for intrigue and connection to the original crime. Release Strategy: New York City (Opening in Los Angeles June 17). RATING: 3.0 Sounds a bit like the all-time classic thriller Laura.
SUPER 8 (Paramount) Genre: Horror Action. A group of young amateur filmmakers in 1979 capture a train derailment on film and discover there’s more to it than met the eye. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.3 Spielberg and J.J. Abrams; need I say more?
THE TRIP (IFC) Genre: Comedy. Two British comedians go on a road trip to review restaurants and try to make each other laugh. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 A hilarious trailer makes me want to see this much more than I would have ordinarily.
TROLLHUNTER (Magnet) Genre: Found Footage Horror. A group of young Norwegian student filmmakers find and follow a government-sanctioned troll hunter as he hunts down the dangerous creatures. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.0 Saw this at the Florida Film Festival and was completely blown away.
VIVA RIVA! (Music Box) Genre: Crime Drama. A small time African criminal scores a big cache of black market gasoline and unwittingly opens up a big can of worms. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.0 Sounds fascinating…I’m always interested in African cinema.

JUNE 15, 2011

KIDNAPPED (IFC) Genre: Thriller. A dysfunctional family living in an exclusive gated community in Madrid find themselves fighting for their lives when their home is invaded by brutal masked men. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.4 The movie is said to have been filmed in only a few shots, giving it a very real time feel – which seems kind of gimmicky to me.

JUNE 17, 2011

THE ART OF GETTING BY (Fox Searchlight) Genre: Romantic Comedy. A high school senior who has managed to avoid doing any real work his entire life meets a girl who sees more inside him. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 An interesting trailer but not enough to really pique my interest much.
BUCK (IFC) Genre: Documentary. A real-life “horse whisperer” and authentic cowboy is called upon to fix people with horse problems which turn out to be mostly horses with people problems. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.2 The trailer was incredibly moving and makes me hope against all odds that this will play in Orlando.
GREEN LANTERN (Warner Brothers) Genre: Superhero. A brash test pilot is given a powerful ring that he is meant to defend the universe with – assuming he can get his own act together first. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 1.0 I’ve been chomping at the bit to see this movie ever since it was first announced.
MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS (20th Century Fox) Genre: Family Comedy. A house painter with dreams of arctic exploration receives a penguin who multiplies into many whom he trains to performRelease Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.2 Based on an award-winning children’s classic.
. MY AFTERNOONS WITH MARGUERITTE (Cohen) Genre: Comedy. An illiterate handyman is taught how to read by a little old lady, opening his mind to the possibility that he might be an intellectual after all. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 Gerard Depardieu is one of the most charming actors in history.
PAGE ONE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES (Magnolia) Genre: Documentary. As print journalism begins to be supplanted by the internet, the most venerated newspaper in America struggles to survive. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 Raises some very valid questions about the media in the 21st century and beyond.

JUNE 22, 2011

IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT (Oscilloscope) Genre: Documentary. An unprecedented look at the radical ecological terrorist group and one member in particular. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.6 When do the ends justify the means?

JUNE 24, 2011

A BETTER LIFE (Summit) Genre: Drama. A Hispanic father tries to protect his son from the harsh realities of living in an American barrio, all the while fighting to obtain a future better than his own. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.2 A compelling look at the American Dream from the director of About a Boy.
A LITTLE HELP  (Freestyle) Genre: Drama. A woman whose husband dies suddenly is comforted and aided by her mother and sister – and finds herself being drawn to her sister’s husband. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 Sounds a bit soap opera-esque on the surface but the trailer looked pretty interesting.
BAD TEACHER (Columbia) Genre: Comedy. A teacher who hates her job and is just killing time until she can marry a rich substitute teacher discovers an incentive program that will pay her enough for the boob job she needs to snare her prey. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.7 Looks Apatow-esque but not as effortlessly funny.
THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST (Big Indie) Genre: Comedy. A couple moves to New York City to get their five year old daughter into an exclusive private school and uses sexual blackmail and plagiarism to do it. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.6 Neil Patrick Harris is one of my favorite comic actors.
CARS 2 (Disney*Pixar) Genre: Animated Feature. Mater gets mistaken for a superspy while he accompanies Lightning McQueen on an International Grand Prix. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 2.9 Cars was never one of my favorite Pixar releases and this one looks to be one of their weakest movies in a long time.
CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP (Abramorama) Genre: Documentary. During the late night talk show host’s contractually enforced TV/Internet/Radio performance ban following his “Tonight Show” exit, he toured the country with a sometimes angry stand-up act, captured here. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 A very revealing look at a performer not only filling a void in his life but exorcising a few demons in the process.
LEAP YEAR (ANO BISIESTO) (Strand) Genre: Drama. A young journalist in Mexico City embarks in a sado-masochistic affair and in the process leads her down a very dark path. Release Strategy: New York City (Opening in Los Angeles July 1). RATING: 2.4 The prurient interest is appealing but looks to be a film pushing the envelope of Mexican cinema.
NAMES OF THE LOVE (Music Box) Genre: Comedy. A beautiful liberal tries to literally seduce right wing men into seeing things her way. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.7 The kind of political lobbying Bill Clinton would have loved.

JUNE 29, 2011

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (DreamWorks) Genre: Science Fiction. Sam Witwicky discover the Space Race of the ‘60s held a dark secret in regards to the Transformers and their hated Decepticon rivals. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX). RATING: 2.3 Really didn’t like the last installment in the series but must admit the trailers for this one have looked much better.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES
Beginners, X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Green Lantern, A Better Life, Bad Teacher, Cars 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Four-Warned: May 2011


May 2011Every month I’m going to look at every movie on the release schedule and try to assign them a numerical value corresponding to how anxious I am to see it. The lower the number, the more I want to see it. A one means I would walk through hell and high water to see it; a four means there’s no interest whatsoever. The numbers are not arrived at scientifically but they aren’t arbitrary either.
The numbers aren’t a reflection of the artistic merit of any of these films, but merely a reflection of my willingness to go to a movie theater and see it. The top four scores will be gathered as a means of reflecting the movies I’m anticipating the most; you may use that as a guide or not.

Each entry is broken down as follows:

NAME OF FILM (Studio) Genre A brief description of the plot. Release plans: Wide = Everywhere, Limited = In selected markets. RATING A brief comment

Keep in mind that release dates are extremely subject to change, even at this late date.

FOUR TO SEE
1. THOR (1.1)
2. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (1.2)
3. THE HANGOVER PART II (1.6)
4. PRIEST (1.9)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)
1. BEAUTIFUL BOY (1.8)
TIE. THE FIRST GRADER (1.8)
3. THE SILENT HOUSE (LA CASA MUDA) (2.1)
4. THE BIG BANG (2.2)

RATING SYSTEM: 1) Must-see, 2) Should-see, 3) Perhaps-see, 4) Don’t-see

MAY 6, 2011

AN INVISIBLE SIGN (IFC) Genre: Drama. A child who escapes her father’s illness through numbers becomes a math teacher who helps her students escape their own crises. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Although Jessica Alba wasn’t the casting choice I might have made, the trailer looks very intriguing.
THE BEAVER (Summit) Genre: Drama. A man deep in the clutches of depression uses a beaver hand puppet to help save his family, his career and ultimately himself. Release Strategy: Limited (expands wide May 20). RATING: 2.8 Jodie Foster in the director’s chair is always welcome; Mel Gibson in the lead role might not be for some.
DAYDREAM NATION (Anchor Bay) Genre: Drama. A young girl moves into a small town and gets involved with her teacher and a troubled but sweet classmate. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.2 I’m not sure I liked some of the thematic elements displayed in the trailer.
FORKS OVER KNIVES (Monica Beach Media) Genre: Documentary. Claims that most degenerative diseases can be controlled and even eliminated with diet are examined. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.9 The fable that vegetarianism is healthier for you than a balanced diet just won’t go away.
HARVEST (Monterey Media) Genre: Drama. A patriarch gathers his family together in an idyllic shoreline town. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.5 It’s certainly a talented cast and an interesting premise; trailer wasn’t half bad either.
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (Magnet) Genre: Action. A hobo trying to make a better life for himself must take on a criminal gang armed with a shotgun and a lawnmower. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.0 The second movie based on a Grindhouse trailer.
I’M NOT JESUS MOMMY (FilmDemic) Genre: Horror. It is discover that the world’s first cloned child was cloned using DNA from the Shroud of Turin. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 Not sure if this is a standard horror movie or a Christian one.
JUMPING THE BROOM (TriStar) Genre: Urban Romantic Comedy. Two families of different socio-economic strata clash at a Martha’s Vineyard wedding. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.2 Trailer very “been there done that.”
LAST NIGHT (Tribeca) Genre: Drama. A couple separated by a husband’s business trip must face romantic temptation. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.2 A very interesting premise but unfortunately, not a cast to match it.
MAKE BELIEVE (Crowd Starter) Genre: Documentary. The film follows six entrants in the World’s Best Teen Magician in Las Vegas. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.4 Could be interesting; might not be.
MOTHER’S DAY (Gigapix) Genre: Horror. A sadistic mom and her bank robbing sons take control at a birthday party held at their former home, terrorizing the new residents. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.9 I don’t think this has anything to do with the 80s slasher film of the same name.
OCTUBRE (OCTOBER) (New Yorker) Genre: Drama. A small-time criminal in Peru is forced to care for a baby and utilizes a prostitute to help him; the three form an unexpected family of sorts. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 Sounds a little bit like the South African film Tsotsi.
PASSION PLAY (Image) Genre: Fantasy. A jazz musician on the run from a gangster meets a mysterious winged woman in a carnival. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 A cast that includes Bill Murray, Mickey Rourke and Rhys Ifans has got my vote.
THE SILENT HOUSE (LA CASA MUDA) (IFC Midnight) Genre: Horror. A father and daughter renovating a cottage endure terrifying events. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 Filmed in one continuous shot a la Rope, this is reportedly based on actual events.
SOMETHING BORROWED (Warner Brothers) Genre: Romantic Comedy. The maid of honor winds up sleeping with the groom, who happens to be her old flame – and the bride her best friend. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.4 Ginnifer Goodwin is not one of my favorite actresses but Kate Hudson is.
THERE BE DRAGONS (Goldwyn) Genre: Historical Drama. The story of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei is presented in a fictionalized form here. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 A pro-Catholic look at the man who founded the controversial group that has haunted the dreams of Dan Brown.
THOR (Paramount) Genre: Superhero. The God of Thunder is banished to Asgard for unleashing war, only the war follows him down to Earth. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 1.1 A new Marvel movie – must be May!
THE VINTNER’S LUCK (Panorama) Genre: Fantasy. A French peasant winemaker must choose between an aristocratic Baroness, his wife and a fallen angel. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.0 The trailer has elements of the avant garde and the straightforward both.

MAY 11, 2011

CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH (Kino International) Genre: Drama. A dramatization of the Japanese invasion and subjugation of Nanking prior to World War II. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.7 Haven’t seen the trailer yet but still waiting for the definitive “Rape of Nanking” movie.

MAY 13, 2011

THE BIG BANG (Anchor Bay) Genre: Crime Thriller. A bedraggled L.A. gumshoe investigates a case of stolen diamonds that might turn into the end of the world as we know it. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 Film noir with a modern setting and an impressive cast – I like it.
THE BLEEDING HOUSE (Tribeca) Genre: Horror. A family with a violent secret is infiltrated by a sweet-talking young man out for retribution. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Sounds like a psychological thriller with a haunted house title.
BRIDESMAIDS (Universal) Genre: Comedy. A maid of honor attempts to perform her duties with a group of demented bridesmaids and her best friend. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.1 Judd Apatow tries to do for weddings what he did for pregnancy.
CAMERAMAN: THE LIFE AND WORKS OF JACK CARDIFF (Strand) Genre: Documentary. Cardiff was one of the most influential cinematographers of his era, a career that spanned nine of the first ten decades of motion picture history. Release Strategy: New York City (Opening in Los Angeles June 3). RATING: 2.7 Responsible for some of the most memorable motion pictures in history.
EVERYTHING MUST GO (Roadside Attractions) Genre: Dramedy. After being locked out of his house and his possessions thrown out on the lawn by his wife, a man seeks to sell everything and in doing so find release from his demons. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Will Ferrell stars in a role very different than any other he’s ever played.
THE FIRST GRADER (BBC Films) Genre: True Life Drama. When the new government of Kenya offers free education to all, an 84 year old man decides to take advantage of it with unexpected results. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.8 The trailer looked good and the premise is wonderful – and the BBC made it? I’m there.
GO FOR IT! (Lionsgate) Genre: Urban Dance Drama. A young daughter of Mexican immigrants in Chicago is forced to choose between her family, her boyfriend, her dream of becoming a dancer and her future. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 4.0 Fodder for the “So You Think You Can Dance” crowd.
HESHER (Wrekin Hill) Genre: Dramedy. A long-haired drug-using tattooed anarchist falls in with a grieving family and helps turn their lives around. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.0 Terrific cast (Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) makes this worth seeking out.
THE HIGH COST OF LIVING (Tribeca) Genre: Drama. When a drug dealer and a pregnant woman’s lives intersect tragically, the drug dealer becomes an unlikely guardian angel until his past begins to catch up with him. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 Decent cast, a fascinating premise and a terrific trailer equals interested.
HOW TO LIVE FOREVER (Variance) Genre: Documentary. Filmmaker Mark Wexler tackles our society’s obsession with aging and how to prevent it. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.8 Looks more like a social commentary than a primer so be warned.
L’AMOUR FOU (First Film) Genre: Documentary. The story of iconic fashion designer Yves St. Laurent as seen through the eyes of his decades-long life partner. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.6 I simply don’t care that much about fashion although I’m interested enough in his life story that I might actually see this.
PRIEST (Screen Gems) Genre: Sci-Fi Horror. In a future in which man has won a war with the vampires, a warrior priest discovers that a new army is being built and he must defy the Church to stop it. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 1.9 If it sounds like a graphic novel it’s because it’s based on one.
SKATELAND (Freestyle Releasing) Genre: Drama. Texas teens deal with alcohol, difficult home lives and the closing of their roller rink hangout in the early 80s. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.1 Too many films have mined this era lately.
THE TOPP TWINS: UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS (Argot) Genre: Documentary. A look at the world’s only singing, yodeling lesbian twin sisters whose political activism helped change New Zealand’s social landscape. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.0 They aren’t well known here in the U.S. so this is certainly a learning opportunity.
TRUE LEGEND (Indomina) Genre: Martial Arts. When his power-made brother returns home from war with a deadly weapon, a man must learn a new way to fight in order to survive. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 One of David Carradine’s last movies, directed by the fight choreographer of The Matrix.

MAY 18, 2011

LOUDER THAN A BOMB (Balcony) Genre: Documentary. Follows six Chicago-area poetry teams as they enter a prestigious poetry slam for teens. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.8 The art form doesn’t really do much for me, although I recognize that there is talent involved here.

MAY 20, 2011

35 AND TICKING (Image) Genre: Romantic Comedy. Four friends come to grips with turning 35 as their biological clocks tick away. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 Not a lot of information available about this movie.
BEAUTIFUL BOY (Anchor Bay) Genre: Drama. A family comes to grips with the tragedy of their son shooting up his school before killing himself. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.8 Stars the great Michael Sheen and the trailer is really compelling, by the way.
BLOODWORTH (Goldwyn) Genre: Drama. A country legend must come to grips with his family after having abandoned them 40 years earlier for a life on the road. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.7 Sounds a little bit too much like Crazy Heart.
THE LION OF JUDAH (Animated Family Films) Genre: Animated Feature. A family film revolving around Biblical themes. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 4.0 Not my cup of tea.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (Sony Classics) Genre: Romantic Comedy. A family takes a trip to Paris revolving around business and finds their lives changing because of it. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.6 The latest from director Woody Allen and his first in France.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (Disney) Genre: Action. Captain Jack Sparrow seeks the Fountain of Youth with Blackbeard in hot pursuit. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 1.2 New director, new supporting cast but same old Jack.

MAY 26, 2011

THE HANGOVER PART II (Warner Brothers) Genre: Comedy. More lost weekend hi-jinx, this time in Thailand. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.6 One has to wonder if they will be able to capture lightning in a bottle twice.
KUNG FU PANDA 2 (DreamWorks) Genre: Animated Feature. Po and the Furious Five must defend Kung Fu against a terrible weapon that threatens to wipe out their way of life. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 2.3 The first film was one of my favorites to come out of the DreamWorks Animation factory.

MAY 27, 2011

TIED TO A CHAIR (Process Studio Theater) Genre: Comedy. A housewife decides to return to her acting career and is embroiled in a series of increasingly dangerous mishaps. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.7 Quite frankly, the trailer looked amateurish.
THE TREE OF LIFE (Fox Searchlight) Genre: Drama. A man reconciles his relationship with his father over a 50 year timespan as he seeks out the origins of all life. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 The latest from director Terrene Malick stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES
The Beaver, Thor, Something Borrowed, Bridesmaids, Priest, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Tree of Life