Four-Warned: December 2013


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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.

Most of the movies will never play theatrically where you live (unless you live in either New York or Los Angeles) but many of those that won’t will be available through Video-on-Demand; check with your local cable or satellite providers to find out if any specific movie is available through that medium.

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. THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (1.0)
2. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (1.2)
3. ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (1.3)
4. SAVING MR. BANKS (1.4)
TIE. THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (1.4)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)
1. THE LAST OF THE UNJUST (1.2)
2. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (1.3)
3. THE LAST DAYS ON MARS (1.4)
4. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (1.6)

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

DECEMBER 4, 2013

BREAKFAST WITH CURTIS (BOND 360/Abramorama) Genre: Comedy. The bad blood between an eccentric Bohemian household and the family next door is slowly dissolved by the making of a video. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Although the trailer posted online is more of a clip, looks fairly interesting.
OUT OF THE FURNACE (Relativity) Genre: Thriller. After his brother returns home from Afghanistan and disappears, a blue collar steel worker decides to take justice into his own hands. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles (opening wide December 6). RATING: 1.9 Terrific cast including Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Forest Whitaker.

DECEMBER 6, 2013

ADVENTURES OF THE PENGUIN KING (Cinedigm) Genre: Documentary. A penguin returns home to find a mate and start a family. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.7 Tim Allen narrates but the unfunny dialogue may make even the little ones cringe.
CRAVE (Phase 4) Genre: Thriller. The dark fantasies of a photographer explode when his relationship with a young woman goes bad. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 Looks a little bit on the avant garde side.
EXPECTING (Tribeca) Genre: Dramedy. When a couple trying unsuccessfully to have a baby discover the wife’s single best friend is pregnant, they insist she moves in with them for the duration – but how will their friendship survive? Release Strategy: Los Angeles only. RATING: 3.1 I like Michelle Monaghan and Radha Mitchell but this looks somewhat forced.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (CBS) Genre: Drama. A young idealistic folk singer from the Village in the 60s struggles against all odds to try to make it in the music business. Release Strategy: Limited (expands December 20). RATING: 1.3 The latest Coen Brothers opus is already being hailed as a surefire Oscar contender.
KHUMBA (Millennium) Genre: Animated Feature. The animals of the Great Karoo, having rejected a half-striped zebra from the herd, must turn to him to save them all. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.0 Kinda cute but kinda done that already.
THE LAST DAYS ON MARS (Magnet) Genre: Science Fiction. The potential of a major scientific discovery prompts a member of a manned mission of Mars to undertake a dangerous and unauthorized mission which leads to catastrophe. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.4 Very much along the lines of the original Alien.
LENNY COOKE (Shopkorn/Brigade) Genre: Documentary. He was a high school basketball player ranked ahead of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony but never played a minute in the NBA; this is his story. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.2 An American cautionary tale.
MERRY CHRISTMAS (Fern) Genre: Comedy. A group of high flying New Yorkers who have watched their fortunes tumble with the stock market spend their holidays at a more modest location complete with a disco-themed murder mystery. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.0 Could be interesting but never saw a trailer.
SEX ACTS (Tribeca) Genre: Drama. A young girl in a new high school tries to become popular by allowing the popular boys to have sex with her but soon finds things spiraling out of control. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Disturbing because it is so realistic.
SWERVE (Cohen Media Group) Genre: Crime Thriller. A good Samaritan’s actions in a terrible car crash have severe repercussions when a crooked cop is involved. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 What looks to be a very good Aussie thriller with lots of twists, turns and betrayals.
TWICE BORN (eOne) Genre: Drama. An Italian professor and her teenage son return to Sarajevo where she met his father. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 Has a bit of a Nicholas Sparks vibe to it.
WHITE REINDEER (IFC) Genre: Dramedy. After the death of her husband, a pretty but shy Realtor gets involved in the swingers scene. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.8 Could be the most subversive Christmas movie ever.

DECEMBER 11, 2013

NUCLEAR NATION (First Run) Genre: Documentary. The effects of the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the tsunami on the residents whose homes and lives were irradiated by the event. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.8 A Japanese cautionary tale.

DECEMBER 13, 2013

AMERICAN HUSTLE (Columbia) Genre: Period Drama. In the 1970s a con artist and his seductive partner are forced to work for a manic FBI agent to take down a Jersey politician with connections to the mob. Release Strategy: Limited (opening wide December 18). RATING: 1.6 Director David O. Russell has had both his last two films nominated for Best Picture Oscars.
THE CRASH REEL (Phase 4) Genre: Documentary. The rivalry between legendary half-pipe snowboarders Shaun White and Kevin Pearce takes a different dimension when Pearce has a life-threatening accident. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 Saw this on HBO and thought it an inspiring documentary about a subject I’m not madly in love with.
HERE COMES THE DEVIL (Magnet) Genre: Horror. When a couple’s young kids return home after disappearing, they realize that the kids have brought something evil back with them. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 Unsettling and creepy; the Spanish know their horror.
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (New Line) Genre: Fantasy. Bilbo, Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield face the dragon Smaug.. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 1.0 I’m still not convinced this trilogy will be as good as The Lord of the Rings but that doesn’t mean I’m not eagerly anticipating the next installment.
HOURS (Pantelion) Genre: Thriller. When Hurricane Katrina hits a New Orleans hospital, a new father and his prematurely delivered baby are cut off from rescue. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 Paul Walker’s not my favorite actor but this might be the movie that changes my mind.
THE LAST OF THE UNJUST (Cohen Media Group) Genre: Documentary. Claude Lantzmann who directed the epic holocaust documentary Shoah has one more tale that he waited 40 years to tell. Release Strategy: Limited (opening wide February 7). RATING: 1.2 The story of Theresienstadt, the “model” concentration camp used in Nazi propaganda and the Jewish elder who co-operated directly with Eichmann.
SAVING MR. BANKS (Disney) Genre: Biographical Drama. Walt Disney attempts to persuade recalcitrant author P.L. Travers to allow him to film her beloved children’s book Mary Poppins. Release Strategy: Limited (opening wide December 20). RATING: 1.4 Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson have waltzed with Oscar in the past; they might do so again this year.
SOME VELVET MORNING (Tribeca) Genre: Drama. When a formerly married man tries to rekindle a romance with an old flame, her refusal leads to obsession and the unearthing of old secrets. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 What is it about Stanley Tucci that I’m willing to see him in just about anything?
TRAP FOR CINDERELLA (IFC Midnight) Genre: Thriller. After a woman loses her memory in the fire that killed her close friend, her attempts to regain her life takes some unexpected twists when nothing proves to be as she remembers it – not even herself. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 This might be a very intense thriller judging from the trailer.
TYLER PERRY’S A MADEA CHRISTMAS (Lionsgate) Genre: Holiday Comedy. A surprise visit to a friend’s daughter in a small town for the Holidays turns into Madea-sized chaos. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.7 I’ve never really been able to connect with the Madea series although I recognize that a lot of people do.

DECEMBER 18, 2013

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (Paramount) Genre: Comedy. The iconic newsman Ron Burgundy joins the first 24-hour cable news network with his news team at his back. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.3 One of the great comedies of the last decade gets a long-awaited sequel.
HER (Warner Brothers) Genre: Sci-Fi Romance. In the near future a heartbroken man falls in love with the voice of an advanced computer operating system. Release Strategy: Limited (opening wide January 10). RATING: 2.5 You can always expect the unexpected from director Spike Jonze.
THE NEW RIJKSMUSEUM (Self-Released) Genre: Documentary. The renovation of Amsterdam’s pre-eminent art museum leads to unexpected challenges, a soaring budget and a triumphant finish. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 One of two documentaries on the 10-year process to finish the museum.

DECEMBER 20, 2013

ALL THE LIGHT IN THE SKY (Factory 25) Genre: Drama. An acclaimed indie actress whose career is being stifled by middle age gets a visit from her niece who also wants to be an actress. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.1 Another selection from the 2013 Florida Film Festival, you can check out my review of it here.
THE PAST (Sony Classics) Genre: Drama. When an Iranian man returns to Paris to finalize his divorce with his estranged wife, his attempts to reconcile her with her teenage daughter lead to painful revelations from their time together. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.0 The director of A Separation and actress Berenice Bejo from The Artist make an intriguing combination.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS (20th Century Fox) Genre: Family. Dinosaurs will be brought to life in this big screen version of the acclaimed television show. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 2.2 Sort of like Disney’s Dinosaur only without the whole extinction thing.
WRONG COPS (IFC) Genre: Sci-Fi Comedy. In a future in which crime has been essentially eradicated, bored cops are what decent citizens should fear most. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.3 From the director of Rubber which I kinda thought was overrated.

DECEMBER 25, 2013

47 RONIN (Universal) Genre: Martial Arts Fantasy. A lone half-breed must lead 47 samurai, betrayed by a treacherous warlord, against deadly warriors, magical creatures and evil wizards. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 1.9 Looks fun but with Keanu Reeves in the lead role might take itself too seriously.
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Weinstein) Genre: Dramedy. Tragedy reunites a group of strong-willed women with the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.6 An all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Benedict Cumberbatch make this an expected Oscar contender.
GRUDGE MATCH (Warner Brothers) Genre: Drama. Two retired boxers resurrect a long-standing grudge to stage the rubber match of their fights – three decades after their last fight. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.7 De Niro and Stallone should prove to be an interesting combination.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (Sony Classics) Genre: Biographical Drama. Charles Dickens had a mistress for the last 13 years of his life; this is her story. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.3 Ralph Fiennes, who also directed this, stars as Dickens.
JUSTIN BIEBER’S BELIEVE (Open Road) Genre: Music Documentary. Biebermania. Still alive? Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 4.0 Haven’t his 15 minutes expired yet?
LONE SURVIVOR (Universal) Genre: War. Four Navy SEALs on a mission to take out a high level al Qaeda operative are ambushed in the rugged Afghan mountains. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles (opening wide January 10). RATING: 1.8 Based on an incredible true story.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (20th Century Fox) Genre: Adventure. A dreamer takes on an incredible adventure to impress a girl. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.4 I’m a big fan of the original James Thurber short story but I understand that this is only loosely based on it.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (Paramount) Genre: Drama. The true story of the rise and fall of an ambitious and ruthless securities broker mirrors the changing forces of Wall Street at the end of the 20th century. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.2 It’s Scorsese and di Caprio so we’re talking Oscar nominations, right?

DECEMBER 27, 2013

ONE CHANCE (Screen Media) Genre: Musical Biography. The true story of Paul Potts, a shop assistant whose incredible performances on a British singing competition show took that country by storm. Release Strategy: Limited (expanding January 10). RATING: 2.9 Think of an operatic Susan Boyle.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES
Inside Llewyn Davis, Out of the Furnace, American Hustle, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Saving Mr. Banks, Her, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Walking with Dinosaurs, 47 Ronin, August: Osage County, Grudge Match, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Wolf of Wall Street, Lone Survivor, One Chance

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Four-Warned: December 2012


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (1.0)
2. DJANGO UNCHAINED (1.1)
3. JACK REACHER (1.5)
4. ZERO DARK THIRTY (1.6)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)
1. ANY DAY NOW (1.1)
2. DEADFALL (1.3)
3. BAD KIDS GO TO HELL (1.7)
4. HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (1.8)
TIE. THE LOVING STORY (1.8)

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

DECEMBER 2, 2012

THE BIG FIX (Green Planet) Genre: Documentary. The aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil spill is looked at with frightening implications. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.0 Possibly as alarming a documentary as you’re likely to see this year.

DECEMBER 7, 2012

BAD KIDS GO TO HELL (Bad Kids Productions) Genre: Thriller. Six students in an exclusive private school are locked in Saturday detention with a killer on the loose. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.7 Based on a comic book…so yes there is a supernatural element – and Farscape’s Ben Browder too.
CHEERFUL WEATHER FOR THE WEDDING (IFC) Genre: Dramedy. A bride-to-be on her wedding day finds herself having to choose between a new life in Argentina with her new husband or running away with an ex-lover. Release Strategy: Limited RATING: 2.9 Looks a bit like low-rent Merchant-Ivory.
DEADFALL (Magnolia) Genre: Thriller. A casino robbery gone wrong leaves two siblings trying to reach the Canadian border in a blizzard, leading to a chilling confrontation at Thanksgiving. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.4 Very tense and gripping with a terrific cast.
DELHI SAFARI (Applied Art) Genre: Animated Feature. A group of animals from an endangered forest go to Delhi to demand answers from the human government as to why they have allowed this to happen. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.6 A Bollywood animated feature only with kind of underwhelming animation.
THE FITZGERALD FAMILY CHRISTMAS (Tribeca) Genre: Dramedy. An Irish working class family is rocked by the reappearance of their estranged father for Christmas 20 years after he walked out on them. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 I’ve always like Edward Burns but this doesn’t look like one of his stronger efforts.
HAPPY NEW YEAR (Self-Released) Genre: Drama. A veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, wounded both physically and psychologically, find solace in a rehab center. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.6 Not sure if this will be compelling drama or same old melodrama.
HELENO (Screen Media) Genre: Biographical Drama. Brazilian-born soccer star Heleno de Freitas becomes one of the first international sports stars but threatens his status with nightclubs, alcohol and women. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.4 One of those “superstar with an illness” films; perhaps the Brazilian Pride of the Yankees.
HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (Focus) Genre: True Life Drama. The visit of the reigning King and Queen of England to FDR’s upstate New York country retreat in 1939 as seen through the eyes of the President’s cousin. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.8 Looks poignant and funny; could be a marvelous film.
IN OUR NATURE (Cinedigm) Genre: Drama. A young man takes his girlfriend up to his family’s vacation home only to have his plans interrupted by the appearance of his estranged dad and his much-younger girlfriend. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 Strong cast, looks like a cut above some of these sorts of films.
LAY THE FAVORITE (Radius) Genre: Comedy. An ex-stripper and cocktail waitress falls in with a professional gambler; when she looks to have skills herself, things get complicated between her, the gambler and the gambler’s wife. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Nice cast and Stephen Frears is the director but trailer looked oddly unexciting.
PLAYING FOR KEEPS (FilmDistrict) Genre: Romantic Comedy. When a former pro soccer star takes over coaching his son’s youth team, his attempts to reconcile with his ex and his plans for a career in sportscasting are imperiled. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.7 Gerard Butler is one of my favorite actors these days.
QUARTET (Weinstein) Genre: Comedy. A benefit concert for a home for retired opera singers is disrupted by the arrival of a diva who refuses to sing for the benefit. Release Strategy: Los Angeles (opening in New York City January 11). RATING: 1.9 Great cast, Dustin Hoffman directing and some very funny British humor; what’s not to like?
THE RABBI’S CAT (GKIDS) Genre: Animated Feature. A rabbi and his talking cat find themselves at the crossroads of French, Arabic and Jewish cultures in Algeria in the 1930s. Release Strategy: New York City (opening in Los Angeles December 14). RATING: 2.5 Looks energetic and a bit saucy.
TCHOUPITOULAS (Oscilloscope Laboratories) Genre: Documentary. Three adolescent brothers journey through the intoxicating nightlife in New Orleans in a single night. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.1 I love New Orleans; the trailer really doesn’t reveal much about the film so it could be either really a waste of time or really capture the spirit of the Crescent City.
WAGNER & ME (First Run) Genre: Documentary. Renowned British actor Stephen Fry, a man of Jewish descent who loves the music of Richard Wagner, tries to reconcile his love for the music with the knowledge that it was appropriated by the Nazis and Adolph Hitler. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.0 Looks like quite a journey and a fascinating one.
WAITING FOR LIGHTNING (Goldwyn) Genre: Documentary. Danny Way emerges from a broken home to become one of the most admired skateboarders in the world – and goes so far as to attempt to jump the Great Wall of China on his board.. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.8 Not. Interested.

DECEMBER 10, 2012

THE LOVING STORY (Icarus) Genre: Documentary. A look back at the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage and the couple that fought for that right. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 1.8 Although it’s already been shown on HBO, it’s a film that is particularly meaningful given the current state of gay marriage.

DECEMBER 12, 2012

CONSUMING SPIRITS (Self-Released) Genre: Animated Feature. When a nun is killed in a car accident, events are set into motion that will affect three people who didn’t know that the others even existed. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.2 A variety of animation styles and a story that seems to meander; either brilliant or pretentious I can’t decide which.

DECEMBER 14, 2012

ANY DAY NOW (Music Box) Genre: Drama. In the 1970s, a gay couple attempts to adopt a child with Down’s syndrome that was abandoned by his mother, setting off a firestorm of legal proceedings and protests to try and prevent the unconventional family from staying together. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.1 The trailer looks incredibly moving; this could be an amazing performance from Alan Cumming.
THE GIRL (Brainstorm Media) Genre: Drama. A little girl gets separated from her illegal alien mother and is found by a Texas woman who goes on a quest to find her mom no matter where the trail might lead. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles (opens in limited release March 2013). RATING: 2.6 No trailer so couldn’t really get an idea how this looks; nice cast though.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (New Line) Genre: Fantasy. The first of three films made from the beloved J.R.R. Tolkein novel that precedes the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 1.0 This is going to be a blockbuster. No doubt about it.
SAVE THE DATE (IFC) Genre: Romantic Comedy. A fiercely independent girl breaks up with her boyfriend on the eve of her best friend’s marriage to the best friend of her ex, all while she’s attempting a new relationship with a rebound guy. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 Looks a bit like it might have indie hipster disease.
STAND-UP GUYS (Roadside Attractions) Genre: Action. A former mobster is released from prison after 28 years of keeping silent. He is picked up by a pair of friends for a night of remember when, not realizing one of them has been ordered to kill him. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles (opening wide February 1). RATING: 2.1 Pacino, Walken and Arkin – who could ask for a better cast?

DECEMBER 19, 2012

AMOUR (Sony Classics) Genre: Drama. The life of a couple in their 80s is thrown upside down when health problems intrude. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 1.9 Not sure where this movie is headed but the last scene in the trailer is marvelous.
THE GUILT TRIP (Paramount) Genre: Comedy. An inventor headed to a crucial meeting impulsively invites his mother along when he realizes how lonely she’s going to be. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.5 Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen as mom and son? Hmmm…
MONSTERS, INC. 3D (Disney) Genre: Animated Feature. Yet another Disney*Pixar classic gets the 3D re-release. Personally I think they should have brought it out a little closer to the release date of Monsters University but who am I to question the wisdom of the Mouse? Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 3.9 I just can’t get behind these cash-generating re-releases except for those who didn’t see the original in theaters and even then I’d recommend the standard version.
ZERO DARK THIRTY (Columbia) Genre: True Life Drama. The manhunt for Osama bin Laden from inside the teams that located him and took him down. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles (Opening wide January 11). RATING: 1.6 Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s follow up to The Hurt Locker.

DECEMBER 21, 2012

BARBARA (Adopt) Genre: Drama. A young doctor attempting to flee East Germany is exiled to a rural hospital and turns to the head physician for solace but she begins to suspect he may be more than he seems. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 Sounds interesting but the trailer is very low-key.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY 3D (Paramount) Genre: Fantasy. An incredible journey through fantastic landscapes with the acrobats of the Cirque du Soliel providing highlights along the way. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 2.0 Looks like it could be rather fantastic with director Andrew Adamson at the helm.
THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit) Genre: True Life Drama. A family separated by the Boxing Day Tsunami in Thailand in 2004 desperately searches for one another in the chaotic aftermath. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 1.9 Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are both very likable and the trailer looks just incredible.
JACK REACHER (Paramount) Genre: Action. Ex-military cop Jack Reacher investigates a friend who’s an ex-Army sniper that is accused of murdering five people with six shots. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.5 I’m not sure Tom Cruise is the right guy for the role but the trailer looks pretty good.
NOT FADE AWAY (Paramount Vantage) Genre: Musical Drama. A group of friends in 1964 New Jersey, inspired by a TV appearance by the Rolling Stones, form a band. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 From David Chase, creator of “The Sopranos” and stars James Gandolfini from that show; what more could you ask?
ON THE ROAD (Sundance Selects) Genre: Drama A young writer is taken on a cross-country journey by a free-spirited Western couple in an attempt to escape conformity. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.3 Based on the classic Jack Kerouac novel but the trailer didn’t connect with me.
THIS IS 40 (Universal) Genre: Comedy. As a couple approaches their 40th birthdays, they begin to re-examine their lives and their goals. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.7 Judd Apatow’s sorta sequel to Knocked Up.

DECEMBER 25, 2012

DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein) Genre: Western. A bounty hunter and a freed slave go up against a sadistic plantation owner. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.1 The latest from Quentin Tarantino looks badass as usual.
LES MISERABLES (Universal) Genre: Musical. A relentless police officer pursues a former prisoner who broke parole in 19th century France as both men struggle through a landscape on the eve of revolution. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.7 Based on the beloved Broadway musical; the cast looks stellar and Anne Hathaway looks like she could get some Oscar consideration for this.
PARENTAL GUIDANCE (20th Century Fox) Genre: Comedy. Two grandparents with old school child raising mentalities are given their grandchildren to watch who have been raised with much more modern methods. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.5 Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei make this extremely appealing.
WEST OF MEMPHIS (Sony Classics) Genre: Documentary. The fight to free the unjustly convicted West Memphis Three is told in documentary form. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 A feature film version is in the works for this incredible story.

DECEMBER 26, 2012

TABU (Adopt) Genre: Drama. A cantankerous elderly Portuguese woman who is gravely ill sends for a former lover nobody in her present life knows about; their tale is told over 50 years through the reflections of her lover. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.1 In black and white, smoldering and sexy.

DECEMBER 28, 2012

ALLEGIANCE (XLrator) Genre: Action. A soldier granted a questionable transfer keeping him transfer to keep him home while his National Guard unit deploys gets embroiled in another soldier’s attempt to go AWOL. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Could be cheesy but could be gripping.
PROMISED LAND (Focus) Genre: Drama. A pair of representatives for a natural gas company try to get the drilling rights for an entire small town hit by hard economic times but run into unexpected resistance . Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles (opens wide January 4). RATING: 2.3 A really good cast includes Matt Damon, Hal Holbrook, John Krasinski and Frances McDormand.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES
Hyde Park on Hudson, Playing for Keeps, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Guilt Trip, Zero Dark Thirty, Jack Reacher, This is 40, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Parental Guidance, Promised Land