Dredd


Dredd

The last thing lawbreakers in Mega City One will ever see.

(2012) Science Fiction (Lionsgate) Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris, Warrick Grier, Domhnall Gleeson, Rakie Ayola, Joe Vaz, Scott Sparrow, Nicole Bailey, Langley Kirkwood, Edwin Perry, Karl Thaning, Michele Levin, Luke Tyler, Junior Singo. Directed by Pete Travis

 

As far as dystopian futures go, few have captured one so bleak as the long-running British comic book Judge Dredd. In its 35 year publishing history it has managed to come up with a rich smorgasbord of characters and a well-developed backstory that acts not only as hardcore action sci-fi comic but also as pointed social commentary as well. It was brought to the screen in 1995 with Sylvester Stallone in the lead role; the movie tanked and alienated not only fans of the source material (which it desecrated to be honest) but general movie audiences as well.

The new film is much closer to the tone and look of the comic, which is good news. In the future of Judge Dredd (Urban), most of the planet is an irradiated wasteland with people living in gigantic cities. Mega City One, population 800 million, is the Northeastern Seaboard of the United States, basically from Boston to Washington DC. Gigantic skyscrapers, called “Blocks” act as multi-use facilities (apartments with shopping, restaurants, movie theaters and other entertainment) on steroids.

With that many people in such an enclosed space, the streets are near-anarchy. Crime is rampant and the Department of Justice can only investigate about 6% of it. Doing that are the Judges – a combination of motorcycle cop, detective, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. Judges mete justice on the spot, ranging from imprisonment in iso-cubes to death. In order to do the latter, they have guns coded to their DNA that fire an astonishing array of firepower from normal bullets to stun grenades to incendiary missiles.

Dredd is asked by the Chief Judge (Ayola) to take out rookie Judge Anderson (Thirlby) whose proximity to the radioactive wasteland rendered her psychic – the most powerful one the Department of Justice has ever encountered. Dredd will be responsible for her evaluation, either failing her and washing her out of the program or passing her into the ranks of the Judges. He’s not too keen on doing it – her test scores didn’t make the cut and in the eyes of Dredd (which see things entirely in black and white) a fail is a fail.

Their first call takes them to a low-income block where unemployment is at 96%. Three bodies have plummeted to the ground-floor atrium with predictably messy results. Dredd notices that one of the corpses has signs that he was on slo-mo – a drug that slows down the perception of time to 1% of normal – which to him means that this was not suicide but homicide. They make a raid on an apartment where the stuff is distributed and capture Kay (Harris), a high-end dealer with the intention of bringing him in for questioning.

The tower is actually run by a gang, the Ma-Ma Clan, so-named for their founder Ma-Ma (Headey), an ex-prostitute with a wicked scar on her face. She is solely responsible for the supply of slo-mo for the entire city and while she would have been fine with the Judges killing Kay in a raid (a price of doing business in Ma-Ma’s eyes), she is not fine with Kay giving up details on her operation that will bring the Judges down on her like the apocalypse. So she locks down the building and gives her gang orders to shoot to kill. Now Dredd and Anderson are trapped in a gauntlet where trigger-happy gunmen lurk around every corner and help is not within reach.

Writer Alex Garland has concocted a story that remain true to the action elements of the comic books, it is a little light on the social satire. Dredd in the comic books is a humorless ultra-violent appendage of a fascist society who has no life beyond that of his calling; we rarely see him off-duty and we never see his face (think of it as all Batman and no Bruce Wayne). There is speculation among fans that he sleeps with his helmet on.

Urban captures this perfectly. While we only see the bottom third of his face, his twisted expressions are always grim, his movements deliberate and nearly robotic and his posture arrogant. His belief in the Law is absolute and unyielding; if the sentences are harsh he doesn’t argue with it. Whatever Dredd’s opinions are of his world he keeps to himself; he is the Arm of the Law and the Hammer of Justice. That’s all he really needs.

Anderson has more of a conscience. Having grown up in a low-income block, she feels more empathy for the people who live there. Dredd’s concern throughout the film is that she isn’t tough or ruthless enough to make the hard choices. Thirlby often looks out of place in a Judge’s uniform, being smaller than most of the other Judges in the film, but she pulls off the attitude nicely with a heaping helping of self-doubt.; Anderson herself isn’t sure she’s in the right job. She’s less about the law and more about justice.

The visual of Mega City One is a bit of a mixed bag for me. It looks like a modern 21st century city for the most part with internal combustion engine cars that look not unlike the sedans, coupes and mini-vans of 2012 – while customizing the vehicles a little might have been more expensive, it would have made the visuals more believable. It’s hard to believe that the vehicles of a society 100 years from now would have changed so little in the intervening period.

The slo-mo effects are great however. There is a beauty to them which is a nice juxtaposition to the bleak city and block we see throughout. You can almost understand why the junkies would much rather see the world through slo-mo than the reality of it.

It’s a brutal world but then again a world that crowded would have to be. Still, locking up Dredd and Anderson in an impregnable fortress reminded me of the hit Indonesian action film from earlier this year The Raid: Redemption. While that film had amazing martial arts battles interspersed with the gun fights, there is little beyond using different kinds of weapons here in an endless series of shoot-em-ups once the blast doors close. In that sense, the filmmakers painted themselves into a corner a little bit. Still, the visuals are good, the action is solid and as mindless entertainment the movie succeeds nicely. The audience hasn’t been there for Dredd sadly but hopefully some who gave the movie a miss will reconsider. It’s solid, satisfying entertainment.

REASONS TO GO: Closer to the comic book than the Stallone version. Satisfying visually. Urban and Thirlby make a good team.

REASONS TO STAY: Can be somewhat more brutal than American audiences are used to.

FAMILY VALUES: The violence is pretty intense – people fall from great heights and get shot up pretty good. There’s also plenty of foul language, drug use and just a bit of sexuality.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Karl Urban’s face is always obscured by the helmet; we never see anything other than his mouth, jaw and chin.

CRITICAL MASS: As of 9/30/12: Rotten Tomatoes: 76% positive reviews. Metacritic: 59/100. The movie is getting mixed reviews but leaning towards the positive..

COMPARISON SHOPPING: The Raid: Redemption

CLINT EASTWOOD LOVERS: Urban based his vocal interpretation on Clint Eastwood, which is fitting since the character of Judge Dredd was based on Eastwood’s character in the TV show “Rawhide” – in the comic book Dredd even lives on Rowdy Yates block in reference to the character!

FINAL RATING: 6.5/10

NEXT: Robot & Frank

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New Releases for the Week of September 21, 2012


September 21, 2012DREDD

(Lionsgate) Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Rakie Ayola, Wood Harris, Warrick Grier, Jason Cope, Joe Vaz, Scott Sparrow. Directed by Pete Travis

In the future, the world is divided into irradiated wastelands and vast cities overcrowded and crime-ridden. Justice is dispensed by Judges, a combination street cop, judge, jury and executioner. The most feared of these is Dredd, who with his rookie partner Anderson is tasked with riding the streets of Slo-Mo, a drug that allows users to experience reality at a fraction of its normal speed. However, the drug lord who controls most of it, an ex-prostitute named Ma-Ma doesn’t take too kindly to having her business interrupted and a war erupts that will push even Dredd beyond his limits. Based on the iconic British comic series.

See the trailer, promos and featurettes here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard, 3D

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: R (for strong bloody violence, language, drug use and some sexual content)

10 Years

(Anchor Bay) Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Kate Mara. A group of friends reunite for their 10 year high school reunion. This ensemble piece follows them through the big night to see how they have – and haven’t – changed over the years as their tangled relationships begin to unravel before their very eyes.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG-13 (for language, alcohol abuse, some sexual material and drug use)

End of Watch

(Open Road) Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera. Two cocky young police officers patrol the mean streets of south central Los Angeles, one of the most dangerous areas in the country. They wind up in the crosshairs of a Mexican drug cartel after a routine traffic stop leads them into places they never dreamed they’d be. Only their loyalty and support for one another and the love of their families stands between them and oblivion.

See the trailer and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Crime Drama

Rating: R (for strong violence, some disturbing images, pervasive language including sexual references, and some drug use)

Heroine

(UTV) Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Shahana Goswami. A Bollywood actress, once the best in the business, sees her career go on the decline despite her best efforts to stay on top.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Bollywood

Rating: NR

House at the End of the Street

(Relativity) Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Theriot, Gil Bellows. A newly-divorced mom and her teenage daughter move into a new house hoping to make a fresh start. That is, until they discover that a neighboring home was the scene of a gruesome multiple murder. Things go downhill from there when the daughter develops a relationship with the only survivor of the massacre – and the person responsible for the crime may be back for seconds.

See the trailer, featurettes and a clip here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Horror

Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and terror, thematic elements, language, some teen partying and drug material)

The Master

(Weinstein) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rami Malek. Shortly after the Second World War a down-on-his-luck veteran is ensnared by a charismatic intellectual who has created a faith-based organization to which the vet becomes his right-hand man. However, the ex-soldier begins to see and hear things that cause him to question the faith he has embraced and the man who has become his mentor.

See the trailer and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Drama

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

Trouble With the Curve

(Warner Brothers) Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman. A baseball scout, one of the most respected in the game, is starting to show his age. His eyesight isn’t so good and he wants to go out on top, but his team is questioning his judgment. His only option is to ask his daughter, a bright young lawyer who has grown apart from him as of late, to help him. She puts her career on hold despite her misgivings and her father’s objections to spend some quality time with him and in the process, the two find out some long-held secrets about one another that might tear them apart permanently.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Sports Drama

Rating: PG-13 (for language, sexual references, some thematic material and smoking)

Unconditional

(Harbinger Media Partners) Michael Ealy, Lynn Collins, Bruce McGill, Diego Klattenhoff. When a senseless act of violence takes the husband of a children’s author away from her, she loses her faith and her desire to live. However, an encounter with a couple of kid leads to a reunion with her oldest friend whose compassion and kindness towards the kids in an underprivileged neighborhood leads to new revelations about God’s role in her life.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Christian Drama

Rating: PG-13 (for some violent content and mature thematic elements)

Four-Warned: September 2012


September 2012

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. LOOPER (1.3)
2. DREDD (1.5)
3. TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (1.6)
4. COLD LIGHT OF DAY (1.7)
TIE. RESIDENT EVIL: REDEMPTION (1.7)
TIE. COLD LIGHT OF DAY (1.7)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)
1. HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE (1.4)
2. THE OTHER DREAM TEAM (1.5)
3. BRANDED (1.6)
4. WAR OF THE BUTTONS (1.7)

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

SEPTEMBER 5, 2012

FOR ELLEN (Tribeca) Genre: Drama. A wannabe rock star signs away custody to his six-year-old daughter in a divorce but isn’t sure he can walk away from her just yet. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.7 Could be Paul Dano’s most affecting role yet.
GIRL MODEL (Cinereach) Genre: Documentary. A devastating look at young Russian teen models thrown into the meat grinder of the Japanese modeling scene. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.2 A surprisingly powerful documentary that was screened at this year’s Florida Film Festival. My review can be read here.

SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

BACHELORETTE (Radius) Genre: Sex Comedy. An after-hours party by three bridesmaids on the eve of their friend’s wedding turns into something extraordinary. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.5 Looks kind of like a low-rent Bridesmaids.
BRANDED (Roadside Attractions) Genre: Science Fiction. In a dystopian future, a global corporate conspiracy uses subliminal advertising to keep the population docile. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.6 Looks amazing in a sort of William S. Burroughs meets H.P. Lovecraft kind of way.
THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY (Summit) Genre: Action. A young man vacationing with his family in Spain discovers that his father is a spy when his family is captured and held hostage in exchange for a briefcase his dad might have stolen. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.7 Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver face off; this is what dreams are made of.
DETROPIA (Loki Films) Genre: Documentary. The rise, fall and resurrection of a great American city – Detroit to you and me – is explored. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 While the movie looks at Detroit specifically, this is a microcosm of what all of America is going through.
THE EYE OF THE STORM (Sycamore) Genre: Comedy. The children of an Australian matriarch gather at her bedside as she lays dying, but even in her last days the force of her personality remains undimmed. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.4 Looks rather droll, kind of an Aussie drawing room comedy.
HELLO, I MUST BE GOING (Oscilloscope Laboratories) Genre: Romantic Comedy. A newly divorced woman finds refuge in her parent’s home where she takes up a passionate affair with a 19-year-old actor. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.7 Funny and sexy, you’d almost think it was French.
THE IN-BETWEENERS (Wrekin Hill) Genre: Sex Comedy. Four young British men holiday in Greece for the opportunity of sex, drinking and…oh, more sex. Maybe.. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 If you think American Pie would have been even better with a British accent, this one’s for you.
KEEP THE LIGHTS ON (Music Box) Genre: Drama. Explores the relationship of two gay men starting in the late ’90s and its evolution through turbulent times in the LBGT community. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 Looks powerful and effecting judging on the trailer.
RAAZ 3 (Fox Star) Genre: Supernatural Horror. A fading Bollywood star resorts to black magic to usurp the position of a young starlet and maintain her standing. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 Looks pretty durn scary!
TOYS IN THE ATTIC (Hannover House) Genre: Animated Feature. A group of courageous Cold War-era toys cross international boundaries to rescue one of their own. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Sounds a lot like Toy Story but it’s got an imaginative world all its own.
THE WORDS (CBS) Genre: Drama. A struggling author finally gets the acclaim and fortune for his newest novel; but he didn’t write it and there is one person who knows who did. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.5 A terrific cast but some of the publicity features makes me think the filmmakers are a little too full of themselves.
[REC] 3: GENESIS (Magnet) Genre: Horror. An outbreak of a disease that turns wedding guests into flesh-eating zombie ruins a wedding. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 Somewhere, George A. Romero is smiling.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

FRANCINE (Factory 25) Genre: Drama. A female ex-con settling in a small town substitutes animals for human relationships, with tragic results. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.3 No trailer but with Melissa Leo in the title role, that automatically makes it interesting to me.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2012

10 YEARS (Anchor Bay) Genre: Drama. A ten-year high school reunion sets the stage for a group of classmates to revert to the way they used to be in high school. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 An impressive young cast elevates this above standard The Big Chill wannabe fare.
ARBITRAGE (Roadside Attractions) Genre: Thriller. A billionaire hedge fund manager finds his professional and private lives falling apart. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 Saw this as part of Sundance USA earlier this year; you can read my review here.
BRAWLER (Self-Released) Genre: Action. Two brothers involved in the underground fight scene in New Orleans are set at each other’s throats when one sleeps with the other’s wife. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.6 Supposedly based on a true story but the trailer looks really cheesy.
FINDING NEMO 3D (Disney) Genre: Animated Feature. Clownfish Marlin goes looking for his son in an awe-inspiring undersea 3D world. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D) RATING: 3.8 Yet another Disney 3D cash grab.
LIBERAL ARTS (IFC) Genre: Comedy. A prodigal son returns to college to give a speech at his favorite professor’s retirement dinner only to fall for a comely co-ed. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 Terrific cast (Richard Jenkins, Elizabeth Olsen, Josh Radnor, Allison Janney) but kind of a been there done that plot.
THE MASTER (Weinstein) Genre: Drama. The right hand man of a charismatic leader of a faith-based intellectual organization begins to have doubts about his superior’s motives. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 From director Paul Thomas Anderson, who has some fascination with the subject.
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (Screen Gems) Genre: Horror. Alice takes the fight to the Umbrella Corporation while the T-Virus becomes a global pandemic. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 1.7 The last one might have been the best of the series; this one could be better.
STEP UP TO THE PLATE (CinemaGuild) Genre: Documentary. Legendary master chef Michel Bras passes his 3 Michelin star rated restaurant to his son Sebastian, which doesn’t prove to be as easy as you might think. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.6 I haven’t yet seen a foodie documentary that has really knocked my socks off.
STOLEN (Millennium) Genre: Action. A master thief trying to go straight must come up with $10 million or his kidnapped daughter will die. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 The trailer looked pretty…well, standard.
THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH (Winning Edge) Genre: Drama. A divorced jazz musician finds he has feelings for is ex on the eve of their daughter’s wedding. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 The trailer is quite intriguing; sounds like some real insight to love, loss and adult relationships.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2012

TEARS OF GAZA (Self-Released) Genre: Documentary. A Norwegian documentarian, moved by the 2008 Gaza bombings, takes raw footage from amateur cameramen and cell phones and weaves it into a compelling story as it examines the effects of the Israeli military action on the civilians of the area. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.2 War is easy from an armchair; seeing what becomes of those caught in the crossfire is a whole other story.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2012

17 GIRLS (Strand) Genre: Drama. A group of 17 girls in a small French fishing village decide to get pregnant at the same time. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.7 Based on an incident that happened here in the States.
ABOUT CHERRY (IFC) Genre: Drama. A young girl with a difficult home life is about to graduate high school but winds up supporting herself through making porn movies instead. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 Looks with an unflinching eye at why young women do porn; I wonder if it’s lurid for its own sake or if it has a legitimate story to tell.
BACKWARDS (Required Viewing) Genre: Sports Drama. A driven female rower who quit the sport after not making the Olympic team returns to her high school alma mater to coach the same sport she just left. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.8 Kind of predictable looking judging on the trailer.
DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL (Goldwyn) Genre: Documentary. This is the life of a woman whose stints as editor at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue helped define fashion through the 20th century all the way until now. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.9 Again, I have no interest whatsoever in fashion; someone with a better understanding of it will like this more.
DREDD 3D (Lionsgate) Genre: Science Fiction. In a future when cops are called Judges because they dispense justice (including execution) on the spot, a Judge takes on a corrupt drug lord who is waging war against Mega City One. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 1.5 One of the great comic books of all time may be getting the movie version it deserves.
HEAD GAMES (Variance) Genre: Documentary. Examines the epidemic of concussion in American sports from youth sports to the professionals and it’s devastating impact on the lives of those afflicted by them. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.3 From the director of Hoop Dreams and based on a book from former WWE wrestler and college football star Chris Nowinski comes this chilling look at an injury that destroys lives.
HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (Relativity) Genre: Horror. A mom and her teenage daughter move into a home next door to one where a massacre took place; and of course the daughter falls for the sole survivor of the tragedy. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.6 Stars Jennifer Lawrence which is going to put a lot of butts into seats.
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE (Sundance Selects) Genre: Documentary. The story of how a group of activists with little to no scientific training helped virtually eradicate AIDS as a death sentence. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.4 The trailer is moving and awe-inspiring. Proof that change is possible if we are willing to fight for it.
MY UNCLE RAFAEL (Slater Brothers) Genre: Family Comedy. A reality TV producer inserts a faux Armenian uncle into the home of a dysfunctional family. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.6 It just looks…umm, unconvincing.
THE OTHER SON (Cohen Media Group) Genre: Drama. An Israeli and a Palestinian discover they were switched at birth. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.4 o trailer available as of this writing so can’t really comment on what the film looks like.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Summit) Genre: Teen Drama. A group of shy outcasts band together in high school to form lasting friendships in spite of all the challenges that growing up throws at them. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.2 Based on the Stephen Chbosky best-seller.
THREE STARS (First Run) Genre: Documentary. The daily lives of ten chefs, all of whom have been honored with three Michelin stars at their restaurants. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.1 Sounds intriguing but again, no trailer.
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (Warner Brothers) Genre: Sports Drama. An aging baseball scout losing his eyesight must rely on his daughter to help him evaluate one last prospect. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.6 Clint Eastwood is starring in it? That’s all I need to hear.
UNCONDITIONAL (Harbinger) Genre: Faith Drama. A best-selling children’s author finds her faith sorely tested when her husband is murdered. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 4.0 Inspired by true events, I’m told.
WAR OF THE BUTTONS (Weinstein) Genre: Drama. Two rival gangs from neighboring French villages must band together to save a Jewish girl from the Nazis. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.7 Courage comes in all shapes and sizes.
YOU MAY NOT KISS THE BRIDE (Freestyle) Genre: Romantic Comedy. A pet photographer is forced to marry a mob daughter but when she’s kidnapped on their honeymoon finds himself in the line of fire. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 Could go either way; might be funny, might be forced.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

THE WAITING ROOM (International Film Circuit) Genre: Documentary. One day in the life of a struggling inner city Oakland hospital. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.1 Looks powerful and moving. Why isn’t this playing in the Bay Area?

SEPTEMBER 28, 2012

THE BARRENS (Anchor Bay) Genre: Horror. A man taking his family on a camping trip may be losing his mind – or he may be actually being stalked by the infamous Jersey Devil. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 Kind of cliché but “True Blood” fan fave Stephen Moyer stars and it may well be a lot better than it sounds.
BRINGING UP BOBBY (Self-Released) Genre: Drama. A career con artist must choose between giving up her son or giving him up for a chance at a better life for them both. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Written and directed by actress Famke Jansen and starring Milla Jovovich – actually the trailer looked pretty intriguing.
THE HOLE (Big Air) Genre: Horror. Some teens find a bottomless hole in their basement which once uncovered unleashes the most disturbing of nightmares. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Joe Dante previously directed Gremlins and The Howling and this kind of fits right in with that level of horror.
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (Columbia) Genre: Animated Feature. Into a hotel for monsters run by Count Dracula and his daughter who chafes at his over-protectiveness comes the most scary creature of all – a human. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.3 Looks about as fun as any animated feature so far this year.
LOOPER (Tri-Star) Genre: Science Fiction. In the future, the mob will use time travel to send people they want to erase to assassins called Loopers which works really well until one Looper is given his future self to kill. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.3 A really intriguing premise for a movie.
THE OTHER DREAM TEAM (The Film Arcade) Genre: Sports Documentary. The improbable story of the Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, which went from being part of the Soviet Union to being sentimental favorites and underdog overachievers. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.5 Looks like the kind of movie that will bring a smile to your heart.
SOLOMON KANE (Radius) Genre: Fantasy. A damned 16th century soldier vows to live a life of peace to offset his cruel actions but when a darkness threatens the world he must once more take arms. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 Looks spectacular but has been sitting on the shelf for years which doesn’t inspire confidence.
WON’T BACK DOWN (20th Century Fox) Genre: Drama. A single mom takes it upon herself to improve the educational system in her poverty-stricken area on behalf of her child who is unable to read. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.3 Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, two of the strongest actresses working today, star.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES
The Words, Resident Evil: Retribution, Dredd 3D, End of Watch, Trouble With the Curve, Hotel Transylvania, Looper, Won’t Back Down.