Pick of the Litter – May 2017


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

(Disney/Marvel) Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Kurt Russell. The misfits who saved the Galaxy are on yet another quest to save it again. They’ll be picking up some new members in Moondragon as well as old foes Nebula and Yondu. This time they’ll be setting up the next Avengers film as they meet up with Star Lord’s dad – Ego, the Living Planet – and try to foil the ambitions of Thanos who seeks the Infinity Gems for a gantlet that will allow him to rule the Galaxy. May 5

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Last Men in Aleppo

(Grasshopper) Khalid, Subhi, Mahmoud. Three men who founded the White Helmets of Aleppo live day to day in a city under siege. An organization created to save lives and bring hope to a city where there is little of that, the men fight their own worst fears and heartaches to give meaning to their struggle and create examples for their children. This won Best Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. May 3

Mr. Chibbs

(Abramorama) Kenny Anderson, Deidre “Spindarella” Roper, Bobby Hurley, Nate Archibald. Ten years after retiring from a stellar pro basketball career, Anderson has made life a party of drugs, alcohol and sex. Still reeling from the death of his mother, he loses a cherished coaching position and finds that in order to move forward he’s going to have to face his own demons for the first time in his life. May 3

Like Crazy

(Strand) Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Micaela Ramazzotti, Valentina Carnelutti, Sergio Albelli. Donatella and Beatrice both reside in a psychiatric facility in Tuscany for mentally disturbed women. They are both there for entirely different reasons but still they become fast friends. During an educational outing, they are presented an opportunity to escape custody and they take it, beginning an adventure that will take them on a road trip that will disclose their past and realize the beauty in imperfection which could potentially change their lives forever. May 5

Manifesto

(FilmRise) Cate Blanchett, Cate Blanchett, Cate Blanchett, Cate Blanchett. A manifesto is a declaration of intent to change the status quo. The Oscar-winning actress takes on a variety of roles; in each she reads a manifesto against a striking background; some modern, some psychedelic, some futuristic. This is not just art, it’s Art. It also played as a Spotlight Selection at this year’s Florida Film Festival. May 10

The Wall

(Roadside Attractions/Amazon) Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena, Laith Nakli, Spencer Thomas. A sniper pins two American soldiers with a crumbling wall between them. As they soon discover, it’s not just war…to the sniper, it is a deadly game. Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) has concocted an edge of the seat thriller in a wartime setting. May 12

Wakefield

(IFC) Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Garson, Jason O’Mara, Beverly D’Angelo. Howard Wakefield was a responsible husband, loving father and successful lawyer living in a beautiful house in the suburbs. He’s everything he’s supposed to be – until he suffers a nervous breakdown and decides to see what would happen to his family if he removed himself from their lives. He lives in his attic, observing his family and as the days stretch out into months it becomes harder and harder for him to return to the life he once knew, even though he may want to.  May 19

The Commune

(Magnolia) Trine Dyrhholm, Fares Fares, Ulrich Thomsen, Julie Agnete Vang. In the 1970s a group of Danish young people gather in a commune to explore free love and communal living. At first, it’s a gas and the vibe is perfect but as time goes on they begin to clash and the solidarity that existed between them evaporates. This is a new film from Thomas Vinterberg who helmed The Hunt (one of my all-time favorite Florida Film Festival entries) and like that film played at the Florida Film Festival only this year other than a few years back. May 19

Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan

(Abramorama) Wendy Whelan, Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Bryan Brooks. Wendy Whelan is one of the most celebrated ballerinas in the history of American ballet. No single artist has had more ballets written specifically for them than her. However at age 47, she must fight an entirely new battle – against the perceptions of her age and her own injured body. May 24

Long Strange Trip

(Amazon Studios) Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann. Although there have been many concert films of the Grateful Dead, there really hasn’t been a comprehensive documentary about the band – until now. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, the film will get a brief theatrical run before debuting on the Amazon Prime service on June 2. May 26

 

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New Releases for the Week of November 18, 2011


November 18, 2011

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1

(Summit) Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Maggie Grace. Directed by Bill Condon

It’s the beginning of the end of one of the most successful film franchises of the last decade. Few other pop culture items have polarized audiences as much as this. Young girls and their moms are rabid about it to the point of obsession. Young boys and their older brothers hate it with a passion as if the makers of the Twilight series burned their comic book collection or something. In any case, the wedding between Bella and Edward finally takes place, leading to a complication that threatens not only Bella’s life (as always) but also the fragile peace between vampire and werewolf.

See the trailer, clips, interviews, featurettes, promos and web-only content here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Romantic Fantasy

Rating: PG-13 (for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements)

Happy Feet 2

(Warner Brothers) Starring the voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon. Mumble, the dancing penguin from the first movie, now has a son of his own who is finding that he has two left feet. Like his father before him, Erik must now find his own way and his inner muse. However he might not get the chance as forces greater than he could have imagined put their world in peril and all the creatures of Antarctica will have to stand together – or fall separately.

See the trailer and a featurette here.

For more on the movie this is the website

Release formats: Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D

Genre: Animated Feature

Rating: PG (for some rude humor and mild peril)

Like Crazy

(Paramount Vantage) Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Alex Kingston. A British exchange student nearing the end of her student visa falls in love with an American and determines to stay with him, even though it violates the terms of her visa. When she’s caught and deported, the question becomes whether they will drift apart and find other people or if their love is strong enough to keep them together through the roughest of times.

See the trailer and promos here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Romance

Rating: PG-13 (for some sexual content and brief strong language)

The Skin I Live In

(Sony Classics) Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet. After his wife is burned in a terrible car crash, a renowned plastic surgeon searches to create a new artificial skin that might have saved her. The closer he gets to success, the more his quest spirals into obsession with consequences that are unforeseen and just as terrible. This is the new film by Spain’s pre-eminent filmmaker Pedro Almodovar.

See the trailer, clips and a featurette here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Drama

Rating: R (for disturbing violent content including sexual assault, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and language)