New Releases for the Week of February 7, 2014


The Monuments MenTHE MONUMENTS MEN

(Columbia) George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville. Directed by George Clooney

In the waning days of World War II, it became evident that the Nazis weren’t just planning on a final solution regarding Jewish lives but also the culture of Europe as well. Thousands of piece of art, stolen by the Nazis, were going to be destroyed and in the retaking of Europe, thousands of buildings with historical and architectural significance were going to be reduced to rubble. To prevent this from happening, FDR tasked a group of museum curators, artists and architects to saving what they could as time ticked down to the last gasp of the Third Reich. This true story shows that these men, hardly soldiers at all, became soldiers for the saving of humanity’s finest achievements.

See the trailer, featurettes, a promo and a clip here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard (opens Thursday)

Genre: War

Rating: PG-13 (for some images of war violence and historical smoking)

A Fantastic Fear of Everything

(Cinedigm) Simon Pegg, Amara Karan, Clare Higgins, Alan Drake. An author of children’s books decides to make a career change into a crime novelist. While doing research into Victorian-era serial killers for his latest book, his already fragile psyche takes a turn for the worse especially when a Hollywood executive, sniffing out a potential blockbuster, gets involved.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Comedy

Rating: R (for language)

Gloria

(Roadside Attractions) Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernandez, Diego Fontecilla, Fabiola Zamora. A woman approaching middle age still feels young. She hangs out at the social dance clubs of Chile and while she’s lonely, she makes the best of things. Then she meets Rodolfo, a passionate lover who turns her life inside out. The trouble is Rodolfo is a bit of a roller coaster ride, and she must call upon emotional reserves she never knew she had to gather her inner strength to stand up for herself and for the things that will ultimately lead to her own happiness and fulfillment.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Dramedy

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

Hasee Toh Phasee

(Reliance) Sidharth Malhotra, Parineeti Chopra, Adah Sharma, Manoj Joshi. A prospective groom is given seven days to prove himself to a suspicious father of the bride and given the task of installing the mischievous sister of the bride in a hotel. To save money, he installs her in the flat above his own home, putting her in contact with his quirky family. This being Bollywood, they become closer than they intended, fall in love and several musical numbers ensue.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard (opens Thursday)

Genre: Bollywood

Rating: NR

The LEGO Movie

(Warner Brothers) Starring the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman. Emmet, a perfectly ordinary LEGO minifigure is mistaken for a kind of savior and drafted into an epic quest to stop an evil would-be dictator, a task for which he is hopefully and woefully unprepared.

See the trailer, clips and a promo here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Animated Feature

Rating: PG (for mild action and rude humor)

Nurse 3D

(Lionsgate) Paz de la Huerta, Katrina Bowden, Corbin Bleu, Boris Kodjoe. A sadistic nurse who spends her nights luring married men into dangerous liaisons forms a friendship with a young and naive student nurse. But when she spurns her more intimate attentions, the sadistic nurse goes on a bloody rampage.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard, 3D

Genre: Horror

Rating: R (for bloody violence, strong sexual content, language and some graphic nudity)

The Vampire Academy

(Weinstein) Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Gabriel Byrne, Joely Richardson. Two best friends – a princess of the mortal vampires and her half-human, half-vampire protector, must navigate the pitfalls of high school while the half-human must protect her charge from those who would exploit her from within vampire society and the evil immortal vampires who want her dead. From the bestselling young adult book series.

See the trailer, a clip and a featurette here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Teen Horror Comedy

Rating: PG-13 (for violent bloody images, sexual content and language)

Choke


Choke

Sam Rockwell ponders his next role.

(Fox Searchlight) Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Brad William Henke, Kelly Macdonald, Paz de la Huerta, Bijou Phillips, Gillian Jacobs, Clark Gregg, Joel Grey. Directed by Clark Gregg

Author Chuck Palahniuk is best known for the film adapted from his novel, Fight Club. And since rule number one of Fight Club is that we don’t talk about Fight Club, we’ll just have to talk about the second novel of his to be adapted to the film medium.

Victor Mancini (Rockwell) is a sex addict. He attends regular sessions of Sex Addicts Anonymous when he isn’t working his day job as a historical re-enactor for Colonial Williamsburg. He is trying to make ends meet while keeping his mother Ida (Huston) in an expensive medical facility. Never stable to begin with, she has become increasingly more deranged as time goes by. Victor also supplements his income by deliberately choking in high class restaurants and allowing himself to be saved by wealthy diners who then become patrons, as it were.

Victor’s best friend Denny (Henke) also works with him as a re-enactor and has problems connecting with women. Victor has no such problems; he is continually establishing brief and more or less meaningless sexual relationships with women who are more or less interested in the same. However, his life is turned upside down when his mother in a rare lucid moment, confesses that she lied to him about the identity of his true birth father. Victor enlists the aid of a sympathetic attending physician, Dr. Paige Marshall (Macdonald) to assist him to find out from his mother where the hidden identity of his father might be, but he doesn’t count on forming a bond with the good doctor that might just be the key to something more lasting for him. However, when you have a situation where two people continually bend the truth to their own specifications, can they really form a relationship that will endure?

Actor/director Gregg also adapted the source material for the screen, and an ambitious undertaking it was, too. The original Palahniuk novel is densely plotted, with a complicated plot that doesn’t really lend itself to a 90 minute movie. Still, Gregg gives it a game effort and if he doesn’t succeed in every instance, at least you’ve gotta give him an “A” for effort.

Rockwell is the centerpiece here, a genetically unlikable sort who has a wisecrack for every occasion and lives for his next bit of poontang. His name has appeared regularly on the pages of Cinema365 in movies like Snow Angels and Everybody’s Fine and he seems to be willing to tackle offbeat roles of the sort that have been the exclusive hunting ground of guys like Christopher Walken and John Malkovich. Less mannered than either, there is a curious everyman quality to Rockwell even as he tackles roles that are far from every man. Huston is one of those actresses who is often overlooked for some odd reason but in nearly every movie she is in, she shines and she certainly does so here as a mom that would make Jenny Fields from The World According to Garp look like June Cleaver.

There are some very funny moments, some clever dialogue and some genuine poignancy. What we really don’t get is consistency; some of the scenes are really hit or miss and not everything works perfectly. Nonetheless, enough of it hits that it is certainly a recommendation, particularly for those who like their movies on the different side. There is a good deal of sexuality here so those who are offended by that sort of thing should just move along. Those who are not however would not be wasting their time to pick this up at the rental counter.

WHY RENT THIS: Rockwell is well on his way to becoming one of the finest actors of his generation. While Gregg gives the source material his own spin, there is enough Palahniuk to make this worthwhile.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: The movie is often scattershot in an effort to blend the complex elements of the novel into a single, focused film.

FAMILY VALUES: There’s a lot of sex, nudity and language so bluenoses beware!

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Book author Chuck Palahniuk cameos as the man sitting on the plane next to Victor at the end of the movie.

NOTABLE DVD EXTRAS: There is a conversation between Palahniuk and Gregg about the adaptation of novel to film that’s a fascinating look at the process.

FINAL RATING: 6/10

TOMORROW: 2010