The Pirates! Band of Misfits


The Pirates! Band of Misfits

The Pirate Captain is ready to get you shivered, timber-wise.

(2012) Animated Feature (Columbia) Starring the voices of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Lenny Henry, Brian Blessed, Anton Yelchin, Al Roker, Brendan Gleeson, Ashley Jensen. Directed by Peter Lord

 

Pirates tend to be a churlish, loutish lot with bad tempers and bad teeth. Hey, you would be too if you spent most of your time on disease-ridden ships the size of a city bus or smaller with a bunch of evil-smelling, wretched men who are as like to cut your throat as they are to have your back – that is if they aren’t stabbing you in it. Pirates are notoriously unreliable (just ask Cap’n Jack Sparrow).

The Pirate Captain (Grant) is not quite such a bad guy but he’s all pirate. How do you know? He’s got the fattest parrot (okay, just big boned) on the high seas, a shiny cutlass and a luxuriant beard. He’s also got gleaming white teeth, a British accent, a love for shiny booty (no wisecracks) and an even greater love for ham.

What he really longs for is the recognition that comes from the Pirate of the Year award. He has thrown his bullet-holed hat in the ring for it year after year and come up short, usually losing to Black Bellamy (Piven), who knows how to make an entrance. He also has to compete with such fine black-hearted seadogs as Cutlass Liz (Hayek) and Peg Leg Hastings (Henry). Still, with the encouragement of his right arm, the Pirate with a Scarf (Freeman) – note that the pirates on the Pirate Captain’s ship don’t get names – he thinks he has more than a fighting chance until he compares his measly pile of booty next to the mountains of shiny trinkets the others bring in.

Determined to win the prize at last, the Captain takes his crew back out for some intense pirating but with a spectacular lack of success the Pirate Captain begins to lose hope. Urged on by his number two, the Captain makes one final attempt at piracy – on what turns out to be the HMS Beagle, returning from the Galapagos with its passenger Charles Darwin (Tennant) who immediately recognizes the Captain’s parrot Polly for what she really is.

Faced with a new way to acquire the booty he needs the Pirate Captain must sail into the most dangerous waters of all – London, where Queen Victoria (Staunton) with her blind, unreasoning hatred of all things pirate, awaits. It will take all of the Captain’s skill to navigate these perilous seas and come back with the award that he so desperately wants.

Aardman studios, the madmen behind the Wallace and Gromit shorts (some of the funniest animated shorts of the past twenty years) and such features as Chicken Run and Arthur Christmas have returned to the stop motion Claymation animation style they’ve championed for years. There is a certain charm to that particular style, with the jerky movements and Aardman’s trademark toothy smiles that are more square than anything else.

Aardman movies have a distinctly British sense of humor that shares the same roots as Monty Python and the Goons, not to mention more recent varieties such as Ricky Gervais and Russell Brand. There is a quirkiness that is utterly endearing and if there are any references that only Brits would get, they’ve been excised from the American version (oddly, a couple of voice actors were replaced with Americans but the vast majority are the same).

If you didn’t know that was Hugh Grant’s voice you probably wouldn’t believe it. Gone are the trademark stammer (except in one instance) and for the most part Grant affects a deeper, more resonant voice for the Pirate Captain. Staunton does her best to make Queen Victoria sound like an annoyed man but wounds up sounding a bit like Helena Bonham Carter as Belliatrix from the Harry Potter movies. Perhaps that’s intentional.

There are some transitional animations that show the pirate ship on an animated map where they are batted around by a codgerish Neptune and blown off-course by playful cherubs. They also release red discs in the water which show up on the map, in an amusing turn (it looks funnier than it sounds). It’s little details like this that make the film stand out.

And while the silent monkey butler (with flash cards for dialogue) might come off as a bit like pandering to the younger set, the monkey – better known as Mr. Bobo, he’s still no more objectionable than the slugs in Flushed Away who were to my mind some of the best parts of that film. I would have, in fact, liked to have seen more of him.

Gideon Defoe wrote the script based on his own books The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Whaling. The upside of this is that he knows his characters best and adapts them to the screen nicely. If there’s a downside it’s that he must have found it hard to edit himself – the movie is a little bit scattershot and seems to be going in several different directions at once. As a result, the story feels a bit rushed and non-organic at times as it gets pinballed much like the ship does on the map.

However the movie is going to appeal to adults very nicely; surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to have captured the imagination of kids at least here in the States which is kind of odd – pirates usually are a big draw for them. I don’t know if it’s just that Claymation is an acquired taste in this age of CGI, but it’s kind of sad that this isn’t pulling numbers that are consistent with CGI features. Hopefully it will nab itself an Oscar nomination come next year; it’ll have some competition with Brave but quite frankly it compares favorably with the rest of the animated films out there.

REASONS TO GO: Quirky humor we’ve come to expect from Aardman. Plenty of clever recurring jokes (the monkey butler, the animated map).

REASONS TO STAY: A little bit all over the map.

FAMILY VALUES: There is a bit of violence here (they’re pirates after all), a couple of naughty words and a bit of rude humor.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Most of the film is animated with stop motion, but computers were used for some of the backgrounds, particularly sea and sky.

CRITICAL MASS: As of 5/21/12: Rotten Tomatoes: 86% positive reviews. Metacritic: 73/100. The reviews are strongly positive.

COMPARISON SHOPPING: Yellowbeard

CHARLES DARWIN LOVERS: Although the character is pictured as a young man, thanks to some convenient foam there is a shot of him resembling his more iconic old man visage.

FINAL RATING: 6.5/10

NEXT: Where Do We Go Now?

New Releases for the Week of April 27, 2012


April 27, 2012

THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS

(Columbia) Starring the voices of Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Imelda Staunton, Martin Freeman, Jeremy Piven, David Tennant, Brian Blessed, Anton Yelchin, Brendan Gleeson. Directed by Peter Lord

The twisted minds at Aardman Animation, purveyors of the Wallace and Gromit cartoons as well as such features as Arthur Christmas, Chicken Run and Flushed Away take to the high seas for their latest feature. Here, a somewhat inept but enthusiastic Pirate Captain yearns the one prize that has eluded him over his career – the Pirate of the Year award. He must battle fierce rivals such as Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz but also Queen Victoria who wants to eradicate all pirates – forever! What’s a scurvy dog to do?

See the trailer, a featurette and a promo here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard, 3D

Genre: Animated Feature

Rating: PG (for mild action, rude humor and some language)

The Five-Year Engagement

(Universal) Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans. When a young couple gets engaged, the plans for their wedding take up all of their attention. So when she gets a job out of town, they decide to postpone, setting off a chain of events that keep their wedding being put off and put off until their relationship is threatened.

See the trailer and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Rating: R (for sexual content and language throughout)  

Footnote

(Sony Classics) Shlomo Bar Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Alisa Rosen, Alma Zak. A respected Talmudic scholar whose father is bitter at being cast in his son’s shadow and for having his own research passed over for years finally wins the Israel Award, one of the highest honors in the Israeli academic world. However the son discovers that the award was meant for him and not for his father but can’t bring himself to correct the mistake. So he plays along, discovering things about both his father and himself he’d never have guessed at.

See the trailer and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG (for thematic elements, brief nudity, language and smoking)  

The Raven

(Relativity) John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson.  A literate young Baltimore detective discovers that a series of murders seem to have been inspired by the works of an up-and-coming young author – Edgar Allan Poe. The detective enlists the writer to try and get inside the mind of the killer but this only escalates the stakes as Poe’s love is deemed to be the killer’s next target.

See the trailer, interviews, promos, a clip and a featurette here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Thriller

Rating: R (for bloody violence and grisly images)

Safe

(Lionsgate) Jason Statham, Anson Mount, Chris Sarandon, Catherine Chan. A disgraced detective whose meddling into the affairs of the Russian mob got his family killed and a stigma placed on him – that anyone he knows will be murdered by the mob – spies a young Asian girl being threatened by the mob and is moved to intervene. He discovers that the girl has a talent for memorizing long numbers and holds in her mind a number that not only the Russian mob but also the Chinese mob and the police want very badly. It will be up to protect her from the multitude of crooks and crooked cops out to get the two of them and achieve some kind of redemption.

See the trailer and a promo here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Action

Rating: R (for strong violence throughout, and for language)

Tezz

(Eros Entertainment) Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Borman Irani, Phillip Martin Brown. A counter-terrorism expert and a desperate man are pitted against each other on a high speed train rocketing from Glasgow to London. Only one will succeed in their objectives and hundreds of lives hang in the balance.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Thriller

Rating: NR  

Four-Warned: April 2012


April 2012Every 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 RAVEN (1.1)
2. CABIN IN THE WOODS (1.4)
3. SAFE (1.5)
4. THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS (1.8)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)
1. THE LADY (1.3)
2. WE HAVE A POPE (1.5)
3. MONSIEUR LAZHAR (1.6)
4. COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE (1.7)
TIE. MY WAY (1.7)

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

APRIL 4, 2012

TITANIC 3D (Paramount) Genre: Romance. A ship goes down and a lot of people drown yadda yadda yadda. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D). RATING: 3.8 Another cash grab for those suckers who haven’t seen this in a theater or want to see it again.

APRIL 5, 2012

AIR RACERS 3D (3D Entertainment Distribution) Genre: Documentary. A look at the Reno National Championships Air Race, from its history to its most recent running.. Release Strategy: Limited (IMAX 3D). RATING: 3.2 Not my cup of tea.

APRIL 6, 2012

AMERICAN REUNION (Universal) Genre: Sex Comedy. The teens from American Pie are all grown up and return to town for a 15 year high school reunion. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.5 Basically this franchise went off the rails after the first one; I wonder if this one will have any kind of entertainment value beyond watching grown-ups act like horny teens.
THE ASSAULT (Screen Media) Genre: True Life Drama. The story of the hijacking of the 1994 hijacking of Air France flight 8969 and the determined rescue attempt by the elite counter-terrorism unit of the French National Guard. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 Looks like the equivalent of our United 93.
ATM (IFC Midnight) Genre: Thriller. Three co-workers leave a Christmas party to get cash from an ATM which turns into a struggle for survival. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 A locked room thriller with a maniacal killer stalking three innocents – always up for that kind of goodness.
COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE (Wrekin Hill) Genre: Documentary. Morgan Spurlock’s loving and irreverent visit to San Diego Comic-Con 2010. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.7 I’m geeking out over this already.
DAMSELS IN DISTRESS (Sony Classics) Genre: Dramedy. A group of style-obsessed college students take a new girl under their wings until a prospective suitor drives a wedge between all of them. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.4 Sort of a cross between a collegiate sex comedy and a dry martini.
THE HUNTER (Magnolia) Genre: Thriller. A ruthless mercenary hunting a Tasmanian tiger thought to be extinct bonds with a family that is terrorized by the creature. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.4 The trailer was, sad to say, non-impressive to me.
KEYHOLE (Monterey Media) Genre: Drama. A gangster enters his home with the body of a young girl and a bound and gagged teenage boy, protected by his gang which is in disarray, pursued by police and seeking his wife in a house that grows stranger by the moment. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.6 Film noir as filtered through the mind of avant garde Winnipeg-based director Guy Maddin.
PLAYER HATING: A LOVE STORY (Film Fatale) Genre: Documentary. The filmmakers follow Half-a-Mill, a budding rap star from the mean streets of Crown Heights in Brooklyn willing to do whatever it takes to achieve stardom. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.8 Nope. Not interested.
SURVIVING PROGRESS (First Run) Genre: Documentary. Is progress and technology a good thing for society? Release Strategy: New York City (expands April 20). RATING: 2.8 Based on the book A Short History of Progress.
WE HAVE A POPE (Sundance Selects) Genre: Comedy. The newly elected pope suffers from stage fright and must be seen by a psychiatrist. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.5 Look like another sweet, warm-hearted Italian comedy.
WE THE PARTY (Xlrator) Genre: Urban Comedy. Five kids in an ethnically diverse inner-city L.A. High School deal with the pressures of being a teen in the 21st century. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.7 Sort of like a Breakfast Club for Generation RFN.

APRIL 11, 2012

THE LADY (Cohen Media Group) Genre: True Life Drama. Aung San Suu Kyi fights for democracy and peace in Burma against the despotic regime there at the cost of her family. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.3 One of the most compelling stories of our time with one of the most compelling actresses (Michelle Yeoh) of our time starring in it.
POST-MORTEM (Kino Lorber) Genre: Dramedy. A coroner’s assistant trying to woo a stripper is caught up in the 1973 Chilean coup. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.1 The newest from the director of Tony Manero.

APRIL 12, 2012

THE EYE OF THE STORM (Sycamore) Genre: Drama. A dying old woman continues to pull the strings on her family even as they hold vigil at her deathbed. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 A deliciously arch Aussie drama based on the novel by Nobel Laureate Patrick White.

APRIL 13, 2012

BAD ASS (Goldwyn) Genre: Action. A decorated Vietnam vet who becomes a hero 40 years later protecting an elderly black man on a subway looks into the death of a friend that the police are ignoring. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Danny Trejo in the title role – talk about perfect casting!
BLUE LIKE JAZZ (Roadside Attractions) Genre: Drama. A young man brought up by evangelical Christians in Texas experiences culture shock when attending one of the most liberal colleges in the country in the Pacific Northwest. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 Looks a little self-indulgent and arrogant to me – not bad things necessarily.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (Lionsgate) Genre: Horror. A group of friends go to a remote cabin in the woods and bad things happen there. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.4 This is Josh Whedon, man. Anything can happen.
DEADLINE (Freestyle Releasing) Genre: Mystery. An investigative journalist re-opens a case of a murdered African-American boy that was never properly investigated by the police. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Inspired by a true story, and reminds us that racism is still with us.
DETENTION (Goldwyn) Genre: Horror Comedy. A group of kids race to stop a serial killer terrorizing their high school – realizing that he is meant to save the world from destruction later. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 Looks like it could be an interesting mish-mash that has a healthy amount of self-parody.
HERE (Strand) Genre: Romance. A satellite engineer and an expatriate photographer impulsively decide to take a road trip across the more desolate landscapes of Armenia then must decide where they’re going to go from “here” – once they get there. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.4 This is a remake of a 1960 Korean film which is considered to be one of the best movies ever produced from that country.
HIT SO HARD (Well Go/Variance) Genre: Musical Documentary. Among the casualties of the grunge movement is Patty Schemel, former drummer of Hole – this is her story. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.3 A no-punches-pulled look at the effects of drug addiction and rampant out-of-control egos on art and music.
HOW TO GROW A BAND (International Film Circuit) Genre: Musical Documentary. Chris Thile of bluegrass stars Nickel Creek creates a new band that crosses genre lines; the formation of his new group is documented here with unprecedented access. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.0 The music is flat-out amazing.
L!FE HAPPENS (PMK*BNC) Genre: Comedy. A woman who loves to party parties a little too hard and winds up pregnant; her lifestyle is turned on its head but she discovers that parenting has its own rewards. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.3 Looks to be fairly cliche.
LATE BLOOMERS (Olive) Genre: Romantic Comedy. A couple approaching old age react to it in different ways. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.8 Favorite line: “Getting old ain’t for sissies”.
LOCKOUT (FilmDistrict) Genre: Science Fiction. A crack ex-government agent about to be incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit is called into service to rescue the President’s daughter from an orbital maximum security prison that the prisoners have taken over. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.0 Escape from New York much?
MONSIEUR LAZHAR (Music Box) Genre: Dramedy. A middle school class in Montreal is shaken by the death of their well-liked teacher; an Algerian immigrant volunteers to take over and is hired as a substitute, helping the students cope with their grief as they help him to cope with his own. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.6 Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film and deservedly so.
THE THREE STOOGES (20th Century Fox) Genre: Allegedly a Comedy. Three orphans raised by nuns grow up to be Stooges. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.9 It just looks like a bad idea executed badly.
TOUCHBACK (Anchor Bay) Genre: Fantasy. A promising football player who is permanently injured on the winning touchdown of the high school championship gets a chance to do it all over again. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.8 A little bit like It’s a Wonderful Life only without the angels.
WOMAN, THOU ART LOOSED!: ON THE 7TH DAY (Codeblack) Genre: Thriller. When their young child is kidnapped, a couple are forced to confront their own pasts and secrets. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.7 The trailer looks pretty intense.

APRIL 16, 2012

OKI’S MOVIE (Jeonwonsa) Genre: Dramedy. A young woman hikes up a mountain twice a year apart, each time with a different boyfriend which gives her a different perspective both times. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Has been on the festival circuit for two years.

APRIL 20, 2012

CHIMPANZEE (DisneyNature) Genre: Nature Documentary. A young chimpanzee is orphaned in the wild and taken under the wing of the tribe’s alpha male. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.3 Should be one of the most accessible of the DisneyNature films.
DARLING COMPANION (Sony Classics) Genre: Dramedy. A distracted husband loses the family dog at their vacation home, prompting a search and rescue operation that will lead the remaining games on a journey of surprising depth. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton, Richard Jenkins, Dianne Wiest and Sam Shepard head an awesome cast.
DOWNTOWN EXPRESS (International Film Circuit) Genre: Drama. The virtuoso son of an immigrant finds himself torn between the worlds of classical and pop music. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.5 A little bit Jazz Singer but the music sounds terrific.
FIGHTVILLE (MPI) Genre: Documentary. A group of young MMA fighters go all-out for their dream in a small town in Southern Louisiana. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 3.8 Not sure now this stacks up against other TV shows of a similar nature.
GOODBYE FIRST LOVE (IFC) Genre: Romance. The chronicle of the romance between Camille and Sullivan, which began during their childhoods. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 As with most French romance films very sensual and very profound.
JESUS HENRY CHRIST (EOne) Genre: Comedy. A prodigious youngster who was a Petri dish baby goes on a quest to find the sperm donor who helped create him. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 Includes the great Michael Sheen and Toni Collette in the cast; looks pretty good.
THE LUCKY ONE (Warner Brothers) Genre: Romance. A soldier picks up a photograph of a woman in the rubble and is saved by that act; after he is discharged he hunts for the woman in the photo to thank her and discovers that she has far more effect in his life than he first realized. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.8 Yes, it’s a Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation; enjoy it for what it is.
MARLEY (Magnolia) Genre: Musical Documentary. The story of reggae icon Bob Marley whose music still is causing ripples in both the political and social landscape of the world. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 From Academy Award-winning documentarian Kevin Macdonald.
THE MOTH DIARIES (IFC) Genre: Thriller. A bereaved girl at an all-girl’s boarding school suspects that the glamorous new girl is a vampire. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 This has been done before but with Mary Harron directing this could be quite interesting.
MY WAY (PMK*BNC) Genre: War. Bitter boyhood rivals find themselves fighting both against each other and for the same side during World War II. Release Strategy: Limited (Expands May 4). RATING: 1.7 Looks like some absolutely stunning war footage from the trailer.
PENUMBRA (IFC) Genre: Horror. On the day of a solar eclipse, a greedy Argentine businesswoman rents her decrepit family apartment to the wrong guy. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 Looks very Roman Polanski-esque, particularly of his works from the 1960s.
THINK LIKE A MAN (Screen Gems) Genre: Urban Romance. A group of men are startled to find that the objects of their affections have read Steve Harvey’s bestselling book and now know all of their moves. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.6 I can’t say as this looked terribly interesting from the preview.
TO THE ARCTIC 3D (Warner Brothers) Genre: Nature Documentary. Climate changes threaten the polar bear population in the Arctic. Release Strategy: Wide (IMAX). RATING: 3.4 The last IMAX nature doc from Warners was unimpressive.

APRIL 25, 2012

PAYBACK (Zeitgeist) Genre: Documentary. An essay by acclaimed writer Margaret Atwood on the nature of debt is examined in this documentary who uses it to help us understand the changing political and economic reality of our world. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.9 Atwood is one of the greatest minds of the past century; her perspective is one worth looking into.

APRIL 27, 2012

96 MINUTES (ARC Entertainment) Genre: Thriller. Four kids are caught in the maelstrom of a carjacking – not all of them are innocent and not all of them will survive. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.7 Supposedly inspired by true events, the trailer looks like a run-of-the-mill thriller.
BERNIE (Millennium) Genre: Drama. A small Texas town is shocked when one of its most well-liked citizens is arrested for murder. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Also a true story albeit more offbeat; terrific cast includes Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey.
CITIZEN GANGSTER (IFC) Genre: Crime Drama. A World War II veteran is reduced to robbing banks to get by but love and crime make for an explosive concoction. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.6 I’m still kinda wait-and-see based on the trailer.
ELLES (Kino Lorber) Genre: Drama. A young mother working as an investigative journalist for Elle magazine looking into student prostitution finds her perceptions of the world’s oldest profession changing. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Provocative and eye-opening, might offend blue-noses with the portrayal of prostitutes as essentially pragmatic, strong women.
THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT (Universal) Genre: Romantic Comedy. Two people engaged to be married are forced by circumstances to continually push out their wedding date. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.1 Jason Segel and Emily Blunt make an attractive couple.
HEADHUNTERS (Magnolia) Genre: Thriller. A Norwegian headhunter living beyond his means gets in way over his head when he tries to acquire a rare painting from a mercenary by any means necessary. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 Looks like another home run from Norway.
THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS (Columbia) Genre: Animated Feature. A somewhat befuddled pirate vies for the Pirate of the Year award with a crew that is more enthusiastic than competent. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 1.8 The newest animated feature from Aardman looks like a ton of fun.
THE RAVEN (Relativity) Genre: Thriller. A series of murders based on those found in a series of stories force police to call in the author who penned them – Edgar Allen Poe . Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.1 You had me at John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe.
SAFE (Lionsgate) Genre: Action. A former MMA fighter who blew a rigged fight which caused the Russian mafia to decree that anyone who develops a relationship with him will be killed takes a young Chinese girl under his wing that might be the key to his redemption – or death. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.5 Jason Statham is my favorite action star at the moment and this one looks like it could be one of his best.
SOUND OF MY VOICE (Fox Searchlight) Genre: Drama. A husband-wife documentary filmmaking team infiltrate a cult leader’s inner circle with unforeseen results. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 Looks like it could be an early Oscar hopeful from the indie ranks.
WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE (Well Go USA) Genre: War. During World War II an uprising of the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan threaten the invading Japanese hold on the island. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 Actually looks really well-made with some pretty complex action sequences.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES
Lockout, The Lady, Monsieur Lazhar, Chimpanzee, The Lucky One, The Five-Year Engagement, Headhunters, Pirates! Band of Misfits, The Raven, Safe