Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Brett Ratner
Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead an all-star cast in Tower Heist, a comedy caper about working stiffs who seek revenge on the Wall Street swindler who stiffed them. After the workers at a luxury Central Park condominium discover the penthouse billionaire has stolen their retirement, they plot the ultimate revenge: a heist to reclaim what he took from them. (Synopsis by the official website)
Early reviews are mixed, with most people leaning toward “not great.” A typical heist movie, already done better in “Ocean’s 11.” Some of the blame probably lies with Eddie Murphy’s superpower of being comedy movie Krytonite. Interesting fact: Murphy can pinpoint the exact moment he stopped being funny to when he accepted the role of Maximillian in “Vampire in Brooklyn.”
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Following years of growing apart, Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) have replaced each other with new friends and are preparing for their respective Yuletide celebrations. But when a mysterious package mistakenly arrives at Kumar’s door on Christmas Eve, his attempt to redirect it to Harold’s house ends with the “high grade” contents-and Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree-going up in smoke. With his in-laws out of the house for the day, Harold decides to cover his tracks, rather than come clean. Reluctantly embarking on another ill-advised journey with Kumar through New York City, their search for the perfect replacement tree takes them through party heaven-and almost blows Christmas Eve sky high. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Is this going to be “White Castle” or “Guantanamo Bay?” As usual, NPH will either make or break this version, one that is dangerously close to jumping the shark. Fans will welcome the new installment with Christmas tidings, but the rest of us will be looking for an alternative.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Director: T. Sean Durkin
Martha Marcy May Marlene is a powerful psychological thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unraveling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha’s reality and delusion begins to blur. (Synopsis by the Fox Searchlight)
A stunner of a thriller starring the other Olsen girl – yes, the twins have a younger sister. This is the only sure bet this week. Reviews are positive and the buzz is high.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: John Lasseter and Brad Lewis
Star racecar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in Cars 2 when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and the stunning spy-in-training Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). (Synopsis by Disney)
What would other be a passable, if average, kids film unfortunately falls short when faced the expectations of Pixar. Outside of your little race fan, there is no reason to rent this lackluster sequel.
Crazy Stupid Love
Director: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
At fortysomething, straight-laced Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the dream-good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart. But when Cal learns that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his “perfect” life quickly unravels. Worse, in today’s single world, Cal, who hasn’t dated in decades, stands out as the epitome of un-smooth. Now spending his free evenings sulking alone at a local bar, the hapless Cal is taken on as wingman and protégé to handsome, thirtysomething player Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Previously reviewed by The Dagger.
Water for Elephants
Director: Francis Lawrence
Based on the acclaimed bestseller, Water for Elephants presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Veterinary school student Jacob meets and falls in love with Marlena, a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. They discover beauty amidst the world of the Big Top, and come together through their compassion for a special elephant. Against all odds — including the wrath of Marlena’s charismatic but dangerous husband, August — Jacob and Marlena find lifelong love. (Synopsis by Fox)
A sweet film that amount to little more than window dressing. While the visuals are stunning, it doesn’t make up for the lack of depth in the screenplay. Skip the film; do yourself a favor and read the book.
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