Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after his brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), Chris is forced back into doing what he does best – running contraband – to settle Andy’s debt. Chris is a legendary smuggler and quickly assembles a crew with the help of his best friend, Sebastian (Ben Foster), for one final run to Panama and back, hoping to return with millions in counterfeit bills. Things quickly fall apart and with only hours to reach the cash, Chris must use his rusty skills to successfully navigate a treacherous criminal network of brutal drug lords, cops and hit men before his wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and sons become their target. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
This should be a solid movie and is generating a good deal of interest. Potential downside: this genre is close to running its course and this could end up being the poor man’s “Departed.” Can we stop using the terrible Boston accent is every one of these movies?
Director: Todd Graff
The small town of Pacashau, Georgia, has fallen on hard times, but the people are counting on the Divinity Church Choir to lift their spirits by winning the National Joyful Noise Competition. The choir has always known how to sing in harmony, but the discord between its two leading ladies now threatens to tear them apart. Their newly appointed director, Vi Rose Hill (Latifah), stubbornly wants to stick with their tried-and-true traditional style, while the fiery G.G. Sparrow (Parton) thinks tried-and-true translates to tired-and-old. Shaking things up even more is the arrival of G.G.’s rebellious grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordan). Randy has an ear for music, but he also has an eye for Vi Rose’s beautiful and talented daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer), and the sparks between the two teenagers are causing even more heat between G.G. and Vi Rose. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
Scene: Hollywood board room. “There’s nothing today’s teens love more than musical theater. Isn’t ‘Glee’ one of our best loved shows? But who can we get to star for minimum pay? The kids love Dolly Parton, right? Book her!” This one might be tolerable if you enjoy this sort of thing.
Director: Roman Polanski
Carnage is a razor sharp, biting comedy centered on parental differences. After two boys duke it out on a playground, the parents of the “victim” invite the parents of the “bully” over to work out their issues. A polite discussion of childrearing soon escalates into verbal warfare, with all four parents revealing their true colors. None of them will escape the carnage. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures Classics)
Not the highlight of Polanski’s career. Despite the impressive cast, the film never actually goes anywhere, with the only highlights being the one-liners traded back and forth. Instead, see the original stage production, “God of Carnage.”
The Iron Lady
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
The Iron Lady is a surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep), the first and only female Prime Minister of The United Kingdom. One of the 20th century’s most famous and influential women, Thatcher came from nowhere to smash through barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male dominated world. (Synopsis by Weinstein)
A completely underwhelming production that only manages to skate by on the strength of Meryl Steep’s performance. Skip it.
Beauty and the Beast 3D
Directors: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ magical classic “Beauty and the Beast” returns to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D(TM), introducing a whole new generation to the Disney classic with stunning new 3D imagery. The film captures the fantastic journey of Belle (voice of Paige O’Hara), a bright and beautiful young woman who’s taken prisoner by a hideous beast (voice of Robby Benson) in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff-a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others-and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince. (Synopsis by Disney)
I usually don’t support a re-release wheeled back out solely for the sake of adding 3D, but this is one of the three big early 90’s classics. Take a kid with you, and remember how great this was.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Bennett Miller
Based on a true story, Moneyball is a movie for anybody who has ever dreamed of taking on the system. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball’s conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It’s more than baseball, it’s a revolution – one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he’s tearing out the heart and soul of the game. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
A surprisingly good movie that made many critics’ Best of 2011 lists. A refreshing take on the sports drama that has garnered comparisons to “The Social Network.”