Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Anthony Hemingway
1944. To help win the war, the Pentagon brass has no choice but to consider the untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are about to be shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. These intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country – and the fate of the free world. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
Positives: 1. Lucasfilm is producing. 2. Over two decades in the making. 3. Good source material. Negatives: 1. First time director. 2. George Lucas describes it as “as close as you’ll ever get to [Star Wars] Episode VII.” (We all saw Episode I, George…) Watch seven minutes from the film and decide for yourself.
Director: Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in her lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
A must-see for fans of the series (which actually has three movies, including a very iffy prequel the official synopsis above seems happy to forget). A maybe for those that can get with the vampire/werewolf thing or Kate Beckinsale in leather-clad 3-D.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Director: Stephen Daldry
Oskar (Thomas Horn) is convinced that his father (Tom Hanks), who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has left a final message for him hidden somewhere in the city. Feeling disconnected from his grieving mother (Sandra Bullock) and driven by a relentlessly active mind that refuses to believe in things that can’t be observed, Oskar begins searching New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father’s closet. His journey through the five boroughs takes him beyond his own loss to a greater understanding of the observable world around him. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Two ways to look at this film: either it is a flawed but powerful and cathartic look at a tragedy that touched us all–or it is the first example of 9/11 kitsch filled with sentimental hand-wringing. Here’s to hoping it is hoping it is more of the former.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
This dynamic action-thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh boasts a talented cast that includes Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas, Michael Angarano; and introduces MMA superstar Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, in a demanding lead role that has her performing her own high-adrenaline stunts. Mallory Kane is a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive. (Synopsis by Relativity Media)
This will be the standard for which all action movies in 2012 are going to be judged. The film doesn’t even pretend to dabble in realism, giving it the freedom to streamline the action. More directors should take note.
A Dangerous Method
Director: David Cronenberg
Seduced by the challenge of an impossible case, the driven Dr. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) takes the unbalanced yet beautiful Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) as his patient in A Dangerous Method. Jung’s weapon is the method of his master, the renowned Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Both men fall under Sabina’s spell. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
Like all other Cronenberg films, it is intelligent and daring. A must for fans of the director, but general audiences may find it too dry. Besides, two Fassbender movies in one week? At least he keeps his clothes on this time.
DVD Releases This Week
The Ides of March
Director: George Clooney
The Ides of March takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
While its ultimate message might not be news to some people – or may confirm what we are all thinking – this is a suited up example of the truism of our modern electoral process. It offers a strong performance by Gosling and solid direction by Clooney.
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
Director: Tom Brady
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star is a new comedy starring Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, and Stephen Dorff. Bucky (Swardson) is a small town grocery bagger, going nowhere in life – until he discovers that his conservative parents were once adult film stars! Armed with the belief that he has found his destiny, Bucky packs up and heads out to LA, hoping to follow in his parents’ footsteps. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
Swardson, you are better than this. I would not be surprised in the least if director Tom Brady is actually the one playing the Ravens on Sunday. This is so bad it should come with a pair of Ugg boots.