Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: David Wain
George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) are an overextended, stressed out Manhattan couple. After George is downsized out of his job, they find themselves with only one option: to move in with George’s awful brother in Atlanta. On the way there, George and Linda stumble upon Elysium, an idyllic community populated by colorful characters who embrace a different way of looking at things. Money? It can’t buy happiness. Careers? Who needs them? Clothes? Only if you want them. Is Elysium the fresh start George and Linda need? Or will the change of perspective cause more problems than it solves? (Synopsis by Universal)
This one has a lot of things going for it. Solid director? Comedian David Wain of “The State.” Leading actors? Rudd and Aniston are always good in these types of comedies. While Wain’s last film “Role Models” wasn’t comic gold, it was certainly entertaining.
Act of Valor
Director: Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh
An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs in a film like no other in Hollywood’s history. A fictionalized account of real life Navy SEAL operations, Act of Valor features a gripping story that takes audiences on an adrenaline-fueled, edge-of-their-seat journey. When a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA operative unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat, an elite team of highly trained Navy SEALs must immediately embark on a heart-stopping secret operation, the outcome of which will determine the fate of us all. Act of Valor combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the-minute battlefield technology, and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure film-showcasing the skills, training and tenacity of the greatest action heroes of them all: real Navy SEALs. (Synopsis by Relativity)
While it is an obvious recruitment ad, it also is the COOLEST THING EVER! Will it be any good? Who cares? There was even a plug for GI Joe action figures on the YouTube trailer. Twelve-year-old Mark is absolutely losing his mind over this. Twenty-nine year-old Mark is sneaking mini bottles into the theater.
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
Director: Tyler Perry
A successful, wealthy businessman, Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) has always done what’s expected of him, whether it’s assuming the helm of his father’s company, tolerating his brother’s misbehavior at the office or planning to marry his beautiful but restless fiancée, Natalie (Gabrielle Union). But Wesley is jolted out of his predictable routine when he meets Lindsey (Thandie Newton), a down-on-her-luck single mother who works on the cleaning crew in his office building. When he offers to help her get back on her feet, the chance encounter with someone so far outside his usual circle ignites something in Wesley. This one good deed may finally spark his courage to exchange the life that’s expected of him for the life he’s always really wanted. (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
Tyler Perry is back up to his old tricks again… wait… what? This is a serious movie? It looks like it might be a decent attempt at serious drama (for a Tyler Perry movie)? Tyler isn’t dressed up like a woman? Even Baltimore’s own Aaron MacGruder has taken a shot at Perry for his cross-dressing and pretentiousness. Let’s give him some credit here. At worst this is going to be a paint-by-numbers drama. At best, maybe Perry has found a writing voice that isn’t three octaves higher.
Director: Heitor Dhalia
In the new suspense thriller Gone, Jill Parrish (Amanda Seyfried) comes home from a night shift to discover her sister Molly has been abducted. Jill, who had escaped from a kidnapper a year before, is convinced that the same serial killer has come back for her sister. Afraid that Molly will be dead by sundown, Jill embarks on a heart-pounding chase to find the killer, expose his secrets and save her sister. (Synopsis by Summit)
This does not look like a particularly good movie. Seyfried, who hasn’t made a decent movie since “Mean Girls,” isn’t the strongest choice for a lead part and doesn’t have much to work with here. Yet another fairly generic film that has been done better countless other times. Rent it for a buck in a few months and hope for the best.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Clint Eastwood
J. Edgar explores the public and private life of one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century. As the face of law enforcement in America for almost fifty years, J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Eastwood has a rare miss with a film that is more ponderous than engaging. DiCaprio turns in another tour de force as the lead, but it isn’t enough to save the heavy-handed script. Perhaps the greatest failing is that this biopic doesn’t add much to what you already know about Hoover.
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 Fox Searchlight)
An astonishing first film from Durkin combines the elements of a psychological thriller and an Ingmar Bergan drama. The fragmented memories are slowly brought together leaving you wondering what is real and what is imagined. Both the script and Olsen are guaranteed to make a lasting impression.
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 Site)
A poor man’s “Ocean’s 11” that never quite gives up the laughs it promises. The only bright spot in the comedy comes from Murphy. Unfortunately he doesn’t have enough screen time to save the day. Making it at least topical, it seemed to be simple good timing that this came out as the Occupy Wall Street protests were becoming more vocal. Interestingly enough, director Ratner has his own Wall Street connections of the type that the film rails against.