Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Tarsem Singh
One of the most beloved stories of all time is coming to life in the motion picture event for the whole family, Mirror Mirror. A fresh and funny retelling of the Snow White legend, Mirror Mirror features breakout star Lily Collins as Snow White, a princess in exile, and Julia Roberts as the evil Queen who ruthlessly rules her captured kingdom. Seven courageous rebel dwarfs join forces with Snow White as she fights to reclaim her birthright and win her Prince in this magical comedy filled with jealousy, romance, and betrayal that will capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences the world over. The film also stars Armie Hammer as the Prince, and Nathan Lane as the hapless and bungling servant to the Queen. (Synopsis by Relativity)
Check out my review on The Dagger later this week.
Wrath of the Titans
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus-the demigod son of Zeus-is attempting to live a quieter life as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year old son, Helius. Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and the Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. Perseus cannot ignore his true calling when Hades, along with Zeus’ godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramírez), switch loyalty and make a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titans’ strength grows stronger as Zeus’ remaining godly powers are siphoned. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Measuring up to be as pedestrian as its predecessor, this is most likely only going to be enjoyed by fans of the first remake. Producers understandably want to update these films for a modern audience. However, updating increasingly seems to mean adding more CGI and less actual storytelling. If “Winnie the Pooh” can get away with classical animation, then can’t they at least throw us a stop-motion owl in this film?
Director: Joseph Cedar
Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik are both eccentric professors, who have dedicated their lives to their work in Talmudic Studies. The father, Eliezer, is a stubborn purist who fears the establishment and has never been recognized for his work. While his son, Uriel, is an up-and-coming star in the field, who appears to feed on accolades, endlessly seeking recognition. Then one day, the tables turn. When Eliezer learns that he is to be awarded the Israel Prize, the most valuable honor for scholarship in the country, his vanity and desperate need for validation are exposed. His son Uriel, meanwhile, is thrilled to see his father’s achievements finally recognized but, in a darkly funny twist, is forced to choose between the advancement of his own career and his father’s. Will he sabotage his father’s glory? (Synopsis by Sony Pictures Classic)
A clever film that celebrates the comedy of frustration with innovative camerawork and indie graphic stylization. What could easily become a downer of a drama is kept afloat with the absurd comedy of a family rivalry. Nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film—and for good reason.
DVD Releases This Week
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 Classic)
Accessible is not a term usually reserved for Cronenberg’s work. Bogged down at points by heavy dialog, many viewers are not going to have the patience to make it to the end. However, the performances are exceptional and Cronenberg succeeds in carefully crafting a drama. Overall this one is worth seeing, but expect the typical Cronenberg experience.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Director: Mike Mitchell
The vacationing Chipmunks and Chipettes are turning a luxury cruise liner into their personal playground, until they become ‘chipwrecked’ on a remote island. As the ‘Munks and Chipettes try various schemes to find their way home, they accidentally discover their new turf is not as deserted as it seems. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
It’s beginning to feel like the “Chipmunks” production team has never seen the Poochie episode of “The Simpsons.” Floundering at sea is an apt metaphor for a movie that should have never seen the light of day. A film which mimics people who talk to kids like they are small, stupid adults. Even the little ones are smart enough to realize this is just terrible.
Extremely Loud and 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)
Despite the emotional impact, the story is still too lean to carry the film. While there is a nice message at the center of the film, it is overridden by the feel of “A Very Special Episode” of September 11th. Skip this and see the far superior “Hugo.”