Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Curtis Hanson
PG; 105 mins
Chasing Mavericks is the inspirational true story of real life surfing phenom Jay Moriarity (played by newcomer Jonny Weston). When 15 year old Jay discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, is not only real, but exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home, he enlists the help of local legend Frosty Hesson (played by Gerard Butler) to train him to survive it. As Jay and Frosty embark on their quest to accomplish the impossible, they form a unique friendship that transforms both their lives, and their quest to tame Mavericks becomes about far more than surfing. Chasing Mavericks was made with the help of some of the biggest names in the surfing world, and features some of the most mind-blowing real wave footage ever captured on film. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
So we are doing surfer movies again? This looks about as good as anything in this genre ever was. A melodramatic, simplistic story told with the background of like totally awesome waves. Stay for the short film after the feature titled “Gerard Butler’s Career Has Been Swept Out to Sea.”
Director: Josh Schwartz
PG-13; 90 mins
Fun Size is a teen comedy centered on a sarcastic high school senior, Wren (Victoria Justice), who is eager to distance herself from her dysfunctional family by going off to college. Before that can happen, Wren’s mother, Joy, insists that she watch her little brother Albert on Halloween night, so Joy can go to a rager with her much younger boyfriend. When Wren gets distracted by an invitation to the party of the year, Albert disappears into a sea of trick-or-treaters. Frantic to locate him before their mother discovers he’s missing, Wren enlists the help of her sassy best friend April, as well as Peng, an aspiring ladies man and co-captain of the debate team, and Peng’s best friend, Roosevelt, a sweet nerd whose crush on Wren clouds his better judgment. This unlikely foursome embarks on a high-stakes, all-night adventure to find Albert, crossing paths with outrageous characters every step of the way. (Synopsis by Paramount)
A movie with no discernable audience. Is this for the younger kids, since Nickelodeon is involved? Not really, since the jokes are too coarse. Teen set? Not quite, since it is too cutesy. That settles it – no one should see this. An all-around horrible attempt at getting kids into theater seats before Halloween.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Director: Michael J. Bassett
In Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Heather Mason (Clemens) and her father (Bean) have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand. On the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her forever. (Synopsis by Open Road)
Innovative visuals, even if the story and scares don’t live up to the original. Another movie made for the fanboys in the hopes of pulling in enough money to justify its existence.
Director: Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
R; 172 mins
Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future. Each member of the ensemble appears in multiple roles as the stories move through time. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
It makes you wonder whether the Wachowski team made this film just to see if they could. Complicated, sweeping, and ornate, it is a wonder to behold, but tedious to digest. While it is flawed, there is passion and heart at work here that makes it at least palatable.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Steve Rash
PG-13; 105 mins
A mixed-blood Native American, Joe Logan, eager to modernize his reservation, must first prove himself to his father, the traditionalist Tribal Chairman, by rediscovering his spirit. He is tasked with coaching the reservation’s high school lacrosse team which competes against the better equipped and better trained players of the elite Prep School League. Joe inspires the Native American boys and teaches them the true meaning of tribal pride. Ignited by their heritage and believing in their new-found potential, coach and team climb an uphill battle to the state championship finals against their privileged prep school rivals…will they win? (Synopsis by the Official Site)
If you read the summary paragraph, you can figure out where this underdog story is headed without seeing the film. Painfully predictable in a made-for-TV way.
Director: Oliver Stone
R; 129 mins
Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry-raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town…until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon-with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (Travolta)-wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. (Synopsis by Universal)
For someone of Stone’s caliber, you would expect more than this. While the violence lives up to the title, the characters have marginal emotional impact. A one-note production that is little more than summer action fluff with a terrible ending.