Upcoming Theatrical Releases
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27
Director: Chris Buck
PG; 100 mins.
Featuring the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, “Frozen” is the coolest comedy-adventure ever to hit the big screen. When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find Anna’s sister Elsa, the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a funny snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction. (Synopsis by Disney)
A smart, fun adaptation of “The Snow Queen.” While it is not quite a return to form for Disney, it is a large step in the right direction and combines enough of the old and new Disney studios to retain old fans and make new ones. See it.
The Book Thief
Director: Brian Percival
PG-13; 125 mins.
Based on the beloved international bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the story of an extraordinary, spirited young girl sent to live with a foster family in WWII Germany. Intrigued by the only book she brought with her, she begins collecting books as she finds them. With the help of her new parents and a secret guest under the stairs, she learns to read and creates a magical world that inspires them all. (Synopsis by 20th Century Fox)
This is too fanciful an adaptation for source material that is darker and more engaging. It has moments of connection, but largely feels overly sentimental. Stick to the book. Rent it.
Director: Gary Fleder
R; 100 mins.
HOMEFRONT is an action movie about a widowed ex-DEA agent who retires to a small town for the sake of his 10-year-old daughter. The only problem is he picked the wrong town. (Synopsis by Open Road)
One more really dumb action flick that still manages to be exceedingly boring. The fact that this was a shelved Stallone project really shows. Thirty years ago, this would have been a decent action movie but now it just feels dated. Skip it.
Director: Kasi Lemmons
PG; 95 mins.
In a contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes’ celebrated play, the holiday musical drama BLACK NATIVITY follows Langston (Jacob Latimore), a street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother, as he journeys to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett). Unwilling to live by the imposing Reverend Cobbs’ rules, a frustrated Langston is determined to return home to his mother, Naima (Jennifer Hudson). Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing, and family. (Synopsis by Fox Searchlight)
This remake of Langston Hughes’ popular musical is as corny as it is clumsy. The message is still there: faith and family matter the most. The execution could use some finesse. Rent it.
Director: Stephen Frears
R; 95 mins.
Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock – something her Irish-Catholic community didn’t have the highest opinion of – and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow for any sort of inquiry into the son’s whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith (Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son. (Synopsis by Weinstein)
Dench and Coogan are stellar in a smart, deeply moving drama. The ending is typically sentimental, but there are enough twists in the road to keep you engaged. See it.
Director: Alexander Payne
R; 121 mins.
An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize. (Synopsis by IMDB)
Both very sad and very funny; an old school character study film that is surprisingly stellar. This is one of Payne’s best films. See it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Joshua Michael Stern
PG-13; 129 mins.
It only takes one person to start a revolution. The extraordinary story of Steve Jobs, the original innovator and ground-breaking entrepreneur who let nothing stand in the way of greatness. The film tells the epic and turbulent story of Jobs as he blazed a trail that changed technology — and the world – forever. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
A missed opportunity that is too bland and boring. Anyone who is familiar with Job’s life will take nothing away. Kutcher does an admirable attempt at making this work, but it is not enough. Skip it.
Director: Dean Parisot
PG-13; 116 mins.
In RED 2, the high-octane action-comedy sequel to the worldwide sleeper hit, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the next-generation weapon. The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow.Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world-and stay alive in the process. (Synopsis by Summit)
Too heavy on the action and too light on the comedy this time out. The plot is too generic and the actors are mostly going through the motions. File this under sequels that shouldn’t have been made. Skip it.