Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Director: Gareth Edwards
PG-13; 123 mins.
In Summer 2014, the world’s most revered monster is reborn as Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures unleash the epic action adventure “Godzilla.” From visionary new director Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) comes a powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, when the awe-inspiring Godzilla rises to restore balance as humanity stands defenseless. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Mayhem! Giant monster fights! Implausible plot points! Give the people what they want! It’s a pretty simple formula that almost gets screwed up by focusing on the plausibility of the creatures. Thankfully, the monster fisticuffs come fast and furious. See it.
Million Dollar Arm
Director: Craig Gillespie
PG; 120 mins.
Based on a true story, Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm” follows JB Bernstein, a once-successful sports agent who now finds himself edged out by bigger, slicker competitors. He and his partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi) will have to close their business down for good if JB doesn’t come up with something fast. Late one night, while watching cricket being played in India on TV, JB comes up with an idea so radical it just might work. Why not go to there and find the next baseball pitching sensation? Setting off for Mumbai with nothing but a gifted but cantankerous scout (Alan Arkin) in tow, JB stages a televised, nationwide competition called “Million Dollar Arm” where 40,000 hopefuls compete before two 18-year-old finalists, Rinku and Dinesh (Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal), emerge as winners. JB brings them back to the United States to train with legendary pitching coach Tom House (Bill Paxton). The goal: get the boys signed to a major league team. Not only is the game itself difficult to master, but life in the U.S. with a committed bachelor makes things even more complicated-for all of them. While Rinku and Dinesh learn the finer points of baseball and American culture, they in turn teach JB the true meaning of teamwork and commitment. Ultimately, what began as a purely commercial venture becomes something more and leads JB to find the one thing he was never looking for at all-a family. (Synopsis by Walt Disney Pictures)
Too polished and calculated to make the emotional impact they were aiming for. This is too sweet, too slick, and too predictable. Some people like the safe choice, and this is for them. Skip it.
Director: Amma Asante
PG; 105 mins.
BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing. While her cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) chases suitors for marriage, Belle is left on the sidelines wondering if she will ever find love. After meeting an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England. (Synopsis by Fox Searchlight)
It is a well-made film, if not a great one. Shades of Jane Austen meet the racial themes of “12 Years a Slave.” This does rise above in the cluttered landscape of British period dramas if only for its message and careful cultivation. Rent it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
That Awkward Moment
Director: Tom Gormican
R; 94 mins.
Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan star in the R-rated comedy, THAT AWKWARD MOMENT, about three best friends who find themselves where we’ve all been- at that confusing “moment” in every dating relationship when you have to decide “So…where is this going?” (Synopsis by Film District)
Let me save you an hour and a half of your life. The big reveal here? Guys fall in love too! Shocking, I know. This is a really bad mash-up of “Swingers” and crude jokes that just isn’t enjoyable to watch. Skip it.
Director: Spike Jonze
R; 126 mins.
A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need. (Synopsis by IMDB)
A melancholy meditation on loss and love. The closest comparison is “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” It’s a brilliant film that hits on many levels: satirical, earnest, sweet, and heartfelt. See it.