Upcoming Theatrical Releases
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
PG; 118 mins.
In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant – the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Academy Award (R)-winner Helen Mirren), gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own, escalate to all out war between the two establishments – until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine and for Mme. Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), combine with his mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. At first Mme. Mallory’s culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan’s gift as a chef and takes him under her wing. (Synopsis by Disney)
This one drips so much sap you’ll be afraid of getting stuck to your seat. It’s Hallmark Channel sentimentality that somehow snuck into theaters. Not every selection from Oprah’s Book Club needs to be a movie. Skip it.
Into the Storm
Director: Steven Quale
PG-13; 89 mins.
In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople, “Into the Storm” throws you directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
Every generation needs its “Twister.” (I…guess?) The target audience is young and male and it’ll be successful in that demographic–and on an overseas plane ride when you can’t turn it off. Skip it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
PG-13; 101 mins.
The city needs heroes. Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan. (Synopsis by Paramount)
When the Jim Henson turtle effects in the 1990 movie are more believable than the CGI debacle you have created, you may want to rethink what you are doing. Then again, these are the same people that thought a 9/11 inspired movie poster would be ok. This is why we hate Michael Bay and everything he creates. Skip it.
Magic in the Moonlight
Director: Woody Allen
PG-13; 97 mins.
Chinese conjuror Wei Ling Soo is the most celebrated magician of his age, but few know that he is the stage persona of Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth), a grouchy and arrogant Englishman with a sky-high opinion of himself and an aversion to phony spiritualists’ claims. Persuaded by his friend, Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney), Stanley goes on a mission to the Côte d’Azur mansion of the Catledge family: mother Grace (Jacki Weaver), son Brice (Hamish Linklater), and daughter Caroline (Erica Leerhsen). He presents himself as a businessman named Stanley Taplinger in order to debunk the alluring young clairvoyant Sophie Baker (Emma Stone) who is staying there with her mother (Marcia Gay Harden). Sophie arrived at the Catledge villa at the invitation of Grace, who is convinced that Sophie can help her contact her late husband, and once there, attracted the attention of Brice, who has fallen for her head over heels. What follows is a series of events that are magical in every sense of the word and send the characters reeling. In the end, the biggest trick MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT plays is the one that fools us all. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures Classics)
A horrendously unfunny film that is visually appealing, but a travesty as a comedy. The debate between rationalism and faith is supposed to be a central theme, but it is hardly touched upon. This one could be forgiven if it had any of the old Allen charm. Skip it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Neil Burger
PG-13; 143 mins.
DIVERGENT is a thrilling action-adventure film set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late. Based on the best-selling book series by Veronica Roth. (Synopsis by Summit)
Previously reviewed by The Dagger.
Need for Speed
Director: Scott Waugh
PG-13; 130 mins.
Based on the most successful racing video game franchise ever with over 140 million copies sold, DreamWorks Pictures’ “Need for Speed” captures the thrills of the game in a real-world setting. An exciting return to the great car-culture films of the 1960s and ’70s, when authenticity brought a new level of intensity to the action, “Need for Speed” taps into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing. The story chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time-one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. In a last attempt to save his struggling garage, blue-collar mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul)-who with his team skillfully builds and races muscle cars on the side-reluctantly partners with wealthy, arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Just as a major sale to car broker Julia Bonet (Imogen Poots) looks like it will save the business, a disastrous, unsanctioned race results in Dino framing Tobey for manslaughter. (Synopsis by Disney)
Someone should remind Aaron Paul (and quick) that he has acting talent, and he can play something other than Jesse. He should have thrown the script away when it came in the mail. This amounts to two hours of watching someone play a boring video game. Skip it.