Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Haunted by a tragic past, ex-Marine Tommy Conlon (Hardy) returns home for the first time in fourteen years to enlist the help of his father (Nick Nolte) to train for SPARTA, the biggest winner-takes-all event in mixed martial arts history. A former wrestling prodigy, Tommy blazes a path toward the championship while his brother, Brendan (Edgerton), an ex-fighter-turned teacher, returns to the ring in a desperate bid to save his family from financial ruin. But when Brendan’s unlikely, underdog rise sets him on a collision course with the unstoppable Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront each other and the forces that pulled them apart, facing off in the most soaring, soul stirring, and unforgettable climax that must be seen to be believed. (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
The early reviews are almost universally positive, despite the film falling victim to genre clichés. The directorial pedigree of O’Connor (“Miracle”) is only going to help the cause. “Warrior” isn’t going to live up to last year’s “The Fighter,” but it should be at the top of the sports films for the year.
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
Director: Tom Brady
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star is a new comedy starring Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, and Stephen Dorff. Bucky (Swardson) is a small town grocery bagger, going nowhere in life – until he discovers that his conservative parents were once adult film stars! Armed with the belief that he has found his destiny, Bucky packs up and heads out to L.A., hoping to follow in his parents’ footsteps. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
Trying to transition his successful stand up career into movies has been hit-and-miss for Swardson. This looks like a miss. All the things Adam Sandler (who co-wrote) has done wrong over the last 10 years in his own movies seems to have culminated into this perfect storm of bad jokes.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Contagion follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Receiving mixed reviews, but boasting a talented cast, the major problem seems to be an overly generic script. This film has generated the most interest of any release this week, but whether it can live up to the hype is debatable.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Joe Wright
Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is 16 years old. She is bright, inquisitive, and a devoted daughter. Uniquely, she has the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a soldier; these come from being raised by her widowed father Erik (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of North Finland. Erik has taught Hanna to hunt, put her through extreme self-defense workouts, and home-schooled her with only an encyclopedia and a book of fairy tales. Hanna has been living a life unlike any other teenager; her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. But out in the world there is unfinished business for Hanna’s family, and it is with a combination of pride and apprehension that Erik realizes his daughter can no longer be held back. (Synopsis by Focus Features)
An interesting concept that managed to take all the positives it had and ruin them with an emphasis on style instead of substance. If you skipped it in the theaters and but are intrigued by the concept, it is probably worth a rental.
X-Men: First Class
Director: Susanne Bier
X-Men: First Class unveils the epic beginning of the X-Men saga – and a secret history of the Cold War and our world at the brink of nuclear Armageddon. As the first class discovers, harnesses, and comes to terms with their formidable powers, alliances are formed that will shape the eternal war between the heroes and villains of the X-Men universe. (Synopsis by Fox)
Even in a summer saturated with comic movies, this one managed to stand out. Eclipsing the previous X-Men films and playing off Cold War nostalgia, this is a definite for fans of the series.