Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: John Singleton
For as long as he can remember, Nathan Harper (Taylor Lautner) has had the uneasy feeling that he’s living someone else’s life. When he stumbles upon an image of himself as a little boy on a missing persons website, all of Nathan’s darkest fears come true: he realizes his parents are not his own and his life is a lie, carefully fabricated to hide something more mysterious and dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Just as he begins to piece together his true identity, Nathan is targeted by a team of trained killers, forcing him on the run with the only person he can trust, his neighbor, Karen (Lily Collins). Every second counts as Nathan and Karen race to evade an army of assassins and federal operatives. But as his opponents close in, Nathan realizes that the only way he’ll survive and solve the mystery of his elusive biological father is to stop running and take matters into his own hands. (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
This one is sparking early interest, but it may only be the “Twilight” crowd eager to swoon over their favorite glittery werewolf. It is going to be hard to take him seriously in this role after watching him in Sparkle Motion. Don’t doubt his commitment.
Director: Bennett Miller
Based on a true story, Moneyball is a movie for anybody who has ever dreamed of taking on the system. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball’s conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It’s more than baseball, it’s a revolution – one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he’s tearing out the heart and soul of the game. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
Garnering almost universally positive reviews, this seems like the only sure thing this week. A potential downside exists for audience members who are not enthralled with baseball or obsessed with baseball stats.
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Dolphin Tale is inspired by the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life. Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. She is rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, where she is named Winter. But her fight for survival has just begun. Without a tail, Winter’s prognosis is dire. It will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a brilliant prosthetics doctor, and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a groundbreaking miracle-a miracle that might not only save Winter but could also help scores of people around the world. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Once you ship your husband off to “Moneyball,” take the kids to see Morgan Freeman save a dolphin as only God can. This might be the best family movie of the year if early reviews are to be believed. There is certainly enough talent in the cast to make us forget that the director also helmed “Air Bud.” If only we could forget little Kevin Zegers’ other memorable films, “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch” and “MVP: Most Valuable Primate.” Is it weird he was getting eaten by zombies in the “Dawn of the Dead” remake two years after the last “Air Bud” movie?
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Kenneth Branagh
The epic adventure Thor spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero. (Synopsis by Paramount Pictures)
See my previous review posted on The Dagger.
Director: Kelly Reichardt
The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon train of three families has hired mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a shortcut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants face the scourges of hunger, thirst and their own lack of faith in one another’s instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as a natural-born enemy. (Synopsis by Oscilloscope)
Exploding out of the festival circuit, this is one of the most underrated films of the year so far. This is not a conventional western, or even a conventional film. Some people will be put off by the lack of traditional narrative or ending, but most will be floored.