Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Oz The Great and Powerful
Director: Sam Raimi
PG; 127 mins
Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking-that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well. When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great wizard-and just maybe into a better man as well. (Synopsis by Walt Disney)
This is enjoyable in a limited sense, but largely devoid of the warmth of the 1939 Judy Garland version that most audiences want to see. The actors stumble through their roles, and the script is lacking. The visuals are over-processed and lack the humanity of the handcrafted sets of our memories.
Dead Man Down
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
R: 118 mins
Niels Arden Oplev, the acclaimed director of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, makes his American theatrical debut with the new action thriller, DEAD MAN DOWN. Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace star as two strangers who are irresistibly drawn to one another by their mutual desire for revenge. The film co-stars Academy Award (R) nominee Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper, from a screenplay by J.H.Wyman (Fringe). (Synopsis by Film District)
If you can get past Irishman Farrell’s accent as he plays a Hungarian who is trying to lose his accent for a New York one you’ll probably enjoy this. Accents aside, this should be a solid action romp given the directorial pedigree.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Rich Moore
PG; 92 mins
Ralph (John C. Reilly) is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer), the “good guy” star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing and seeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he’s tired of playing the role of a bad guy. He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero. On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty. But it’s the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade. Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it’s too late? (Synopsis by Disney)
It’ll either hook you with the throwback to classic games, or lose you with the complicated plot and Pixar aspirations. Either way, it is a sure winner for the under-10 group.
Playing for Keeps
Director: Gabriele Muccino
PG-13; 106 mins
Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid star in Playing for Keeps, a romantic comedy about a charming, down-on-his luck former soccer star (Butler) who returns home to put his life back together. Looking for a way to rebuild his relationship with his son, he gets roped into coaching the boy’s soccer team. But his attempts to finally become an “adult” are met with hilarious challenges from the attractive “soccer moms” who pursue him at every turn. (Synopsis by Film District)
Amazingly creepy. The romantic comedy genre as a rule is pretty terrible—then there is this. Use carefully to exact revenge upon boyfriends and husbands.
Director: Dan Bradley
PG-13; 93 mins
In Red Dawn, a city in Washington state awakens to the surreal sight of foreign paratroopers dropping from the sky – shockingly, the U.S. has been invaded and their hometown is the initial target. Quickly and without warning, the citizens find themselves prisoners and their town under enemy occupation. Determined to fight back, a group of young patriots seek refuge in the surrounding woods, training and reorganizing themselves into a guerrilla group of fighters. Taking inspiration from their high school mascot, they call themselves the Wolverines, banding together to protect one another, liberate their town from its captors, and take back their freedom. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
One part bad script, one part politicized Tea Party message, one part Thor. Stir together and leave to simmer on the 3-for-a-dollar pile at Wal-Mart. Use carefully to exact revenge upon girlfriends and wives.