Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Director: David Twohy
R; 119 mins.
Riddick, the latest chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with 2000’s hit sci-fi film Pitch Black and 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick reunites writer/director David Twohy (A Perfect Getaway, The Fugitive) and star Vin Diesel (the Fast and Furious franchise, xXx). Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy. The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy. (Synopsis by Universal)
For the type of movie this is – a brainless action romp – it is surprisingly good. There are some obvious call-backs to “Pitch Black,” but there is a good mix of humor and action that makes this the strongest of the films in this series.
Director: Jerusha Hess
PG-13; 97 mins.
Obsessed with the BBC production of “Pride and Prejudice,” a woman travels to a Jane Austen theme park in search for her perfect gentleman. (Synopsis by IMDB)
The problem with making a spoof is that it has to be better than what it’s making fun of. This fails miserably on that count; a foundering mess that shouldn’t be seen by anyone.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Now You See Me
Director: Louis Leterrier
PG-13; 115 mins.
“Now You See Me” pits an elite FBI squad in a game of cat and mouse against “The Four Horsemen”, a super-team of the world’s greatest illusionists. “The Four Horsemen” pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law. (Synopsis by Summit / Lionsgate)
This is “Ocean’s 11” as envisioned by “Arrested Development’s” Gob. A sorry mess of birthday party magic tricks that makes all traces of logic disappear from the script. Even “Kazaam” held it together better than this.
Director: Ariel Vromen
R; 105 mins.
Inspired by actual events, The Iceman follows notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Academy Award (R) nominee Michael Shannon) from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of more than 100 men. Appearing to be living the American dream as a devoted husband and father; in reality Kuklinski was a ruthless killer-for-hire. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession. (Synopsis by Millennium)
Shannon does his best to keep this film under control, but it spirals dangerously close to being totally off the rails by the climax. Focusing on the killings over the character and story killed what could have been an outstanding film. Still, it is a good adult thriller and worth the watch.
From Up on Poppy Hill
Director: Goro Miyazaki
PG; 91 mins.
The setting is Yokohama in 1963, and the filmmakers lovingly bring to life the bustling seaside town, with its misty harbor, sun-drenched gardens, shops and markets, and some of the most mouthwatering Japanese home-cooking set to film. The story centers on an innocent romance beginning to bud between Umi and Shun, two high school kids caught up in the changing times. Japan is picking itself up from the devastation of World War II and preparing to host the 1964 Olympics – and the mood is one of (Synopsis by )
Another solid offering from Studio Ghibli—a beautifully precise celebration of Japanese culture with a historic backdrop. While not the best film to come from the studio, it is still very good.
Director: Pablo Berger
PG-13; 105 mins.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who had never known her mother. She learned the art of her father, a famous bullfighter, but was hated by her evil stepmother. One day she ran away with a troupe of dwarves, and became a legend. Set in southern Spain in 1920s, Blancanieves is a tribute to silent films. (Synopsis by Cohen Media Group)
A sophisticated re-telling of “Snow White” utilizing the style of the silent film era. It is a little over-long, but the strength of the imagery and story more than make up for that. Immensely entertaining – do not miss it.