Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Director: Etan Cohen
R; 1 hr. 40 min.
When millionaire James King is nailed for fraud and bound for San Quentin, he turns to Darnell Lewis to prep him to go behind bars. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
Funny for fans of Ferrell and Hart, but not edgy enough for the rest of us. Unsurprisingly, this is a low-brow movie, but it somehow manages to tackle a few tough socio-political topics with surprising precision. Call it dumb luck. Rent it.
Director: Tim Johnson
PG; 1 hr. 33 min.
When Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME. (Synopsis by Fox)
A weak entry into the competitive animation world of the under-10 set. It’s cute and has a good message, but that just isn’t enough to make up for the flat script. Rent it.
Merchants of Doubt
Director: Robert Kenner
PG-13; 1 hr. 36 min.
Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, Merchants of Doubt takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin. Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change. (Synopsis by Sony Classics)
The message is firmly shoved in your face, which will chase away some of the people who really should see this. The case made is strong, but the message isn’t delivered with the strength that it could be. Even still, this should be required viewing. See it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
PG; 2 hr. 5 min.
“Into the Woods” is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy)-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them. (Synopsis by Disney)
This suffers from a serious case of under-editing. The acting and music are quality, but this just… keeps… going. To the point that it sucks away any enjoyment. Is this bad? No. But Disney can (and has) done better. Rent it.
Director: Angelina Jolie
PG-13; 2 hr. 17 min.
Academy Award (R) winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces Unbroken, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII-only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s (“Seabiscuit: An American Legend”) enormously popular book, Unbroken brings to the big screen Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit. (Synopsis by Universal)
Your opinion of this movie will depend on whether you consider the straightforward story of wartime valor overdone or enjoyable. This certainly doesn’t change anything from the tried-and-true formula of previous films. It is a decent enough movie, even if the screenplay fails to grab you. Rent it.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Director: Peter Jackson
PG-13; 2 hr. 24 min.
From Academy Award (R)-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town. Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor tohoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
This is the point when it becomes most obvious that “The Hobbit” shouldn’t have been stretched into three films. The requisite scenes are all there, but everything seems to have drug on far too long at this point. But we’ve made it this far–might as well finish this thing. Rent it.