Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Releases - Week of November 5th

Starring the voices of: Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt,
Tina Fey & Ben Stiller
Directed by Tom McGrath for distribution by DreamWorks Animation

The Plot: An brilliant super-villain (Ferrell) must save the world after he actually takes out his arch-enemy (Pitt), a super hero who had previously held evil at bay.
The Final Word: DreamWorks has always been able to get animation right, even when its competition tried to trip them up. Here they have a great release date, a strong voice cast and a one month jump on what some insiders are calling Disney’s best film since “Beauty & The Beast.”  This should be a great way to start the holiday box office season.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan,
Jamie Foxx, Alan Arkin, Juliet Lewis & Danny McBride.
Directed by Todd Phillips for distribution by Warner Brothers

The Plot: After being banned from the skies due to a mix up on the “can’t fly” list, a uptight businessman (Downey Jr.) must depend on a eccentric wannabe actor (Galifianakis) to drive him across the country to be there for the birth of his child.
The Final Word: After “The Hangover,” Todd Phillips can do no wrong in the eyes of Warner Brothers.  While the trailer doesn’t exactly wow me, the cast does.  If Phillips is willing to put his name on the film and the cast was willing to sign on, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Starring: Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine,  Michael Ealy, Hill Harper,
Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington,
Macy Gray & Whoopi Goldberg
Directed by Tyler Perry for distribution by Lionsgate


The Plot: Based on the award-winning play of the same (but slightly longer) name, the movie follows the lives of a group of African-American women whose paths begin to intersect.
The Final Word: Tyler Perry returns to theatres with his ninth film as a director and with one that gives him his best chance at Oscar gold. Backed a strong ensemble of talented African-American actors, Perry will look to continue his streak of box office hits.

Starring: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara & Lizzy Caplan
Directed by Danny Boyle for distribution by Fox Searchlight

The Plot: The true story of hiker Aron Ralston (Franco), who spent a harrowing 127 hours with his arm trapped under a boulder in an isolated Utah canyon.
The Final Word: “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle reunites with Fox Studios for his first film since his big Oscar win a few years ago. Ralston’s story is already generating Oscar buzz, as is the actor portraying him. Franco has built up a amazing following the last few years even though he basically dropped off the grid to go back to school.  This could be a interesting power team come this year’s nominations.

Previewed next week: Fair Game, Morning Glory, Skyline, Unstoppable

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Releases - Week of October 29th

Starring: Tobin Bell, Cary Elwes, Costa Madylor, Betsy Russell & Sean Patrick Flanery,
Directed by Kevin Greutert for distribution by Lionsgate

The Plot: The sadistic “Jigsaw” legacy takes a startling new turn when a group of his surviving victims’ team up with a self-help guru (and survivor himself) whose own secrets set the stage for another series of deadly games.
The Final Word: Lionsgate has been milking this franchise for years and swears this is the last time they will go to the well, although with how successful the series has been, who can blame them if they change their minds again? Either way, the studio is promising the movie will go out with a bang as it will be the first film in the franchise to be shot in 3D. Unlike many other films recently released, Lionsgate is taking the time to do this right and instead of converting the film, they shot it in 3D using a specially designed new camera, which means the audiences will truly feel a new type of horror in theatres everywhere.

Previewed next week: Megamind, Due Date, For Colored Girls, 127 Hours

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Releases - Week of October 22nd

Starring: Matt Damon, Cecile De France, Frankie McLauren,
Bryce Dallas Howard & Jay Mohr
Directed by Clint Eastwood for distribution by Warner Brothers


The Plot: Three people, touched in different ways by death, find their lives intersecting and must rely on each other to cope with their respective tragedies.
The Final Word: While Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus” had luck at last year’s Academy Awards, he hasn’t personally been nominated for an Oscar since 2007’s “Letters for Iwo Jima.” He’s hoping that will change with this supernatural thriller in which he re-teams with Matt Damon.  The movie’s pedigree is heightened by “The Queen” scribe Peter Morgan and legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg as a executive producer.

Starring: Katie Featherston
Directed by Kip Williams for distribution by Paramount Pictures


The Plot:  Your guess is as good as ours!
The Final Word:  Paramount struck oil last year when a small film made for $15,000 turned into a $151 million pop culture staple. Now comes the sequel and just as with the original, not much is really known about it, aside from that it is setting itself up for a showdown with Lionsgate’s horror franchise “Saw,” the following week.

Previewed next week: Saw 3-D,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Releases - Week of October 15th

Starring: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo & Juliette Lewis
Directed by Tony Goldwyn for distribution by Fox Searchlight


The Plot: In 1983, Bette Anne Waters (Swank) witnessed her brother Kenny (Rockwell) arrested and convicted for a murder she was convinced he didn’t commit. For the next 18 years, she put herself through high school, college and law school in a quest to free him.
The Final Word: It seems like every time Hilary Swank does a dramatic movie the critics line up to shower her with awards. Granted that usually doesn’t result in high box office numbers, in fact I can’t remember the last time one of her movies crossed the $100 million mark. Lately we’ve also begun to see some chinks in that critical armor as well, with last year’s “Amelia” never getting off the ground.  Make no mistake; Fox is going to market this real-life story as one of their tent poles this season, but despite a strong cast, the film may not score with the jury of its peers.

Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Steve-O, Jason “Wee-Man” Acuna
Directed by Jeff Temaine for distribution by Paramount Pictures

The Plot: Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, “Wee-Man” and the rest of the “Jackass” crew return to theatres one more time and for no apparent reason in 3D.
The Final Word: If you don’t know what “Jackass” is, I really don’t know the best way to describe it, other than a group of guys pulling off incredibly dangerous (and yes, at time funny) stunts with completely disregard for their own safety.  Now in 3D, you get to feel like you are right now there with them! This should be interesting.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren,
Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Julian McMahon & Richard Dreyfuss
Directed by Robert Schwentke for distribution by Summit Entertainment

The Plot: A former assassin (Willis) finds himself a target and decides to re-assemble his old team in a attempt to survive.
The Final Word: Bruce Willis has proven he can successfully blend action with comedy and he has a solid chance to do it again here. The cast is strong, the trailer delivers and since it’s a comic book adaptation it has a built in fan base.

Previewed next week: Hereafter & Paranormal Activity 2

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Releases - Week of October 8th

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Christina Hendricks & Jean Smart
Directed by Greg Berlanti for distribution by Warner Brothers

The Plot: After a terrible first date, a caterer (Heigl) and a network sports director (Duhamel) find themselves thrust back into each other lives, when their best friends are killed in a car accident and leave the pair their infant daughter to raise.
The Final Word: At first glance this seems like just another romantic comedy (albeit a dramatic one to start), but actually Warner Brothers has inadvertently set the stage for two of Hollywood’s “it” performers to prove themselves in the face of mounting criticism. Heigl, still smarting from the backlash surrounding her departure from “Grey’s Anatomy” has yet to prove she can consistently carry a movie by herself and Duhamel has yet to live up the movie star hype that once ran rampant in studio boardrooms.  Both could really use a big hit to boost their credibility and with TV producer Greg Berlanti (“Everwood,” “Brothers and Sisters”) stepping into the director’s chair, they have reason to be optimistic.

Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, Dylan Baker & James Cromwell
Directed by Randall Wallace for distribution by Walt Disney Pictures

The Plot: The true story of a how a woman (Lane) successfully took on a the male-dominated world of horse racing and ended up championing a Triple-Crown winning legend.
The Final Word: Disney has always been known for two things; animation and inspiring sports stories.  “Secretariat” boasts an all-star cast and a amazing story that seems to be gunning for the same success Universal had in 2003 with “Seabiscuit”

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jose Maria Yazpik, Samantha Mathis & Stephen Tobolowsky.
Directed by Rodrigo Cortes for distribution by Lionsgate

The Plot: A man (Reynolds) wakes up buried alive six feet underground with no memory of how he came into the situation. Left with just a cell phone, a lighter and a fleeting amount of oxygen, he has just 90 minutes to find a way to survive.
The Final Word:  The thought of being buried alive has long frightened the viewing public and this movie is going to take it to a whole new level.  Ryan Reynolds in this, his last film before his turn as “Green Lantern,” is quickly becoming a very bankable star and should only continue to see his stock rise especially among critics. Lionsgate has put together what looks like a very creepy yet intriguing thriller that should play well in limited release before expanding nationally in October.

Starring: Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, Milla Jovovich & Francis Conroy
Directed by John Curran for distribution by Overture Films


The Plot: A retiring parole officer (DeNiro) enters into a dangerous cat and mouse game with a convicted murderer (Norton) eligible for probation.
The Final Word: The last time DeNiro and Norton teamed up was 2001’s “The Score” and while it did okay at the box office, nobody was overly raving about it. Now the pair (who do have great on-screen chemistry) reteam in a psychological thriller that could equal the buzz of “The Score,” but hopefully have a better result.

Starring: Max Thieriot, Emily Meade, Frank Grillo & Denzel Whitaker
Directed by Wes Craven for distribution by Rogue

The Plot: A serial killer returns to his hometown to seek vengeance by murdering seven children who all were born on the day he was supposed killed.
The Final Word: When horror legend Wes Craven is directing a 3D horror film in October, you don’t necessarily need a high profile cast, although in this case it would probably help, considering the crowded release date it was given.

Previewed next week: Conviction, Jackass 3-D, Red