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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Flicks Flashforward - "2011 Movie Preview"



After a strong year in cinema, all eyes are now toward 2011 and its slate of box office contenders. One trend visible right off the bat is the abundance of sequels, but instead of focusing on franchises you already know, this list will look at the most anticipated new movies that could eventually spawn a follow-up or two of their own.


COWBOYS & ALIENS
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell,
Adam Beach, Keith Carradine & Abigail Spencer
Directed by Jon Favreau for distribution by Universal Studios


The Plot: A stranger (Craig) with no memory of his past winds up in a small desert town ran by a dictator (Ford), only to find he’s being tracked by a group of aliens that may hold the key to his past.

The Final Word: The Western genre has seen it all…except for this! While stories set in the Wild West have been around for a while, I can’t think of many that involve aliens. Director Jon Favreau will lead an all-star cast into uncharted territory this summer and could walk away with another hit under his belt.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard,
Robin Wright, Max von Sydow & Christopher Plummer
Directed by David Fincher for distribution by Sony



The Plot: A young hacker (Mara) gets involved in the long unsolved case of a missing heiress and promptly stirs up trouble.

The Final Word: This is the first book in the American adaptation of the “Millennium Series” trilogy by the late author Stieg Larsson. Already a foreign success, Sony quickly jumped at the chance to bring this popular book series to screens in the USA.


GNOMEO & JULIET
Starring: (voices) James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Jason Statham,
Maggie Smith, Ashley Jensen, Patrick Stewart, Ashley Jensen & Ozzy Osbourne.
Directed by Kelly Asbury for distribution by Touchstone.


The Plot: The classic tale of Romeo & Juliet re-invented with garden gnomes.

The Final Word: Seriously despite the way it sounds; don’t brush this movie off just yet. Yes it sounds a little out there, but with music legend Elton John as the driving force behind it and a who’s who of A-listers lending their voices, the movie deserves a chance. Even more intriguing is that John’s songbook will be front and center throughout the movie, along with a few new originals.

GREEN LANTERN
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong,
Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins & Jon Tenny
Directed by Martin Campbell for distribution by Warner Brothers


The Plot: A gifted but cocky test pilot (Reynolds) is entrusted with a ring which gives the person who wields it unlimited powers.

The Final Word: While Marvel and Paramount have had great success with the superhero genre, Warner Brothers has not has as much luck. Yes, they’ve had great success with the “Batman” revamps, but Marvel has upped the ante by unveiling a full slate of movies all leading up to the multi-hero action film “The Avengers.” In order to counter, the WB has really put a lot effort (and money) into making “Green Lantern” a franchise, which it hopes will pave the way for other adaptations. With a talented director, an rising star in the title role and a strong fanbase supporting them, the odds are in their favor.

HOP
Starring: (voices of) Russell Brand, James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco
Elizabeth Perkins & Hugh Laurie
Directed by Tim Hill for distribution by Universal Studios


The Plot: A out of work slacker (Marsden) accidentally injures the Easter Bunny (Brand) and must take him in while he recovers.

The Final Word: From the people behind last summer’s surprise hit “Despicable Me” comes this new animated film. Based on the teaser trailer alone, Universal looks like it was able to duplicate the early appeal that made “Despicable Me” popular with the masses prior to its debut. Throw in an Easter theme and the always enthusiast Brand and this could be another success.

MARVEL’S:
THOR & CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

THOR
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins,
Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgard, Jaimie Alexander, Kat Dennings,
Idris Elba, Clark Gregg & Colm Feore
Directed by Kenneth Branagh for distribution by Paramount


The Plot: Cast down from the heavens by his father (Hopkins), the warrior Thor (Hemsworth) must adjust to life on Earth, but soon finds his past coming back to haunt him with an old enemy re-emerges bent on world domination.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson,
Dominic Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci & Neil McDonough
Directed by Joe Johnston for distribution by Paramount

The Plot: After volunteering for a secret government experiment, Steve Rogers (Evans) becomes a super solider known as “Captain America.”

The Final Word: Fans of Marvel’s iconic superheroes are in for a double feature this summer as both Thor and Captain America will make their long awaited premieres. The mighty Thor will bow in May, while “The First Avenger” Captain America will arrive almost two months later. Both are expected to ride the success that “Iron Man” had in both 2008 & 2010, but the question can also be asked if this too much too fast. While “Iron Man” was a huge box office winner, “The Incredible Hulk” only had a fraction of the success. Granted Edward Norton, who will be replaced in 2012’s “The Avengers” movie, was partially blamed for “Hulk’s” less than incredible cume, the overall brand revival has so far mostly been built around Robert Downey Jr.’s ability to sell a movie. This pair of movies will be the first true test of the Marvel viability as two relative unknowns are being given the reins with a strong arsenal of “A” listers supporting them.


THE MUPPETS
Starring: Jason Segal, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper,
Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy & Fozzie Bear.
Directed by James Bobin for distribution by Walt Disney Pictures

The Plot: After an evil oil tycoon (Cooper) makes plans to destroy the legendary Muppet Theatre, the Muppet’s biggest fan Wally teams with his friends Gary (Segal) and Mary (Adams) to reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways.

The Final Word: Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and all their friends haven’t been on the big screen since 1999’s “Muppets In Space.” After over a decade on hiatus, the iconic characters are coming back courtesy of Disney and Jason Segal, who along with Nicolas Stoller wrote the screenplay. Segal, a longtime fan, has also recruited a number of top Hollywood heavyweights such as Billy Crystal, Ricky Gervais and Jack Black and to join the fun.


THE SMURFS
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara,
Hank Azaria, Anton Yelchin, Jonathan Winters,
Katy Perry, Alan Cumming & George Lopez
Directed by Raja Gosnell for distribution by Columbia Pictures (Sony)


The Plot: Chased out of their land by the evil Gargamel (Azaria), the Smurfs suddenly finds themselves in New York City where they cross paths with an expectant couple (Harris, Mays) who decide to help them out.

The Final Word: Similar to “Alvin & The Chipmunks” and “Yogi Bear,” the iconic blue “Smurfs” are about to get the big screen treatment. After years of road blocks, it now appears all systems are go for Papa Smurf and all his friends to made their to the silver screen (and of course) in 3D.


SUCKER PUNCH
Starring: Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish,
Jena Malone, Carla Gugino & Jon Hamm.
Directed by Zach Snyder for distribution by Warner Brothers


The Plot: A young girl (Browning) locked away against her will teams up with her fellow captives to fight against the evil forces surrounding them.

The Final Word: Similar to Snyder’s other films this one can’t be described in just words. The movie, which is no doubt meant to be seen in IMAX, is very similar in style to the cult film “Sin City.” It also can be summed up very succinctly; beautiful women battling darkness. Sold!

SUPER 8
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Ron Eldard & Noah Emmerich
Directed by: J.J Abrams for distribution by Paramount


The Plot: Yeah, like J.J. Abrams is going tip his hat this soon…

The Final Word: In 2008, J.J. Abrams unveiled “Cloverfield,” a sci-fi/disaster /monster movie that took in $46 million, almost twice what it cost to produce.  After that kind of massive success with nothing more than a grassroots PR campaign, it is no surprise Paramount was willing to hand over the keys to the kingdom one more time with little questions asked. So far all that has been released about the movie is the cast and the above teaser trailer. Get comfortable readers, it may be awhile until we get any more info.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Flicks Flashforward - "Oscar Preview 2011 - Best Director"


With the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Screen Actor Guild already pulling back the curtain on this year’s group of nominees, it will soon be time for the Academy of Arts & Sciences to do the same. This six part series will look at each of the main categories and break down the frontrunners and dark horses of this Oscar season.


The Frontrunners:

David Fincher (“The Social Network”) 
No movie so far in 2010 has been as well received as “The Social Network.” Fincher, his cast and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have been collecting awards and nominations left and right. It would be a true shock not to see it be successful here as well.

David O’Russell  (“The Fighter”) 
Russell has had  a few successful films to his credit, but never one with this much buzz behind it. “The Fighter” has a high talent pedigree and with so many strong performances being turned in, it would only seem logical that the director would be recognized for it.

Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech)
With his movie and his three leads seemingly locks for nomination, there is no reason to believe Hooper won’t be rewarded with his first nomination.

Danny Boyle (“127 Hours”) 
Boyle is a former winner who struck gold with “Slumdog Millionaire,” and seems poised to return to the dance with this true story. While both Boyle and his lead, James Franco (also one of this telecast’s co-hosts) are heavy favorites, the trick is that the discussion around the film has been more about them and less about the movie itself, which could hamper its chances down the line.

The Contenders:

Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) 
Nolan has always been a talented visionary director, but it took “The Dark Knight” to get him into the mainstream spotlight. Now that the public is behind him, his supporters can use that to convince the Academy voters that his time to shine is now. “Inception” was based on an idea he created which was painstakingly thought out; if this year’s category wasn’t such a crowded field, he’d be a lock.

Darren Aronofksy (“Black Swan”) 
Aronofsky scored a knockout with last year’s “The Wrestler.”  The movie single handedly revived the careers of Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, both of who scored nominations, although in a shocking move, Aronofsky was shut out.  While he once again has the hot “it” film, many wonder if he’ll once again be denied a chance at the big prize.

Lisa Chodolenko (“The Kids Are All Right”) 
“The Kids Are Alright” has been a quiet success this season, but not many people know who directed it, which will hurt Chodolenko’s chances. While it’s not out of the realm she could snag a nomination, it would be a surprise.

Joel  Coen & Ethan Coen (“True Grit”)
The Coen brothers have won this category before, but “True Grit” is not gaining the buzz many expected, which could push them out of contention. 

The Dark Horses:

Tim Burton (“Alice In Wonderland”)
 Burton is known for his darker style, so it is fitting that this year he is a true dark horse in every way. “Wonderland” was well received both critically and financially, but it just doesn’t seem likely that will increase its odds.

Martin Scorsese (“Shutter  Island”) 
Scorsese shouldn’t be a dark horse, but with four of the five slots virtually locked up, the often nominated director (who finally won in 2007) may be left out. “Shutter Island” was the first big film of 2010, but it may get overshadowed by “Inception” since share the same lead actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and “Inception” is fresher in voters’ minds.

Ben Affleck (“The Town”)
The success of “The Town” surprised everybody and has thrust Affleck into many Oscar conversations.  Although as with other contenders, he doesn't seem the most likely to earn the nomination.

Clint Eastwood (“Hereafter”) 
Like Scorsese, Eastwood shouldn’t be a dark horse, but unlike Scorsese, his film “Hereafter” was met with less success and after being snubbed for last year’s “Invictus” (which was nominated for Best Picture), his odds aren’t going to be increased.


The Flicks Flashforward - "Oscar Preview 2011 - Best Supporting Actress"

With the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Screen Actor Guild already pulling back the curtain on this year’s group of nominees, it will soon be time for the Academy of Arts & Sciences to do the same. This six part series will look at each of the main categories and break down the frontrunners and dark horses of this Oscar season.




The Frontrunners:

Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech”)
Carter has one nomination under her belt already for 1997’s “The Wings of the Dove,” and seems to be a lock for another one here. “Speech” is the heavy favorite going into this season and all three principals will reap the benefits.

Amy Adams & Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”) 
A two time nominee, Adams has been down the awards circuit before for her roles in “Junebug” & “Doubt,” while Leo is coming off her first nod for 2009’s “Frozen River.” Both are now once again generating buzz in “The Fighter,” but Leo is being given the slight edge.  It also can’t hurt Leo that in 2010 she’s been in three high-profile dramas and turned in an amazing performance in HBO’s “Treme.”

Mila Kunis & Barbara Hershey (“Black Swan”) 
“Black Swan” is another movie featuring a pair of talented actresses that could soon find themselves competing against each other. At the moment Kunis is the favorite because of her higher profile, but Hershey is a decorated veteran and that is one aspect the Academy always seems to take into account.

The Contenders:

Dianne Weist (“Rabbit Hole”) 
As with Hershey, Weist is a talented well-known actress, but Weist already has two statues which automatically puts her ahead of the pack. The only thing going against her is that “Rabbit Hole,” a drama about grieving parents, isn’t garnering the same big ticket nominations as “Black Swan.” Furthermore the studio will probably be more apt to push Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman who play the leads.

Haliee Stienfeld (“True Grit”) 
Going all the ways back to Tatum O’Neal in “Paper Moon,” the Oscars have been nothing but kind to young actresses looking to make a name in Hollywood. Depending on the reaction the film itself gets, Steinfeld could soon find herself in the company of Anna Paquin, Abigail Breslin and most recently Gabourey Sibide.

The Dark Horses:

Jacki Weaver (“Animal Kindom”) 
Another popular trend with the Academy is nominating at least one person nobody stateside has ever heard about. Meet Jacki Weaver, an Australian actress, who already has snagged a Golden Globe nomination and could be in line for more.

Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton & Phylicia Rashad (“For Colored Girls”)
When it was first released, Tyler Perry’s drama with an incredibly talented African-American cast, was seen as a strong contender, but then both the movie and its award hopes stalled.  Shut out of the races so far, it doesn’t look very likely it will make a big splash at the Oscars, but the above actresses are being discussed as its best shot.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Flicks Flashforward - "Oscar Preview 2011 - Best Supporting Actor"

With the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Screen Actor Guild already pulling back the curtain on this year’s group of nominees, it will soon be time for the Academy of Arts & Sciences to do the same. This six part series will look at each of the main categories and break down the frontrunners and dark horses of this Oscar season.




The Frontrunners:

Christian Bale (“The Fighter”)
Bale has always been on the fringes of Academy consideration with the films “The Machinist” and “American Psycho,” but he was always lacking the mainstream appeal, which came in 2005 when he donned the cowl of Batman.  In “The Fighter” Bale not only portrays a real person, but his character is a hot-headed black sheep who runs afoul of the law; those are character traits that Oscar voters tend to look for in a nominee.

Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”)
Rush is a three-time nominee, who won in 1997 for his role in “Shine,” where he portrayed real life piano prodigy David Helfgott. This year he’s nominated for his role in “The King Speech” opposite Colin Firth (a favorite himself).  The movie itself is not only the front-runner to win Best Picture, but Rush is always a perennial Academy favorite.

The Contenders:

Michael Douglas ("Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps")
A winner for the original “Wall Street,” many expect Douglas to once again get the nomination.  With his battle with cancer front page news, Douglas may also be a sentimental favorite as well.

Jeremy Renner ("The Town")
His breakthrough role in 2008’s “The Hurt Locker” has made Renner a favorite to repeat this year for his work in Ben Affleck’s critically acclaimed “The Town.”

The Dark Horses:

Andrew Garfield  & Justin Timberlake (“The Social Network”)
Both Garfield and Timberlake has been slowly gathering award buzz, but to this point only Garfield has been singled out for a nomination.

Jack Hawks (“Winter’s Bone”)
Winter’s what?  Yep, like most people you’ve probably haven’t heard of this 2010 drama from Lionsgate which focuses on a teenage mother’s search through the Ozarks for her deadbeat father. Hawks gives a chilling performance as the teen's uncle who unwillingly aids her in her quest.

Mark Ruffalo  (“The Kids Are Alright”)
Just like Bale, Ruffalo has remained on the award fringes, but has yet to find his breakthrough role.  Here he plays the sperm donor father of two children being raised by lesbian couple, who finds his way back into their lives years later. Ruffalo, the film and his previously nominated co-stars Julianne Moore & Annette Bening are all being given strong consideration.

Matt Damon (“True Grit”)
While Matt Damon is no stranger to Oscar nominations, his role in “True Grit,” just hasn’t gathered any traction in the early races.

Sam Rockwell (“Conviction”)
Rockwell is an extremely talented actor, but he probably is the biggest longshot of the group, simply because “Conviction” bombed, which is generally a nomination deal breaker. Although Academy darling Hilary Swank did pull off a Screen Actor Guild nomination, so anything can happen.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Flicks Flashback - "Best Movies Of 2010"



2010 was a great year for the movies. With animation thriving, new stars rising and a number of records broken, audiences proved they will still turn out for a quality film. As we prepare to look forward to 2011, let's take a quick look back at the most buzzed about movies from this year.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Starring: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter,
Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen & Mia Wasikowska
Directed by Tim Burton for distribution by Walt Disney


The Plot: Tim Burton’s take on the classic children’s story.

The Final Word: When Tim Burton says he wants to put his stylistic touch on an iconic story, you just sit back and sign the checks. Burton, known for his creative visions, did a masterful job bringing Wonderland to life in the 3rd dimension and with Johnny Depp as the eccentric Mad Hatter, audiences were racing to go down the rabbit hole.

DESPICABLE ME
Starring (voices): Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Russell Brand,
Miranda Cosgrove, Danny McBride & Julie Andrews
Directed by Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin for distribution by Universal


The Plot: A supervillian’s (Carrell) plan to steal the moon hits a snag when he ends up the guardian of three orphaned girls.

The Final Word: 2010 was definitely a good year for the animated genre and when all is said and done, “Despicable Me” may be one of its most profitable winners. Coming out of nowhere the movie has solidified Universal as a force to reckoned with in terms of animated films. Shepherded by Chris Meledandri, who oversaw Blue Sky’s development of the “Ice Age” series, the movie struck a cord with viewers who fell for Steve Carrell’s “superbad superdad” and his army of endearing minions.

THE EXPENDABLES
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Charisma Carpenter, Mickey Rourke
Directed by Sylvester Stallone for distribution by Lionsgate


The Plot: A team of mercenaries embark on a suicide mission to South America in an attempt to overthrow a dictator.

The Final Word:  This year was all about taking gambles at the Cineplex and Lionsgate hit the jackpot. Giving Sylvester Stallone the keys to the kingdom proved to be a smart move as good old Sly assembled the most kick-ass group of action stars around to end the summer season with a bang. 


HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
Starring (voices): Jay Baruchel, Gerald Butler, America Ferrara,
Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & Craig Ferguson
Directed by Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois for distribution by DreamWorks


The Plot: A Viking outcast (Baruchel) befriends a dragon and in the process changes the way his tribe looks at the mythical creatures.

The Final Word: Not since the original “Shrek” has DreamWorks had a creative success as big as “How To Train Your Dragon.” The animated picture appealed to audiences of all ages and could very well unseat the not so jolly green ogre at this year’s Academy Awards. With a string of sequels and a TV series still to come, this story of Vikings and Dragons isn’t anywhere near over.

INCEPTION
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Ellen Page,
Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy & Michael Caine
Directed by Christopher Nolan for distribution by Warner Brothers


The Plot: A skilled thief (DiCaprio), who uses a person’s subconscious to extract secrets, must reverse the process to reclaim his past and settle a score.

The Final Word: Warner Brothers knew it had something special in this action thriller from the incredibly talented Christopher Nolan; although they didn’t know just how special until the movie ballooned up the box office. Included as part of his deal to direct “The Dark Knight,” the film succeeded because audiences know what to expect from the visionary director and the WB was rewarded tenfold as a result of their trust and patience. Now Nolan, his cast and the studio all could reap the befits this award season.



IRON MAN 2
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle,
Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson & Scarlett Johansson
Directed by Jon Favreau for distribution by Paramount/Marvel


The Plot: After outing himself as the superhero Iron Man, Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) must contend with a government sub-committee and a Russian scientist (Rourke) bent on revenge.

The Final Word: While not the critical success the 2008 original action film was, the sequel was still a financial success and continued to show just how bankable Robert Downey Jr. has become in Hollywood. Furthermore it sets the table for Paramount/Marvel/Disney to roll out the rest of Tony Stark’s costumed comrades in what will certainly be “must see” events next year and beyond.



THE KING’S SPEECH
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter,
Guy Pearce & Michael Gambon.
Directed by Tom Hooper for distribution by The Weinstein Company


The Plot: The true story of how King George VI (Firth) found his voice courtesy of Lionel Logue (Rush), a maverick speech therapist called in to help him overcome a stutter.

The Final Word: If early critics lists are to be believed, this year’s “Best Picture” race is over and “The King’s Speech” is the winner, which automatically makes it one of the most buzzed about movies of the year. Breaking it down further, the movie does have everything voters love and with the Weinstein’s guiding the PR ship, it should be a smooth ride across the award season waters.


SHUTTER ISLAND
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley,
Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson & Max von Sydow
Directed by Martin Scorsese for distribution by Paramount


The Plot: A detective (DiCaprio) with a tragic past finds himself in the middle of a mystery on an isolated island that is home to a mental hospital.

The Final Word: DiCaprio has come a long way from his breakthrough role in “Titanic” and paired with legendary director Martin Scorsese, it only made sense this Oscar contender would be the first hit of 2010. A fascinating thriller with a killer twist, Paramount is banking on this drama come nomination morning, although a late run by Leo’s other 2010 hit “Inception” could steal some of its thunder, regardless this remains of the year’s best in so many categories.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK
Starring: Jessie Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, 
Joe Mazzello & Rashida Jones
Directed by David Fincher for distribution by Columbia Pictures (Sony)


The Plot: The story behind the rise of the Facebook social networking phenomenon and the trouble sudden fame brought to its creator.

The Final Word: As if a movie about one of the world’s topic website wasn’t going to be enough of a draw by itself, the movie landed in theatres with a great pedigree which included “Fight Club” director David Fincher and “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin, along with a who’s who of young Hollywood rising stars. Already a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominee, “The Social Network” is in line to add a few more “friends” by the time it ends its run.


TOY STORY 3
Starring (voices): Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty,
Michael Keaton, Timothy Dalton & Whoopi Goldberg
Directed by Lee Unkrich for distribution by Disney/Pixar


The Plot: As their owner prepares for college, a group of toys begin to realize they face an uncertain future.

The Final Word: Pixar took its arguably most beloved set of characters and gave them a send-off worthy of the era of they helped usher in back in the late 1990’s. With this third and presumably final entry into the franchise, the studio has proven once again there’s animation and then there’s Pixar.

Previewed next week: "The Most Anticipated Movies of 2011"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New Releases - Week of December 24th



GULLIVER’S TRAVELS (12/25)
Starring: Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel & Amanda Peet
Directed by Rob Letterman for distribution by 20th Century Fox

 
The Plot: A big talking dreamer (Black) gets a break when’s mistaken for a travel writer and assigned to cover the Bermuda Triangle. Once on location he soon ends up lost at sea and marooned on the island of Lilliput, where he is literally a giant among men.
The Final Word: The classic tale gets a 3D upgrade with Jack Black in the lead role. Whether critics praise it or bash it, it should still perform during the holiday break.

LITTLE FOCKERS (12/23)
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Blythe Danner,
Jessica Alba, Laura Dern, Harvey Keitel, Teri Polo,
Dustin Hoffman & Barbara Streisand
Directed by Paul Weitz for distribution by Universal Pictures


The Plot: After ten years of being with his beloved bride Pam (Polo), Greg Focker (Stiller) is finally beginning to get along with his tightly-wound father-in-law Jack (DeNiro), but when Greg finds himself cash-strapped and his twins birthday fast approaching, his plan to earn some extra money begins to cause nothing but chaos.
The Final Word: “Meet The Parents” debuted in 2000 and became a comedy classic. While its sequel “Meet The Fockers” didn’t have the same charm as the original, audiences still flocked to see it, but with this being the third (and presumably final) installment in the series, the stakes for the second sequel has been raised. With a holiday release date and the nostalgia factor being to take hold, “Little Focker” is hoping to re-capture what made the original so successful.

TRUE GRIT (12/23)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin,
Barry Pepper & Hailee Steinfeld
Directed by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen for distribution by Paramount Pictures

The Plot: A fourteen year old girl (Steinfeld) turns to a trigger-happy US Marshal (Bridges) for help after her father is brutally murdered in front of her. Once she gets the Marshal on board, the situation becomes more complicated when she insists on joining him in tracking down the killer.
The Final Word: In 1969, John Wayne starred in the original “True Grit” and picked up his first and only Best Actor Academy Award. With the Coen Brothers behind this 2010 remake, Paramount is hoping for similar luck for both the film and lead Jeff Bridges who also happens to be the reigning Best Actor winner.

Previewed next week: "The Flicks Flashback: Best of 2010"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Releases - Week of December 17th



HOW DO YOU KNOW
Starring: Resse Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd & Jack Nicholson
Directed by James L. Brooks for distribution by Columbia (Sony)

 
The Plot: A former athlete (Witherspoon) find herself in a love triangle with her professional baseball playing boyfriend (Wilson) and a troubled executive about to be indicted (Rudd).
The Final Word: This type of light romantic comedy plays well during the holidays and it doesn’t hurt that the last time Nicholson (who plays Rudd’s father) teamed up with Brooks, he won an Oscar and the film racked up seven nominations. This time out could net a similar haul as Brooks is still a force in the industry and his young comedic cast has a strong following.

TRON: LEGACY
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
Bruce Boxleitner, James Frain, Beau Garrett & Michael Sheen
Directed by Joseph Kosinski for distribution by Walt Disney Pictures