Saturday, February 26, 2011

New In Theaters - March 4th, 2011

Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery,
Shohreh Aghdashloo, Michael Kelly & Terence Stamp
Directed by George Nolfi for distribution by Universal

The Plot: A aspiring politician (Damon) decides to challenge what fate has in store for him when he goes after the love of his life (Blunt), but soon finds himself the target of a mysterious group of men charged with keeping order in the universe.

The Final Word: Based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, the man credited with “Total Recall” and “Blade Runner,” “Bureau” asks the question “can we change our own fate?” Ironically that is also the question Damon could have been asking himself after seeing his 2010 films “Green Zone” and “Hereafter” under-perform. Although among major tent-pole releases, his track record is remarkably solid and with “The Bourne Ultimatum” scribe, George Nolfi making his directorial debut, Damon looks likely to re-capture the magic of the Bourne trilogy.

Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, Mary-Kate Olsen,
Neil Patrick Harris & Peter Krause
Directed by Daniel Barnz for distribution by CBS Films

The Plot: A modern day re-telling of the classic “Beauty & the Beast” tale which focuses on a spoiled rich kid (Pettyfer) robbed of his good looks by a Goth girl (Olsen) he savagely spurned.
The Final Word: The story of “Beauty & the Beast” and the story of CBS Films are both widely known by this point. “Beauty & the Beast” is a classic tale of two people trying to overcome a number of obstacles in the name of love and CBS Films is a classic tale of a studio trying overcome a slate of dismal box office performers in the name of business. Except we all know “Beauty” tends to have a happy ending. CBS Films really doesn’t seem to know what to do with this film. Similarly as to how the Beast was banished to his castle, “Beastly” was banished from its first release date following the failure of CBS Films’ first two releases. I’m not even sure the drawing power of Neil Patrick Harris or rising star Alex Pettyfer will be able to help this movie survive its crowded release date. Although the thing people tend to forget about CBS Films is that every one of its movies by design have a small budget (by Hollywood standards) and at the end of the day they do tend to re-coup their money. The problem is that CBS is a victim of its own success. People of course associate the studio with the network and for the network to be as successful as it is and not have the studio mimic that profitability raises a few red flags. Then again perception isn’t always reality, despite what certain people foolishly believe.

Starring (voices): Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin,
Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Ray Winstone, Beth Grant,
Ned Beatty, Harry Dean Stanton & Alfred Molina
Directed by Gore Verbinski for distribution by Paramount

The Plot: A chameleon (Depp) who daydreams about being a hero suddenly finds himself in that role when he becomes a small town’s only hope against bandits.

The Final Word: Gore Verbinski, known for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy, steps into the world of animated 3D for the first time, with his friend “Pirates” star Johnny Depp accompanying him. The versatile director is also taking his first stab at writing for a full-length motion picture. All of those details combined give “Rango” and Paramount a great chance of success at the box office. With Verbinski not returning to the helm of the “Pirates” franchise, this movie may the only chance audiences will get to see him and Depp re-unite on the big screen for a little while.

Starring: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt,
Michelle Trachtenberg, Lucy Punch, Michael Ian Black & Demetri Martin
Directed by Michael Dowse for distribution by Relativity Media

The Plot: A recent MIT graduate (Grace) decides to throw away the future everybody wants for him and go his own way, until he meets the girl of his dreams (Palmer) and realizes an upcoming end of summer bash may be his only chance to impress her.

The Final Word: We’ve seen this scenario a thousand times before where a group of teens or twenty-somethings believe they can change their lives at one major (generally milestone related) party. Although studios keep making them because if done right they tend to do well at the box office, but unfortunately more often than not most fail. This one is intriguing because it has a solid cast of rising stars, a fun trailer and a great catalogue of 80’s hits at its disposal. Relativity can’t be expecting to make a huge profit off of this one, but at least it seems to have a decent shot at success.

Previewed next week: Battle: Los Angeles, Mars Needs Moms, Red Riding Hood