Saturday, April 2, 2011

New In Theaters - April 8th, 2011

Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig,
Luis Guzman, Nick Nolte & Jennifer Garner
Directed by Jason Winer for distribution by Warner Brothers

The Plot: A trust fund playboy (Brand) with zero ambition must fend for himself when he is cut off from his inheritance after he refuses to marry the woman (Garner) his family has chosen on his behalf. 

The Final Word: In 1981, Dudley Moore brought to life a character that would later earn him an Academy Award nomination.  A happy drunk with no ambition whatsoever; the character’s name was Arthur. Now thirty years later, comedian Russell Brand is about to slip into Arthur’s expensive shoes and remind audiences why they fell for this lovable lothario in the first place. Although this will be Brand’s second movie released in a two week span. Could audiences be in for a “Brand” overload? I don’t envy Warner Brothers, as it is hard enough to launch a movie by itself, much less one where your lead actor is basically competing against himself for number one at the box office.

Starring: Morgan Freeman
Directed by David Lickley for distribution by Warner Brothers

The Plot: A documentary focusing on orphaned orangutans & elephants and the people who come to their aid.

The Final Word: Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this nature film was shot in IMAX 3D across Borneo and Kenya. It profiles world-renowned primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas and noted elephant specialist Dame Daphne Sheldrick, as they go about their work in the field preventing these amazing animals from extinction.

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Jason Flemyng,
Tom Hollander & Olivia Williams
Directed by Joe Wright for distribution by Focus Features

The Plot: A trained sixteen year old assassin (Ronan) is dispatched by her father (Bana) on a mission, only to be tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent (Blanchett) and her throngs of operatives.

The Final Word: Between “Arthur” and “Your Highness” I have every reason to believe this movie will be overshadowed at the box office. Although this is Focus Features and they’ve pulled off shockers before, but I just don’t see this falling to either of the two comedies it’s up against. Nothing against the film or its talented cast, but this honestly looks like a movie you may stumble upon on a cable channel in a few years and get sucked into for an hour or two. Then again Ronan (who at age 16 already has one Academy Award nomination) is already receiving rave reviews and Blanchett has become the definition of Oscar-bait, so this movie could still find a second life down the road.

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb, Carrie Underwood,
Lorraine Nicholson, Kevin Sorbo & Jeremy Sumpter
Directed by Sean McNamara for distribution by TriStar Pictures (Sony)

The Plot: The true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton (Robb), a young prodigy on the water who has her dreams shattered when a shark attack leaves her unable to perform. Although through her determination, Bethany fights to return to the sport she loves and overcome her handicap.

The Final Word: No doubt this uplifting story’s biggest asset is its cast, which includes Dennis Quaid, Carrie Underwood and Helen Hunt (who has seemingly fell off the map the last few years), but this is an insanely crowded release date and similar to “Hanna,” I see this getting overshadowed as well. It actually makes me wonder why TriStar didn’t hold it for the summer, when audiences begin to get tired of things blowing up and decide to go after this type of movie.

Starring: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman,
Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux, Toby Jones & Damian Lewis
Directed by David Gordon Green for distribution by Universal

The Plot: Two princes (McBride, Franco) with vastly different personalities must team up to rescue the older and more mature one’s girlfriend (Deschanel) after she’s kidnapped by an evil wizard (Theroux)

The Final Word: Franco has to be dreading doing press for this picture following the Oscars, but with Portman getting ready to give birth, it seems apparent the promotional burden will fall on him and McBride. Although remember that this won’t be the first time the pair has teamed up for a movie and that could end up being what really helps this comedy succeed. Fans of “Pineapple Express” probably already have the film’s release date circled on their calendars since this is targeted at the exact same audience.

Previewed next week: Rio & Scream 4