Saturday, October 29, 2011

New In Theaters - November 4th, 2011

Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni,
Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Stephen Henderson,
Judd Hirsch, Michael Pena & Alan Alda
Directed by Brett Ratner for distribution by Universal

The Plot: A group of employees at a luxurious apartment building band together to steal $20 milliom from a disgraced billionaire that conned them out of their savings.

The Final Word: Inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal, Universal has been trying to get this project off the ground for a while, but went through a number of script and cast changes. Yet with a significant amount of high-profile actors attached, the plot doesn’t need to be flushed out to make this successful. The basic concept paired with Eddie Murphy’s first live-action role since 2009 will be enough to attract an audience.

Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Paula Garcés, Danneel Harris, 
Tom Lennon, Danny Trejo,Elias Koteas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, 
David Krumholtz, Patton Oswalt & Neil Patrick Harris
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson  for distribution by New Line (WB)

The Plot: The continuing adventures of stoner buddies Harold and Kumar continue as they accidentally burn down the prized-Christmas tree of Harold’s father-in-law.

The Final Word: Let’s be clear, the plot is irrelevant, if you’re going to see this movie, you know exactly what to expect. Three years after John Cho and Kal Penn last stepped into their “White Castle” loving roles, the duo will team up for one (possibly) last go-round. Although what’s more interesting that how these movies have been a success, is what the pair have been up to in the interim. Cho, has landed a few high profiles on series TV and became a part of J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot, while Penn left acting to work for the Obama administration. Now both have come back to their roots and looking to have one more blast at the box office.

Previewed: J. Edgar, The Immortals and Jack & Jill

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New In Theaters - October 28th, 2011

Starring (voices): Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis,
Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris & Guillermo del Toro
Directed by Chris Miller for distribution by DreamWorks Animation

The Plot: The famed fairy tale creature teams with Humpty Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws to steal the goose that lays the golden eggs in this spin-off of the popular “Shrek” series.

The Final Word: Antonio Banderas’ over-the-top performance in “Shrek 2” stole the show from Mike Meyer’s popular green ogre and now is getting a chance to break out on his own. The latest release from DreamWorks Animation takes audiences back to before Puss met up with Shrek and was busy plotting his latest heist. Aided by Salma Hayek’s Kitty Softpaws and Zach Galifianakis’s Humpty Dumpty,  audiences are in the same fairy tale type fun that made the “Shrek” series so popular and could lead to another franchise the studio.

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Muphy, Vincent Kartheiser,
Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Galecki, Olivia Wilde & Matthew Bomer
Directed by Andrew Niccol for distribution by 20th Century Fox

The Plot: In a futuristic society where time becomes the new currency, a man fights to stay alive while trying to exonerate himself for a murder he didn’t commit.

The Final Word: Andrew Niccol has directed three movies prior to “In Time” and he’s had a writing credit on all three; “In Time” is no different. Yet none of them have been a box office success and again “In Time” may not be any different. In the same vein as his “Gattaca,” “Time,” takes place in a futuristic society where the rules are different, but our society and its taste haven’t changed much. Despite a strong cast of young up and coming actors (led by Justin Timberlake), this may not be a surefire hit as audiences don’t tend to respond well to overly complicated storylines. Although it could still put some respectable opening week numbers before being overshadowed by a very strong slate of November films, so if this is your type of movie, see it early.

Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Michael Rispoli,
Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi & Marshall Bell
Directed by Oliver Parker for distribution by Universal

The Plot: An American journalist takes a vacation to Puerto Rico where he’s commissioned to write an article for a corrupt USA born businessman looking to profit off the country.

The Final Word: You can literally see the words jump off the page and onto the screen in any adaptation of a work by Hunter S. Thompson. His trippy style has given way to a number of well-known works including “Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas,” which also starred Depp. Long delayed to the screen because of the actor’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and Thompson’s untimely passing, “Diary” marks the culmination of a long and arduous production, but one Depp has been remained passionate about throughout. 

Previewed next week: Tower Heist, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New In Theaters - October 21st 2011

Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman for distribution by Paramount Pictures

The Plot: Two young sisters encounter a supernatural invisible entity in their home, only to realize it is not as benevolent as they first thought.

The Final Word: The only thing certain about a “Paranormal Activity” movie is that there are no certainties. When the original film first came out, it was during the height of the “found footage” era, where studios still believed they could make audiences think they’ve uncovered video of an event so shocking it had to be covered up. As a result, Paramount didn’t even release the cast list, so to as to keep the illusion of it not being “scripted.” In fact it was even rumored that the all of those who watched the rough copy of the original footage found themselves encountering “unexplained occurrences,” including veteran Hollywood director Steven Spielberg. This time around, audiences at least have a logline to work with, but still no true cast list. The other thing to keep in mind is that this time out the movie was directed by filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, whose documentary “Catfish” tried to a new take on the “found footage” genre, but eventually was widely discredited.

Starring: Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, 
Luke Evans, Mads Mikkelsen, Gabriella Wilde, 
Juno Temple, Orlando Bloom & Christoph Waltz
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson for distribution by Summit Entertainment

The Plot: A young hot headed swashbuckler teams with three rogue musketeers to take down an evil leader.

The Final Word: Summit Entertainment is the latest company to try and bring back to life the legendary “Three Musketeers” story and of course this time in 3D. Its talented cast and director aside, this movie is going to be watched for two reasons. The first being it’s the first 3D feature released since Disney’s “The Lion King” 3D experiment crushed the competition and the second being that Summit’s gravy train is about to reach the end of its track with the final “Twilight” movie fast approaching. How moviegoers respond is going to tell a very interesting tale in Hollywood very soon.

Previewed next week: 13, Anonymous, In Time, Johnny English Reborn, Puss In Boots

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New In Theaters - October 14th 2011

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton,
Jonathan Lloyd Walker & Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen for distribution by Universal

The Plot: A team of scientists stranded in Antarctica must band together when they accidentally unleash a deadly alien that can take the form of anything it touches.

The Final Word: You have to give Universal credit here as they have really tried to make sure this thriller was done right, especially given its pedigree. Remember this isn’t a remake, but a prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter cult favorite horror film and as such has to be very careful not damage the legacy of the original. It’s hard to make a sequel that outshines the first, but some would say it’s equally as hard to make a prequel that properly respects the material a classic’s fans know all to well.

Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid
Andie MacDowell & Miles Teller
Directed by Craig Brewster for distribution by Paramount Pictures

The Plot: Following the tragic death of five teens, a town bans dancing and loud music, only to see the ruling challenged years later by a new arrival.

The Final Word: With everyone’s love of 80’s nostalgia it really was only a matter of time until “Footloose” got the reboot treatment. Relative newcomer Kenny Wormald steps in the role made famous by Kevin Bacon in the 1984 original opposite “Dancing With The Stars” favorite Julianne Hough. Through Wormald wasn’t the first choice to play Ren McCormack, that was actually Zac Efron who eventually passed on the project, as did “Gossip Girl’s” Chase Crawford, but with the star power of Hough and Dennis Quaid (who plays the John Lithgow role), it could actually work out rather well. Call it the “John Grisham effect,” as the films based on the noted author’s books usually had a unknown or two in a major starring role; including then rising stars Matthew McConaughey and Matt Damon.

Starring: Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Brian Dennehy,
Rashida Jones, Rosamund Pike & Dianne Wiest
Directed by David Frankel for distribution by 20th Century Fox

The Plot: Three friendly rivals, each going through a mid-life type crisis, decide to embark on a yearlong bird-watching challenge.

The Final Word: Martin, Black and Wilson. How’s that for a dream team of comedy? Sure each of them can be a little out there at times and have not had the most stellar track record at the box office as of late, but people still rightfully pay attention when they have a new movie. Combined the trio should be able to draw in a substantial audience, but it could get overshadowed by the two “known” films coming out this week.

Previewed Next Week: Paranormal Activity 3, The Three Musketeers

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New In Theaters - October 7th, 2011

Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei,
Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella & Evan Rachel Wood
Directed by George Clooney for distribution by Columbia (Sony)

The Plot: A hotshot campaign press secretary finds himself embroiled in a scandal that could bring down both him and his candidate during the final days of a contentious Ohio presidential primary.

The Final Word: If you didn’t know who Ryan Gosling was before, you certainly will by the year’s end. Already a former Oscar nominee, Gosling has yet to really breakthrough to the level of Clooney, Hoffman or Tomei, but that’s coming. Here he is given a chance to build on his work in the critically loved “Drive” and with Clooney as his director, he could be right back in the mix come award season. Incidentally don’t forget about Clooney either (not that anybody could) as between this and the upcoming “The Descendants”  he’ll be in the Oscar spotlight just as much.

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo,
Anthony Mackie & Kevin Durand
Directed by Shawn Levy for distribution by DreamWorks

The Plot: A washed up boxer teams with his estranged son to build and train a robotic fighter in a future where humans no longer compete in the ring.

The Final Word: “Steel” has been on many fan’s must-see lists for some time now and it’s not hard to see why. This is literally a more developed version of the popular “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” line of toys and with Hollywood heartthrob Hugh Jackman in the title role opposite the equally stunning Evangeline Lilly, DreamWorks should see some solid returns. Studios will also be keeping an eye on “Steel” as DreamWorks opted to go the IMAX route, without the 3D add-on. With the drubbing 3D has been taking this could be a smart middle-ground for upcoming releases. 

Previewed next week: The Thing, Footloose, The Big Year