Saturday, February 25, 2012

New In Theaters - March 2, 2012

Starring (voices): Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift
Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, & Betty White
Directed by Chris Renaud & Kyle Balda for distribution by Universal

The Plot: A 12-year old boy learns the story of mysterious “The Lorax” while attempting to track down a gift for the girl of his dreams.

The Final Word: Opening in the same general window as “Horton Hears A Who” did back in 2008, this 3D CGI animated adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss novel looks to find the same type of success. Starring Danny DeVito as the Lorax and teen idols Zac Efron and Taylor Swift in the leads roles, Universal Studios should find themselves pulling off the hat trick with partner Illumination Entertainment. The pair previous succeeded with “Despicable Me” and “Hop.”

Starring: Kirby Bliss Blanton, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Oliver Cooper.
Alexis Knapp, Thomas Mann & Miles Teller
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh for distribution by Warner Brothers

The Plot: Three teenagers decide to throw the party of all parties to make a name for themselves before they graduate high school, but soon come to regret the decision when it begins to spiral out of control.

The Final Word: The biggest name associated with this film is ironically the one that will be the most overlooked. “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips steps into producer mode for this new movie fronted by a cast you’ve probably never heard of before. Warner Brothers will be looking to capitalize on Phillips name and presence, despite him not being the person at the helm. Instead he leaves the directing to feature film newcomer Nima Nourizadeh, who until this point was best known for commercial work.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New In Theaters - February 24, 2012

Starring: Active Duty Navy SEALS
Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, Jason Cottle & Nester Serrano
Directed by "Mouse" McCoy & Scott Waugh for distribution by Relativity Media

The Plot: A Navy SEAL team dispatched to rescue a kidnapped CIA operative ends up discovering a potentially devastating terrorist plot in the process.

The Final Word: Inspired by actual events and (billed as) starring actual active duty Navy SEALs this action film is getting heavy promotion from distributor Relativity. The plan worked well for the studio last year when it used the Super Bowl to launch Bradley Cooper’s “Limitless,” but that type of luck may not strike twice, as four of Relativity’s other low budget projects with lesser known names bombed miserably in 2011. The jury is still out on this one...

Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman,
Kathryn Hahn, Lauren Ambrose, Ken Marino,
 Joe Lo Truglio, Kerri Kenney-Silver & Alan Alda
Directed by David Wain for distribution by Universal Pictures

The Plot: Following being laid off from his job, an uptight New Yorker and his equally set in her ways wife find themselves living on a commune.

The Final Word: Forget the plot, in a lot of circles this has long been known simply as the movie when Jennifer Aniston fully embraces nudity in film. Honestly with that moniker attached, it may not make a difference what the movie is about or if it’s even funny.

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Carpenter,
Wes Bentley, Sebastian Stan & Michael Pare
Directed by Heitor Dhalia for distribution by Summit Entertainment

The Plot: Following her sister’s abduction, a woman seeks out the serial killer who targeted her two years prior; convinced this is his method of payback for her escaping his grasp.

The Final Word: Amanda Seyfried has quickly jumped out of the shadows and into leading lady territory, but this seems awfully similar to a number of Katie Holmes’ failed dramas from the late 1990’s and early 2000’s that were supposed to be her big break out. The difference is that Seyfried has already successfully opened a movie (“Dear John”) on her name alone, but this one seems forced.

Starring: Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn
Jamie Kennedy,Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, 
Beverly Johnson, Phylicia Rashad & Gabrielle Union
Directed by Tyler Perry for distribution by Lionsgate

The Plot: On the verge of getting married, a wealthy man with strong morels starts to develop feeling a single mother while helping her get back on her feet.

The Final Word: Tyler Perry films do very well no matter what! That’s pretty much all that needs to be said.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New In Theaters - February 17, 2012

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, Fergus Riordan,
Ciaran Hinds, Violante Placido, Johnny Whitworth

The Plot: Johnny Blaze returns to team up with a rebel group of monks in attempt to save a young boy from the devil’s grip.

The Final Word: While Nicholas Cage’s choice of films have seemingly become a running joke in Hollywood, the truth is that Cage is still getting heavily compensated for these roles and thus having the real last laugh. The sequel to the 2007 pseudo-hit debuts in the exact same timeframe as the original and will probably do the same amount of business, but that may only be because of a slight bump in profits courtesy of 3D up-charges. Nobody is really excepting this one to set the box office on fire.

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy,
Chelsea Handler, Til Schweiger & Abigail Spencer

The Plot: Two of the CIA’s best operatives and longtime friends face off when they both fall for the same woman.

The Final Word: Resse Witherspoon has long history of playing “that girl” in many studios’ romantic comedies and after taking some time off to go the serious route, she’s slowly been returning to the field that launched her career. With a mix of eye candy and action sequences “War,” on paper, may literally the perfect Valentine’s Day movie.

Starring (voices): Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett,
Will Arnett, David Henrie & Moises Arias

The Plot: The daughter of a small group of little people living in the floorboards of a large house befriends the young son of the family who just moved in; despite warnings that if discovered the results could be disastrous.

The Final Word: Sound a little like “The Borrowers?” That’s because it basically is! Based on the acclaimed book series by Mary Norton, this new Disney animated film comes from the Academy Award winning team behind “Spirited Away,” and boasts a somewhat impressive voice cast including Carol Burnett.  Audiences looking for a kid friendly animated flick during the President’s Day weekend should have no problem settling in for this one.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New In Theaters - February 10, 2012

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson,
Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga, Fares Fares & Robert Patrick
Directed by Daniel Espinosa for distribution by Universal

The Plot: A low level CIA operative is forced to partner with a captured renegade when their safe house is compromised and the pair realize they’ll need each other’s help to survive.

The Final Word: While there honestly isn’t anything very inventive here about the plot (at least on paper), nobody is going to care because of the talented case associated with it. We know Denzel Washington can portray both good guys and bad, but for some reason it’s always more fun to watch him play the villain. Ryan Reynolds on the other hand is known primarily for being the hero and this pairing shouldn’t have any problems drawing a crowd. Audiences are unwilling to part with their money unless they are certain what they are going to get; in case they know exactly what they are going to get and that’s why this will work.

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson,
Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzma & Kristen Davis
Directed by Brad Peyton for distribution by New Line (WB)

The Plot:  Following the events of the original, a now seventeen year old Sean Anderson convinces his stepfather to accompany him on a quest to a mysterious island from which he’s been receiving coded messages.

The Final Word: The original “Journey To The Center Of The Earth,” wasn’t a massive success, but it did well enough to merit a sequel, even if the film’s original star Brendan Fraser took a pass on the project. Stepping into the lead role will be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who coming off “Fast Five” has never seen his box office stock higher. Still the film will be going up against the 3D re-launch of “Star Wars: Episode I” which could give it a run for its money over the normally profitable President’s Day weekend.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd
Ian McDiarmid, Pernilla August, Ahmed Best,
Anthony Daniels, Ray Park, Kenny Baker & Frank Oz
Directed by George Lucas for distribution by 20th Century Fox

The Plot: The iconic sci-fi franchise unleashes the first of its sixth installments in 3D.

The Final Word: While this was always in the works, long before Disney scored with “The Lion King 3D,” the decision to release the “Star Wars” film was motivated by the same result; added money. Although it will be interesting to see how a non-Disney film does with the 3D re-release experiment, especially given that “Menace” was one of the least liked in the series. Still “Star Wars” have proven for years, they’ll buy and re-buy the same movies over and over again even if the only differences are aesthetic.  

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill,
Scott Speedman & Jessica Lange
Directed by Michael Sucsy for distribution by Screen Gems (Sony)

The Plot: Following a traumatic car accident a man must make his wife fall in love with him all over again when she loses all memories of the pair as a couple.

The Final Word: Like “Dear John,” last year, Channing Tatum looks to have another Valentine’s Day tearjerker on his ever expanding filmography. Based on actual events, the movie should play extremely well given its timing and its very likable cast.

Previewed next week: This Means War, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Secret World Of Arrietty.