Saturday, June 23, 2012

New In Theaters - June 29, 2012

Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey,
Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Riley Keough,
Joe Mangianello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez & Gabriel Iglesias
Directed by Steven Soderbergh for distribution by Warner Brothers

The Plot: A male stripper takes a young performer under his wing and teaches him to get the most of their chosen profession.

The Final Word: This film has been a labor of love for Tatum since day one as it’s loosely based on his life prior to breaking through in Hollywood. With two strong hits under his belt so far in 2012 and an even stronger supporting cast of popular stars, the in-demand actor stands poised to continue dominating the film world; even if he’s alienating an entire demographic in the process.

Starring: Seth MacFarlane (voice) Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis,
Giovanni Ribisi, Joel McHale, Patrick Warburton,
Jessica Stroup & Laura Vandervoort
Directed by Seth MacFarlane for distribution by Universal

The Plot: A young boy’s childhood wish that his teddy bear would come to life, begins to impact him as a grownup.

The Final Word: Seth MacFarlane has a made a career out of crude and over the top humor; however up until now it’s all been on TV and all of the animated variety. “Ted” is the “Family Guy” creator’s big screen directorial debut and so far it’s been well received by his fanbase. Yet the question is how much of that fanbase will pay to see it in theaters? Universal is banking on that being a high number as it is taking advantage of “G.I. Joe’s” relocation and moving “Ted” into the prime Fourth Of July timeframe. With a likeable cast and a very original plot, the move could be very beneficial and strong counter programming to the female-centric “Magic Mike.”

Starring: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde,
Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall,
Mark Duplass & Michelle Pfeiffer
Directed by Alex Kurtzman for distribution by DreamWorks

The Plot: Following his father’s death, a deeply in debt man learns he has a sister he never knew about and per his dad’s will, must deliver a $150,000 inheritance to her.

The Final Word: The real story behind this film is actually who is behind this film. Alex Kurtzman and writing partner Roberto Orci are best known for their work with J.J. Abrams on both the latest “Star Trek” reboot and the series “Fringe.” “People” marks the pair’s first straight drama with no supernatural aspects. The movie is going for the “Up In The Air”/“The Descendants” crowd and if successful could net them more than a solid box office hit, especially as many critics are hinting this could be a silent force entering awards season.

Starring: Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards,
Doris Roberts, Danielle Campbell, Romeo Miller,
Tom Arnold, John Amos & Marla Gibbs
Directed by Tyler Perry for distribution by Lionsgate

The Plot: An investment banker at the center of his company’s Ponzi scheme is relocated with his family by the FBI to a safe house in the South run by Madea.

The Final Word: Fact: Every “Madea” movie has opened to at least $20 million. Translation: Don’t doubt Perry when he’s in drag as this character has a serious following. Now if only Perry could make successful films outside of that franchise.

New In Theaters - June 22, 2012

Starring (voices): Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly,
Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson & Robbie Coltrane
Directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman for distribution by Disney/Pixar

The Plot: The impetuous daughter of royalty, a young princess and skilled archer breaks with tradition and ends up embroiled in a quest to save her kingdom.

The Final Word: After taking a detour with last year’s “Cars 2,” Pixar is back to doing what it does best; original storytelling with heart. Along with another stellar voice cast headlined by “Boardwalk Empire’s” Kelly MacDonald, “Brave” should re-elevate Disney and Pixar back to the awards caliber level it was add coming off of “Toy Story 3.”

Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead,
Jimmi Simpson, Robin McLeavy, Alan Tudyk & Rufus Sewell
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov for distribution by 20th Century Fox

The Plot: Upon finding out vampires are planning on taking over the country, President Abraham Lincoln sets out a mission to destroy the undead before they enact their plan.

The Final Word: Yes, we actually just wrote the above! Based the very successful book by Seth Grahame-Smith, this unique spin on America’s past has been slowly building up buzz throughout the year. This will also mark director Timur Bekmambetov’s first feature since his 2008 summer hit “Wanted,” which should also draw in audiences.

Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Connie Britton, Adam Brody,
Rob Corddry, Gillian Jacobs, Derek Luke, Melanie Lynskey,
T.J. Miller, Mark Moses, Patton Oswalt & William Petersen
Directed by Lorene Scafaria for distribution by Focus Features

The Plot: With just weeks until an asteroid crashes into the Earth, a jilted insurance salesman embarks on quest to re-unite his high school sweetheart, along with help from his extroverted wild child neighbor.

The Final Word: While Steve Carell can clearly do slapstick style comedy, he has shown he also has the ability to branch out as well (i.e. the underrated “Dan In Real Life”).  This film falls in the latter category as it comes from Lorene Scafaria, who wrote the brilliant screenplay for “Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist.” If Scafaria, who is also making her directorial debut on the project, can re-capture any of “Playlist’s” unique style, this could be another well-received film. Unfortunately, these types of films, while well done, don’t normally translate well at the box office.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New In Theaters - June 15, 2012

Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand,
Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman,
Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin & Tom Cruise
Directed by Adam Shankman for distribution by New Line Cinema (WB)

The Plot: The story of a relationship between a small town girl and a city boy in Hollywood plays out with some of rock’s best known anthems woven into the mix.

The Final Word: Based on the long-running Tony-winning musical of the same name, “Rock Of Ages” has a who’s who of Hollywood elite among its ensemble capped off by Tom Cruise. Given how well past musical film adaptations such as “Chicago” and “Hairspray” have done in recent years at the box office, there’s no reason to think this won’t be as successful.

Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, James Caan,
Eva Amurri, Susan Sarandon, Milo Ventimiglia, Will Forte,
Colin Quinn, Todd Bridges, Vanilla Ice & Ian Ziering
Directed by Sean Anders for distribution by Columbia Pictures (Sony)

The Plot: A deadbeat dad re-enters his son’s life on the eve of his wedding and causes havoc in the process.

The Final Word: While “Jack and Jill” was a complete miss, the fact remains Adam Sandler still sells tickets and he does so especially well during the summer. This isn’t going to make any critic’s best-of lists at the end of the year, but it should do well enough to make people forget about Sandler in drag; we hope.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

New In Theaters - June 8, 2012

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce,
Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green & Charlize Theron
Directed by Ridley Scott for distribution by 20th Century Fox

The Plot: A team of scientists head to a distant part of the world to explore what they believe are clues to the origins of the universe and come face to face with unspeakable terror.

The Final Word: Whether this is really a prequel to the Ridley Scott’s thriller “Aliens” or not remains to be seen, but you have to hand it to 20th Century Fox who have gone out of their way to make sure the movie stands on its own. Through a viral campaign on the level with Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” audiences are already buzzing about this movie even though they have no real idea what it is about outside its vague logline. One thing’s certain though; if you’re going to see this movie, you have to see it in IMAX 3D.

Starring (voices): Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith,
Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric The Entertainer, Andy Richter,
Frances McDormand, Jessica Chastain, Martin Short & Bryan Cranston
Directed by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon for distribution by DreamWorks

The Plot: Still trying to make their way home Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe take refuge with a European circus where they quickly reinvent themselves in their own unique style.

The Final Word: DreamWorks has always had a strong number of franchises in their stable and with “Shrek” retired, “Madagascar,” now becomes their longest running. Now the studio is taking the recognizable franchise back to theaters and back to the summer timeframe where the original debuted back in 2005. While it’s up against the big budget and highly buzzed about Prometheus, it’s also a kids movie and during the summer those do extremely well.

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Kristen Bell,
Jenica Bergere, Jeff Garlin, Karan Soni, Lynn Shelton, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Directed by Colin Trevorrow for distribution by FilmDistrict

The Plot: A classified ad involving time travel intrigues three cynical Seattle reporters to reach out to the person who placed it, only to realize he may not be as crazy as he sounds.

The Final Word: Believe it or not this is based on an actual event, although while the ad itself was actually placed in “Backwoods Home Magazine” in 1997, the film’s plot is made up. While the person who placed this ad ("Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.") has since admitted it was a joke, the filmmakers decided to use it as a jumping off point for what could have been and so far it’s been very warmly received.