Friday, September 28, 2012

New In Theaters - September 28, 2012

Starring (voices): Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg,
Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Cee-Lo Green, David Spade,
Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon & Jon Lovitz
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky for distribution by Sony

The Plot: A human teenager mistakenly stumbles into a hotel catering to monsters and promptly falls for the daughter of the proprietor.

The Final Word: With Halloween just a few weeks away, releasing “Transylvania” now is a smart move. The summer rush is over and the fall tentpoles have yet to start rolling into theaters. Packed with an all-star ensemble of celebrity voices including Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez, the 3D animated picture is on track to break the $25 million mark at the box office; no matter what the critics may say.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt,
Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo & Jeff Daniels 
Directed by Rian Johnson for distribution by Tri Star (Sony)

The Plot: In a world where time travel exists, the mob sends enemies to the past to be handled by a “looper,” but when they decide to close the loop, the “looper” finds his future self his latest target.

The Final Word: All in all, “Looper” has everything to gain and very little to lose. It looks like a smart thriller which audiences appreciate and in turn will show up to support. It also doesn’t hurt that Gordon-Levitt is one of the year’s most bankable stars.

Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Oscar Isaac, Holly Hunter,
Rosie Perez, Lance Reddick & Emily Alyn Lind  
Directed by Daniel Barnz for distribution by 20th Century FOX

The Plot: Two mothers fed up with the public school system wage a war against mediocrity in the name of their kids.

The Final Word: Based on actual events, the drama finds Oscar nominees Gyllenhaal and Davis teaming with Oscar winner Hunter for what figures to be a hot button issue based film. The question though is if audiences will show up as they don’t like films that preach and despite the positive message, that could be the case here.

New In Theaters - September 21, 2012

Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey & Rachel Wood
Directed by Pete Travis for distribution by Lionsgate

The Plot: In a world where society has crumbled to unspeakable levels, a group of cops named “judges” are given the power to act as judge, jury and executioner. Following a heinous crime, one of the city’s most notorious “judges” springs into action along with his rookie trainee to take down a slum controlled by a merciless Madame.

The Final Word: Anybody else the Sylvester Stallone version of “Judge Dredd” from 1996 that nearly destroyed the franchise? Yeah, Lionsgate is hoping you don’t and will be able to go into this version with an open mind. While fans seem willing to give the filmmakers a second chance, the problem is there may not be as many left as studio executives had hoped when they originally greenlit the project.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick,
Frank Gillo & America Ferrera
Directed by David Ayer for distribution by Open Road Films

The Plot: Two police officers are marked for death after they disrupt the plans of a local drug cartel and must fight to stay one step ahead of the group’s allies.

The Final Word: While Gyllenhaal and Pena are earning some of the strongest reviews of their careers for the action drama, audiences don’t seem to be that interested. Many probably wouldn’t even know the plot if they weren’t a preview like this one. However, Hollywood is ripe with movies that start off with no buzz, earning solid reviews and then dominate during award season.

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot & Gil Bellows
Directed by Mark Tonderai for distribution by Relativity Media

The Plot: A mother and daughter looking for a fresh start move to a new house where they learn their neighbor is the sole survivor of a brutal crime that still haunts the neighborhood.

The Final Word: Jennifer Lawrence is still riding high courtesy of “The Hunger Games” and Relativity should be able to milk that opening weekend. The trick is going to be sustaining whatever type of buzz the movie manages to garner as the movie opens at the start of a very crowded time at the box office.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman,
Robert Patrick, Matthew Lillard, Scott Eastwood & Joe Massingill
Directed by Robert Lorenz for distribution by Warner Brothers

The Plot: A aging baseball scout seeing his career slip away reluctantly allows his daughter to accompany him on his latest scouting trip in order to prove to his bosses he still has what it takes to get his job done.

The Final Word: Despite his status as a Hollywood legend, the four-time Academy Award winning filmmaker has seen a very uneven track record as of late. Every year Eastwood is talked about in Oscar circles as automatic contender, but it’s been years since he’s been an automatic nominee. In addition, “Curve” will actually be Eastwood’s first movie in almost twenty years that he has starred in but hasn’t directed. First time director Robert Lorenz instead shepherded the project with some helpful hints probably coming from his iconic star.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New In Theaters - September 14, 2012

Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres & Alexander Gould
Directed by Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich for distribution by Disney/Pixar

The Plot: A over-cautious clown fish teams up a forgetful but well-meaning fish to rescue his son who was scooped up by a diver.

The Final Word: “Finding Nemo” dominated when it first came out in 2003 and has been one of Disney/Pixar’s most recognizable films to date. Now courtesy of the 3D upgrade trend it’s getting a second life in theaters.

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, Kevin Durand,
Shawn Roberts, Colin Salmon, Johann Urb, Boris Kodjoe & Li Bingbing
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson for distribution by Sony Screen Gems

The Plot: The continuing adventures of Alice as she battles the mysterious Umbrella Corporation and seeks the truth about her own origins.

The Final Word: Three sequels and over $700 million later the “Resident Evil” film series has carved out a nice fanbase that continually shows up to the theater. “Retribution,” the fifth installment in franchise (and X in 3D) shouldn’t have a problem capitalizing on what otherwise is a very light weekend.

New In Theaters - September 7, 2012

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid,
Olivia Wilde & Zoe Saldana
Directed by Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal for distribution by CBS Films

The Plot: An author’s desire to make a name for himself leads him to claim another man’s writing as his own, only to begin feeling guilty when the real author shows up.
 The Final Word: Bradley Cooper has had a lot of luck outside of “The Hangover” series of movies, most notably with last year’s drama “Limitless.” However, in this case “The Words” is getting little buzz and a critical thrashing, despite the talent of its cast. If this film bows to over $10 million, you consider that a win.