Synopsis: Imaginatively exploring questions of faith, familial responsibility, delinquent behavior, dental phenomena, academia, mortality, and Judaism – and intersections thereof – A Serious Man is the new… Imaginatively exploring questions of faith, familial responsibility, delinquent behavior, dental phenomena, academia, mortality, and Judaism – and intersections thereof – A Serious Man is the new film from Academy Award-winning writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen.
A Serious Man is the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik (Tony Award nominee Michael Stuhlbarg), a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous acquaintances, Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed), who seems to her a more substantial person than the feckless Larry. Larry’s unemployable brother Arthur (Richard Kind) is sleeping on the couch, his son Danny (Aaron Wolff) is a discipline problem and a shirker at Hebrew school, and his daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) is filching money from his wallet in order to save up for a nose job.
While his wife and Sy Ableman blithely make new domestic arrangements, and his brother becomes more and more of a burden, an anonymous hostile letter-writer is trying to sabotage Larry’s chances for tenure at the university. Also, a graduate student seems to be trying to bribe him for a passing grade while at the same time threatening to sue him for defamation. Plus, the beautiful woman next door torments him by sunbathing nude. Struggling for equilibrium, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis. Can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person – a mensch – a serious man?
Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg, Adam Arkin, Sari Lennick, Richard Kind, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus; Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Consensus: Blending dark humor with profoundly personal themes, the Coen brothers deliver what might be their most mature — if not their best — film to date.
synopsis: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell and Faizon Love star in Universal Pictures’ upcoming comedy Couples Retreat. Based on an original idea of Vaughn’s, the comedy follows four Midwestern couples who embark on a journey to a tropical island resort. While one of the couples is there to work on their marriage, the other three set out to jet ski, spa and enjoy some fun in the sun. They soon discover that participation in the resorts couples therapy is not optional. Suddenly, their group-rate vacation comes at a price. What follows is a hilarious look at real world problems faced by all couples. The film also stars Kali Hawk and Jean Reno.
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kali Hawk, Jean Reno; Directed by: Peter Billingsley
Synopsis: In the movie SCHOOL DAZE, Spike Lee staged a dance number in which two bands of African-American college students debated the merits of “Straight and Nappy” hair in song, and now comedian Chris… In the movie SCHOOL DAZE, Spike Lee staged a dance number in which two bands of African-American college students debated the merits of “Straight and Nappy” hair in song, and now comedian Chris Rock and filmmaker Jeff Stilson have extended the conversation to a full-length film in this witty documentary with serious undertones. Rock says he was inspired to make the film when his young daughter asked him, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” and he and Stilson examine black America’s obsession with their hair. They visit the Bronner Brothers International Hair Show, an annual trade show for the African-American haircare industry which includes fierce competitions among stylists from around the country and demonstrations of new hair products and techniques. Along the way, Rock also talks to a number of African-American luminaries about their hair issues (including Maya Angelou, Reverend Al Sharpton, Nia Long, Raven Symone, Ice-T, and Paul Mooney), researches the dangers of many common hair-straightening treatments, reveals the surprising expense of regular hair “relaxing” and weaves, and ponders what the pursuit of straight hair says about African-American cultural identity. GOOD HAIR received its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Cast: Chris Rock, Raven Symone, Kerry Washington, Meagan Good, Ice-T , Nia Long; Director: Jeff Stilson
Consensus: Funny, informative, and occasionally sad, Good Hair is a provocative look at the complex relationship between African Americans and their hair.
Synopsis: Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) returns home from military school to find his mother (Sela Ward) happily in love and living with her new boyfriend, David (Dylan Walsh). As the two men get to know each other, Michael becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand. Is he really the man of her dreams or could David be hiding a dark side?
Cast: Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward, Penn Badgley, Sherry Stringfield, Jon Tenney, Paige Turco, Amber Heard; Directed By: Nelson McCormick
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Synopsis: Based on the best-selling book about a love that transcends time. Clare has been in love with Henry her entire life. She believes they are destined to be together, even though she never knows when they will be separated: Henry is a time traveler — cursed with a rare genetic anomaly that causes him to live his life on a shifting timeline, skipping back and forth through his lifespan with no control. Despite the fact that Henry’s travels force them apart with no warning, Clare desperately tries to build a life with her one true love.
Cast: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston, Jane McLean; Directed By: Robert Schwentke
Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; George Clooney, Up in the Air; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.
Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Helen Mirren, The Last Station; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia.
Supporting Actor: Matt Damon, Invictus; Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Christopher Plummer, The Last Station; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Nine; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air; Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Mo’Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
Directing: James Cameron, Avatar; Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds; Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Jason Reitman, Up in the Air.
Foreign Language Film: Ajami, Israel; El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Argentina; The Milk of Sorrow, Peru; Un Prophete, France; The White Ribbon, Germany.
Adapted Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9; Nick Hornby, An Education; Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, “In the Loop”; Geoffrey Fletcher, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire; Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air.
Sound Editing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Up.
Original Score: Avatar, James Horner; Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat; The Hurt Locker, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders; Sherlock Holmes, Hans Zimmer; Up, Michael Giacchino.
Original Song: Almost There from The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman; Down in New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman; Loin de Paname from Paris 36, Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas; Take It All from Nine, Maury Yeston; The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) from Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.
Documentary Feature: Burma VJ, The Cove, Food, Inc. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Which Way Home.
Documentary (short subject): China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Music by Prudence, Rabbit a la Berlin.
Film Editing: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
Makeup: Il Divo, Star Trek, The Young Victoria.
Animated Short Film: French Roast, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Logorama, A Matter of Loaf and Death.
Live Action Short Film: The Door, Instead of Abracadabra, Kavi, Miracle Fish, The New Tenants.
These are the movies being released on DVD and Blu-Ray this, Tuesday:
Synopsis: Romance can be risky, perplexing and filled with the perils of miscommunication — and that’s if you aren’t ADAM, for whom life itself is this way. In this heartfelt romantic comedy, Hugh Dancy (The Jane Austen Book Club, Confessions of a Shopaholic) stars as Adam, a handsome but intriguing young man who has all his life led a sheltered existence – until he meets his new neighbor, Beth (Rose Byrne, Damages, 28 Weeks Later, Knowing), a beautiful, cosmopolitan young woman who pulls him into the outside world, with funny, touching and entirely unexpected results. Their implausible and enigmatic relationship reveals just how far two people from different realities can stretch in search of an extraordinary connection.
Cast: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Frankie Faison, Mark Linn-Baker, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving; Director: Max Mayer
Consensus: Hugh Dancy’s elegant performance as a man with Asperger’s Syndrome elevates Adam, an offbeat but touching romantic comedy.
An extraordinary life of adventure, celebrity and continuing mystery comes to light in AMELIA, a vast, thrilling account of legendary aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart (two time Academy Award® winner Hilary Swank).
After becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, Amelia was thrust into a new role as America’s sweetheart – the legendary “goddess of light,” known for her bold, larger-than-life charisma. Yet, even with her global fame solidified, her belief in flirting with danger and standing up as her own, outspoken woman never changed. She was an inspiration to people everywhere, from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (Cherry Jones) to the men closest to her heart: her husband, promoter and publishing magnate George P. Putnam (Golden Globe® winner Richard Gere), and her long time friend and lover, pilot Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor). In the summer of 1937, Amelia set off on her most daunting mission yet: a solo flight around the world that she and George both anxiously foresaw as destined, whatever the outcome, to become one of the most talked-about journeys in history.
Cast: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston, Mia Wasikowska; Directed by: Mira Nair
Synopsis: Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston star in the romantic drama Love Happens. When a self-help author arrives in Seattle to teach a sold-out seminar, he unexpectedly meets the one person who might finally be able to help him help himself.
Dr. Burke Ryan (Eckhart) is on the precipice of a major multimedia deal, but the therapist who asks his patients to openly confront their pain is secretly unable to take his own advice.
Eloise Chandler (Aniston) has sworn off men and decided to focus on her floral business. However, when she meets Burke at the hotel where he’s speaking, there is an instant attraction. But will two people who have met the right person at exactly the wrong time be able to give love another chance?
As each struggles with the hurt of love and loss, they realize that in order to move forward, they need to let go of the past. And if they can, they’ll find that, sometimes, love happens when you least expect it.
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, Dan Fogler, Judy Greer, Joe Anderson, John Carroll Lynch, Martin Sheen; Director: Brandon Camp
Synopsis: A cowardly shut-in named Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is forced to join up with a seasoned zombie-slayer named Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) in order to survive the zombie apocalypse. As Tallahassee sets out on a mission to find the last Twinkie on Earth, the duo meets up with Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), two young girls who have resorted to some rather unorthodox methods to survive amidst the chaos. Reluctant partners in the battle against the undead, all four soon begin to wonder if it might be better to simply take their chances alone.