Release date: Friday February 4, 2011 (Wide) Genre: Horror, Thriller Director: Christian E. Christiansen Studio: Columbia Pictures Screenplay: Sonny Mallhi Producer(s): Roy Lee, Doug Davison, Irene Yeung Cast: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Aly Michalka, Danneel Harris, Frances Fisher, Billy Zane Official Site:theroommate-movie.com Rating:Not Yet Rated Available film art:The Roommate movie posters
Synopsis A psychological thriller about a deranged college freshman (Leighton Meester) who becomes obsessed with her new roommate (Minka Kelly).
Two new movies are being released (wide) this Friday, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I and The Next Three Days starring Russell Crowe.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
Synopsis: The final chapter of the “Harry Potter” film series begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione leave Hogwarts behind and set out to find and destroy the Horcruxes–the secret to Voldemort’s power and immortality.
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Jamie Campbell Bower; Directed by: David Yates
Release date: Wednesday December 22, 2010 (Wide) Genre: Comedy Director: Paul Weitz Studio: Universal Pictures Screenplay: Jason Lew Producer(s): Jay Roach, Robert De Niro, John Hamburg, Jane Rosenthal Cast: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, Jessica Alba, Laura Dern, Harvey Keitel, Barbra Streisand Official Site:littlefockers.net Rating:PG-13 Available film art:Little Fockers movie posters
Synopsis The test of wills between Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) and Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) escalates to new heights of comedy in the third installment of the blockbuster series—Little Fockers. It has taken 10 years, two little Fockers with wife Pam (Polo) and countless hurdles for Greg to finally get “in” with his tightly wound father-in-law, Jack. After the cash-strapped dad takes a job moonlighting for a drug company, however, Jack’s suspicions about his favorite male nurse come roaring back.
Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt face off as super-foes in this smartly scripted and philosophically profound piece of kids’ entertainment. The 3-D animation adds even more dimension.
Featuring the voices of: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, David Cross, Jonah Hill and Ben Stiller
Rating: Four stars out of five
The movie is billed as being in 3-D, and you know what? There is genuine truth in that advertisement.
Megamind is a fully realized statement on the nature of good and evil, the superhero’s role in the universe, and our social need for absolutes to structure our daily existence.
Don’t worry: The metaphysical depth is entirely imperceptible. The movie dazzles with its surface perfections, ensuring there isn’t a single moment of gratuitous enlightenment.
It all looks like mere entertainment as Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt face off as Megamind and Metro Man — respectively, supervillain and superhero for Metro City. From the opening sequence, which pays direct homage to the Superman narrative, we watch two alien babies land on Earth as their home planets are sucked into a giant black hole.
One baby is blue with a giant head. The other is humanly formed, and blessed with naturally chiselled features.
One baby lands in the lap of luxury. The other lands in the middle of a prison yard.One baby becomes the handsome hero of his school (Metro Man, voiced by Pitt), and eventually his entire species, while the other (Megamind, voiced by Ferrell) does his best to outdo his rival’s acts of charitable triumph.
Writers Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons get full marks for playing with the cliches in the genre with just the right amount of jaundice. When Megamind decides to kidnap intrepid broadcast journalist Roxanne Ritchi (voiced by Tina Fey) in order to bring Metro Man to his knees, it’s Roxanne who provides the running commentary on Megamind’s lack of originality — from the alligator pit under the floor to his grand schemes that inevitably fail to meet their cataclysmic ambitions.
It’s funny, well-written and Tina Fey does a fabulous job bringing her intelligent smirk to the pixels through her performance.
Most movies would be satisfied with mere parody and tongue-in-cheek commentary on the conventions it’s tacitly reaffirming, but Megamind cleverly pushes it one step further by recreating the convention and pushing the audience to reconfigure their view of the binary forces that keep the universe in constant flux: Halfway through the movie, Megamind actually succeeds in killing off Metro Man.
The citizens of Metro City are stunned, and so is Roxanne. The poles have been reversed, leaving Megamind to rule as he sees fit. The only problem is that Megamind is not your average supervillain.
Thanks to the digital animation and Ferrell’s signature loser-pathos, Megamind is entirely sympathetic from the very first frames. We like him. We feel he’s been the victim of circumstance, which allows us to see him as a vessel containing both good and evil.
To assert the fuzzy quality of morality, and the idea that good and evil reside within each one of us in equal proportion, is a risky move, given our current affinity for boiling things down to fundamentalist ideals. The beauty of this movie is just how effortlessly this philosophical challenge is presented to the audience.
When Megamind succeeds in removing his rival, he realizes he’s lost his purpose in life. Without good pushing up against his wall of evil, he has no form, no reason to keep hatching villainous plans for world domination. The loss pushes him into an existential state of reflection, which prompts a Eureka moment: What if he recreated Metro Man in another form? What if he took a mere mortal and gave him superhuman abilities so he could once again get back to his drawing board of villainy? Surely then, the universal axes would realign.
He carries out the plan and deposits the seeds of greatness into the gelatinous heart, body and mind of a slovenly news cameraman voiced by Jonah Hill. By the time the Rocky montage is over, and we see the blobby kid reborn as Tighten (sounds like Titan, but as the Megamind character tells us, it wasn’t already subject to copyright), we think we see the happy ending on the horizon, with the balance between good and evil restored.
Yet, when Tighten turns out to be a completely selfish loser who uses his superpowers for his own gain, it’s up to Megamind to reverse his own polarity and use his gifts for good instead of evil.
Questioning the nature of heroism is always a valuable exercise, because it puts us back in touch with everything that is bad and good within us, while reminding us that we have the free will to choose.
All these smart points are packaged in such great lines, and delivered by such clever performers, all we really feel is the pleasure of a great piece of entertainment. But make no mistake: Behind this two-dimensional formula of good vs. evil lurks a three-dimensional view of the human soul.
Release date: Friday April 8, 2011 (Wide) Genre: Animation, Comedy, Adventure, Family & Kids Director: Carlos Saldanha Studio: 20th Century Fox Screenplay: Don Rhymer Producer(s): Christopher Jenkins Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Rodrigo Santoro, Jake T. Austin, George Lopez, Carlos Ponce, Kate Del Castillo Official Site:rio-themovie.com Rating:Unrated Available film art:Rio movie posters
Synopsis Blue Sky Studios’ 3-D digital animated film “Rio” centers on a nerdy macaw who leaves the comforts of his cage in small-town Minnesota and heads to Rio de Janeiro.
Synopsis: The story of Aron Ralston, a mountain climber who, while hiking Utah’s back-country in 2003, had to self-amputate part of his arm with a dull knife when it was pinned by a boulder in an accident.
Cast: James Franco, Kate Mara, Lizzy Caplan, Clémence Poésy, Amber Tamblyn; Directed by: Danny Boyle
Synopsis: Director Todd Phillips re-teams with his break-out Hangover star Zach Galifianakis for this oad movie concerning a soon-to-be father (played by Robert Downey Jr.) and his cross-country trip to make it back in time for his baby’s birth — with the only roadblock being the dubious passenger (Galifianakis) who’s along for the ride. Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx co-star in the Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures production.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, RZA, Juliette Lewis, Alan Arkin; Directed by: Todd Phillips
Synopsis: From the studio that brought you “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda.” The brilliant and diabolical super-villain Megamind has been attempting to conquer Earth for over 20 years but, each time, he’s been thwarted by his arch nemesis, the caped superhero Metro Man. But all that changes one day when Megamind accidentally kills Metro Man in the throes of one of his evil plans. Suddenly finding himself without a foe to overcome, the despondent evil genius decides that the only way out of his rut is to create a new super rival. He’s a bigger, better and stronger opponent than Metro Man ever was. But when the former good guy begins to wage his own war aimed at destroying the world, Megamind must decide: Can he defeat his own (now) diabolical creation? Can the world’s smartest man make the smart decision for once? Can the Evil Genius switch sides and become the Hero of his own story?
Cast: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt; Directed by: Tom McGrath
Synopsis: In 1974, Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf” made its stage debut, combining poetry, dance and music, and most significantly, placing the black female experience center stage. In lyrical, honest, angry, funny and tender language, Shange’s “colored girls” evoked the feelings woven into the fabric of black female life in America. Within two years, the play became a Broadway sensation, won an Obie and Tony Award, and would eventually be produced in regional theaters throughout the country. Now, thirty six years later, filmmaker Tyler Perry adapts this landmark work for the big screen, integrating the vivid language of Shange’s poems into a contemporary narrative that explores what it means to be a woman of color – and a woman of any color – in this world.
Cast: Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine; Director: Tyler Perry
Release date: Friday January 28, 2011 (Wide) Genre: Drama Director: Gus Van Sant Studio: Columbia Pictures Screenplay: Jason Lew Producer(s): Bryce Dallas Howard, Gus Van Sant, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hopper, Ryo Kase, Schuyler Fisk, Jane Adams Official Site:restlessmovie.com Rating:PG-13 Available film art:Restless movie posters
Synopsis Eccentric funeral crasher Enoch (Henry Hopper) finds his ideal soul mate in beautiful but mysterious Annabelle (Mia Wasikowska), who claims to work in a hospital but harbors a sensitive secret. Later, after Enoch opens up to Annabelle about his only friend, an outspoken ghost named Hiroshi, their fledgling romance is put to the ultimate test. Director Gus Van Sant teams with playwright Jason Lew to adapt Lew’s play of the same name.
Release date: Friday February 25, 2011 (Wide) Genre: Thriller, Action, Adventure Director: Patrick Lussier Studio: Maple Pictures Screenplay: Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier Producer(s): Michael De Luca Cast: Nicolas Cage, David Morse, Billy Burke, Amber Heard, Katy Mixon, William Fichtner Official Site:driveangry3d.com Rating:R Available film art:Drive Angry movie posters
Synopsis Thrown down into hell for his crimes, brutal felon Milton (Nicolas Cage) breaks out of the fiery pit after cultists murder his daughter and take her baby. Intent on rescuing his grandchild, Milton joins forces with a waitress, who gives him her ex-lover’s bright red muscle car. The pair speed off in pursuit of the cult leader, who plans to sacrifice the infant and unleash hell on Earth. However, the hunters become the hunted when Satan sends his merciless henchman to drag Milton back to hell.