Synopsis: Few characters have made as powerful or as lasting an impression on international popular culture as Astro Boy. The little robot first appeared in 1951 as a character in the celebrated artist and animator Osamu Tezuka’s legendary manga(Japanese comic book) and became an instant icon. He was subsequently featured as the star of his own television series in both black-and white and in color, eventually airing in over 40 countries. Astro Boy created the standard for a new form of animation that has become world famous as anime.
Now for the first time, Astro Boy will be brought to life on the big screen. Created with breathtaking computer animation from Imagi Studios, the film Astro Boy is a thrilling tale of a true hero. The film is set to debut in theaters on October 23, 2009.
Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist named Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage). Powered by positive “blue” energy, Astro Boy (Freddie Highmore) is endowed with super strength, x-ray vision, unbelievable speed and the ability to fly. Embarking on a journey in search of acceptance, Astro Boy encounters many other colorful characters along the way. Through his adventures, he learns the joys and emotions of being human, and gains the strength to embrace his destiny. Ultimately learning his friends and family are in danger, Astro Boy marshals his awesome super powers and returns toMetro City in a valiant effort to save everything he cares about and to understand what it means to be a hero.
Cast: Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, Freddie Highmore, Donald Sutherland, Eugene Levy, Matt Lucas, Nathan Lane, Madeline Carroll, Sterling Beaumon; Directed by: David Bowers
Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Synopsis: Romantic-comedy regulars Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker finally unite in this fish-out-of-water laugher. The actors play Paul and Meryl Morgan, a Manhattan couple whose marriage is in danger. But it turns out all they may need is a change of scenery: when the Morgans witness a murder and are sent by the government to small-town Wyoming to hide from the killers, their marriage shows signs of recovery. DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS? also stars Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, and Elisabeth Moss.
Cast: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Kelly; Directed by: Marc Lawrence
Synopsis: Raizo is one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan, a secret society whose very existence is considered a myth. But haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them…and vanishes. Now he waits, preparing to exact his revenge. In Berlin, Europol agent Mika Coretti has stumbled upon a money trail linking several political murders to an underground network of untraceable assassins from the Far East. Defying the orders of her superior, Ryan Maslow, Mika digs into top secret agency files to learn the truth behind the murders. Her investigation makes her a target, and the Ozunu Clan sends a team of killers, led by the lethal Takeshi, to silence her forever. Raizo saves Mika from her attackers, but he knows that the Clan will not rest until they are both eliminated. Now, entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse through the streets of Europe, Raizo and Mika must trust one another if they hope to survive…and finally bring down the elusive Ozunu Clan.
Cast: Rain, Naomie Harris, Ben Miles, Sho Kosugi, Rick Yune; Directed by: James McTeigue
The Fourth Kind
Synopsis: In 1972, a scale of measurement was established for alien encounters. The final level, abduction, was classified as the fourth kind. This encounter has been the most difficult to document… until now. In modern-day Nome, Alaska, a disproportionate number of the population has been reported missing every year. Despite multiple FBI investigations of the region, the truth has never been discovered. Psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler began videotaping sessions with traumatized patients and unwittingly discovered some of the most disturbing evidence of alien abduction ever documented.
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Will Patton, Hakeen Kae Kazim; Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi
The Princess and the Frog
Synopsis: Disney returns to its roots with a fresh twist on the Frog Prince fairy tale, set in the the mystical, magical bayous of Louisiana. Tiana is a hardworking young woman determined to fulfill her father’s dream of owning an elegant New Orleans supper club. When Naveen, a handsome prince arrives in town looking for romance, the evil Dr. Facilier hatches a nefarious plot and turns Naveen into a frog. A kiss from Tiana should return him to his true form, but she is instead transformed into a frog herself! The pair must travel into the heart of the bayou to find the priestess who can reverse the curse in order to find their “happily ever after.”
Cast: Anika Noni Rose, Oprah Winfrey, Keith David, Jenifer Lewis, John Goodman, Terrence Howard, Jim Cummings; Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker
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
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.
Synopsis: London 1818: a secret love affair begins between 23 year old English poet, John Keats, and the girl next door, Fanny Brawne, an outspoken student of fashion. This unlikely pair started at odds; he thinking her a stylish minx, she unimpressed by literature in general.
It was the illness of Keats’s younger brother that drew them together. Keats was touched by Fanny’s efforts to help and agreed to teach her poetry.
By the time Fanny’s alarmed mother and Keats’s best friend Brown realised their attachment, the relationship had an unstoppable momentum. Intensely and helplessly absorbed in each other, the young lovers were swept into powerful new sensations, “I have the feeling as if I were dissolving”, Keats wrote to her. Together they rode a wave of romantic obsession that deepened as their troubles mounted. Only Keats’s illness proved insurmountable.
Consensus: Jane Campion’s direction is as refined as her screenplay, and she gets the most out of her cast — especially Abbie Cornish — in this understated period drama.
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish, Thomas Sangster, Paul Schneider, Kerry Fox, Samuel Roukin, Samuel Barnett; Directed by: Jane Campion
Michael Jackson’s This is It
Synopsis: Michael Jackson’s THIS IS IT will offer Jackson fans and music lovers worldwide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts that would have taken place beginning this summer in London’s O2 Arena. Chronicling the months from April through June, 2009, the film is produced with the full support of the Estate of Michael Jackson and drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind-the-scenes footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show. Audiences will be given a privileged and private look at Jackson as he has never been seen before. In raw and candid detail, Michael Jackson’s THIS IS IT captures the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, creative genius and great artist at work as he creates and perfects his final show. Kenny Ortega, who was both Michael Jackson’s creative partner and the director of the stage show is also directing the film, which is being produced by Randy Phillips, Kenny Ortega and Paul Gongaware. Executive producers are John Branca and John McClain. The film will be distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing. Tickets for the limited two-week engagement of the film go on sale beginning September 27.
Consensus: While it may not be the definitive concert film (or the insightful backstage look) some will hope for, Michael Jackson’s This Is It packs more than enough entertainment value to live up to its ambitious title.
Cast: Michael Jackson; Director: Kenny Ortega
Synopsis: The makers of the Saw films continue to make Rube Goldberg roll over in his grave with this sixth film in the series. SAW VI finds Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) the target of a FBI investigation, but that won’t stop him from continuing the murderous mayhem started by Jigsaw.
Consensus: It won’t earn the franchise many new fans, but Saw VI is a surprising step up for what has become an intricately grisly annual tradition.
Cast: Costas Mandylor, Mark Rolston, Betsy Russell, Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Peter Outerbridge, Shauna MacDonald, Darius McCrary; Director: Kevin Greutert
Synopsis: FBI agents (BRUCE WILLIS and RADHA MITCHELL) investigate the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves – fit, good looking remotely controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles – enabling people to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The murder spawns a quest for answers: in a world of masks, who’s real and who can you trust?
Cast: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, James Francis Ginty; Director: Jonathan Mostow
Synopsis: Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with this feisty, female-friendly action-comedy. JUNO’s Ellen Page stars as Bliss Cavendar, a young woman who longs to break free of her small-town bonds by joining the rough-and-tumble sport of roller derby in nearby Austin, Texas.
Consensus: While made from overly familiar ingredients, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut has enough charm, energy, and good-natured humor to transcend its many cliches.
Cast: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Daniel Stern, Alia Shawkat, Eve; Director: Drew Barrymore
Synopsis: Though HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN director Alfonso Cuaron still holds the crown for best film in the series, David Yates is making an attempt at a coup with HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. Dark, gleefully funny, and beautifully shot, this adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s novel should please fans despite numerous changes to the 650-page source material. In this sixth film in the series, Harry’s (Daniel Radcliffe) inevitable confrontation with the dark wizard Voldemort grows closer, and Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) wants the young student to be prepared. He guides Harry through a memory of a young Voldemort, but an important moment is missing. Harry must extract this memory from the new Hogwarts teacher, Horace Slughorn (a perfectly slimy Jim Broadbent), who is as eager for fame as he is reluctant to revisit this painful moment. Meanwhile, romance rules the school of witches and wizards, with Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) refusing to admit their feelings for each other. Harry also harbors a secret love of his own: Ron’s younger sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright). But despite his crush, Harry keeps an eye on Snape (Alan Rickman) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who may be responsible for attacks on the school. HALF-BLOOD PRINCE deftly balances the humor of Hogwarts heartbreak and the thrills of dark villains attacking the school. The cast is as talented as ever, and the youngest members–Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson–have developed their talent well. However, this film is most remarkable for its fine cinematography from AMELIE director of photography Bruno Delbonnel. Using a muted palette, Delbonnel makes Hogwarts look hauntingly beautiful in a way that fans have never seen. There’s always plenty of fun and adventure in the series, but this entry boasts impressive visuals as well.
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, David Bradley, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Cave, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Frank Dillane, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Natalia Tena, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Bonnie Wright; Directed by: David Yates
Julie and Julia
Synopsis: Meryl Streep is Julia Child and Amy Adams is Julie Powell in writer-director Nora Ephron’s adaptation of two bestselling memoirs: Powell’s Julie & Julia and My Life in France, by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme.
Based on two true stories, Julie & Julia intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends…until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.
Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond; Directed By: Nora Ephron
Synopsis: Johnny Depp and Christian Bale emerge from two of the biggest blockbuster series of all time (Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman, respectively) to star in this crime drama from HEAT director Michael Mann. Depp stars as charismatic 1930s gangster John Dillinger, whose notorious bank robberies have turned him into a celebrity during the Depression era. The rise in crime has J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) desperate to have his newly created FBI take down gangsters such as Dillinger, “Pretty Boy” Floyd (Channing Tatum), and “Baby Face” Nelson (Stephen Graham). Enter Agent Melvin Purvis (Bale), an ambitious crimefighter sent to Chicago to capture Dillinger and his gang. The criminal has evaded the law before, but he is drawn to the Second City by the beautiful Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard). Though PUBLIC ENEMIES boasts big names, it feels more like an arthouse offering than a typical gangster picture. With its intimately shot violence and 1930s setting, the film is more BONNIE AND CLYDE than GOODFELLAS. Mann and director of photography Dante Spinotti alternate between hand-held, high-quality digital cameras and more traditional film stock, giving this crime drama a carefully composed, thoroughly modern look. But the casting of the leads is vintage Hollywood: Depp could be the modern incarnation of silent star Rudolph Valentino, and Cotillard’s wide-eyed beauty–and talent–would fit right in with the starlets of the golden age. Everyone else, including Bale, fades into the background, but it’s hard to complain when Depp and Cotillard give such magnetic performances.
Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Jason Clarke, Rory Cochran, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Lang, John Ortiz, Giovanni Ribisi, David Wenham, John Michael Bolger, Bill Camp, Matt Craven, Emilie De Ravin, Don Frye, Spencer Garrett, Shawn Hatosy, Peter Gerety, Stephen Graham, John Hoogenakker, Branka Katic, Domenick Lombardozzi, David Warshofsky; Directed By: Michael Mann
Synopsis: Ben Stiller returns as Larry Daley, the unfortunate night watchman who continues to encounter living and breathing museum exhibits in “Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian“, 20th Century Fox’s tent-pole sequel from director Shawn Levy. Scott Frank, Robert Ben Garant, and Thomas Lennon provide the script, with Chris Columbus returning to handle producing duties. Amy Adams (Enchanted) and Hank Azaria join the returning cast of Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, and Owen Wilson in the 1492 and 21 Laps Entertainment co-production.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, Christopher Guest, Jon Bernthal, Bill Hader, Alain Chabat, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon; Directed By: Shawn Levy
Synopsis: The fourth installment of the Terminator series follows an adult John Connor (played by Christian Bale) as he attempts to organize a human resistance force which could prove to be humankind’s last true hope for survival in the war against their intelligent robot overlords. Opening in the year 2018, “Terminator Salvation” finds John Connor’s certainty about the future shaken by the sudden appearance of a mysterious stranger named Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), whose last memory is of sitting on death row and awaiting execution. Unable to determine whether Marcus was sent from the future or rescued from the past, Connor begins to wonder whether there is still any hope left for the human race as the robots grow more powerful and aggressive than ever before. It appears that Skynet is preparing a devastating final attack designed to eliminate the human resistance forces once and for all, leaving Connor and Marcus with no choice but to strike back at the cybernetic heart of Skynet’s operations. Once there, the two battle-scarred soldiers discover a devastating secret regarding the potential annihilation of all humankind. Anton Yelchin fills Michael Biehn’s shoes as a young Kyle Reese in what is planned to be a new Terminator trilogy from director McG.
Cast: Christian Bale, Anton Yelchin, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Common; Directed by: McG
These are the movies being released this Tuesday: Angels and Demons, Four Christmases, Funny People, and Shorts.
Angels and Demons
Angels and Demons re-teams director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks for the sequel to their international blockbuster adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. Although the book Angels and Demons was written before the novel The Da Vinci Code, the movie transpires after the events of the earlier movie. Hanks stars as professor Robert Langdon, the most respected symbologist in the United States, who uses his knowledge in order to decode a symbol on the skin of a murder victim. The clues put him on the trail of an international conspiracy involving the Catholic Church. Ewan McGregor and Ayelet Zurer also star in the Sony Pictures production.
Cast: Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer, Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, David Pasquesi; Directed by: Ron Howard
Synopsis: A crafty couple run the Christmas Day gauntlet by racing to visit their divorced parents’ four separate households in this Vince Vaughn/Reese Witherspoon comedy that proves the holidays are no time for relaxing. Brad (Vaughn) and Kate (Witherspoon) have made something of an art form out of avoiding their families during the holidays, but this year their foolproof plan is about go bust — big time. Stuck at the city airport after all departing flights are canceled, the couple is embarrassed to see their ruse exposed to the world by an overzealous television reporter. Now, Brad and Kate are left with precious little choice other than to swallow their pride and suffer the rounds. Along the way, they perform in a church nativity play at the behest of Kate’s mother’s (Mary Steenburgen) pushy pastor Phil (Dwight Yoakam), contend with Brad’s gruff father, Howard (Robert Duvall), and bullying brothers, Dallas (Jon Favreau) and Denver (Tim McGraw) — a pair of trained UFC fighters — and pay a visit to Brad’s spacy, New Age mother, Paula (Sissy Spacek), who recently made waves in the family circle by marrying her son’s childhood friend.
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Favreau, Kristin Chenoweth, Dwight Yoakam, Sissy Spacek, Carol Kane; Directed by: Seth Gordon
Synopsis Judd Apatow casts his former real-life roommate Adam Sandler as George Simmons, a comic superstar who learns in the movie’s opening scene that he suffers from a rare blood disorder that will likely kill him within a year. This news gives him the impulse to go back out and work on his standup, something he hasn’t done in years thanks to the massive success of his movie career. At a club, he meets struggling standup Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), takes a shine to him, and hires the young man both to write jokes and to be his personal assistant. Ira, who’s been sleeping on a friend’s pull-out couch and working a day job at a deli, enjoys the glimpse into the superstar lifestyle, but soon the protégé discovers how selfish and egocentric his mentor really is. Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill, and a host of famous standup comics make cameo appearances as themselves.
Cast: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman; Directed By: Judd Apatow
Synopsis: A young boy living in a cookie-cutter suburb gets hit on the head with a rainbow-colored rock that grants wishes to anyone who holds it in this family-oriented fantasy comedy from Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez. All the houses in Black Falls look exactly the same, and everyone who lives in this suburban Shangri-la works for Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated. A highly profitable company thanks to their latest invention, Mr. Black’s Black Box — an all-in-one communication device that’s revolutionized the technological landscape — Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated also employs the parents of 11-year-old Toe Thompson. But Toe isn’t entirely sold on the concept of this corporate conglomerate; all he wants is to make some new friends, and that wish comes true after Toe is struck in the head by a mysterious rainbow-colored rock that falls right out of the clear blue sky. A magical stone that puts Mr. Black’s Black Box to shame, Toe’s rock possesses the power to grant wishes. Now, as the rock begins to change hands, Black Falls is overrun by miniature spaceships, crocodile armies, boogers the size of boulders, and whatever other oddities the imaginative local kids happen to dream up. Who would have thought that the real trouble would start once the grown-ups in town get their hands on the mysterious rock? With the situation quickly spiraling out of control, it’s up to Toe and his friends to save the townspeople from themselves by proving to them that the things you wish for may not actually be the best things for you. Jon Cryer, William H. Macy, Leslie Mann, and James Spader co-star.
Cast: Jimmy Bennett, Kat Dennings, Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann, William H. Macy, James Spader; Directed By: Robert Rodriguez
These are the movies arriving on DVD this Tuesday: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Drag Me to Hell, and Imagine That.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Synopsis: The battle for Earth has ended but the battle for the universe has just begun. After returning to Cybertron, Starscream assumes command of the Decepticons, and has decided to return to Earth with force. The Autobots believing that peace was possible finds out that Megatron’s dead body has been stolen from the US Military by Skorpinox and revives him using his own spark. Now Megatron is back seeking revenge and with Starscream and more Decepticon reinforcements on the way, the Autobots with reinforcements of their own, may have more to deal with then meets the eye.
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Isabel Lucas, Rainn Wilson; Directed By: Michael Bay
Commentary by Michael Bay, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge of the Fallen
A Day with Bay: Tokyo
25 Years of Transformers
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Synopsis: The fun continues as Diego, Manny, and Sid all return for another round of prehistoric fun in this installment of the popular computer-animated children’s series.
Cast: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah; Directed By: Carlos Saldanha
Two Scrat Shorts
The Sabre-Toothed Squirrel: Natures Nutty Buddy
Scrat: From Head To Toe
Unearthing the Lost World
Drag Me To Hell
Synopsis: Evil Dead director Sam Raimi takes the helm for this “spook-a-blast” shocker about an ambitious L.A. loan officer who incurs the wrath of a malevolent gypsy by refusing to grant her an extension on her home loan. Determined to impress her boss and get a much-needed promotion at work, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) lays down the law when mysterious Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) literally comes begging for mercy at her feet. In retaliation for being publicly shamed, Mrs. Ganush places the dreaded curse of the Lamia on her unfortunate target, transforming Christine’s life into a waking nightmare. Her skeptical boyfriend, Clay (Justin Long), casually brushing off her disturbing encounters as mere coincidence, Christine attempts to escape eternal damnation by seeking out the aid of seer Rham Jas (Dileep Rao ). But Christine’s time is fast running out, and unless she’s able to break the curse, she’ll be tormented by a demon for three days before literally being dragged to hell.
Cast: Justin Long, Alison Lohman, David Paymer, Fernanda Romero, Chelcie Ross; Directed By: Sam Raimi obert Luketic
Synopsis: In Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies’ family comedy “Imagine That,” Eddie Murphy stars as a successful financial executive who has more time for his blackberry than his seven-year-old daughter (Yara Shahidi). When he has a crisis of confidence and his career starts going down the drain, however, he finds the solution to all his problems in his daughter’s imaginary world.
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Vanessa Williams, Thomas Haden Church; Directed By: Karey Kirkpatrick
The new DVD releases this week include: Monsters vs. Aliens, The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary, Away We Go, and The Brothers Bloom.
Monters Vs. Aliens
Synopsis: When California girl Susan Murphy is unwittingly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall. Alerted to the threat of this new monster, the military jumps into action and Susan is captured and secreted away to a covert government compound. There, she is renamed Ginormica and placed in confinement with a ragtag group of other monsters: the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D.; the macho half-ape, half-fish The Missing Link; the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B.; and the 350-foot grub called Insectosaurus. Their confinement is cut short, however, when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and begins storming the country. In a moment of desperation, The President is persuaded by General W.R. Monger to enlist the motley crew of Monsters to combat the Alien Robot and save the world from imminent destruction.
Cast: Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Hugh Laurie, Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland; Directed by: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon
Modern Monster Movie Making
DWA Music Video Juke Box
The Tech of Monsters Vs. Aliens
Watch an Exclusive DVD Bonus Feature:
The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary
Synopsis: A beloved cinematic classic gets the hi-def treatment with a 70th Anniversary Edition release, fully remastered and packed with nearly four hours of all-new and never-before-available bonus features. Rediscover the incomparable Judy Garland as Dorothy as she dons the magical ruby slippers and journeys with Toto, the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Munchkins, Wicked Witches, Flying Monkeys — oh my! Seventy years later, the colorful characters and unforgettable songs of “Oz” come alive like never before to thrill and delight a whole new generation.
Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley; Directed by: Victor Fleming
The Dreamer of Oz
Victor Fleming: Master Craftsman
Hollywood Celebrates Its Biggest Little Stars
The Magic Cloak of Oz
Watch an Exclusive DVD Bonus Feature:
Away We Go
Synopsis: Directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) from an original screenplay by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, this funny and heartfelt film follows the journey of an expectant couple (John Krasinski [“The Office’] and Maya Rudolph [“Saturday Night Live’]), as they travel the U.S. in search of the perfect place to put down roots and raise their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover “home” on their own terms for the first time. The movie features the music of Alexi Murdoch.
Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Allison Janney, Chris Messina, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Schneider, Carmen Ejogo, Jim Gaffigan, Josh Hamilton, Melanie Lynskey; Directed By: Sam Mendes
The Brothers Bloom
Synopsis: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel Weisz star in this glossy, lighthearted caper film written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick). Since childhood, Bloom (Brody) and his brother Stephen (Ruffalo) have been grifters, but Bloom has tired of it and wants a normal life. Then Stephen convinces him to do one last big scam, this one on a wealthy, eccentric New Jersey heiress named Penelope (Weisz), and a series of clever, elaborate cons ensues. The movie does lots of globetrotting, including Montenegro, Prague and St. Petersburg. Rinko Kikuchi plays an explosives expert.
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi, Maximilian Schell, Robbie Coltrane; Directed By: Rian Johnson
Synopsis When the peaceful inhabitants of the planet Terra come under attack from humans in search of a new home, the friendship between a human pilot and an alien girl may hold the key to saving both races. Mala (Evan Rachel Wood) is an alien girl living on the planet Terra. The Terrians are gentle race of extraterrestrials that have no need for war, and harbor a deep respect for nature. When Earth’s natural resources began to dwindle, the human race established colonies on Venus and Mars. Although that solution worked temporarily, tragedy struck when the colonies on Venus and Mars attempted to declare independence from Earth, and all three planets were destroyed in the ensuing war. Now, humankind’s only hope for survival is to reach Terra. The few remaining humans have developed a machine that will make Terra habitable for them yet poisonous for Terrians, and while the human council is dedicated to finding a peaceful means of coexisting with the Terrians, the villainous General Hemmer (Brian Cox) is fast losing patience. When heroic human fighter pilot Lt. Jim Stanton (Luke Wilson) crash-lands on Terra while chasing Mala into uncharted territory, the empathetic alien girl saves his life, and an interspecies friendship is forged. But time is running out for both the humans and the Terrians, and when General Hemmer stages a military coup d’état, the stage is set for a battle that threatens to destroy both species.
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Brian Cox, Luke Wilson, David Cross, Justin Long, Amanda Peet, Dennis Quaid, Chris Evans, James Garner, Rosanna Arquette, Chad Allen, Danny Glover; Directed by: Aristomenis Tsirbas
The Making of Battle for Terra
Audio Commentary with Director Aristomenis Tsirbas
Terra – The Original Short Film
Watch Trailers and Clips:
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Synopsis: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past — the Mark S. Waters directed fusion of A Christmas Carol with a traditional romantic comedy — stars Matthew McConaughey as Connor Mead, a famous photographer and confirmed womanizer. He takes a break from his playboy lifestyle to attend his brother’s wedding, where he becomes reacquainted with Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), the only girl who ever captured his heart. After Connor delivers a drunken speech at the rehearsal dinner where he says that love isn’t real, he’s met in the bathroom by the ghost of his Uncle Wayne (Michael Dogulas), a Hefner-esque horndog who taught Conner everything he knows about picking up chicks. Uncle Wayne informs Connor that, over the course of the evening, he’ll be visited by three ghosts who will lead him through his romantic past, present, and future. Will Connor learn to get over himself and love the right woman, or will he remain an emotional Scrooge?
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Anne Archer, Amanda Walsh, Emma Stone, Michael Douglas, Robert Forster, Noureen DeWulf, Christa B. Allen; Directed by: Mark S. Waters
Recreating the Past, Imagining the Future (Blu-ray)
It’s All About Connor (Blu-ray)
The legends, The Lessons and The Ladies (Blu-ray)
Deleted/Additional Scenes (Blu-ray)
Digital Copy (Blu-ray)
Watch Trailers and Clips:
Observe and Report
Synopsis: The Foot Fist Way director Jody Hill takes the helm for this Seth Rogen comedy concerning an ambitious mall cop who competes with a seasoned detective to bust an elusive flasher. Make a wrong move at Forest Ridge Mall, and you’ll have to answer to no-nonsense security head Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen). Ronnie sees skateboarders as the blight of society, and any shoplifter unfortunate enough to summon his wrath will be promptly busted and booked. Sure, Ronnie may suffer delusions of grandeur when it comes to his job, but perhaps with a little effort he’ll eventually get to trade in his flashlight and patch for a gun and a badge. When a flasher begins tormenting the shoppers at Forest Ridge Mall, Ronnie seizes the opportunity to showcase his detective skills and impress gorgeous makeup counter girl Brandi (Anna Faris), who can’t be bothered to give him a second glance. Perhaps by catching the culprit, Ronnie will finally earn himself a prized position over at the police academy. But the one thing Ronnie hadn’t counted on was competition, and when Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) of the Conway Police makes it his personal mission to nab the flasher, the two rivals begin working around the clock to crack the case before their counterpart.
Cast: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Pena, Ray Liotta, Jesse Plemons; Directed by: Jody Hill
Basically Training (Blu-ray)
Forest Ridge Mall: Security Recruitment Video (Blu-ray)