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.
Release date: Friday October 16, 2009 Genre: Comedy Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Studio: Alliance Films, Focus Features Screenplay: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen Producer(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg, Adam Arkin, Sari Lennick, Richard Kind, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus Official Site:www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/film/a_serious_man Rating:R for language, some sexuality/nudity and brief violence Available film art: A Serious Man movie posters
Synopsis Filmmaking duo Joel and Ethan Coen write, produce, and direct this period black comedy set in 1967 concerning a Midwestern physics professor whose staid and stable life slowly begins to unravel after his wife announces that she’s leaving him. As if the failure of his longtime marriage wasn’t enough for Larry Gopnik (Tony-nominated Michael Stuhlbarg) to contend with, now his socially inept brother refuses to move out of the house as well. Larry is a modest man of science. Up to this point, his life has been uneventful at best, but things are about to get interesting. When his wife, Judith announces that she is leaving him to move in with his smug colleague Sy Ableman, Larry does his best to contend with his failed marriage while barely tolerating his unemployable brother, Arthur, who appears to have grown roots on Larry’s couch. Meanwhile, Larry’s son, Danny, is getting into trouble at Hebrew school, and his daughter, Sarah, is stealthily snatching money from his wallet so she can afford a nose job. As Judith and Sy merrily begin making plans for their new life of domestic bliss together, Larry begins receiving a series of anonymous letters from someone who seems intent on sabotaging his chance for tenure at the university. To further complicate matters, a graduate student with failing grades is attempting to bribe the professor while simultaneously threatening him with a defamation lawsuit. Larry is in some serious need of equilibrium, though it’s hard to focus on getting your life in order when your beautiful neighbor insists on sunbathing in the nude just outside your window. Perhaps by seeking the advice of three trusted rabbis, Larry can finally learn to cope with his afflictions and become a genuine mensch. A Serious Man is the second in a two-picture deal that the siblings made with Focus Features and Working Title. The first film in the deal, entitled Burn After Reading and starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Frances McDormand, was released nationwide in September 2008.