A Serious Man
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