Synopsis: “Conviction” is the inspirational true story of a sister’s unwavering devotion to her brother. When Betty Anne Waters’ (two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank) older brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) is arrested for murder and sentenced to life in 1983, Betty Anne, a Massachusetts wife and mother of two, dedicates her life to overturning the murder conviction. Convinced that her brother is innocent, Betty Anne puts herself through high school, college and, finally, law school in an 18 year quest to free Kenny. With the help of best friend Abra Rice (Academy Award nominee Minnie Driver), Betty Anne pours through suspicious evidence mounted by small town cop Nancy Taylor (Academy Award nominee Melissa Leo), meticulously retracing the steps that led to Kenny’s arrest. Belief in her brother – and her quest for the truth – pushes Betty Anne and her team to uncover the facts and utilize DNA evidence with the hope of exonerating Kenny.
Cast: Hilary Swank, Minnie Driver, Sam Rockwell, Loren Dean, Melissa Leo; Directed by: Tony Goldwyn
Synopsis: Clint Eastwood steps behind the camera for this DreamWorks supernatural thriller penned by Frost/Nixon’s Peter Morgan. Kathleen Kennedy produces, with Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Haute Tension’s Cécile De France starring.
Cast: Matt Damon, Cécile de France, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Marthe Keller, Thierry Neuvic, Derek Jacobi ; Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Release date: Friday October 15, 2010 (Wide) Genre: Drama, Thriller Running Time: 2 hr. 6 min. Director: Clint Eastwood Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Producer(s): Robert Lorenz, Kathleen Kennedy, Clint Eastwood Screenplay: Peter Morgan Cast: Matt Damon, Cécile de France, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Marthe Keller, Thierry Neuvic, Derek Jacobi Official Site:hereafter.warnerbros.com Rating:PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language Available film art:Hereafter movie posters
Synopsis An American laborer (Matt Damon), a French journalist (Cécile de France) and a London schoolboy set out on a spiritual journey after death touches their lives in different ways.
These are the movies opening in wide release this, Friday: “Green Zone” (starring Matt Damon), “Our Family Wedding” (starring Forest Whitaker and America Ferrara) and “Remember Me” (Starring Robert Pattinson).
Synopsis: Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93) re-team for their latest electrifying thriller in “Green Zone,” a film set in the chaotic early days of the Iraqi War when no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences.
Cast: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Khalid Abdalla; Director: Paul Greengrass
Our Family Wedding
Synopsis: Described as a clash-of-cultures comedy, the story centers on two overbearing fathers (Whitaker, Mencia) who must put aside their differences to plan the wedding of their son and daughter (Ferrera) in less than two weeks.
Cast: Forest Whitaker, America Ferrera, Carlos Mencia, Regina King, Lance Gross, Charlie Murphy; Director: Rick Famuyiwa
Infused with humor and romance, “Remember Me” tells the unforgettable love story of two young people who learn how important it is to love passionately and live loudly everyday of one’s life.
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, Tate Ellington, Ruby Jerins, Pierce Brosnan; Director: Allen Coulter
Release date: March 12th, 2010 Genre: Thriller, Drama Director: Paul Greengrass Studio: Universal Pictures Screenplay: Brian Helgeland Cast: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Khalid Abdalla Official Site:greenzonemovie.com, green-zone.jp Rating:R for violence and language Available film art:Green Zone movie posters Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
Synopsis Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93) re-team for their latest electrifying thriller in “Green Zone,” a film set in the chaotic early days of the Iraqi War when no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences.
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: The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar, to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Robert Hobbs; Director: Clint Eastwood
The Princess and the Frog
Synopsis: Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. From the creators of “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” comes a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana (ANIKA NONI ROSE), a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana.
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG marks the return to hand-drawn animation from the revered team of John Musker and Ron Clements, with music by Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman.
Cast: Anika Noni Rose, Oprah Winfrey, Keith David, Jenifer Lewis, John Goodman, Terrence Howard, Jim Cummings; Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker
Release date: Friday December 11, 2009 Genre: Drama Director: Clint Eastwood Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Screenplay: Anthony Peckham Producer(s): Robert Lorenz, Lori McCreary, Clint Eastwood, Mace Neufeld Cast: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Robert Hobbs Inspiration: Nelson Mandela Official Site:invictusmovie.warnerbros.com Rating:PG for brief strong language Available film art: Invictus movie posters
Synopsis The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.
Have you ever told a lie, that lead to another lie, that lead to a deception, circling back on itself until you’ve landed in the center of a small, intricately woven web of falsity? Usually, these moments compound quickly, in a blur of deceit, and when the dam finally breaks, you’re left exposed and embarrassed – half by the truth you didn’t want told and half by your ridiculous inability to tell it. Well, try to maintain that endless series of lies for more than a decade and you’ll perhaps feel something like whatever Mark Whitacre must have felt while leading the FBI into a corporate price-fixing investigation entirely of his own design.
Such is Steven Soderbergh’s, The Informant!
A mid-level executive at a corporation called ADM, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) works to ensure the continued good sales of the company’s popular food additives, but when a mishap in the lab begins to cost the company significant amounts of money and threatens Whitacre’s job, the mustachioed quasi-Everyman simply invents, out of thin air, a Japanese corporate blackmailer to whom he assigns the blame. Enter the FBI, who might easily have caught on to Whitacre’s deception had he not, in turn, spun yet another series of lies which propelled him into being the government’s key witness and undercover informant in a massive corporate conspiracy case. And like all good con-jobs, Whitacre built his lies upon half-truths. There was, indeed, a price-fixing scheme in place, but the laughable audacity with which Whitacre lead investigators through the ranks, deflecting attention from his own involvement – and subsequent embezzlement – is worthy of a standing ovation.
The Informant! is a one-man show, carried completely by the strength of Damon’s tremendously effective performance. Whitacre, for all intents and purposes, should be a hugely unlikeable guy, but Damon lends the character a sense of kamikaze bravado and wide-eyed whimsy that makes it impossible not to feel at least slightly sympathetic toward him. From the paunchy mid-section to the ridiculous hairpiece, Whitacre seems like the kind of guy trying desperately to move up and be taken seriously in the corporate world. Despite the fact that the film just barely touches upon his back-story, one imagines him to have been the atypical nerd, picked-on and ridiculed for much of his life, eventually realizing that his only real talent is the ability to weave stories and manipulate people. It feels, in a sense, like the comical, white-collar version of The Talented Mr. Ripley, about a marginalized character who, in an effort to appear like a more substantial, important person, builds a pyramid of lies that eventually leads to his own tragi-comic downfall.
But then something happens: an FBI raid and a revelation about Whitacre that drains the audience of any remaining sympathy they might have developed for the man. He becomes, over the course of the film’s burdensome third act, little more than a thief and a liar. The joke wears thin; the deceit becomes tedious. And while the turn may be an intentional attempt to demonstrate how easily these lies keep coming, yet how heavily they weigh, it becomes equally frustrating for the audience, who’ve been laughing along steadily for 90 minutes and are eventually handed, in the last 30, a rather uninvolving, if marginally quirky, drama.
Soderbergh’s direction is, of course, incredibly confident and until that meandering third act, he balances both character and comedy to near perfection. For a film about corporate America and price-fixing, The Informant! is never boring, due in large part to the supporting cast that Soderberg has amassed. Interestingly, he chooses to cast comedians in rather straightforward side-roles – Patton Oswalt, Paul F. Tompkins, Dick Smothers and Arrested Development’s Tony Hale being among the view. The Soup’s Joel McHale has perhaps the largest of these roles as one of Whitacre’s two FBI handlers, the other being Scott Bakula, who likely delivers more laughs than his comedian counterpart.
Overall, The Informant! starts out strong and burns out just shy of the finish line, but Soderbergh’s direction and Damon’s performance are enough to make this a wildly watchable character study that’ll keep you laughing through much of the runtime. While it might not be a masterpiece, it’s certainly worthy of an evening at the theater. We promise. After all, we’d never lie to you.
Release date: Friday September 18, 2009 Genre: Comedy, Drama Director: Steven Soderbergh Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Screenplay: Scott Z. Burns Producer(s): Gregory Jacobs, Howard Braunstein, Jennifer Fox, Kur Eichenwald Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey Official Site:theInformantmovie.com Rating:R for language Available film art: The Informant movie posters
Synopsis What was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Whitacre suddenly turns whistleblower. Even as he exposes his company’s multi-national price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and handed a promotion. But before all that can happen, the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent. Unfortunately for the FBI, their lead witness hasn’t been quite so forthcoming about helping himself to the corporate coffers. Whitacre’s ever-changing account frustrates the agents and threatens the case against ADM as it becomes almost impossible to decipher what is real and what is the product of Whitacre’s rambling imagination. Based on the true story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in U.S. history.