Release date: Friday November 5, 2010 (Limited) Genre: Drama Director: Danny Boyle Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures Producer(s): Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, John Smithson Screenplay: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy Cast: James Franco, Kate Mara, Lizzy Caplan, Clémence Poésy, Amber Tamblyn Inspiration: Aron Ralston Official Site:foxsearchlight.com/127hours Rating:R for language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images Available film art:127 Hours movie posters
Synopsis Filmmaker Danny Boyle adapts the true-life story of Aron Ralston with this Fox Searchlight production detailing the hiker’s harrowing quest for survival after losing an arm to a fallen rock and the grueling five-day ordeal that finally ended with his rescue. James Franco steps into the role of the unfortunate climber.
Release date: Friday January 14, 2011 (Wide) Genre: Action Director: Michel Gondry Studio: Columbia Pictures Producer(s): Neal H. Moritz Screenplay: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour, Tom Wilkinson Official site: greenhornet-movie.net Rating:PG-13 Available film art:The Green Hornet movie posters
Synopsis By day, Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is a millionaire publisher and popular media figure, but by night, Reid assumes the identity of fearless crime fighter The Green Hornet and teams with his trusted sidekick, Kato (played by Asian pop star-turned-actor/director Jay Chou), to keep the streets safe for average citizens. Producer Neal H. Moritz spearheads this big-screen adaptation of the popular radio serial, comic book, film, and television series originated by Lone Ranger creators Fran Striker and George W. Trendle. Rogen and frequent writing partner Evan Goldberg provide the screenplay, with visionary Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) handling directing duties. Breakout Inglourious Basterds star Christoph Waltz portrays the villain, Chudnofsky.
Release date: Wednesday December 22, 2010 (Wide) Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Fantasy Director: Rob Letterman Studio: 20th Century Fox Producer(s): Ben Cooley, John Davis Screenplay: Nicholas Stoller, Joe Stillman Cast: Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Romany Malco, Catherine Tate, T.J. Miller Rating:Not Yet Rated Available film art:Gulliver’s Travels movie posters
Synopsis Jack Black stars in the 20th Century Fox adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels with this fantasy-filled comedic production. This take on the timeless tale revolves around a shipwrecked journalist (Black) who discovers an island in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle where he is the biggest occupant in comparison to its tiny inhabitants. Shark Tale’s Rob Letterman directs from a script by Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Nick Stoller and Joe Stillman (Shrek).
Release date: Friday November 12, 2010 (Wide) Genre: Thriller Director: Greg Strause, Colin Strause Studio: Rogue Pictures Producer(s): Greg Strause, Kristian James Andresen, Colin Strause, Liam O’Donnell Screenplay: Joshua Cordes, Liam O’Donnell Cast: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, David Zayas, Donald Faison, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed Official Site:www.iamrogue.com/skyline Rating:Not Yet Rated Available film art:Skyline movie posters
Synopsis Strange lights over Los Angeles herald the arrival of a malevolent alien force that threatens to swallow up all of humanity.
Release date: Friday October 22, 2010 (Wide) Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 31 min. Director: Tod Williams Studio: Paramount Pictures Producer(s): Oren Peli, Jason Blum Screenplay: Michael R. Perry Cast: Katie Featherston Official Site:www.paranormalmovie.com Rating:R For some language and brief violent material Available film art: Paranormal Activity 2 movie posters
Synopsis Paramount has ordered up some more ‘Paranormal Activity’ this October, a sequel to last fall’s indie smash. The studio is set to launch the sequel to Paranormal Activity October 22.
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.
Release date: Friday December 10, 2010 (Wide) Genre: Drama, Thriller Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Studio: Columbia Pictures Producer(s): Jonathan Glickman, Graham King, Tim Headington, Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber Screenplay: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie, Julian Fellowes Cast: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell Official Site:thetourist-movie.com Rating:Not Yet Rated Available film art:The Tourist movie posters
Synopsis When an American tourist (Johnny Depp) realizes that a female Interpol agent (Angelina Jolie) is using him to flush out the elusive criminal with whom she once had an affair, the stage is set for a game of international intrigue that threatens to turn deadly in this Spyglass remake of Jérôme Salle’s 2005 thriller. Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, and Timothy Dalton co-star.
Release date: Friday October 15, 2010 (Limited) Genre: Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min Director: Tony Goldwyn Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures Producer(s): Andrew Sugerman, Andrew S. Karsch, Tony Goldwyn Screenplay: Pamela Gray Cast: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Peter Gallagher, Juliette Lewis Official Site:foxsearchlight.com/conviction Rating:R for language and some violent images Available film art:Conviction movie posters
Synopsis CONVICTION is the inspirational true story of a sister’s unwavering devotion to her brother. When Betty Anne Waters’ (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 (Minnie Driver), Betty Anne pores through suspicious evidence mounted by small town cop Nancy Taylor (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.
Release date: Wednesday December 1, 2010 (Limited Genre: Drama, Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min. Director: Darren Aronofsky Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures Producer(s): Arnold Messer, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy Screenplay: Mark Heyman, Andrés Heinz, John McLaughlin Cast: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Toby Hemingway Official Site:foxsearchlight.com/blackswan Rating:R for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use Available film art:Black Swan movie posters
Synopsis Nina (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina whose passion for the dance rules every facet of her life. When the company’s artistic director decides to replace his prima ballerina for their opening production of “Swan Lake,” Nina is his first choice. However, Nina has competition: Lily, a newcomer. While Nina is perfect for the role of the White Swan, Lily personifies the Black Swan. As the rivalry between the two dancers transforms into a twisted friendship, Nina’s dark side begins to emerge.
‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole‘ is both visually stunning and compelling and that is due Zack Snyder (‘300′ and ‘The Watchmen’). It’s one of the movies opening this weekend so you might want to consider seeing it after reading this review by Todd Gilchrist.
I’m not entirely sure if children needed their own ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise, much less one starring owls, but now they have both. ‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole’ is director Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the first three books in Kathryn Lasky’s acclaimed series of ‘Guardians of Ga’Hoole’ novels, but with the exception that it’s owls and not hobbits who populate its fantastic universe. Snyder’s film follows a trajectory similar to that in Peter Jackson’s trilogy by focusing on untested dreamers who make a perilous journey over unforgiving terrain in order to rescue themselves and their families from death or enslavement. But what’s more remarkable about the film is that its familiarity, to kids and adults alike, is not at all a bad thing.
Snyder, a surprising director commercially (if a perfect one creatively) for material like this, expertly adapts his muscular visual style to the demands of a world filled with warring (if family-friendly) owls, adding another artistic victory with ‘Legend of the Guardians’ to his already impressive track record.
Jim Sturgess (‘21‘) provides the voice of Soren, a young Tyto owl who is beginning to learn how to fly, fueled by stories of the mythical Guardians from his father Noctus (Hugo Weaving) and a healthy sense of competition with his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten). When Soren and Kludd are kidnapped by minions of Metal Beak (Joel Edgerton) and his queen, Nyra (Helen Mirren), the two of them are separated and subjected to imprisonment. Kludd throws in with Nyra’s fledgling army, but Soren escapes with the help of an elf owl named Gylfie (Emily Barclay), and the two of them embark on an epic journey to find the Guardians in the hopes that they will be able to defeat Metal Beak and then rescue their friends and family from his oppressive rule.
Somewhat awesomely, this really only describes the first 40 percent or so of the story of ‘Legend of the Guardians,’ and even if all of that sounds narratively familiar, the execution is unlike almost anything you’ve ever seen before. Rather than anthropomorphizing the owls to give them more humanlike reactions or physical attributes, Snyder protectively maintains the integrity and authenticity of owl physiology – or at least 90 percent of it – and makes them beautiful, graceful, agile creatures whose only human qualities are their personalities.
Animal Logic, the production company that animated the equally-accurate penguins of ‘Happy Feet,’ renders every feather and movement with so much meticulous detail that the only way to improve upon it would be to use a high-speed telephoto lens to shoot real owls in their actual habitat. But then, of course, it seems doubtful they would be able to do stuff like battle with one another, at least not with the ferocity that they do here. This is one film that presents its battle sequences with style, but not escapist glamour; notwithstanding the speech that explains how one owl collected his many disfigurements on the battlefield, even the off screen action doesn’t hesitate to suggest that these owls are definitely trying to kill one another.
(Speaking of which, I do think some parts of the film are probably a little too intense for younger viewers: the chase sequences and action set pieces are themselves markedly more aggressive than most family fare, but further, owls are beaten, tortured, defaced and decapitated, although via mostly implied rather than explicit violence.)
That said, the film does capture a genuine, captivating sense of wonder, and maintains a propulsive, sweeping momentum that keeps the story from drowning in the “epic movie” conventions that might otherwise make ‘Legend of the Guardians’ feel too familiar or forced. Snyder’s direction helps significantly in this regard; while his visual style sometimes seems to be a little light on substance, he maximizes the dramatic impact of the moments that need to be emphasized. Shots of owls moving in slow motion through rainstorms are definitely awe-inspiring, but Snyder makes sure that the flourishes serve the story rather than distract from or overshadow it. Moreover, he keeps the rest of the proceedings moving at a brisk enough pace that the story carries weight, but you don’t feel like you’re just waiting for the next “significant” moment.
Click here to read the rest of the indepth review.