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
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
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)
These are the new DVD releases for August 4, 2009.
Derek Charles (Idris Elba), a successful asset manager who has just received a huge promotion, is blissfully happy in his career and in his marriage to the beautiful Sharon (Beyonce Knowles). But when Lisa (Ali Larter), a temp worker, starts stalking Derek, all the things he’s worked so hard for are placed in jeopardy.
Cast: Beyoncé Knowles, Idris Elba, Ali Larter, Christine Lahti, Bruce McGill, Scout Taylor-Compton, Ron Roggé; Directed By: Steve Shill
Playing Together Nicely
Obsessed: Dressed to Kill
Race to Witch Mountain
For years, stories have circulated about a secret place in the middle of the Nevada desert, known for unexplained phenomena and strange sightings. It’s called Witch Mountain, and when a Las Vegas cab driver (Dwayne Johnson) finds two teens with supernatural powers in his cab, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of an adventure he can’t explain. They work together to discover that the only chance to save the world lies in unraveling the secrets of Witch Mountain, and the race begins.
Columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) is at a dead end. The newspaper business is in an uproar, his marriage to a fellow journalist has fallen apart and he can’t entirely remember what he loved about his job in the first place. Then, one day, while walking through Los Angeles’ Skid Row, he sees the mysterious bedraggled figure Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), pouring his soul into a two-stringed violin.
At first, Lopez approaches Ayers as just another story idea in a city of millions. But as he begins to unearth the mystery of how this alternately brilliant and distracted street musician, once a dynamic prodigy headed for fame, wound up living in tunnels and doorways, it sparks an unexpected quest. Imagining he can change Ayers’ life, Lopez embarks on a quixotic mission to get him off the streets and back to the world of music.
But even as he fights to save Ayers’ life, he begins to see that it is Ayers—with his unsinkable passion, his freedom-loving obstinacy and his valiant attempts at connection and love—who is profoundly changing Lopez.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Catherine Keener, Stephen Root; Directed by: Joe Wright
Commentary by director Joe Wright
An Unlikely Friendship: Making The Soloist
Kindness, Courtesy and Respect: Mr. Ayers + Mr. Lopez
One Size Does Not Fit All: Addressing Homelessness in Los Angeles
Length: 85 minutes theatrical version 100 minutes uncut version MPAA Rating: Rated PG for intense sequences of action/violence and brief mild language
Based on the Japanese manga series, this live-action movie is a martial-arts fantasy. On his 18th birthday, the film’s hero, Goku (Justin Chatwin), is given a Dragonball, a mystical shiny sphere, by his grandfather. Whoever unites this Dragonball with six others will be granted a wish. It turns out the evil Lord Piccolo (James Marsters) is trying to obtain all seven spheres and destroy the world. The only way to stop Piccolo is to get the Dragonballs before a solar eclipse, and Goku sets out on that quest, assisted by characters played by Chow-Yun Fat and Emmy Rossum.
Cast: Justin Chatwin, Joon Park, Christopher Sabat, Jamie Chung; Directed by: James Wong
Selected DVD Special Features:
Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
Watch a deleted scene trailer:
Fast & Furious
Length: 107 minutes MPAA Rating: PG-13 for for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual content, language and drug references
This actioner is the follow-up to The Fast and the Furious (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), and Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster reprise their characters from the initial movie. The 2009 film opens with Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez), still a couple, hijacking a huge truck in the Dominican Republic. Then Dom heads back to L.A., where he reunites with Brian (Walker), now an FBI agent trying to bring down a drug kingpin. Soon the romance between Brian and Dom’s sister Mia (Brewster) gets rekindled.
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot, Shea Whigham, Tego Calderon, Liza Lapira; Directed by: Justin Lin
Selected Two-Disc Special Edition DVD Special Features:
Selected Single-Disc DVD Special Features:
Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
Watch the “Shooting the Big Rig Heist Bonus Feature Clip”:
Length: 90 minutes MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
A young man (Zach Cregger) awakens from a four-year coma to hear that his once virginal high school sweetheart (Raquel Alessi) has since become a centerfold in one of the world’s most famous men’s magazines. He and his sex-crazed best friend (Trevor Moore) decide to take a cross-country road trip in order to crash a party at the magazine’s legendary mansion headquarters and win back the girl.
This is a big week in DVD releases – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and The Bourne Ultimatum. Awesome! Just click on the corresponding links to purchase the movie posters:
The Bourne Ultimatum (Action/Thriller) – In this new chapter of this espionage series, Bourne will hunt down his past in order to find a future. He must travel from Moscow, Paris, Madrid and London to Tangier and New York City as he continues his quest to find the real Jason Bourne–all the while trying to outmaneuver the scores of cops, federal officers and Interpol agents with him in their crosshairs.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Fantasy) – Harry returns for his fifth year of study at Hogwarts and discovers that much of the wizarding community is in denial about the teenager’s recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort, preferring to turn a blind eye to the news that Voldemort has returned. Fearing that Hogwarts’ venerable Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is lying about Voldemort’s return in order to undermine his power and take his job, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep watch over Dumbledore and the Hogwarts students.
December Boys (Drama) – Four orphan teenagers are growing up behind the closed doors of a Catholic convent in outback Australia during the 1960s. As the boys watch younger kids get adopted by loving families, they begin to realize that as they get older, their turn may never come. The Reverend Mother gives the boys something to look forward to by sending them to visit the seaside for the first time.
More new releases and a whole lot of Special Editions. Great week overall. Jst click on the corresponding links to purchase the movie posters:
Meet the Robinsons (Animation) – Lewis has all but given up hope in his future when a mysterious boy named Wilbur Robinson whisks our bewildered hero away in a time machine and travel forward in time to spend a day with Wilbur’s eccentric family. In a world filled with flying cars and floating cities, they hunt down Bowler Hat Guy, save the future and uncover the amazing secret of the Robinson family
Cast: VOICES OF:, Stephen J. Anderson, Angela Bassett, Laurie Metcalf, Kelly Ripa, Adam West, Steve Zahn, Tom Selleck, Paul Butcher, Jamie Cullum, Jessie Flower, Spencer Fox; Directed by: Stephen J. Anderson
Hostel Part 2 (Horror) – Three young Americans studying in Rome set off for a weekend trip when they run into a beautiful model from one of their art classes. Also on her way to an exotic destination, the gorgeous European invites the coeds to come along, assuring them they will be able to relax and rejuvenate.
Will the girls find the oasis they are looking for? Or are they poised to become victims for hire, pawns in the fantasies of the sick and privileged from around the world who secretly travel here to savor more grisly pursuits?
Cast: Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, Roger Bart, Richard Burgi, Vera Jordanova, Heather Matarazzo, Stanislav Ianevski, Milan Knazko, Ivan Furak, Zuzana Geislerová, Jay Hernandez, Jordan Ladd; Directed by: Eli Roth
Mr. Brooks (Thriller) – Consider Mr. Brooks. A successful businessman. A generous philanthropist. A loving father and devoted husband. Seemingly, he’s perfect. But Mr. Brooks has a secret — he is an insatiable serial killer, so lethally clever that no one has ever suspected him — until now.
Cast: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Danielle Panabaker; Directed by: Bruce A. Evans