Movie Beat – 11.09.12

The weekend is upon us, and here we have ten new films out in cinemas for our viewing pleasures. Which one catches your eye?

Citadel – Creepy kids and agoraphobia, what a lovely combination. Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) suffers from chronic agoraphobia ever since he watched a pack of feral children attack and kill his wife. Now, they seem intent on killing his daughter. Tommy teams up with a priest (James Cosmo) to try and learn what drives them, and the answers that lie within The Citadel. Ciaran Foy writes and directs his feature debut, which looks like it will scare the pants off just about anybody. Its limited engagement from Cinedigm Entertainment begins Friday.

Chasing Ice – This isn’t a documentary about climate change, this is a documentary about the obsessive nature of the documentarian. People who devote their entire lives to make sure that everything is captured on film or video and can be passed down from generation to generation. James Balog is a National Geographic photographer and has made it his life’s mission to capture the melting and disappearance of the glaciers. The documentary from Jeff Orlowski follows Balog and his team of cinematographers as they brave the harsh climate all for the love of documentation. The world of the moving image is loaded with wackos who live on the fringe, and I adore every one of them. Out in limited cities from Submarine Deluxe on Friday, and do try to see this one in the theater. You can read my review here.

The Comedy – Rick Alverson directs (also one of three credited writers) a black comedy about an aging hipster living in Williamsburg, NY. The hipster in question is played by Tim Heidecker, and is so steeped in his own detachment and sense of irony that he probably doesn’t know what a genuine and honest moment feels like. This film has been garnering some rather polarizing reviews, and will be beautiful and poignant to some and utter trash to others. Already available via On Demand, this will see a limited engagement in theaters starting on Friday from Tribeca Film.

Coming up Roses – Set in 1985, a mother and daughter (Bernadette Peters and Rachel Brosnahan) chase their dreams. The mom, a musical theater diva, has been locked in a cycle of depression for years, and has to make a choice between reality and fantasy. Fantasy is so much easier when reality doesn’t make you feel any better about yourself. A film about the sacrifices we make for our families, and how much a sacrifice can cost. Written and directed by Lisa Albright, and in limited release on Friday from Dada Films, this film will come and go faster than most, so keep an eye out if your interested.

Dangerous Liaisons – Adapted from the French novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and set in the Paris of the East, Shanghai, comes a tale of love, sex, power, and desire. An aging socialite (Cecilia Cheung) is in love with her ex-boyfriend (Jang Dong-kun) and he still loves her, but he is taken with a chaste beauty (Ziyi Zhang). All three toy with each other in hopes of making themselves feel more superior and full, but I doubt that ever happens. They all lack the courage to admit that they love and need to be loved. Directed by Jin-Ho Hur. This Chinese melodrama hits theaters on Friday courtesy of Well Go Entertainment.

Lincoln – One month in the life of the 16th President, as brought to you by Steven Spielberg. We all know the story of Honest Abe: abolishing slavery, ending the Civil War, his fateful trip to the theater, but this movie looks to be of a different sort of film. This tends to focus a little more on the actual politics of Lincoln’s time and what he faced across the table versus what was faced across the battlefield. I know we have had a mouthful of politics and campaigns lately, but this looks to be an incredibly poignant film about how the elected men of America work. Performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Hawkes, James Spader… the list goes on and on. Limited release from DreamWorks Pictures starting this Friday, and expanding wide thereafter. You can read my review here.

Nature Calls – From writer/director Todd Rohal comes a ridiculous comedy about an obsessed Scout Leader (Patton Oswald) and his lazy brother (Johnny Knoxville) and the people they drag into their battles. Oswald kidnaps the kids his brother was supervising, drags them off into the woods, and now it’s Lord of the Flies meets The Bad News Bears. Lots of delicious toilet humor here, and absurd situations. Supporting performances from Rob Riggle and Patrice O’Neal. From Magnolia Pictures and available via On Demand, this movie will see a limited release starting Friday, with a DVD release in January.

A Royal Affair – Who is in the mood for a Danish period piece? What if I told you it was really good? King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) is insane, Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) is the royal physician and a man of the Enlightenment, and Queen Caroline (Alicia Vikander) is married to the King, in love with Struensee, and pregnant with one of their babies. If you are awaiting Anna Karenina, then here is something to whet your appetite. Directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel and released through Magnolia Pictures. Limited engagements start Friday. You can read my review here.

Skyfall – Bond is back, Daniel Craig is back, and the franchise has never been better. Sam Mendes very handily directs a script from Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan where M’s (Judi Dench) past comes back to haunt her and MI6 is threatened. Bond must defend M at great personal cost, while batting his own demons and the very real possibility of becoming obsolete. Javier Bardem stars at the villain, Bérénice Marlohe is the lovely Bond girl, and Ben Whishaw is the new Q. Already out and quite profitable in Europe, wide release from Sony Pictures in normal formats and IMAX this Friday. Spring for the IMAX tickets, it is well worth it.

Starlet – Jane (Dree Hemingway) visits a garage sale, buys a vase, takes it home, and finds a bunch of money in it. What’s a girl to do? Jane is a struggling actress living in the San Fernando Valley and that money would certainly help, but the lady who sold her the vase clearly had no knowledge of the cash inside. Motivated by guilt, Jane goes to see Sadie (Besedka Johnson) the elderly widower that sold her the vase. They start-up an unlikely friendship while Jane grapples with her decision about the money. Written by Chris Bergoch and Sean Baker, who also directs, comes a nice little indie film. In limited released from Music Box Films this Friday.