Movie Beat – 11.16.12

Lincoln goes wide, Twilight finally comes to a close, and we’ve got ten new releases this weekend. Look out, here we go!

16 Acres – No trailer for this one, and only seeing a very limited release in one cinema this week in New York City, but still worth your attention once it comes to your city or to Netflix. It’s been over ten years since the attack on The World Trade Center, and the rebuilding of those 16 acres at Ground Zero have proven to be extremely complicated as political, financial, and emotional interests converge. The New York Time best summed up the complications of the project, “Where some saw lucrative real estate, others saw a graveyard. Where some saw Rockefeller Center or Lincoln Center or Grand Central Terminal, others saw Gettysburg.” Architecture defines the society that builds it and the inextinguishable human spirit within, but how to get all that across and please as many people as possible? 16 Acres visits the project ten years after the attacks and documents the progress made, the complications ahead, and the high emotions controlling and confining the project. Directed and edited by Richard Hankin, 16 Acres sees a very limited release this Friday from Tanexis Production.

Anna KareninaHappy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Leo Tolstoy’s book opens with one of the most quoted lines in the history of literature, and for good reason. Kick it off with a line like that and you know you are in for something that is both true and illuminating. Director Joe Wright teams back up with Keira Knightly to bring poor Anna’s story back to the big screen. With a script from Tom Stoppard and supporting performances from Jude Law and Matthew MacFadyen, this version looks to be a very intriguing, very unusual staging of the book. Tolstoy’s book has been adapted a number of times already, and I new spin on an old tale is just what we need. Out in limited release this Friday from Focus Films.

Barrymore – John Barrymore of the famous Barrymore family (Lionel, Ethel, and Drew) was a huge star on stage and in movies during the 20s and 30s. Howard Hawks cast him in Twentieth Century because he was the greatest ham he’d ever seen. Now it’s 1942 and time has passed old Johnny-Boy by. Trying to revive his relevance, Barrymore staged Richard III, the play that made him famous, and in the process, reflected on the life he was given and led. Christopher Plummer plays Barrymore in a tour de force performance and Erik Canuel co-wrote the script and directs the film. Out in Los Angeles and New York on Thursday from Independent Pictures. If you like scenery chewing and bare-bones staging, check this one out.

Funeral Kings – From The McManus Brothers comes a story about a bunch of degenerate altar boys who are just looking for trouble. The best part of their week is when they have to work a funeral, because that means they get to skip out of school early. They smoke, they drink, and when a friend stashes a chest in their house, they find the Holy Grail, a bright, shiny, .38-caliber revolver. Now they are fully realized fourteen-year-old badasses. Performances from Alex Maizus, Jordan Puzzo, and Dylan Hartigan. Opening this Friday in Los Angeles and El Paso and making it’s tour around the country, from Freestyle Releasing.

Generation P – The wall has fallen and Communist Russia is no more. Now the West will come flooding in and take over in a much more conventional manner, advertisement. It’s all about what you own and what you drive and Russia needs people to help sell. Babylen (Vladimir Yepifantsev) is a poet and his friend recruits him to use his talents to sell products, not culture. Babylen uses a Oujia Board to summon Che Guevara, dabbles in drugs and alcohol, and spins completely out of control. It’s like Russian Mad Men on speed. Written and directed by Victor Ginzburg and finally hitting American shores this Friday via New World Pictures.

Hitler’s Children – What a fascinating idea for a documentary. Adolph Hitler and his inner circle committed some of the most heinous crimes against humanity, but their children were not complicit in their crimes. The question is begged, can this form of psychopathology be genetic? If the father were a monster, what of the child? The children of Hitler address the people of Germany not to clear their names, but to try to bring a realm of understanding to everyone around them. One part coping mechanism, one part catharsis, a discussion about what makes monster. From Chanoch Zeevi and released through Film Movement, Hitler’s Children will be in limited release starting this Friday.

The Law in These Parts – Following the Six Days War in 1967, Israel set up a legal system to deal with the West Bank and Gaza Strip as occupied territories. What followed for the next forty years was a large gap between what is legal and what is just. The documentary asks some of Israel’s lawyers and judges who helped crafted and interpret the laws to explain what happened, how they reacted, and why. A probing documentary about a subject that is difficult to wrap one’s head around, especially consider what is going on between Israel and Gaza right now. This won the Best Documentary Award at Sundance and will no doubt be around come award season next year. From director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz and released through Cinema Guild, it will see a limited exhibition starting Friday.

Price Check – A story set in the fast-paced, high stakes world of… grocery stores? Yep, Vons, Ralph’s, Whole Foods… What an odd setting for a comedy. Writer/director Michael Walker tells the tale of a man who is stuck in a dead-end job, a bland married life, and a life without purpose. Enter a beautiful, sexy, powerful woman as his boss and his life is turned upside down. Basic and routine, maybe even the high stakes world of grocery pricing isn’t enough to make this interesting. Parker Posey plays the boss and Eric Mabius is the man, with supporting performances from Edward Herrmann and Annie Parisse. Limited release this Friday from IFC Films.

Silver Linings Playbook – Pat (Bradley Cooper) is down on his luck. He has problems, mental problems, and it has cost him everything. His job, his wife, his house, everything gone when he goes into a mental hospital on a plea bargain. He gets out high on manic steam and is determined to fix everything and stay positive. He meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a girl with all sorts of problems, and she promises to help Pat get back with his wife, if only he’ll help her with a dance competition. A unique bonds between them forms (you don’t say!) and the silver lining is revealed. David O. Russell directs a script from Matthew M. Quick with supporting performances from Chris Tucker, Jacki Weaver, and Robert De Niro. This looks to be as good as Russell’s last effort, The Fighter, and to cement Lawrence’s position in this town as a “Damn Good Actress”. Out in limited release from those two Weinstein Brothers on Friday.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2 – It has all come down to this, Edward and Belle’s relationship started as two awkward and moody teenagers and now they are both full-fledged vampires protecting their vampire child. The Volturi clan from Italy travel to the remote hills of Washington to do battle with the Cullen clan and dispatch the child. If you haven’t seen the other four installments, then don’t worry about skipping past this one. Starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, and a slew of impossibly beautiful supporting players. Directed by Bill Condon, out in wide release this Friday from Summit Entertainment.