Movie Beat – 11.23.12

A short work week means a long weekend for movie watching. Six new films out this holiday weekend in addition to Silver Linings Playbook expanding it’s release. You got some extra time, so you might as well dig into a couple of movies. Here are your choices:

The Central Park Five – On the morning of April 20, 1989, a young white woman, Trishia Meili, was found in Central Park. She had been brutally assaulted and raped the night before. Five teenage boys were brought forward and convicted of the assault. Four of them were black and one was Latino. Coherence into confessing to the crime, the five teenagers were sent up the river in a sea of what could only be described as racial paranoia and mob mentality. In 2002, all five were vacated of the crime when the culprit came forward and confessed. Directed by Ken Burns and his daughter, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon, The Central Park Five examines a very public trial and how it was shaped and affected by the popular opinions of the time. This is art holding a mirror up to a brutal society. Out in limited release this Friday from IFC films.

Hitchcock – Alfred Hitchcock directed 53 pictures in his long and illustrious career, and through all of it, his beloved wife Alma Reville was right there for every one. For the cinematic children of Hitchcock, Alma’s contributions are legendary, but for the uninitiated this might be a nice window into one of Hollywood’s power couples. Using the production of Psycho (1960) as a backdrop, Hitchcock shows Hitch and Alma at a breaking point in their marriage, the movie as a breaking point in Hitch’s career, and turning point in the history of cinema. Based of the book The Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, and directed by Sacha Gervasi of Anvil fame. Anthony Hopkins plays the Master of Suspense, Helen Mirren takes on Alma, and the supporting players are rounded out with a who’s who of Hollywood: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jessica Biel, Danny Huston, etc. Out in limited release this Friday from Fox Searchlight Pictures. You can read my review here.

Life of Pi – Based on the best-selling novel, and directed by Academy Award winning director, Ang Lee, this film is posed to being one of best films of the year. Following a shipwreck, Pi (Suraj Sharma) is stranded at sea for 227 days with a lifeboat and a Bengal tiger. A less than ideal situation. The two survivors form a very unusual bond, and the adventure is before them. Largely considered to be a unfilmable book, Lee brings Yann Martel’s book of spirituality and storytelling to life with stunning magical realism and takes 3-D technology to new heights. Forget the animated film, take the kids to this one. Out in wide release from 20th Century Fox this Wednesday. You can read my review here.

Red Dawn – If America is ever attacked by North Korea and Russia (Russia? Really?), then we really don’t need to worry, a group of suburban twenty-somethings will save us all. Dan Bradley remakes the 1984 film of the same name, where a group of kids (The Wolverines) stop an attacking army and protect their city. Anyone who has seen one episode of Scooby-Doo will realize that the bad guys would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for those infernal meddling kids! A very vocal part of this nation fears that freedom is constantly being threatened and evil will strike us at any second. I doubt this film will do anything to quell those fears, if anything, it will just drive up gun sales. This is just the type of film that Call of Duty players dream of. Wolverines played by Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki, and Isabel Lucas. Out in wide release this Wednesday from Film District.

Rise of the Guardians – The Wolverines will save us from Communism and The Tooth Fairy will save us from magical dark forces. I’m learning so much this week! All those magical and mythical creatures that you were told about as a child are not only real, they are actually protecting you from harm. The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fischer), Jack Frost (Chris Pine), The Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) all have to band together to fight the evil Pitch (Jude Law) who wants to rule the world with fear. Please see the movie mentioned above, Pitch won a long time ago. A strange and sharp animation style that might not appeal to the youngest of viewers, this film looks as bizarre as its premise sounds. Out in wide release from DreamWorks Animation this Wednesday.

Rust and Bone – From director Jacques Audiard comes a moving tale of love, life, loss, and redemption. Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) is entrusted with his estranged five-year-old son, a job he is not quite cut out for. He gets a job as a bouncer at the bar and after breaking up a fight one night, he meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) a trainer at Marineland. They have a connection, but it doesn’t look like anything is going to come of it. Tragedy strikes at Marineland, and Stephanie looses the use of her legs and her desire to go on. She reaches out to Ali, and it his lack of pity and love for life that brings her back around. This is one of those films that paint with broad and bright strokes of emotions that dig deep inside of you and stay with you for weeks to follow. Out in limited release this Friday from Sony Pictures Classics.