Cheerful Weather for the Wedding – A period piece of manners, or sorts. Dolly (Felicity Jones) is upstairs and about to be wed, but an old flame waltzes back into her life and everything is thrown out the window. She sits upstairs, fretting her future, while downstairs, her fiance and ex-lover (Mackenzie Crook & Luke Treadaway) await her decision. Will she stay true to her fiance, or will true love, true unbridled-scary-as-hell-what-the-heck-am-I-doing-love triumph? Beautifully photographed with stunning actors to gaze at, it may be predictable, possibly even boring, but at least it looks good. Direction from Donald Rice and out in limited release this Friday from IFC Films.
Deadfall –Brother and sister (Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde) rob a casino but get into a terrible car accident on the way out. They split up and make their way to Canada, he creating mayhem and havoc, she meeting a young man (Charlie Hunnam) and falling for the traditional life. Like in all noir films, the past catches up with you, and no one makes it out clean. This is the type of movie that I wish was better than it looks. Supporting performances from Sissy Spacek, Kris Kristofferson, with direction from Stefan Ruzowitzky and a script by Zach Dean. In limited release from Magnolia Pictures this Friday but already available via On Demand.
Hyde Park on Hudson – In 1939, a reigning King and Queen of England visited America for the very first time. Afraid of Hitler, they needed to seek help from the current superpower, and they were put up in Hyde Park, a manor in upstate New York owned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was a fun little weekend between the two powerhouses and it is an event that goes down in history. Too bad that this movie won’t go down with it. Too schmaltzy, too lightweight, too bland. Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, and Olivia Colman lead the cast, Roger Michell directs and Richard Nelson writes. Out this Friday in limited release from Focus Features.
The Fitzgerald Family Christmas – A family with problems in their past will always have to confront them all on Christmas. I think that is a written rule somewhere, or it just sounds like a typical Christmas with my family, but maybe that’s because we are Irish. Ed Burns returns to his own roots both thematically and idealistically and makes the latest installment of his own form of low-budget independent cinema. I urge you to check this film out, if only to see how great a movie made for $9,000 can be. Burns writes, directs, and stars alongside Kerry Bishé, Heather Burns, and Connie Britton. Everywhere via Tribeca Films and On Demand now.
In Our Nature – From writer/director Brian Savelson comes a story about a boyfriend and a girlfriend who get away from it all and head to the family cabin in upstate New York. While they are having a good time doing the sort of things young lovers do, dear old Dad shows up, with his girlfriend. Great minds think a like. The two couples attempt to co-exist in the house and Father and Son have an awful lot of things that need to be said. Zach Gilford, Jena Malone, John Slattery, and Gabrielle Union are the players and Cinedigm Entertainment is the company bringing this film out in limited release this Friday.
Lay the Favorite – A young girl who wants just a little more out of life, but doesn’t want to work for any of it, ends up in Las Vegas and learns the ropes as a professional gambler. Doesn’t actually sound that bad, does it? Director Stephen Frears is incredibly versatile and can craft a very good comedy, so expect this one to be better than most of your basic Hollywood fare, especially the piece of crap we’ll get to in a minute. Rebecca Hall stars as the young girl, Bruce Willis is the gambling guru, Joshua Jackson is the lawyer and love interest, and Radius TWC is the company releasing this film in limited cities this Friday.
The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez – Written and directed by Elia Petridis and starring Ernest Borgnine in his final role, Vincente Fernandez is a western set in the tough and corrupt world of a senior citizen care. Borgnine plays Rex, a retired Radio DJ who suffers a back injury and is recuperating in Rancho Park nursing home. He hates the place, the businessman (Barry Corbin) who controls the facility, and the evil Dr. Dominguez (Tony Plana). Rex plots his escape, but when it is revealed that Rex once met and shook the hand of Vincente Fernandez, the idol of the nursing home, he becomes a legend in his own time. Cute, charming, quirky, not the typical adjectives you would use to describe a movie set in a nursing home. Out in limited release from Indican Pictures this Friday.
Playing For Keeps – Well, this just looks awful. Gerard Butler plays a very famous soccer star that was injured and now needs to figure out what he is doing with the other parts of his life. He has a son by Jessica Biel and starts coaching the kid’s peewee soccer games. But since he is Gerard Butler, he can’t keep all of the soccer moms from taking passes at him every chance they get. Wow, that’s hilarious. Butler gets a chance to go and be a sportscaster for ESPN, but that means leaving behind his family. Conflict to make it interesting. This paint-by-numbers, second chance at redemption, follow your true calling, romantic comedy is out in wide release this Friday from FilmDistrict.
Tchoupitoulas – What are the faces that make up a city? Three teenage brothers explore the nightlife of New Orleans. The dancers, the partiers, the musicians, the hustlers, the people living on the fringe. Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans is known for it’s hotels, eateries, and music. A perfect place to set a documentary and see a side of a city that is foreign to most of us. Directors Bill Ross and Turner Ross immerse the brothers and us in the world of New Orleans, one of America’s most bizarre and unique cities. Try not to miss this one, as it is unlike anything out there. Out in wide release from Oscilloscope Laboratories this Friday.
Wagner & Me – Richard Wagner produced some of the most revolutionary and beautiful pieces of music the world has ever heard. Too bad that his music was the music of the Nazi Party and beloved by Adolf Hitler. Stephen Fry, who is Jewish and lost family in the holocaust goes on a very in-depth journey to explore the music, the history, and the man, Richard Wagner. He raises a very interesting question, can we separate the man from the music? Can art be removed from history? Directed by Patrick McGrady, this documentary will see a limited release on Friday from Wavelength Films.