Any Day Now – Inspired by a true story comes a tale of how you can make your own family. It’s the late 1970s and Rudy and Paul are a very in love gay couple living in an apartment complex in West Hollywood. Next door, a single mother is raising her son, Marco who suffers from Down syndrome, in the worst way possible. One night she leaves, and Rudy goes to check on Marco, and they begin to develop a relationship. Rudy and Paul decide to take in Marco and raise him like their son, and all is going in the right direction, until the true nature of Rudy and Paul’s relationship is revealed. One of those big heart-shaped cake films with a gooey middle center. A movie like this rest of the shoulders of the performers and Alan Cummings and Garret Dillahunt are swinging for the fences and might knock it out of the park. Isaac Leyva who suffers from Downs himself plays the part of Marco. Directed by Travis Fine and in limited release from Music Box Films this Friday.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – A much lighter tone than The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit shows us the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as a young man. He’s on an adventure, and he must use his purity of heart to do stuff, and there are a bunch of dwarves, and wizards, and walking, and things… Magic and whatnot. I wasn’t blown away by LOTR at all, and this film, which has now been split into three parts isn’t doing it for me either. Director Peter Jackson shot the film and projected it at 48 frames per second, which is chapping a lot of asses. If you like the trilogy, then you will probably like this installment. Starring Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, and Ken Stott. Wide release from Warner Brothers this Friday.
In The Hive – Last week saw the final performance of the great Ernest Borgnine in The Man who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez, and this week, we have the final performance of Michael Clark Duncan. Sadly, this film would most like have been buried if it were not for the passing of Duncan earlier this year, but it’s time has come and here we are. Sixteen-year-old Xtra Keys is in a lot of trouble, or he will be if he continues on the path he has been. Drugs, gangs, violence, crime, you name it. The motto is simple, “Not afraid to die.” A wiser character in the film points out, “who is not afraid to live?” HIVE is a program that stands between these kids and jail time, and it might just be what saves them in the end. Actor Robert Townsend moves behind the camera to helm this picture. In limited release from Independent Pictures this Friday.
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet – Jason Becker was 19 when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, he was given three years to live. Jason was on his way to becoming a brilliant and inventive guitarist, and soon he could no longer hold his instrument. Something inside of Jason kept him going, and his family and friends rallied around him and invented new ways where he could continue to compose music. Much like Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffered a stroke and communicated by blinking to write his memoirs, or Mark O’Brien who used a pencil and a typewriter to compose his poetry, Jason found a way to use what he had to communicate. Using a type of sign language based on eye movements, Jason has continued to live and work for the past 22 years. A very moving and powerful documentary about the inextinguishable quality of the human spirit. Limited release in theaters this Wednesday and out on DVD next Tuesday from Kino Lorber films.
Let Fury Have the Hour – How did we get here, and why? Political pundits seem to be asking these questions on a daily basis. Who can we blame for this crisis? Why did the bottom drop out? What started the fall that led to where we are? I suppose that it’s a good thing to look back and find these same strands in art, music, and film as well. Antonino D’Ambrosio’s first film is a documentary that traces the evolution of art, music, film, and activism from Reagan’s America and Thatcher’s England to where we are now. Commentary from some of the loudest talking heads in America, Lewis Black, Chuck D, and Tom Morello. Out in limited release this Friday from Cavu Pictures.
The Loving Story – Mildred and Richard Loving were married in 1958 in Washington, D.C. When they returned to Virginia, they were arrested on a charge of inter-racial marriage. Richard is White and Mildred is Black and Native American. They were sentenced to one year in the state penitentiary. The Lovings hired a lawyer and took on the charge and in 1967 the Supreme Court announced it’s ruling, which would help shape the American Civil Rights movement. Very apropos considering what the nation is going through with Same-Sex Marriage and the Marriage Equality Act. Directed by Nancy Buirski and from HBO Films, The Loving Story played on HBO back in February, but is short listed for the Academy Award for Documentary and will see a short run in theaters this Monday.
Save the Date – Two sisters, Beth and Sarah are just on two different wavelengths. Sarah’s overeager boyfriend humiliates her with a public proposal and she turns to Beth for comfort and solace. Too bad that Beth is busy planning her own wedding to really give Sarah the attention she needs. Enter Jonathan, the cute and harmless rebound boy who might help Sarah rebuild confidence in herself. Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend lead the cast of twenty-something that just don’t know what they want out of life, and sure as hell don’t know how to go about it. Michael Mohan directs and co-wrote the script with Jeffrey Brown, and IFC Films will run a limited release in theaters this Friday. It is already available via VOD just about everywhere.
Stand Up Guys – Val is released from a twenty-eight year stint in the clink and guess who is waiting for him? His closest friend, Doc, who was spared prison time when Val took the fall for the mob. Now that Val is out, he needs to be taken out, and the mob orders Doc to do the hit. Val knows what’s coming, he just wants to have a little fun before he check outs. Al Pacino and Christopher Walken play Val and Doc and old pal Hirsch (Alan Arkin) tags along and send one more up for the good old days. Aging mobsters just trying to feel young again, everyone is entitled to a mid-life crisis. Directed by Fischer Stevens, this will see a one-week release starting this Friday from Lionsgate, and wide release in February.
Trashed: No Place for Waste – Jeremy Irons leads and narrates this documentary about what happens to all of our precious possessions once we know longer need or want them. They go into landfills, they are burnt, they are dumped in the ocean, and there they stay. For all time. The more we produce, the more we waste, and it this only a finite amount of space for it all to go. Made in the vein of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and this years Chasing Ice, it is designed to scare the hell out of you with how out of control the problem is. If you are like me, and the sight of trash bags floating in water disgust you, then this will probably work wonders. Directed by Candida Brady and out in limited release this Friday from First Pond Entertainment.
Yelling to the Sky – Coming of age has never been easy, and doing it in the ghetto doesn’t help anything. Watch as Sweetnee O”Hara rises in her school from just another kid, to a Queen Bee. Debuting at last years South By Southwest festival, Yelling to the Sky is finally seeing a theatrical release this Friday from MPI Media. Staring the talents of Zoe Kravitz, Gabourey Sidibe, Antonique Smith, and Tim Blake Nelson. Written and directed by Victoria Mahoney.