Barbara – Germany’s official submission for the Foreign Language Academy Award, written and directed by Christian Petzold and starring his muse, Nina Hoss as Barbara. Set in Cold War Germany, Nina is banished to a rural East Germany hospital when she applies for an exit visa. While her lover is working on a way to get her to West Germany, Barbara lies low and tries not to entangle with anyone. Andre (Ronald Zehrfeld), the head physician of the hospital, takes a liking to her, and she to him, but she can’t be certain if he is a spy or not. Barbara is torn between two possible lives, and is slowly crushed under the weight of her decision. Terse, tense, and very gripping. Limited release from Adopt Films.
Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away 3-D – When Fred Astaire danced, they always shot him in one, full body take so the audience could enjoy the beauty, grace, and talent of the performance. 3-D technology just takes that to the next level. Last year, two German directors (Werner Herzog Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Wim Wenders Pina) used 3-D technology in documentaries, and both were fascinating looks at not only the subject but the technology as well. Let’s continue that trend with the fascinating and magical world of a Cirque Du Soleil circus act. Written and directed by Andrew Adamson with James Cameron functioning as an executive producer, Worlds Away follows two lovers as they unite through the magical world of the carnival. Wide release from Paramount.
The Impossible – Ready to have your heart wrenched out of you? December 26, 2004, a tsunami struck the Indian Ocean causing a massive amount of destruction and claiming over 230,000 souls in fourteen countries. Nature is indifferent to man’s plight. However, it takes quite a lot to crush the human spirit. Based on the true story of a Spanish family (British for the film), they survive the tsunami, and against impossible odds, find each other again. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts play the parents and Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, and Oaklee Pendergast are the sons. Written by Sergio G. Sánchez and directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, this film will receive a limited release through Summit Distribution. You can read my review here.
Jack Reacher – Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, a military sniper is accused of firing six shots and killing five people, but pleads his innocence. He asks the cops to bring in Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) who knows that the sniper was set up. If the sniper were the one doing the shooting, all six shots would have been kills. Ex-Military Investigator, Reacher is on the hunt to track down the real killer, and let’s just say that Reacher doesn’t play by any rules other than his own. Not to bury the lead, but the famed German filmmaker, Werner Herzog, plays the villain! Let me say that one more time, Herzog is the villain. What the hell else do you need to know about this to want to see it? Opens wide from Paramount.
Not Fade Away – Triple threat David Chase debut film is about a bunch of kids growing up in the 60s. They hear the music of The Rolling Stones and their lives, like many others, are changed forever. They put together a band, develop a following, move to New York, and live the life. Not the glamorous life, but the life of a down and dirty rock-n-roll band. Double shows nightly, gigs in dirty clubs and bars, girls, in-fighting, lack of money, parental disapproval… It’s a wonder why people do this to themselves. The music. It’s always the music. Nothing matters but the music! James Gandolfini and John Magaro play the lead father and son that provide the center. Limited release from Paramount Studios.
On The Road – For some, Jack Kerouack’s On The Road is one of the seminal American novels. For Truman Capote and others, “that’s not writing, it’s typing.” Come hitch a ride with Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) across the USA. And don’t forget the ex-con, Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) and his free-spirited Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Blessed are the mad souls, for they are the ones that thirst. Blessed are the poor, for they are the ones that know. Blessed are The Beats, for they defined a generation and changed the arts to come. Walter Salles directs a script by Jose Rivera. In limited release from IFC Films.
This Is 40 – How many movies have you seen where semi-privileged white kids whine about their identity and what they want to do with their lives? How many times have you wondered, what happens to those kids when the movie ends? Guess what?! Judd Apatow has an answer for you! This is 40 is a sort of sequel to Knocked Up (2007) where we first met the lovable couple of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann). Now it’s time for them to turn the big four-oh, and neither wants to go gracefully into the night. Audience members of a certain age will find much to identify with here, please enjoy. Out in wide release from Universal.