21 And Over – Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is a straight-A student who is trying to get into medical school. In fact, he has an interview for said school tomorrow morning, but tonight, tonight he is twenty-one. It would be a real shame to let such a historic moment go by, and one beer won’t hurt, right? One wouldn’t have, but Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) show up and put that idea to bed. Jeff Chang has one hell of a night: drinking, stripping, mayhem, and chicks. Written and directed by the duo that brought you The Hangover (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore) and one look at the trailer and that’s all you need to know. It’s all gonna be off the hook! Out in wide release from Relativity Media.
The End of Love – Mark (Mark Webber) is a struggling actor who is having a very difficult time raising his son Isaac (Isaac Love) after Isaac’s mother suddenly passes away. Like most people his age, he is not ready to grow up and be an adult. Mark meets Lydia (Shannyn Sossamon), herself a single mom, and the two of them lean on each other for help. Webber writes, produces, acts, and directs his son Isaac for this real life look at the life of a single parent. Projects like these can sometimes be self-indulgent, but occasionally they contain insight and honesty that would be impossible to find elsewhere. Out in limited release from Variance Films.
Ginger & Rosa – Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) are the closest of friends. They are in that wonderful stage of adolescence: innocent rebellion, smoking cigarettes, defining your own hair and clothing style, listening to new and radical music, suddenly caring about a cause that is bigger than yourself. All of this takes place under the shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a time in our history where the very existence of man could have disappeared in the blink of an eye. Ginger and Rosa’s relationship will be tested as they grow up and naturally apart. Supporting performances from Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt, and Annette Bening. Written and directed by Sally Potter and out in limited release from A24 Films. Link to my review.
Jack the Giant Slayer – Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is a simple farm boy, but as we all know, simple farm boys hold great abilities. You know the plot, Jack had magic beans, the bean stock grows to a land in the sky, a land belonging to Giants, and Jack has to use his wits to over come his size deficiency, rescue the princess, and save the kingdom. This movie is another in a string of retold and re-imagined fairy tales and myths. All the actors really seem to be hamming it up for this one, especially the great Stanley Tucci. Joining him is Ewan McGreggor, Ian McShane, and Eleanor Tomlinson. Written by some of Hollywood’s best: Darren Lemke, David Dobkin, Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Studney and directed by Bryan Singer. Out in wide release from Warner Brothers Pictures.
Leviathan – We watch movies with the understanding that people hold cameras and what they record is what we see. The camera is their eye. What happens when no one is there to run the camera? Who’s perspective is that? A camera bobbing up and down in the water not only gives a unique point of view, it also is devoid of a human being’s perspective. It is totally helpless to the situation surrounding it, and that is an emotion that can be created in our minds while watching such a movie. This documentary from Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel aboard a fishing vessel, and they use dozens of camera tethered hither and yon to capture the daily routine. Try to watch this on the biggest screen you can find, out in limited release from Cinema Guild.
A Place at the Table – Many problems, many worries, many causes to take up, and here is this week’s documentary about the problems our Nation faces. The problem: Hunger. I won’t recount all the statistics, the documentary will cover all the issues quite well, but a quick look at where the food industry is in 2013 and where it was a mere five years ago tells you pretty much everything you need to know. If you are one of those people who doesn’t think we have a problem with nutrition, then I urge you to walk around the parking lot and entrance of your nearest theme park prior to seeing this documentary. The cheapest food out there is also the worst possible thing to put into your bodies. From Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, in limited theaters and everywhere via On Demand and iTunes from Magnolia Pictures.
Phantom – A submarine movie in 2013? Well, well, quite an unusual crop of movies out this week. Ed Harris is the submarine Captain who is sortie on an unusual mission immediately after he and his crew dock. David Duchovny and William Fichtner join the crew with a hidden motive, to engage the Phantom and start WWIII. Power and control change hands as a few men fight for the future of mankind. I wonder, what would our movies be about if we never had developed nuclear technology? The stakes would considerably be less. Written and directed by Todd Robinson and out in limited release from RCR Distribution.
Stoker – India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is an only child and when her father dies in a car crash, Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) shows up to take his place and help out her emotionally distressed mother (Nicole Kidman). So far, so good, but Uncle Charlie is not who he says he is, but India grows all the more attracted to him, and boy do things get out of hand. This one starts at the end and works its way back to the beginning, allowing us to see the events in a very different light. This is Korean director, Park Chan-Wook’s first English language film, written by Wentworth Miller with supporting performances from Jacki Weaver and Dermot Mulroney. Out in limited release from Fox Searchlight Pictures. My review.
War Witch – This was Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Film for this past year’s Oscar, and it deals with child soldiers in Africa. Komona (Rachel Mwanza) is fourteen-years-old and taken from her village. The children are ambushed and all are killed except for Komona, leading people to believe that she might be a witch. She begins a friendship with an older albino solider and comes into her own. Writer/Director Kim Nguyen worked on the movie for over ten years, following children and learning their point of view. At times brutal and honest, other times dreamlike and beautiful. Out in limited theaters from Tribeca Films and everywhere via On Demand.
Welcome to Pine Hill – Once a drug dealer and now reformed and a claim adjuster, Shannon (Shannon Harper-first time actor) has been feeling a very sharp pain and goes to a doctor to figure out what is wrong with him. After finding out it is a form of cancer, the movie (documentary?) follows Shannon around for the next couple of days as he deals with the diagnosis and makes his peace with his friends past and present. Written and directed by Keith Miller, this is an extension to his earlier short, Prince/William. Out in limited release from Oscilloscope Pictures.