12-12-12 – On October 26, 2012, Hurricane Sandy (later classified as Superstorm Sandy) made its way up the Eastern Seaboard toward the Tri-State area. On December 12, 2012, every musician known to mankind made his or her way to Madison Square Garden to put on a benefit concert. 12-12-12 is one part concert film, one part human-interest story, and one part recent history. The true story of how people can put aside differences and come together in the face of tragedy. And rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of rock ‘n’ roll. In limited release from The Weinstein Company.
The Best Man Holiday – It’s been a solid fourteen years since Malcolm D. Lee’s debut, The Best Man. Now Lee, and the familiar faces, reunite for a holiday themed romantic-comedy. It’s funny thing growing up, you revert right back to your old ways and your old roles given the right setting and the right characters. Starring Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau Jr., Monica Calhoun, and Melissa DeSousa. Written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee and out in wide release from Universal Pictures.
Charlie Countryman – “Go to Bucharest,” are the words Charlie (Shia LaBeouf) hears in a dream. The next thing he does is hop a trans-Atlantic flight, where things go wrong. His seat mate dies mid-flight, and Charlie takes it upon himself to tell the next of kin waiting for dead man, Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). They fall in love, but Gabi has some rough connections with the Romanian underworld, namely Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen) who has no intentions of giving Gabi up without a fight. Co-starring Rupert Grint, Melissa Leo, John Hurt, Til Schweiger, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Aubrey Plaza. Written by Matt Drake and directed by Fredrik Bond. Out in limited release from Millennium Entertainment.
Cold Turkey – Family can be a real pain in the ass. Especially around the holidays, when ever issue, every resentment, every disagreement finds it’s way to the surface, exploding over the mashed potatoes and cranberries. Legendary film critic and director, Peter Bogdanovich, leads the ensemble through the first Thanksgiving in fifteen years where the whole family is together again. I doubt it will go swimmingly. Ashton Holmes, Alicia Witt, Sonya Walger, Ross Partridge, Amy Ferguson, and Cheryl Hines raise hell alongside Bogdanovich. Will Slocombe directs and Film Buff provides the limited theatrical release back up by VOD.
Dear Mr. Watterson – I grew up reading Calvin & Hobbes comics, even dressing up as Calvin for Halloween a few times. I was introduced to the word “stratosphere” from a Calvin & Hobbes comic, and I still have the newspaper for the last published Calvin & Hobbes comic. Yet, I hold some reservations for this documentary. I was already burned once this year with Salinger and I don’t have much interest in crapping all over another one of my childhood idols. Joel Allen Schroeder explores the impact Bill Watterson and his immortal comic has had in the past two decades. Out in limited release from Gravitas Ventures.
Faust – It’s a pretty familiar story, Faust (Johannes Zeiler) is a practical man of the enlightenment, but he is not a rich man. If he wants to woo the enchanting Magarethe (Isolda Dychauk) he is going to have come into some money. Along comes the Moneylender (Anton Adasinsky) who is not who he says he is. Based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s immortal play, writer/director Aleksandr Sokurov (known for the impressive one-take movie Russian Ark) employs an array of unique and hypnotic camera tricks to bring the viewer into Faust’s hell. In a limited release from Leisure Time Features.
The Great Beauty – When it comes to Italian directors, Paolo Sorrentino ain’t no slouch. Combining the best of both Fellini and Antonioni, and tossing in his own unique perspective, Sorrentino manages to make life both sacred and profane. The Great Beauty looks to continue that tradition as it follows Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) on the eve of his sixty-fifth birthday. Jep was a one-time novelist and a renowned journalist and now needs to take stock of his life and figure out what was the one important thing that he missed all those years ago. Co-starring Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso, Iaia Forte, and Serena Grandi. Out in limited release from Janus Films (yes they do contemporary ones as well) this Friday.
Nebraska – Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) has won a million dollars. Or, that’s what he thinks he’s done. Woody receives a letter in the mail from the usual scam artist that if only he comes to Nebraska, he will be awarded one million dollars, and he is going there come hell or high water. High water is his son, David (Will Forte) and hell is his family and town who all want their cut of the million. Father drags son kicking and screaming to Nebraska for one last-ditch effort to be someone of worth. Co-starring Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, and June Squibb. Written by Bob Nelson and directed by Nebraska’s own Alexander Payne. Out in limited release from Paramount Pictures.
Sunlight Jr. – Sunlight Jr. is the convenience store where Melissa (Naomi Watts) works. She has a serious boyfriend, Richie (Matt Dillon) who is bound by both his wheelchair and the bottle. They have found each other, and things are going well when in walks the ex, Justin (Norman Reedus). Justin still has a thing for Melissa, a feeling that Melissa reciprocates, but struggles to repress. To make matters worse, Melissa just found out that she is pregnant with Richie’s child. Co-starring Tess Harper and William Haze. Written and directed by Laurie Collyer. Samuel Goldwyn gives this one a limited theatrical run with an On Demand back up.