American Hustle – It’s all about the con, not the con-artist, but the con. Every business, every transaction, every dream levied is a con in one way or another, and director David O. Russell is out to show everyone how deep the con goes. Christian Bale and Amy Adams are the con artist, Jennifer Lawrence is his ex-wife, Bradley Cooper is the FBI agent needing a little help, Jeremy Renner is the politician who is conning everyone, and Eric Singer and David O. Russell are the writers who concocted this whole shebang. Out in limited release from Sony Pictures.
The Crash Reel – They’re called The X-Games because they are extreme, high reward, but only with high risk. Kevin Pearce was once an Olympic hopeful, on par with Shaun White. Young, talented, energetic, everything the sport of snowboarding needed to break through to the mainstream. Then Pearce suffered a near fatal fall. He struggled back to basic motor functions, but he wants to get on that board. A classic sports tale, only this one spends more time with the family that fears he will suffer another accident and this time he won’t be so lucky. Written by Pedro Kos and Lucy Walker with Walker directing this documentary. Out in limited release from Phase 4 Films.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – The Hobbit: Act Two. Bilbo, Gandalf, and company are still on their quest and things just got a little worse. Smaug, a giant and powerful dragon has awoken, and everybody is in jeopardy. Hobbits, wizards, elves, dwarves, orcs, dragons, adventures, Middle Earth, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, they’re all here. Based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, script by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, and Peter Jackson with Jackson directing. Out in wide release and a variety of formats from Warner Brothers.
Liv & Ingmar – Their’s was one of the greatest collaborations in all of cinema. Writer/director Ingmar Bergman and actress (and muse and lover) Liv Ullmann. It was twenty-five years and twelve films, some of which are the most remarkable films ever made, and their torturous relationship was the basis for many of them. As Ullmann says, “I was a happy person,” but living with, working for, and dreaming along side Bergman would have worn anyone down. Now Ullmann narrates their life and work together in this documentary from Dheeraj Akolkar. Out in limited release and a must see for any fan of cinema.
Ms. 45 – If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you. And not many have seen Able Ferrara’s 1981 cult classic, Ms. 45. Zoë Lund plays a mute girl living in New York’s Garmet District, and is subject to a series of awful and terrible assaults. New York City in the 80s was not a great place. She decides that if you can’t beat them, join them, and launches a deadly campaign against every male in New York City. Written by Nicholas St. John and directed by Ferrara, this classic has been restored for a theatrical and soon to follow DVD and BluRay release from Drafthouse Films.
Nuclear Nation – March 11, 2011, the day the quake rumbled and the tsunami struck. The nuclear power plant of Fukushima gave way and release radiation into the town of Futaba. The crops shriveled up and died, the livestock was left to rot, and the entire town was devastated. Japan is no stranger to radiation poisoning, but this was not an act of war, this was an act of Nature, and who is to blame for the fallout and the aftermath? We may not fully grasp the potential of the atom, but we certainly know what tragedy it brings with it. Directed by Atushi Funahashi and in limited release from First Run Features.
Saving Mr. Banks – Responsible for more dreams than any other figure of the 20th Century, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) always cherished Mary Poppins as his favorite movie. The writer of the novel, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) was not going to give him the material, but Mr. Disney and all his twinkling charm managed to convince her to give him a go. But not without a lot of help. Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak play the Sherman Brothers (responsible for those catchy tunes), and Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, and Bradley Whitford, lend a hand. Written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, directed by John Lee Hancock and out in limited release from Walt Disney Pictures.
Some Velvet Morning – Fred (Stanley Tucci) has just left his wife for his mistress, Velvet (Alice Eve). The problem is that Fred and Velvet stopped their affair four years ago. Fred wants to pick up right where they left off and Velvet is just plain confused, especially since she is on her way out the door for a date. Written and directed by Neil LaBute, who excels with these small character studies. In limited release from Tribeca Films.
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas – Madea (Tyler Perry) is back and she is heading to the country to spread more of her folksy wisdom. After a stint working in the Christmas section of a department store, Madea and her sister head to the country to surprise Madea’s niece. Madea sure is in for a surprise when she sees whom her niece has shacked up with! Kathy Najimy, Chad Michael Murray, Anna Maria Horsford, and Larry The Cable Guy star alongside Perry, who wrote, produced, and directed this latest Madea installment. Out in limited release from Lionsgate.
What’s In a Name? – They all have their quirks, they all share their quips, and they all have their issues, but they are family and family can get past anything. Right? Nope. The husband and wife invite everyone over to a dinner where they reveal the name of their unborn child, and the name is so disgusting, so offensive, that it drives a steak right through the family. Now that one person has aired their grievances, they figure might as well let it all out. Starring Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling, Judith El Zein, Guillaume De Tonquedec, and Rose Cory. Written and directed by Alexandre de la Patelière and Matthieu Delaporte. Out in limited release from Pathe Films.