Movie Beat – 02.28.14

02.28.14 - The Bag ManThe Bag ManThe role of a Bag Man is a time-honored tradition. Heartless, ruthless and cold, the Bag Man kills for money and is hired because he kills. This Bag Man (John Cusack) has been hired by this mobster (Robert De Niro) to transport the bag to this rundown motel loaded with these shady people (Rebecca Da Costa, Crispin Glover, Dominic Purcell). Why bring all these characters under one roof? You’ll have to watch to find that out, but one thing we can be certain of, it will not end without a fair amount of bloodshed. Directed by David Grovic and in limited release from Cinedigm Entertainment.


02.28.14 - Ernest & Celestine

Ernest and CélestineErnest (Forest Whitaker) is a lay-about bear that busks on the streets to make a buck, paints a little on the side, and really loves candy. Célestine (Mackenzie Foy) is a rat that isn’t buying the scare tactic that bears are the worse thing to happen to rats. In fact, when she meets Ernest, they become fast friends. Which is good, because both are on the run and need a little companionship in their lives. A bear living with a rat? There goes the neighborhood! Additional vocal talent from Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy and Megan Mullally. Written by Daniel Pennac and directed by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar. GKIDS added the English-speaking cast and puts this into limited release.


02.28.14 - HairBrained

HairBrained – Fourteen-year-old genius Eli Pettifog (Alex Wolff) has but one dream on his mind, to attend Harvard University. Well, Harvard University has but one dream on its mind, and that is, No. Eli ends up at Whittman College, Ivy League’s version of a Black Sheep. That is where Eli’s path crossed with Leo Searly (Brendan Fraser), a forty-one-year-old drop out and degenerate. They begin an unlikely friendship and Leo gives Eli just the stuff he needs to get out there and make some friends. Co-starring Parker Posey, Austin Pendleton, Julia Garner, Robin De Jesus and Elisabeth Hower. Written by Sarah Bird, Billy Kent and Adam Wierzbianski with Kent directing as well. In limited release from Vertical Entertainment.


02.28.14 - The Lunchbox

The LunchboxIndia has a very expansive and intricate lunchbox delivery system where housewives cook lunches that are then sent to men working at the office. Ila (Nimrat Kaur) cooks a special lunch for his distant husband, hoping it will bring them closer, but the lunchbox is lost and sent to Saajan (Irfan Khan), a man who is heeding the words of Greta Garbo. The two begin to communicate via lunch and develop a relationship that might just blossom into something more serious. Co-starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Denzil Smith, Bharati Achrekar and Nakul Vaid. Written and directed by first-timer, Ritesh Batra, and in limited release from Sony Picture Classics.


02.28.14 - Non-Stop

Non-Stop – Liam Neeson plays US Air Marshall Bill Marks, an honest man who gets stuck in a sticky situation aboard a Trans-Atlantic Flight. It seems that a terrorist is on board who demands that $150 million be transferred into his off shore account, and for every twenty minutes that this transaction is delayed, another hapless passenger loses their life. Once the passengers start dropping off, Marks has to hop into action, but when it is revealed that the off shore account is in his name, things get particularly tense. Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll and Michelle Dockery fill out the rest of the cast, John W. Richardson and Christopher Roach wrote the script and Jaume Collet-Serra directs. Out in wide release from Universal Pictures.


02.28.14 - Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas – Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) really is an odd guy. From the outside, he looks like a fun and charismatic fry cook. In reality, he can see the dead walk amongst the living. He deals with it as best he can, and having a beautiful and fun girlfriend (Addison Timlin) certainly helps, but when he finds the portal to Hell, he finds a whole new brand of Poltergeist and these ones aren’t going to go quietly. Thomas enlists the help of the local sheriff (Williem Dafoe) in a classic battle of good versus evil in your typical small town. Co-starring Patton Oswalt, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and rapper 50 Cent. Written by Dean Koontz and directed by Stephen Sommers. In limited release from RLJ Entertainment backed by On Demand with a DVD rollout soon to follow.


02.28.14 - Repentance

Repentance – Tommy (Anthony Mackie) was headed down a dark path, but then he found a way to turn it around. He cleaned up, wrote a book and now he’s helping people. One of those people in need of help is Angel (Forest Whitaker), a man distraught because his mother was taken too early. Or, that’s what he says happened. Angel lacks reliability according to the state, his ex-wife and kids. Then Tommy crosses Angel, and things take a turn for the worse. Co-starring Mike Epps, Sanaa Lathan, Nicole Ari Parker and Betsy Clark. Written by Shintaro Shimosawa and Philippe Caland with Caland directing as well. In limited release from Lionsgate Entertainment.


02.28.14 - Son of God

Son of God – The most influential figure in history is back on the big screen with a family oriented adaptation of the story of Jesus of Nazareth. This version closely follows the Gospels as Jesus is born, grows, and takes the mantel of Messiah. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado plays the Son of God, and is supported by a group of relatively unknown actors: Adrian Schiller, Sebastian Knapp, Greg Hicks, Darwin Shaw, Joe Wredden, Roma Downey and Amber Rose Revah. Written by Richard Bedser and Christopher Spencer with Spencer directing as well. Out in wide release from 20th Century Fox.


02.28.14 - Stalingrad

Stalingrad – November 1942, a band of Russian soldiers try to protect the heartland of Russia from the invading German army. At the heart of this battle lie two women and the love that they promise our two main soldiers. That matters little, because we are not here for a love story, we are here for spectacle! The War Epic has given way to the tropes of disaster porn, where explosions, slow motion, and the beauty of horror take the place of pathos and empathy. Stalingrad looks to recapture the genre by placing all of those tropes squarely within the context of a historical battle. Starring Thomas Kretschmann, Yanina Studilina, Phillippe Reinhardt, Heiner Lauterbach and Pyotr Fydorov. Written by Ilya Tilkin and Sergei Snezhkin and directed by Fedor Bondarchuk. Columbia Pictures gives this a wide theatrical release.


02.28.14 - Two Lives

Two Lives – The time is 1990, and the aftermath of the fallen wall has thrown everyone’s life upside down. The façade has been crumbled and the lie that this was all built upon is now very obvious. Katrine (Juliane Köhler) is a “War Child” the product of a Norwegian Mother and a WWII German Soldier. During the occupation of Norway, there was a great deal of these War Children, and they have filed a lawsuit against the state for their participation in the collaboration. Katrine has been having a pleasant life, no reason to dredge all this up, but dredge is what lawyers do best. Co-starring Liv Ullmann, Sven Nordin, Ken Duken, Julia Bache-Wiig and Rainer Bock. Written by Georg Maas, Christoph Tölle and Stale Stein Berg with Maas directing as well. IFC Films gives this a limited American release.