By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel
With the full cooperation of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, Canadian filmmaker Brigitte Berman looks back at Hef’s tumultuous early days, when his newfangled ideas about nudity, sex, gay rights and drug use, among other things, shocked readers and seriously annoyed the Feds.
Life During Wartime
It has been 12 years since writer/director Todd Solondz’s hilarious yet emotionally wrenching suburban black comedy Happiness. In this sequel, the filmmaker catches up with the original characters, but he has recast all the roles, as if to acknowledge that neither he nor his characters can possibly be the same people a decade later.
Ramona and Beezus
In the film version of young-adult novelist Beverly Cleary’s iconic “Ramona” character, created in the 1950s, 11-year-old Joey King plays the spunky third grader with Disney Channel star Selena Gomez as her older sister, Beatrice, a.k.a. “Beezus.”
Angelina Jolie channels her inner Jason Bourne—she leaps, she kicks, she kills—in director Phillip Noyce’s action thriller about a CIA operative who’s accused of being a Russian spy. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star.
Circa 1000 A.D., a Norse warrior (Mads Mikkelsen) leads a band of hyperactive Christians on a quest for the Holy Land. Prepare to wince: Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s movies, including last year’s Bronson, as well as the astonishing Pusher trilogy, are never less than brutal.
The Adjustment Bureau
It’s love at first sight for Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) and ballerina Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), but is fate or sinister earthly forces conspiring to keep them apart? Screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum) makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of a 1954 story by Phillip K. Dick.
Seventeen-year-old Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) thinks he’s hot stuff until the night he disses a Goth girl named Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), who’s actually a witch. Kendra’s revenge sends Kyle on a search for love in writer/director Daniel Barnz’s adaptation of Alex Finn’s popular teen novel.
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Putting their ongoing war—chronicled in the 2004 hit Cats and Dogs—on hold, canines and felines team up to stop a creepily hairless cat with dreams of world domination. Bette Midler is the voice of the evil Kitty Galore in this live-action family film.
The Dry Land
After a reunion with his wife (America Ferrera) takes a violent turn, James (Ryan O’Nan), a West Texas soldier newly home from the Iraq War, takes a road trip to visit his war buddies (Wilmer Valderrama, Diego Klattenhoff) and hopefully find some inner peace. Written and directed by Ryan Piers Williams.
The Extra Man
It’s a collision of eccentrics when a lonely, cross-dressing teacher (Paul Dano) becomes the roommate of an “escort” (Kevin Kline) for wealthy widows. Based on a novel by Jonathan Ames, this film from co-directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman (American Splendor) features Katie Holmes, John C. Reilly and the rarely seen but always welcome Patti D’Arbanville.
Legend has it there once was a secretly wealthy Tennessee hermit who decided to throw his own funeral so he could hear the stories people had to tell about him. In this beautifully acted 1930s period piece from director Aaron Schneider, Robert Duvall is the hermit, Sissy Spacek his old flame, and Bill Murray the town’s newly energized funeral director.
I Killed My Mother
French-Canadian writer/director Xavier Dolan, 20, not only makes his feature debut with this drama about a 16-year-old gay teen’s battles with his mother, but he stars in the film as well.
Newly released from the Dutch army, a young man (Thure Lindhardt) falls in with a neo-Nazi street gang, only to find himself having romantic feelings for one of the members (David Densik). When they become lovers, things get dicey in this debut feature from Nicolo Donato.
Patricia Clarkson is a Canadian journalist who has come to Egypt to meet up with her husband. When he’s delayed, the husband sends an Egyptian friend (Alexander Siddig) to keep his wife company. Probably not a great idea. Written and directed by Ruba Nadda.
Hey, man, don’t delete that chain letter that just landed in your inbox. If you do, the sender is going to snatch you up, wrap you in chains (get it?) and torture you. To death!
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
There’s reportedly a memorably clever bit of business involving a stray bullet casing in this British kidnapping thriller from first-time filmmaker J. Blakeson. Eddie Marsan, the addled driving instructor in Happy-Go-Lucky, stars.
Mao’s Last Dancer
From director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) comes the true story of Chinese-born ballet dancer Li Cunxin, who was sent to dance with the Houston Ballet as part of a 1970s cultural-exchange program. Li eventually married an American, sparking an international tussle between the two countries. Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan and Chi Cao star.
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