Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Movie Releases


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Blank City
Release Date: April 6, 2011 (NY) 
Studio: Insurgent Media 
Director: Céline Danhier 
Screenwriter: Not Available 
Starring: Jim Jarmusch, Debbie Harry, Steve Buscemi, John Lurie, Fab 5 Freddy, Thurston Moore, Richard Kern, Lydia Lunch, Amos Poe, Eric Mitchell, James Nares, Maripol, Ann Magnuson, James Chance, Beth B, Scott B, John Waters
Genre: Documentary
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Before there was HD there was Super 8. Before Independent film there was Underground Cinema. And before New York there was…well, New York. Once upon a pre-Facebook time, before creative communities became virtual and viral, cultural movements were firmly grounded in geography. And the undisputed center of American – some would say international – art and film was New York City. In particular, downtown Manhattan in the late 1970's and 80's was the anchor of vanguard filmmaking. "Blank City" tells the long-overdue tale of the motley crew of renegade filmmakers that emerged from an economically bankrupt and dangerous period of New York History. It's a fascinating look at the way this misfit cinema used the deserted, bombed-out Lower East Side landscapes to craft daring works that would go on to profoundly influence Independent Film today. Unlike the much-celebrated punk music scene, this era's thrilling and confrontational underground film movement has never before been chronicled. Directed by French newcomer Céline Danhier, "Blank City" captures the idiosyncratic, explosive energy of the "No Wave Cinema" and "Cinema of Transgression" movements. Stark and provocative, the films drew name and inspiration from the French New Wave; as well as Film Noir, and the works of Andy Warhol and John Waters. Filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, Eric Mitchell, Beth B, Charlie Ahear, Lizzie Borden and Amos Poe showcased the city's vibrant grit and bore witness to the rising East Village art and rock scenes and the birth of hip hop. Short, long, color or black-and-white, their stripped-down films portrayed themes of alienation and dissonance with a raw and genuine spirit, at times with deadpan humor blurring the lines between fiction and reality.


American: The Bill Hicks Story
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (NY; LA release: Apr. 15)
Studio: Variance Films
Director: Matt Harlock, Paul Thomas
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Kevin Booth, John Farneti, Bill Hicks
Genre: Comedy, Documentary
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Seventeen years after his death, Bill Hicks has taken a permanent place in the cultural landscape and is widely recognized as one of the greatest American comedians of the modern era. Described as many things – philosopher, social satirist, even preacher – Hicks was ultimately a performer who, for many, changed what comedy could be. He believed that comedy played a vital role in any free and just society, and that the comedian, a free spirit detached from political or corporate agendas, was able to voice what others wouldn't, challenging convention and presenting ideas that would stimulate the minds of the audiences. Hicks had no difficulty making people laugh- but what he really wanted to do was make them think. His comedy savaged the injustices of life in the late eighties/early nineties hangover that was post-Reagan America. But his uncompromising approach was met with controversy and resistance at home, and he found fame on the international stage instead. In 1993, on the verge of finally breaking through to the elusive mainstream American audience, Hicks was diagnosed with aggressive terminal cancer, and his life and career were cut short at the age of 32. But his timeless material lives on, revered today by both comedians (who frequently cite him as an influence) and fans alike. Bill Hicks' remarkable journey is brought to life in the documentary feature "American: The Bill Hicks Story." Combining revealing new interviews from those who knew him best with a bold new photographic animation technique, "American" eschews "talking heads" and takes the audience inside Hicks' unfolding life story using archival footage and animated photographs, many from Hicks' personal collection and previously unseen. It's a film that innovates, inspires, and outrages - while being funny as hell in the process. 



Arthur
Release Date: April 8, 2011
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Jason Winer
Screenwriter: Peter Baynham
Starring: Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Luis Guzman, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Garner
Genre: Comedy, Romance
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for alcohol use throughout, sexual content, language and some drug references)
Plot Summary: Irresponsible charmer Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) has always relied on two things to get by: his limitless fortune and the good sense of lifelong nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren) to keep him out of trouble. Now he faces his biggest challenge--choosing between an arranged marriage that will ensure his lavish lifestyle or an uncertain future with the one thing money can't buy, Naomi (Greta Gerwig), the only woman he has ever loved. With Naomi's inspiration and some unconventional help from Hobson, Arthur will take the most expensive risk of his life and finally learn what it means to become a man, in this re-imagining of the classic romantic comedy "Arthur." 



Born to be Wild
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (IMAX)
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: David Lickley
Screenwriter: Drew Fellman
Starring: Morgan Freeman
Genre: Adventure, Documentary
MPAA Rating: G
Plot Summary: "Born to be Wild 3D" is an inspired story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. This film documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them—saving endangered species one life at a time. Stunningly captured in IMAX 3D, "Born to be Wild 3D" is a heartwarming adventure transporting moviegoers into the lush rainforests of Borneo with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas, and across the rugged Kenyan savannah with celebrated elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick, as they and their team rescue, rehabilitate and return these incredible animals back to the wild. 


Ceremony
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (limited)
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Max Winkler
Screenwriter: Max Winkler
Starring: Uma Thurman, Michael Angarano, Lee Pace, Rebecca Mader, Reece Thompson
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: R (for some language, sexual references and drug use)
Plot Summary: Sam Davis (Michael Angarano) convinces his former best friend to spend a weekend with him to rekindle their friendship at an elegant beachside estate owned by a famous documentary filmmaker (Lee Pace). But it soon becomes clear that Sam is secretly infatuated with the filmmaker's fiancee, Zoe (Uma Thurman), and that his true intention is to thwart their impending nuptials. As Sam's plan begins to unravel, he is forced to realize how complicated love and friendship can be. 


Exodus Fall
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (LA)
Studio: Oakhurst Pictures
Director: Ankush Kohli, Chad Waterhouse
Screenwriter: Chad Waterhouse
Starring: Rosanna Arquette, Jesse James, Devon Graye, Dee Wallace, Christopher Atkins
Genre: Family
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Set in 1974 Texas, "Exodus Fall" tells the story of three teen siblings struggle with the death of their father and try to live with their abusive mother. When one of the teens is sent away because the mother can't cope with his autism, the oldest of the siblings devises a plan to get their brother back and embark on a life changing adventure across the Southwest in their deceased father's station wagon. In their attempt to find their grandmother's home thousands of miles away, they find themselves confronted with detours that ultimately slow them down, but thrust them into a coming of age journey to be remembered.



Hanna
Release Date: April 8, 2011
Studio: Focus Features
Director: Joe Wright
Screenwriter: Seth Lochhead, David Farr, Joe Penhall, Joe Wright
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Jason Flemyng, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language)
Plot Summary: Award-winning director Joe Wright creates a boldly original suspense thriller with "Hanna," starring Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan ("The Lovely Bones," "Atonement") in the title role. Raised by her father (Eric Bana of "Star Trek"), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland, Hanna's upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity. 


Henry's Crime
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (NY; LA release: April 15)
Studio: Moving Pictures
Director: Malcolm Venville
Screenwriter: Sacha Gervasi, David White
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, James Caan, Fisher Stevens, Peter Stormare, Danny Hoch, Bill Duke
Genre: Comedy, Crime
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Working the night shift as a toll collector on a lonely stretch of highway in Buffalo, New York, Henry is a man seemingly without ambition, dreams or purpose; a man sleepwalking his way through life. He gets his wakeup call early one morning when he becomes an unwitting participant in an ill-conceived bank heist. Rather than give up the names of the real culprits, Henry takes the fall and goes to jail. There, he meets the irrepressible Max, a con man who's grown far too comfortable with the familiarity and security of his 'idyllic' life behind bars, but one who also helps plant an idea in Henry's mind which will change his life forever: for a man to find his purpose, he must first have a dream. Upon his release one year later, Henry finds his purpose. Having done the time, he decides he may as well do the crime. Discovering a long forgotten bootlegger's tunnel which runs from the very same bank to a theater across the alleyway, he convinces the reluctant Max to file for his long overdue parole -- and then recruits his former cellmate to help stage a robbery. Their plan is simple: by infiltrating the theater and its current production of Chekhov's, The Cherry Orchard, the unlikely duo will buy just enough time to dig their way to the adjacent bank vault and drive off with their loot. Unfortunately that plan also includes Henry taking the lead role in the play, where he finds himself slowly falling for the production's mercurial leading lady, Julie.


Meek's Cutoff
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (limited)
Studio: Oscilloscope Pictures
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Screenwriter: Jonathan Raymond
Starring: Michelle Williams, Shirley Henderson, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Neal Huff, Will Patton, Bruce Greenwood
Genre: Drama, Western
MPAA Rating: PG (for some mild violent content, brief language and smoking)
Plot Summary: The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst and their own lack of faith in each other's instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as the natural enemy



Meet Monica Velour
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (limited)
Studio: Anchor Bay Films
Director: Keith Bearden
Screenwriter: Keith Bearden
Starring: Dustin Ingram, Kim Cattrall, Brian Dennehy, Keith David, Daniel Yelsky, Jee Young Han
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: R (for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use)
Plot Summary: In this irreverent comedy, awkward teenager Tobe (Dustin Ingram) sets off on a road trip to meet Monica Velour (Kim Cattrall), his favorite '80s porn star, at a rare live appearance hundreds of miles away. Instead of the glamorous sexpot portrayed on film, he finds a 49-year-old single mom living in a trailer in rural Indiana, performing at seedy strip clubs to make ends meet. A starry-eyed Tobe, still captivated by his crush, befriends Monica, further complicating her difficult life. Kim Cattrall gives a career-defining performance in this offbeat love story that appeals to the dreamer -- and the nerd -- in all of us. 


Meeting Spencer
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (NY) 
Studio: Paladin 
Director: Malcolm Mowbray 
Screenwriter: Andrew Kole, Andrew Delaplane, Scott Kasdin 
Starring: Jeffrey Tambor, Melinda McGraw, Jesse Plemons 
Genre: Comedy 
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: "Meeting Spencer" all takes place in one night, in the fabled Theater Row hangout Frankie & Johnnie's (recreated on a Hollywood sound stage), and concerns the increasingly frantic efforts of a once-famous stage director to raise financing for a production he hopes will be his comeback. Based on an original screenplay by Andrew Kole, Andrew Delaplane, and Scott Kasdin, the film is an affectionate homage to such classic screwball comedies as "Room Service" and "Twentieth Century," in which a motley group of flamboyant theater denizens plot and scheme, both against and with one another, in their pursuit of glory on "the great white way." 



No Eres Tu, Soy Yo
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (limited) 
Studio: Lionsgate
Director: Alejandro Springall 
Screenwriter: Alejandro Springall, Luis Aura 
Starring: Eugenio Derbez, Martina García, Alejandra Barros 
Genre: Comedy, Romance 
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content, partial nudity and language)
Plot Summary: "No Eres Tu, Soy Yo" is a romantic comedy that tells the hilarious story of Javier, a man who refuses to accept the loss of the woman he loves. In his journey to recovery, he rides an emotional rollercoaster that eventually leads him to his true love. The film stars Eugenio Derbez, one of the biggest stars in Mexico, and is directed by Alejandro Springall. 


Soul Surfer
Release Date: April 8, 2011 
Studio: FilmDistrict 
Director: Sean McNamara 
Screenwriter: Sean McNamara, Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, Deborah Bonann Schwartz 
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb, Carrie Underwood, Lorraine Nicholson, Kevin Sorbo, Jeremy Sumpter 
Genre: Biography, Drama 
MPAA Rating: PG (for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material)
Plot Summary: "Soul Surfer" is the inspiring true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, through her sheer determination and unwavering faith. In the wake of this life-changing event that took her arm and nearly her life, Bethany's feisty determination and steadfast beliefs spur her toward an adventurous comeback that gives her the grit to turn her loss into a gift for others. Bethany (Robb) was born to surf. A natural talent who took to the waves at a young age, she was leading an idyllic, sun-drenched, surfer girl’s life on the Kauai Coast, competing in national competitions with her best friend Alana (Lorraine Nicholson), when everything changed in a heartbeat. On Halloween morning, Bethany was on a typical ocean outing when a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams. "Soul Surfer" reveals the moving aftermath of this headline-making story, as Bethany fights to recover and grapples with the future. Strengthened by the love of her parents, Tom (Quaid) and Cheri (Hunt), she refuses to give in or give up, and begins a bold return to the water. Still, the questions keep hammering her: Why did this happen? Why did she have to lose everything? Will she ever feel the joy and power of riding the waves again? And if she can't be a surfer, then who is she?
The devastating 2004 tsunami in the Pacific Ocean unexpectedly gives Bethany a new perspective. Traveling to Phuket, Thailand with her youth-group leader Sara Hill (Underwood), she witnesses life beyond her own shoreline and discovers her greater purpose—she can make a difference in the lives of others. Filled with a new sense of hope and direction, she returns home with a renewed resolve to conquer her own limitations and set an encouraging example for people facing adversity. At the National Championships, Bethany bravely faces off with her fiercest rival, Malia Birch (Sonya Balmores), and takes her astonishing one-armed surfing technique to the limit. But as the horn blows, and the suspenseful competition kicks off, Bethany is no longer thinking about the challenges of her body. Now, her surfing, her biggest dreams and her life have become about pushing her own physical limits to touch the souls of others. 



To Die Like a Man
Release Date: April 8, 2011 (NY) 
Studio: Strand Releasing 
Director: João Pedro Rodrigues 
Screenwriter: João Pedro Rodrigues, Rui Catalão 
Starring: Chandra Malatitch, John Jesus Romão, Ivo Barroso 
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Musical 
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Tonia is a large-than-life drag icon of Lisbon's night life in the late 1980s. At the peak of her career, she meets and falls in love with Rosario, a young soldier who's gone AWOL. Under pressure from Rosario, Tonia begins a series of operations to become a woman but the final step proves much harder than she could have guessed. Torn between her love for Rosario and her deeply-rooted religious convictions, Tonia looks for distraction in a trip to the countryside with Rosario. Lost along the way, the couple find themselves in an enchanted forest where everything they think they know about life and love is proven wrong. Part melodrama, part phantasmagorical fairy tale, To Die Like A Man is visual extravaganza.


Your Highness
Release Date: April 8, 2011 
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: David Gordon Green 
Screenwriter: Danny McBride, Ben Best 
Starring: Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux, Toby Jones, Damian Lewis 
Genre: Adventure, Comedy 
MPAA Rating: R (for strong crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity, violence and some drug use)
Plot Summary: Throughout history, tales of chivalry have burnished the legends of brave, handsome knights who rescue fair damsels, slay dragons and conquer evil. But behind many a hero is a good-for-nothing younger brother trying just to stay out of the way of those dragons, evil and trouble in general. Danny McBride and James Franco team up for an epic comedy adventure set in a fantastical world--"Your Highness." As two princes on a daring mission to save their land, they must rescue the heir apparent's fiancée before their kingdom is destroyed. Thadeous (McBride) has spent his life watching his perfect older brother Fabious (Franco) embark upon valiant journeys and win the hearts of his people. Tired of being passed over for adventure, adoration and the throne, he's settled for a life of wizard's weed, hard booze and easy maidens. But when Fabious' bride-to-be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), gets kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), the king gives his deadbeat son an ultimatum: Man up and help rescue her or get cut off. Half-assedly embarking upon his first quest, Thadeous joins Fabious to trek across the perilous outlands and free the princess. Joined by Isabel (Natalie Portman)-an elusive warrior with a dangerous agenda of her own-the brothers must vanquish horrific creatures and traitorous knights before they can reach Belladonna. If Thadeous can find his inner hero, he can help his brother prevent the destruction of his land. Stay a slacker, and not only does he die a coward, he gets front row seats to the dawn of an all-new Dark Ages. 

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