Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Movie Releases

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America the Beautiful II: The Thin Commandments

Release Date: October 12, 2011 (NY; LA release: Oct. 14; expands: Oct. 21)
Studio: PMK*BNC
Director: Darryl Roberts
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Deepak Chopra, Evelyn Tribole, Dr. Howard Shapiro, Linda Bacon, Kathleen Sebilius, Timothy Dolan, Paul Campos, Jon Robinson, Beverly Johnson, Carolyn Costin
Genre: Documentary
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Is weight gain the biggest health crisis in America or is it weight loss? With our collective waistline expanding faster than ever, dieting has now become a national obsession. But is our newfound fixation on diet and exercise born purely from a look in the mirror, or are there more insidious forces at work?
Following up on his successfully distributed grassroots documentary "America the Beautiful," award-winning documentary filmmaker Darryl Roberts now explores the relationship between being heavy and being healthy in his new controversial documentary, The THIN Commandments.
Which one of these people is overweight? Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Hugh Jackman, Jessica Simpson, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, LeBron James, Matt Damon or Christian Bale? Unless you guessed all of them, you're wrong. According to the current BMI scale all of these people are overweight...and Dwayne Johnson is OBESE!
In what once was purely a woman's issue, more and more men are being targeted by advertisers to diet or bulk up to resemble the Adonis images on the cover of men's magazines. Covering issues such as America's unhealthy dieting craze, the use of the outdated and misleading BMI scale and the currently touted "obesity epidemic," Roberts debates the widely believed concepts that you have to be thin to be healthy. During his journey, he discovers the plethora of factors contributing to America’s body dissatisfaction, many of which are being promoted by doctors, schools, the government, and even the First Lady of the United States.
Roberts questions these industries' promotion of weight loss surgeries, fad diets, disorderly eating, and a nationwide fear of fat that causes panic whenever our Body Mass Index passes the number 25. With one of the the most advanced medical systems in the world and alternative health modalities at our disposal, is it possible to be healthy at a variety of sizes and weights?

The Big Year

Release Date: October 14, 2011
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: David Frankel
Screenwriter: Howard Franklin
Starring: Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Brian Dennehy, Rashida Jones, Rosamund Pike, Dianne Wiest
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for language and some sensuality)
Plot Summary: Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson are at a crossroads -- one is experiencing a mid-life crisis, another a late-life crisis, and the third, a far from ordinary no-life crisis. From David Frankel, the director of "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Marley & Me," comes a sophisticated comedy about three friendly rivals who, tired of being ruled by obligations and responsibilities, dedicate a year of their lives to following their dreams. Their big year takes them on a cross-country journey of wild and life-changing adventures.

Bombay Beach

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (NY)
Studio: Boaz Yakin Presents
Director: Alma Har’el
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Not Available
Genre: Documentary
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: The film is a compassionate, gorgeously photographed chronicle of a colorful California desert community living on the fringes of the lost American dream. Set to evocative music by Beirut and Bob Dylan and punctuated with dream-like choreographed interludes, "Bombay Beach" is one of the most strikingly original documentaries of recent years.
In the middle of the Californian desert lies the state's largest lake, the man-made Salton Sea, which in the 1950s was a popular vacation destination surrounded by restaurants, shops and nightclubs. Decades later, the lake has largely dried up and the resort haven of Bombay Beach has crumbled into a desolate ghost town populated by a curious blend of migrants and vagrants. Red is a tough octogenarian cigarette bootlegger beloved by the desert rats who populate his shanty town. Benny is an imaginative bipolar 7-year-old, reunited with his parents after they've spent time in prison for harboring weapons. CeeJay is a black highschool football star who has relocated to Bombay Beach to escape the gang violence that plagues his native South Central LA. Har'el creates of these stories a mesmerizing portrait, a stylized amalgam of vérité documentary and choreographed dance pieces that results in a truly singular cinematic experience.

Chalet Girl

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (limited)
Studio: IFC Films
Director: Phil Traill
Screenwriter: Tom Williams
Starring: Ed Westwick, Felicity Jones, Tamsin Egerton, Ken Duken, Sophia Bush, Brooke Shields, Bill Nighy
Genre: Comedy, Romance
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Pretty tomboy Kim (Felicity Jones) used to be a champion skateboarder, but now she flips burgers to support herself and her dad. Opportunity comes knocking when she flukes a winter-long catering job in one of the plushest ski chalets in the Alps. At first, Kim is baffled by this bizarre new world of posh people, vintage champagne, epic mountains and waist deep powder. Then Kim discovers snowboarding, and her natural talent soon sees her training for the end-of-season competition, with a chance to win major prize money. But before she can become a champion again, Kim needs to overcome her deepest fears - and figure out what's going on with Jonny (Ed Westwick), her boss' handsome but apparently unavailable son.

Father of Invention

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (limited)
Studio: Anchor Bay Films
Director: Trent Cooper
Screenwriter: Trent Cooper, Jonathan Krane, Nichole Beattie
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Heather Graham, Camilla Belle, Johnny Knoxville, Craig Robinson, Virginia Madsen
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual material and language)
Plot Summary: Millionaire infomercial guru, Robert Axle (Kevin Spacey) loses everything when one of his inventions has a design flaw that accidentally chops off the fingers of thousands of customers. After serving eight years in prison, a disgraced Axle is released, and ready to redeem his name and rebuild his empire with a new innovation. However, Axle's ex-wife (Virginia Madsen) has spent all of his money and moved into his house with her new husband (Craig Robinson). Out of desperation, he finds a part-time job as a janitor, and is forced to move in with his estranged daughter (Camilla Belle) and her over-protective roommates. Despite these setbacks he is determined to pitch his newest gadget and rebuild his infomercial empire. But the world has changed in the last decade, and Axle finds himself out of step with current technology, his family, and the self-confidence that made him king of the infomercials in the past. With all his wheels spinning, Axle soon realizes before he can be successful with his new creation, first he must reinvent himself.

Fireflies in the Garden

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (limited)
Studio: FSI
Director: Dennis Lee
Screenwriter: Dennis Lee
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Julia Roberts, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Ioan Gruffudd, Hayden Panettiere
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R (for language and some sexual content)
Plot Summary: To an outsider, the Taylors are the very picture of the successful American family: Charles (Willem Dafoe) is a tenured professor on track to become university president, son Michael (Ryan Reynolds) is a prolific and well-known romance novelist, daughter Ryne (Shannon Lucio) is poised to enter a prestigious law school, and on the day we are introduced to them, matriarch Lisa (Julia Roberts) will graduate from college—decades after leaving to raise her children. But when a serious accident interrupts the celebration, the far more nuanced reality of this Midwestern family's history and relationships come to light.

Footloose

Release Date: October 14, 2011
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Craig Brewer
Screenwriter: Dean Pitchford, Craig Brewer
Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell, Dennis Quaid, Miles Teller
Genre: Musical
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for some teen drug and alcohol use, sexual content, violence and language)
Plot Summary: Writer/director Craig Brewer ("Hustle & Flow," "Black Snake Moan") delivers a new take of the beloved 1984 classic film, "Footloose." Ren MacCormack (played by newcomer Kenny Wormald) is transplanted from Boston to the small southern town of Bomont where he experiences a heavy dose of culture shock. A few years prior, the community was rocked by a tragic accident that killed five teenagers after a night out and Bomont's local councilmen and the beloved Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) responded by implementing ordinances that prohibit loud music and dancing. Not one to bow to the status quo, Ren challenges the ban, revitalizing the town and falling in love with the minister's troubled daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) in the process.

Happy Life

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (NY)
Studio: Not Available
Director: Michael M. Bilandic
Screenwriter: Michael M. Bilandic
Starring: Tom McCaffrey, Eric Adolfsen, Craig Bugowski, Jeffrey Cashvan
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Comedic actor Tom McCaffrey ("Onion News Network," VH1's "Best Week Ever") stars as Keith, an aging trance DJ who has been recently fired from his residency spinning at an upscale tapas restaurant. His life has taken a further downward turn as his East Village specialty record store is in danger of going under. In a final effort to save both his shop and reputation, he decides to throw an "old school" rave, but contemporary NYC sure can be a cutthroat city. Faced with hipster gatekeepers, an aggressive landlord, a crack-smoking headlining act, and a community that couldn't care less about his party, Keith must face the fact that the '90s rave is long over.

OKA!

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (NY release: LA release: October 28)
Studio: DADA Films, Required Viewing
Director: Lavinia Currier
Screenwriter: Lavinia Currier, Louis Sarno, Suzanne Stroh
Starring: Kris Marshall, Isaach de Bankolé, Will Yun Lee, The Bayaka of Yandombe
Genre: Adventure
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Twenty-five years ago, ethnomusicologist Louis Sarno traveled from New Jersey to the forests of Central Africa to record the music of the Bayaka Pygmies. Falling in love with a Bayaka girl and her forest lifestyle, he decided to stay. "OKA!" tells the adventure of his life in Africa with his adopted family.
The Bayaka pygmies maintain a tenuous balance between their traditional forest existence and their increasing dependence on the Bantu villagers. Through the eyes of Larry, the tall, ungainly white man from New Jersey, who in spite of his failing liver accompanies the Bayaka on a journey into the heart of the forest, "OKA!" offers a unique glimpse into the music, humor, and spirit of the Bayaka people.
"OKA!" is directed by Lavinia Currier and filmed in Sango, Akka, French, and English. It is based on Louis Sarno's memoir, "Last Thoughts Before Vanishing from the Face of the Earth," and stars Kris Marshall, with Isaach de Bankolé and Will Yun Lee, and a magnificent local Bayaka ensemble cast.

The Skin I Live In

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (limited)
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Screenwriter: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto Álamo, Blanca Suárez
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R (for disturbing violent content including sexual assault, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and language)
Plot Summary: Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonia Banderas), an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed a further three things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig... Loosely based on Thierry Jonquet's 1995 novel "Mygale."

Texas Killing Fields

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (limited)
Studio: Anchor Bay Films
Director: Ami Canaan Mann
Screenwriter: Donald F. Ferrarone
Starring: Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Stephen Graham
Genre: Mystery
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: Inspired by true events, this tense and haunting thriller follows Detective Souder (Sam Worthington), a homicide detective in a small Texan town, and his partner, transplanted New York City cop Detective Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as they track a sadistic serial killer dumping his victims' mutilated bodies in a nearby marsh locals call "The Killing Fields."
Though the swampland crime scenes are outside their jurisdiction, Detective Heigh is unable to turn his back on solving the gruesome murders. Despite his partner's warnings, he sets out to investigate the crimes. Before long, the killer changes the game and begins hunting thedetectives, teasing them with possible clues at the crime scenes while always remaining one step ahead. When familiar local girl Anne (Chloë Grace Moretz) goes missing, the detectives find themselves racing against time to catch the killer and save the young girl's life.

The Thing

Release Date: October 14, 2011
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen
Screenwriter: Eric Heisserer
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Jonathan Lloyd Walker, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Eric Olsen, Ulrich Thomsen, Paul Braunstein, Trond Espen Selm, Jorgen Langhelle
Genre: Thriller
MPAA Rating: R (for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and violence)
Plot Summary: Antarctica: an extraordinary continent of awesome beauty. It is also home to an isolated outpost where a discovery full of scientific possibility becomes a mission of survival when an alien is unearthed by a crew of international scientists. The shape-shifting creature, accidentally unleashed at this marooned colony, has the ability to turn itself into a perfect replica of any living being. It can look just like you or me, but inside, it remains inhuman. In the thriller "The Thing," paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers as they're infected, one by one, by a mystery from another planet.
Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up.
When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew's pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish.
"The Thing" serves as a prelude to John Carpenter's classic 1982 film of the same name.

Trespass

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (limited)
Studio: Millennium Entertainment
Director: Joel Schumacher
Screenwriter: Karl Gajdusek
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Ben Mendelsohn, Cam Gigandet, Liana Liberato, Jordana Spiro, Dash Mihok, Emily Meade, Nico Tortorella
Genre: Action, Drama
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Plot Summary: In a private, wealthy community, priority is placed on security and no exception is made for the Miller family's estate. Behind their pristine walls and manicured gardens, Kyle (Nicolas Cage), a fast-talking businessman, has entrusted the mansion's renovation to his stunning wife, Sarah (Nicole Kidman).
But between making those big decisions and keeping tabs on their defiant teenage daughter (Liana Liberato), Sarah often finds herself distracted by a young, handsome worker (Cam Gigandet) at their home. Nothing is what it seems, and it will take a group of cold-blooded criminals led by Elias (Ben Mendelsohn), who have been planning a vicious home invasion for months, to bring the Miller family together. When they storm the manor, everyone is tangled up in betrayal, deception, temptation and scheming. Kyle, Sarah and Avery will take the ultimate risk to make it out with their lives – and their family – intact.

The Woman

Release Date: October 14, 2011 (limited)
Studio: Bloody-Disgusting Selects
Director: Lucky McKee
Screenwriter: Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee
Starring: Angela Bettis, Pollyanna McIntosh, Marcia Bennett, Sean Bridgers, Carlee Baker, Tommy Nelson
Genre: Horror
MPAA Rating: R (for strong bloody violence, torture, a rape, disturbing behavior, some graphic nudity, and language)
Plot Summary: Directed by Lucky McKee, based on the bestselling novel by Jack Ketchum, written Ketchum and McKee by and produced by Andrew van den Houten and Robert Tonino for Modercine, "The Woman" is a disturbing tale of torture and dirty little secrets that can haunt any seemingly harmless neighborhood. The story follows a successful country lawyer who captures and attempts to "civilize" the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast in the wild for decades, thereby putting the lives of his family in extreme jeopardy.
Starring Pollyanna McIntosh, Sean Bridgers and Angela Bettis, the film prompted furious debates and walkouts during its world premiere in the Park City at Midnight program at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Reports surfaced of people becoming sick while watching the graphic scenes and one irate Sundance audience member went so far as to say "The Woman" "ought to be confiscated, burned. There's no value in showing this to anyone." Whether a "wonderfully bizarre tale" or an "inhumane degradation of women," you'll have to decide for yourself.

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