Just in time for Mother’s Day, a beautifully shot documentary following one year in the lives of four babies around the world: Ponijao (Opuwo, Namibia), Bayarjargal (Bayanchandmani, Mongolia), Mari (Tokyo, Japan) and Hattie (San Francisco, Calif.). It’s like “Planet Earth,” but with children.
Casino Jack and the United States of Money (Magnolia)
Academy award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) uncovers the corruption surrounding and perpetrated by Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist currently incarcerated for bribing members of Congress. Gibney’s gunning for Michael Moore’s thunder and this tale of mob hits, casinos and idiocracy proves he’s worthy.
Iron Man 2 (Paramount)
You know him, you love him, and this time he’s rocking out to the sounds of AC/DC. Robert Downey Jr. is back as everyone’s favorite billionaire inventor turned superhero, Iron Man. Gwyneth Paltrow also returns as Pepper Potts, while Don Cheadle steps into Terrence Howard’s role. Filling in the role of resident baddie is Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash, who’s out to destroy Iron Man. That is, if the US military doesn’t get to him first.
Mother and Child (Sony Pictures Classics)
A drama about motherhood stacked with outstanding actors, including Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Jimmy Smits and Samuel L. Jackson. Bening is a 50-year-old woman who gave her daughter up for adoption 35 years ago, Watts is the daughter she never knew and Kerry Washington is a woman looking to adopt a child of her own.
Just Wright (Fox Searchlight)
Although the posters make it look confusingly like Love & Basketball 2, this film, starring Queen Latifah and Common, is a rom-com about a physical therapist (Latifah) who can’t find a good man until she falls for the basketball player (Common) she is helping recover from a career-threatening injury. Problem is, he’s already dating her knockout best friend (Paula Patton).
Robin Hood (Universal)
Sherwood Forest just got a little grittier. Don’t expect any merry men in tights or Bryan Adams power ballads now that Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe have arrived in Nottingham. Robin Hood gets the Gladiator treatment and is retold as the story of an expert archer (Crowe) toward the end of the 12th century who assembles a gang of mercenaries to rise up against a tyrannical sheriff (Matthew Macfadyen) and the ruling class.
Holy Rollers (First Independent)
Inspired by a true story, a young Hassidic Jew in Brooklyn (Jesse Eisenberg) becomes an Ecstasy courier thanks to a friend with ties to an Israeli drug cartel (The Hangover’s Justin Bartha). Told to “mind your business and act Jewish,” he finds the ultimate cover and path to an exciting, new life.
It’s not often a “Saturday Night Live” sketch successfully survives the trip from small to big screen. With the exception of The Blues Brothers and Wayne’s World, most attempts have been disastrous (Superstar, A Night at the Roxbury, It’s Pat: The Movie). With any luck, MacGruber will join the leagues of the former, rather than the latter. First-time director Jorma Taccone has been very successful with SNL Digital Shorts, but will that translate to this rip-off of “MacGyver” starring Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer and Ryan Phillippe?
Shrek Forever After (DreamWorks Animation)
The fourth Shrek installment, this time in 3D, finds Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) sick of domestic life with Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and their kids. After bamboozling Rumpelstiltskin to help him get back to feeling like a real ogre again, he finds himself in an alternate version of Far Far Away where Rumpelstiltskin is king, ogres are hunted and he and Fiona have never met. All alone once again, he sets out to restore his world.
Sex and the City 2 (Warner Bros.)
Bust out your Manolos, Carrie Bradshaw is back. This time, so is Aidan! That’s right, “Sex” fans, John Corbett’s beloved character returns in this sequel to the hugely successful 2008 film adaptation of the HBO show starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon. This time the ladies leave Manhattan (gasp) and head to Abu Dhabi for some R&R. Who’s ready for a cosmo?
Micmacs (Sony Pictures Classics)
From the director of Amélie, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, comes another fantastical, breathtaking jaunt. Bazil (Dany Boon) is the son of a bomb disposal expert who died on a job in Morocco. Years later, after he’s struck by a stray bullet that remains lodged in his head, he assembles a motley crew to exact revenge on the two weapons manufacturers who made the bullet that almost killed him.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Walt Disney)
Based on the best-selling video game franchise, a super jacked Jake Gyllenhaal, all gleaming muscles, gentile British accent and greasy hair, leads the charge as a rogue prince enlisted by a mysterious princess (Gemma Arterton) to prevent evil masterminds from obtaining an ancient dagger. Whoever controls the dagger, controls the world. If this delivers at the box office, expect it to be Disney’s new Pirates of the Caribbean.
Survival of the Dead (Magnet Releasing)
Master of zombie horror, George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead), invites you into a world where 107 people a minute are becoming zombies. But one island off the coast of Delaware offers sanctuary for the few remaining human survivors. Or does it?
Get Him to the Greek (Universal)
72 hours, 5,500 miles, one rock star. Now those are the makings for a damn good time. Throw Russell Brand and Jonah Hill on top and what have you got? A frickin’ hootenanny of a film that Universal likes to call Get Him to the Greek, the anxiously awaited follow up to 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which was announced the week after Sarah Marshall debuted in theaters and everyone realized that the best part of an already great comedy was Brand’s turn as British rock star, Aldous Snow.
Marmaduke (Twentieth Century Fox)
Everyone’s favorite comic strip Great Dane, Marmaduke, brings his havoc wreaking ways to the live-action big screen voiced by Owen Wilson and featuring Lee Pace and Judy Greer as his owners, the Winslows. If the $145 million Beverly Hills Chihuahua raked in at the box office is any indication, Marmaduke 2 could be in theaters by 2012.
Splice (Warner Bros.)
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley risk all their street cred to star as scientists who fuse DNA samples to create a new organism they name Dren. But as their creature rapidly develops into a powerful winged creature, her initial bond with her creators turns deadly.
The A-Team (Twentieth Century Fox)
Here’s what you need to know: “In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.” But if you were born during the Carter administration, you already know that. Fast forward to 2010, and it’s the same song, but no more Mr. T. Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper star in this big screen adaptation of the beloved ’80s show directed by Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin’ Aces).
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (IFC)
Can we talk? This documentary on the life, career and impact of comedian Joan Rivers shows the truest, most naked side of someone who’s been reduced to a string of replayed plastic surgery pot shots and red carpet bloopers.
The Karate Kid (Columbia)
This reboot stars Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, as a young boy who moves to China and starts learning karate from a local master (Jackie Chan).
Jonah Hex (Warner Bros.)
Plagued by reshoots and tales of woe, Jonah Hex arrives in theaters haunted by comparisons to Wolverine. Josh Brolin stars as Hex in the DC Comics adaptation about a bounty hunter tasked to take down a terrorist (John Malkovich) who is gathering an army and preparing to unleash Hell on Earth. Megan Fox as a “Deadwood”-style corseted saloon girl guarantees the teenage boy ticket-buying contingent.
I Am Love (Magnolia)
Tilda Swinton continues to turn in stellar work, this time in Italian. The Scottish actress stars in this period piece set in 1930s Milan where her life is changed forever when she embarks on a passionate affair with her brother-in-law’s friend and business partner, a handsome and talented chef.
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney-Pixar)
Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of their toy-box cohorts are sent to a day care center after their owner, Andy, leaves for college.
Twelve (Hannover House)
“Gossip Girl”’s Chace Crawford takes the lead in Joel Schumacher’s adaptation of Nick McDonell’s novel of the same name about the life of a young drug dealer on New York City’s Upper East Side as it slowly implodes. 50 Cent, Emma Roberts and Zoë Kravitz also star.
Grown Ups (Columbia)
Former “SNL” co-stars Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider, with Kevin James filling in what was surely once the Chris Farley role, reunite as five former childhood best friends over Fourth of July weekend when their old basketball coach passes away. How great will the outtakes on the DVD be?
Knight and Day (Twentieth Century Fox)
This is what happens when you date Tom Cruise. The slightly off-his-nut actor plays a slightly off-his-nut secret agent who goes on a blind date with unlucky-in-love June Havens (Cameron Diaz) and ends up pulling her along on a crazy adventure. Thanks to director James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) and a script, which combines comedy and action, this looks far more promising than the couple’s last onscreen outing (Vanilla Sky).
The Last Airbender (Paramount)
M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) looks to reclaim his former glory with a film adaptation of the Nickelodeon animated series, “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The film follows the feuding nations of Fire, Water, Earth and Air, and the one young boy who can control all the elements and, hopefully, bring peace.
The Kids Are All Right (Focus)
Two teenagers (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) decide to find their sperm donor father (Mark Ruffalo) and introduce him into the family life that their lesbian mothers (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) have created. From Laurel Canyon director Lisa Cholodenko, the film made a huge splash at Sundance.
Cyrus (Fox Searchlight)
Mumblecore founders, writer-director team and brothers Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair, Baghead), bring their signature brand of comedy to this tale of a recently divorced man (John C. Reilly) who falls for Molly (Marisa Tomei) only to find himself at odds with Molly’s obsessive, overprotective son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill).
Despicable Me (Universal)
A man in charge of stealing the moon (Steve Carell) gets sidetracked when he has to watch a trio of orphaned girls in this sweet animated offering.
Predators (Twentieth Century Fox)
Remember Predator? Well, this is Predators. Just as Alien was followed by Aliens, this is the sequel to the 1987 classic. Picking up over two decades later, the film follows a group of elite soldiers dropped on a planet as prey for the inhabiting predators. Produced by Robert Rodriguez and starring Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne and Topher Grace, five bucks says Grace is one of the first to die...
Inception (Warner Bros.)
Deciphering director Christopher Nolan’s new film can seem as easy as powering through a Sunday crossword in 20 minutes or less, but the director says the premise of his new enigmatic thriller is “corporate espionage by way of dream invasion.” Oh, OK, glad he cleared that up. Sounding sort of like a dip into the Matrix by way of James Bond, Nolan has gone on record to say The Dark Knight was a cakewalk compared to the grandeur of this project, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Walt Disney)
This ain’t Fantasia, baby. Director Jon Turteltaub reunites with his National Treasure star, Nicolas Cage, for this action-packed take on the Goethe poem as master sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Cage) recruits a seemingly average college student (Jay Baruchel in the Mickey Mouse role) to help him defend New York City from his arch-nemesis (Alfred Molina).
Dinner for Schmucks (Paramount)
Tim (Paul Rudd) is a rising executive who has to find the perfect guest to bring to his boss’s monthly dinner of pathetic losers in order to get a promotion. Enter IRS employee Barry (Steve Carell) and his mind-controlling buddy (Zach Galifianakis). With Rudd, Carell and Galifianakis, some of the funniest guys in Hollywood, under the watchful eye of director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, Austin Powers), it seems impossible this flick will be anything short of hysterical.
Ramona and Beezus (Twentieth Century Fox)
Based on the beloved Ramona book series by Beverly Cleary, teen sensation Selena Gomez stars as Beezus, the older sister of mischievous Ramona Quimby (Joey King), a girl whose imagination gets her into the best and worst of situations.
Angelina Jolie goes all Jason Bourne on us in her new action thriller about a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt, who’s called a spy by a Russian defector. Immediately, without evidence or thought, she takes off on the lam to learn the truth of her identity and clear her name, prompting a manhunt … uhh, womanhunt.
This modern twist on Beauty and the Beast stars Alex Pettyfer as a man who’s young, wealthy, beautiful and cruel. When he chooses to pick on the wrong classmate (Mary-Kate Olsen), he finds himself under a spell that turns him into everything he despises. Ugly, scarred and alone, he’s given one year to find someone to love him just as he is if he wants to break the curse. Enter Lindy (High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens) and his one chance at redemption.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (Warner Bros.)
Cats and dogs are forced to do the unthinkable, join forces, in order to bring down cat super spy, Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler), and her evil plans for world domination.
Get Low (Sony Pictures Classics)
Set in 1930s Tennessee, a local hermit (Robert Duvall) decides he wants to host his own funeral while he’s still alive to hear all the stories people tell about him, and to tell his own. Chockfull of Oscar winners and nominees, including Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek, the film won fans at both the Toronto Film Festival and South by Southwest.
Mao’s Last Dancer (Samuel Goldwyn)
The touching true story of ballet dancer Li Cunxin, played by Birmingham Royal Ballet principal dancer, Chi Cao, who went from humble beginnings in China to stardom in America, which forced his defection.
The Other Guys (Columbia)
You know those badass cops who always get their man? Well, Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are the other guys, two NYPD detectives who never see any action. When the opportunity to step up to the plate finally arises, they find themselves in way over their heads.
Step Up 3-D (Walt Disney)
Following the tried and true Step Up formula: a fish out of water finds its rightful home – and a sexy new partner – through their love of dance, comes a third installment of the best thing to happen to dance movies since Patrick Swayze.
Eat Pray Love (Columbia)
For the three people who haven’t read one of Oprah’s favorite thiiiiings, Elizabeth Gilbert’s über best-selling memoir that the film is based on, Eat Pray Love is a journey one woman takes after her marriage falls apart. Starring Julia Roberts, the story moves from Italy (Eat) to an ashram in India (Pray) to a village in Bali (Love) and will surely score at the box office given the book’s millions of fans. As an added bonus for Gleeks, “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy directs.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Universal)
Michael Cera is going to get the girl or die trying. Based on the comic series, Scott Pilgrim (Cera) must defeat Ramona Flowers’ (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) seven evil exes if he wants to win her heart. And keep his beating.
Lottery Ticket (Warner Bros.)
After winning the lottery, a young man from the projects (Bow Wow) has to get through the long Fourth of July weekend without losing his ticket.
Nanny McPhee Returns (Universal)
The always-magical Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives to help a young mother, Mrs. Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war. With Mrs. Green’s children battling their two spoiled cousins, Nanny McPhee uses her magic to teach the kids five important new lessons and save their farm from the bank. Besides starring as Nanny, Thompson also adapted Christianna Brand’s book for the screenplay.
The Switch (Miramax)
Jennifer Aniston stars as an unmarried middle-aged woman who turns to a turkey baster to get pregnant. Seven years later, she reunites with her best friend (Jason Bateman), who may have accidentally replaced her sperm donor’s sample with his own.
Going the Distance (Warner Bros.)
A romantic comedy starring real-life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, who rekindled their romance while shooting this film about a guy (Long) and a girl (Barrymore) working to keep their long-distance relationship alive as they shuttle back and forth across the country.
Happythankyoumoreplease (Hannover House)
“How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor wrote, directed and stars in this Sundance favorite about a group of six friends in New York City, and how their lives are changed when struggling writer Sam (Radnor) finds himself the guardian of a boy separated from his family in the subway.
Piranha 3-D (Dimension)
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. When a tremor under the surface of Lake Victoria unleashes scores of prehistoric piranhas during Spring Break, packs of blood thirsty fish go on a rampage. Keep an eye out for Jaws alum, Richard Dreyfuss.
Film: Special Features
Summer 2010 Movie Preview
By Sasha Perl-Raver
Article posted on 5/3/2010
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