Vol. LXIV, No. 7
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel (PG for mild rude humor). Animated sequel reunites the singing siblings Alvin (Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) for another round of hijinks during which they find themselves facing the pressures of school, celebrity, and competition from a female group called The Chipettes. With voiceover work by Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, and Christina Applegate.
Avatar (PG-13 for sensuality, profanity, smoking, and intense epic battle sequences). James Cameron’s long-awaited science fiction thriller, revolving around a paraplegic ex-Marine (Sam Worthington) torn between loyalty to the corporate employer that sent him to extract rare minerals from a remote planet and his concern for the welfare of the locals, especially the attractive humanoid (Zoe Saldana) who turns his head. Cast includes Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Laz Alonso, CCH Pounder, and Giovanni Ribisi.
Blood Done Sign My Name (PG-13 for profanity, mature themes, and intense violence). Historical drama recounting the role civil rights activist Reverend Ben Chavis (Nate Parker) played in his backwoods North Carolina town during the trial of a Ku Klux Klan sympathizer (Nick Searcy) being tried for the murder of a black Vietnam vet (A.C. Sanford). Cast includes Ricky Schroeder, Lela Rochon, and Omar Benson Miller.
The Book of Eli (R for profanity and graphic violence). Denzel Washington stars in the title role of this post-apocalyptic adventure about a peaceful warrior forced to fight his way across a vast, violent, lawless wasteland which was once America in order to protect the sacred book that holds the key to saving humanity. Cast includes Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, and Tom Waits.
Broken Embraces (R for profanity, sexuality, and drug use). Magical drama dealing with themes of love and betrayal, and revolving around a grieving writer (Lluis Homar) left blind by the car accident which claimed the life of his lover (Penelope Cruz). With Blanca Portillo, Jose Luis Gomez, and Tamar Novas. In Spanish and English with subtitles.
Crazy Heart (R for profanity and brief sexuality). Jeff Bridges stars in this adaptation of Thomas Cobb’s bittersweet best seller about a washed-up womanizing alcoholic country crooner in search of salvation who gets a little help on the road to redemption from a supportive, investigative journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who has a heart of gold.
Dear John (PG-13 for sensuality and violence). Channing Tatum stars in the title role of this bittersweet romance drama about a soldier who comes to regret reenlisting after 9-11 when the high school sweetheart (Amanda Seyfried), who promised to wait for him, instead sends him a letter informing him that she’s engaged to another guy (Henry Thomas). With Richard Jenkins, Luke Benward, and Scott Porter.
Edge of Darkness (R for profanity and graphic violence). Mel Gibson stars in this remake of the BBC mini-series about a veteran homicide detective who uncovers evidence of political corruption, governmental conspiracy, and a corporate cover-up while investigating the murder of his environmental activist daughter (Bojana Novakovic). With Ray Winstone, Jay O. Sanders, and Danny Huston.
From Paris With Love (R for graphic violence, pervasive profanity, drug use, and brief sexuality). Political potboiler about an American spy (John Travolta) who joins forces with a low-level employee (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) of the U.S. embassy to prevent a terrorist attack in Paris. In English and French with subtitles.
The Ghost Writer (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, nudity, violence, and drug use). Roman Polanski directed this adaptation of Robert Harris’s best seller about a ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) who uncovers secrets which put his life in jeopardy while doing research for the memoirs of a former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan). With Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, Timothy Hutton, Jim Belushi, Tom Wilkinson, and Eli Wallach.
The Last Station (R for a scene with sexuality and nudity). Literary biopic about Leo Tolstoy’s (Christopher Plummer) later years, highlighting the hedonistic Russian author’s ambivalence about having taken vows of poverty and chastity. With Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti, and James McAvoy.
Legion (R for profanity and graphic violence). Horror film about the intrepid band of truck-stop diners rallying around a fallen Archangel (Paul Bettany) to protect a pregnant waitress (Adrianne Malicki) carrying the Christ child from a vengeful God who’s intent on eradicating the human race he’s lost faith in. Cast includes Dennis Quaid, Tyrese, Charles S. Dutton, and Lucas Black.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (PG for violence, peril, scary images, suggestive images, and mild epithets). Screen adaptation of Rick Riordan’s children’s best-seller about a troubled New York City teenager (Logan Lerman) who embarks on the odyssey of a lifetime to Mount Olympus after learning that he’s a Greek demigod and the son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd). Cast includes Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan, Katherine Keener, Rosario Dawson, and Joe Pantoliano.
Sherlock Holmes (PG-13 for intense violence, startling images, and one suggestive scene). Latest incarnation of the legendary sleuth created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle features Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role, accompanied by Jude Law as the loyal Dr. Watson. Crime thriller pits the pair in a battle of wits with a diabolical Satanist (Mark Strong) who has risen from the dead to resume a gruesome killing spree.
Shutter Island (R for profanity, nudity, and disturbing violence). Martin Scorcese directed this adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s thriller, set in 1954, about a U.S. Marshal (Leonardo DiCaprio) with a new partner (Mark Ruffalo) sent to investigate the escape of a murderer (Emily Mortimer) from a hospital for the criminally-insane located on a remote island. Cast includes Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, Patricia Clarkson, and Jackie Earle Haley.
A Single Man (Unrated). Bittersweet drama, based on Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel of the same name, about a suicidal college professor (Colin Firth) who leans on the shoulders of a friend (Julianne Moore) and one of his students (Nicholas Hoult) while trying to cope with the death of his lifemate (Matthew Goode) who was killed in a car crash.
The Tooth Fairy (PG for mild epithets, crude humor, and sports action). Dwayne, ‘The Rock,’ Johnson stars in the title role of this family comedy about a hockey player famous for knocking out opponents’ teeth who gets a big lesson about what’s really important in life after being sentenced to a week of hard labor as the Tooth Fairy. Cast includes Abigail Breslin, Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews, and Billy Crystal.
Up in the Air (R for profanity and sexuality). Jason Reitman directs this screen adaptation of Walter Kirn’s best seller about a hatchet man (George Clooney) who works for a downsizing corporation who suddenly finds himself grounded just when he’s on the brink of accumulating ten million frequent flyer miles and right after he’s fallen in love with a like-minded traveler (Vera Farmiga). With Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott, Danny McBride, and Zach Galifianakis.
Valentine’s Day (PG-13 for sexuality and brief nudity). Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) directed this serendipitously interlocking series of romantic vignettes that unfold over the course of one very eventful holiday in Los Angeles during which couples confront a variety of relationship issues ranging from infidelity, a teen crush, loneliness, and coming out of the closet. Cast includes Bradley Cooper, Jessica Alba, Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, George Lopez, Kathy Bates, Topher Grace, Emma Roberts, and Grammy Award-winner Taylor Swift.
When in Rome (PG-13 for suggestive content). Romantic comedy about a lovelorn New Yorker (Kristen Bell) who suddenly finds herself being pursued by an army of ardent suitors after stealing some magical coins from a fountain in Rome. Cast includes Josh Duhamel, Dax Shepard, Anjelica Huston, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Bobby Moynihan, and Peggy Lipton.
The White Ribbon (R for disturbing violence and sexuality). Flashback film, set in a tiny village in northern Germany in 1913 where some strange goings-on appear to be a form of ritualistic punishment being doled out by a malevolent force. In German, Italian, Polish, and Latin with subtitles.
The Wolfman (R for gore and graphic horror violence). Benicio Del Toro takes on the title role in this revival of the horror classic as a brooding British aristocrat living in America who is lured back to his ancestral homeland only to be transformed into a primal beast whenever the moon is full in accordance with a family curse. With Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, and Geraldine Chaplin.
The Young Victoria (PG for mild sensuality, smoking, brief violence, and mild epithets). Historical costume drama chronicling the early years in the reign of Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt) and her enduring love for Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). Cast includes Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany, and Jim Broadbent. In English and German with subtitles.
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