Vol. LXIV, No. 1
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, January 6, 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 which 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.
The Blind Side (PG-13 for sexual references, drug use, and brief violence). Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw co-star in this true story about a wealthy white couple who adopt a homeless black teenager (Quinton Aaron) and help him pursue his dream of playing football in college and professionally.
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.
Brothers (R for profanity and disturbing violence). Jim Sheridan directs this dysfunctional family drama about an ex-con (Jake Gyllenhaal) who gets involved with his big brother’s (Tobey Maguire) wife (Natalie Portman) after his sibling goes missing in Afghanistan, only to have a lot of explaining to do upon the decorated veteran’s rescue and return to the States. Cast includes Sam Shepard and Mare Winningham.
Daybreakers (R for profanity, graphic violence, and brief nudity). Science-fiction thriller, set in 2019, revolving around a research scientist’s (Ethan Hawke) attempt to save humanity from extinction after a plague turns 95 percent of the people on the planet into bloodthirsty vampires. With Sam Neill, Isabel Lucas, and Willem Dafoe.
Did You Hear about the Morgans? (PG-13 for sexual references and momentary violence). Romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker as an estranged couple who get a sorely needed change of scenery and an opportunity to work on their marriage when they’re relocated by the FBI from Manhattan to Wyoming for their own protection after witnessing a murder. With Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Mandy Moore, and Wilfred Brimley.
An Education (PG-13 for sexuality, smoking, and mature themes). Coming-of-age drama, set in London in the sixties, adapted by Nick Horn-by from Lynn Barber’s memoir about a bright 17-year-old (Carey Mulligan) who abandons her plans to attend Oxford in order to entertain the advances of a suave gentleman (Peter Sarsgaard) more than twice her age. With Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, and Cara Seymour.
Invictus (PG-13 for brief profanity). Clint Eastwood directs this uplifting saga based on John Carlin’s best seller recounting recently elected South African President Nelson Mandela’s (Morgan Freeman) attempt to unite his apartheid divided nation during the national rugby team’s run to the 1995 World Cup Championship. Co-starring Matt Damon and Scott Eastwood.
It’s Complicated (R for drug use and sexuality). Midlife crisis sitcom about a divorced restaurateur (Meryl Streep) who embarks on an ill-advised affair with her remarried ex-husband (Alec Baldwin) after sparks start to fly again at their son’s (Hunter Parrish) college graduation. With Steve Martin, Lake Bell, Mary Kay Place, Rita Wilson, and Zoe Kazan.
Leap Year (PG for sensuality and mild epithets). Romantic comedy revolving around a scheming young woman (Amy Adams) who plans a trip with her boyfriend (Adam Scott) to Dublin where, in accordance with Irish tradition, a man must accept a woman’s marriage proposal on February 29th. With Matthew Goode, John Lithgow, and Noel O’Donovan.
Me and Orson Welles (PG-13 for smoking and sexual references). Zac Efron stars in this screen adaptation of Robert Kaplow’s historical novel, set in 1937, about the ill-fated love affair between a young actor cast in a New York City production of Julius Caesar and an ambitious stage assistant (Claire Danes) who’d just as soon sleep with the play’s womanizing director, Orson Welles (Christian McKay). With Eddie Marsan as John Houseman and James Tupper as Joseph Cotten.
Nine (PG-13 for sexuality and smoking). Rob Marshall directs this adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about a famous film director’s (Daniel Day Lewis) attempt to manage his mid-life crisis while juggling the competing demands of his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his confidant (Judi Dench), his muse (Nicole Kidman), a prostitute (Fergie), a journalist (Kate Hudson), and even his late mother (Sophia Loren).
Precious (R for rape, child abuse, pervasive profanity, and ethnic slurs). Lee Daniels directs this screen adaptation of the Sapphire best seller, set in Harlem in 1987, about a teenage mother’s (Gabby Sidibe) attempt to finish school and to find love in the face of a monstrous mother (Mo’Nique) who insists she’ll never amount to anything. With Mariah Carey, Paula Patton, Lenny Kravitz, and Sherri Shepherd.
The Princess and the Frog (G). Animated musical tale, set in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where a jazz loving frog (Bruno Campos) is turned back into a prince with the help of a kiss from a beautiful waitress (Anika Noni Rose). With voiceover work by Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, John Goodman, Keith David, Jenifer Lewis, and Randy Newman.
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.
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.
Youth in Revolt (R for sexuality, profanity, and drug use). Sitcom about an 18-year-old’s (Michael Cera) quest to lose his virginity in the wake of his trailer trash parents’ (Steve Buscemi and Jean Smart) separation. With Portia Doubleday as the object of his affection, and a supporting cast including Zach Galifianakis, Justin Long, Fred Willard, and Ray Liotta.
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