Vol. LXIII, No. 5
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Bride Wars (PG for crude humor, suggestive content, and mild epithets). Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway co-star in this romantic comedy about a couple of lifelong best friends who become bitter rivals after a clerical error has both of their weddings scheduled for the same day. Cast includes Candice Bergen, Bryan Greenberg, and Chris Platt.
Coraline (PG for mature themes, scary images, suggestive humor, and mild epithets). Stop-action, animated fantasy about an 11 year-old girl (Dakota Fanning) who unlocks a secret door in her family’s new home only to discover an eerily similar alternate version of her own life. Voice cast includes Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman as her parents, plus Keith David and Ian McShane.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, smoking, and brief war violence). Brad Pitt shares the title role with several other actors in David Fincher’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story about a man born old who gradually grows younger over the course of his life. Cast includes Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Taraji P. Henson, and Elle Fanning.
The Dark Knight (PG-13 for menacing and intense violence). Christian Bale returns as the Caped Crusader in an action thriller co-starring the late Heath Ledger as Batman’s archenemy, a psychopathic clown known as the Joker. Cast includes Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, and Michael Jai White.
Defiance (R for violence and profanity). Oscar-winner Edward Zwick directs this harrowing tale of survival, set in occupied Poland during World War II, recounting the heroic efforts of three brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell) who escape into the forest where they join forces with Russian resistance fighters to save over 1,000 fellow Jews from the Nazis.
Doubt (PG-13 for mature themes). Drama set in the Bronx in 1964, about a nun (Meryl Streep) serving as a Catholic school principal who becomes suspicious about her parish priest’s (Philip Seymour Hoffman) motivations when he takes a special interest in her first black student (Joseph Foster). Cast includes Viola Davis and Amy Adams.
Fanboys (PG-13 for profanity, drug use, sexuality, and crude humor). Road comedy, set in 1998, about four friends (Sam Huntington, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel and Kristen Bell) who drive their terminally-ill pal (Chris Marquette) across the country so that he can see a stolen, pre-release copy of The Phantom Menace before he dies. Includes cameos by William Shatner, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Jason Mewes, Will Forte, Kevin Smith, and Seth Rogen.
Frost/Nixon (R for profanity). Ron Howard directs this screen adaptation of the Tony winning Broadway play recounting the series of television interviews conducted by British talk show David Frost (Michael Sheen) with Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) in 1977, three years after the disgraced U.S. President resigned from office in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Supporting cast includes Toby Jones, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, and Sam Rockwell.
Gran Torino (R for profanity, ethnic slurs, and violence). Clint Eastwood directed and co-stars in this drama about a recently widowed Korean war veteran who begrudgingly befriends his Asian-American next-door neighbor (Bee Vang) after the troubled teen tries to steal his classic muscle car. Cast includes Brian Haley, Christopher Carley, and John Carroll Lynch.
He’s Just Not That into You (PG-13 for sexuality and brief profanity). Battle-of-the-sexes comedy based on the self-help best seller of the same name chronicles the misadventures of a variety of young couples in crisis. Cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, and Justin Long.
Hotel for Dogs (PG for crude humor, mild epithets, and mature themes). Family comedy about a couple of orphaned siblings (Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin) who turn an abandoned hotel into a shelter for stray dogs after being pressured by their foster parents to put their own beloved dog up for adoption. Supporting cast includes Don Cheadle, Lisa Kudrow, and Kyla Pratt.
Inkheart (PG for fantasy action, scary moments, and mild epithets). Screen adaptation of the Cornelia Funke children’s novel of the same name about a man (Brendan Fraser) who discovers he has an uncanny ability to bring fairy tale characters to life when reading aloud to his daughter (Eliza Bennett). Cast includes Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany, and Sienna Guillory.
Milk (R for profanity, sexuality, and violence). Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk in this biopic about the gay San Francisco politician assassinated in 1978 by a Republican colleague (Josh Brolin) who successfully raised the “Twinkie defense” to beat the murder rap. Cast includes James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Alison Pill, and Diego Luna.
My Bloody Valentine 3-D (R for profanity, gruesome violence, grisly images, explicit sexuality, and graphic nudity). Slasher film about a coal miner (Jensen Ackles) who returns to his hometown of Harmony exactly 10 years after the slaughter of 22 locals by a deranged murderer on Valentine’s Day only to discover another madman embarking on a similar killing spree.
New in Town (PG-13 for brief profanity). Romantic comedy about a high-powered, big-city businesswoman (Renée Zellweger) who reevaluates her life priorities after falling for a local man (Harry Connick, Jr.) in the rural Minnesota community where she has been ordered to close down a company factory. Cast includes J.K. Simmons, Frances Conroy and Siobhan Fallon. In English and Spanish with subtitles.
Notorious (R for nudity, drug use, graphic sexuality, and pervasive profanity). Biopic about the rise and fall of Notorious B.I.G. (Jamal Woolard), aka Biggie Smalls, the Brooklyn born crack dealer-turned-gangsta rapper gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997, the victim of the bloody East Coast West Coast hip-hop feud. Cast includes Angela Bassett as Biggie’s mom, Naturi Naughton as Lil’ Kim, Derek Luke as Sean “Puffy” Combs, Anthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur, Antonique Smith as Faith Evans, and Sean Ringgold as Suge Knight.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (PG for violence, suggestive material, crude humor, and mild epithets). Kevin James stars in the title role of this Christmas comedy about a mild-mannered security guard who saves the day when crooks disguised as Santa’s helpers take hostages at a suburban shopping mall in New Jersey. With Keir O’Donnell, Bobby Cannavale, and Raini Rodriguez.
The Pink Panther 2 (PG for suggestive humor, action, and mild epithets). Steve Martin reprises the title role as the bumbling Jacques Clouseau for a comic crime caper which has the hapless inspector traversing the globe in search of the international jewel thief who has purloined the priceless Pink Panther diamond. Ensemble cast includes Emily Mortimer, John Cleese, Aishwarya Rai, Jean Reno, Andy Garcia, and Alfred Molina.
Push (PG-13 for profanity, teen drinking, and intense violence). Sci-fi adventure, set in Hong Kong, about a group of psychic American expatriates who band together to elude the clutches of the top secret U.S. government agency seeking to bring them back to the States to put their powers to work for its own nefarious purposes. Cast includes Djimon Hounsou, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, and Chris Evans.
The Reader (R for nudity and sexuality). Post-World War II drama about a young German law student (Ralph Fiennes), who encounters a former secret ex-lover (Kate Winslet), who is twice his age, while observing the Nazi war trials where she’s a defendant accused of committing a heinous crime against humanity.
Revolutionary Road (R for profanity, sexuality, and nudity). Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunite for this screen adaptation of Richard Yates’ best-seller, set in the fifties, about a married couple in crisis who move from Connecticut to Paris to escape suburbia while trying to revitalize their relationship.
Slumdog Millionaire (R for violence, profanity, and disturbing images). Romantic comedy, set in Mumbai, about an 18-year-old street urchin (Dev Patel) who becomes a TV contestant on India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire not for the money but to win back the heart of the girl (Freida Pinto) of his dreams. In English and Hindi with subtitles.
Taken (PG-13 for profanity, violence, sexuality, disturbing themes, and drug references). International action thriller about a former CIA Agent (Liam Neeson) who comes to the rescue after his 17 year-old daughter (Maggie Grace) is kidnapped in Paris by brutal sex-traffickers. With Famke Janssen and Leland Orser. In French, Arabic, Albanian and English.
The Unborn (PG-13 for profanity, disturbing images, sexual references, mature themes, terror, and intense violence). Horror film about an orphaned young woman (Odette Yustman) haunted by a ghost who enlists the assistance of a rabbi (Gary Oldman) to uncover the source of a family curse that can be traced back to Nazi Germany. With Jane Alexander, Cam Gigandet, Meagan Good, Idris Elba, and Carla Gugino.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (R for sexuality and graphic violence). Third installment in the horror series delves into the roots of the centuries-old feud between a race of aristocratic vampires ruled by an evil monarch (Bill Nighy) and their werewolf slaves led by a young rebel (Michael Sheen) with a lover (Rhona Mitra) hiding a big secret.
The Uninvited (PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, mature themes, profanity, sexuality, and teen drinking). Remake of Korean horror film revolving around the desperate efforts of two sisters (Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel) to warn their father (David Strathairn) about his fiancée’s (Elizabeth Banks) sinister agenda after being visited by the ghost of their recently-deceased mother (Maya Massar).
The Wrestler (R for violence, nudity, sexuality, profanity, and drug use). Mickey Rourke plays the title role in this drama about a washed-up pro wrestler who comes out of retirement, despite suffering a heart attack, for one last match against his old nemesis (Ernest Miller). Supporting cast includes Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and Judah Friedlander.
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