A look at 10 upcoming films that have promise
The Muppets return in a “modernized throwback” that Jason Segal
- DVD PICK
“The Tree of Life”
★★★★ (out of four)
2011, Dir. Terrence Malick, U.S., PG-13
- New films
‘A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas’
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson.
Starring: Kal Penn, John Cho.
The plot: Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner
buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel cause a holiday fracas by
inadvertently burning down Harold's father-in-law's prize Christmas
Director: Brett Ratner.
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller.
The plot: When a group of hard working guys find out they've
fallen victim to a wealthy business man's Ponzi scheme, they
conspire to rob his high-rise residence.
Genre: Action, comedy.
- Film roundup
‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3’
★★ 1/2 (out of four)
Good intentions can only take you so far, and “Paranormal
Activity 3” once again stumbles with the follow-through. Under the
direction of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman — who gave us the
tremendously low-key creepfest “Catfish” — the film includes some
interesting innovations (including a camcorder mounted to an
oscillating fan, which effectively teases the audience by often
keeping the relevant paranormal activity just out of frame), and
one of the best heart-in-the-mouth false scares I’ve ever seen
(trust me, you’ll know it when you see it). Yet with a screenplay
this meandering and vague, minor innovations simply don’t amount to
★★★ 1/2 (out of four)
Meet Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a laid-back 20-something radio
journalist whose life is finally starting to get on-track. He finds
fulfillment in his job, he has a loyal best friend, and his
relationship with his girlfriend appears to be moving forward. Adam
is content, but his world begins to crumble after a routine doctor
visit to address some unexplained aches and pains leads to the
revelation that he is suffering from a rare form of cancer. The
survival rate, he learns, is roughly 50 percent. But Adam is young
and otherwise hearty, and appears to have a strong support system
to help him through his time of need. However, as Adam’s body
degenerates from the chemotherapy treatments, he finds that some of
his relationships may not be as strong as he thought.
“Moneyball” tells the true story of how Oakland Athletics
general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) revolutionized
the way major league baseball teams select lineups, leading his A’s
to a historic 20-game winning streak in the 2002 season and turning
the world of pro ball on it ear in the process. A former would-be
all-star who once discovered at some cost that scouts’ ability to
spot true talent is not infallible, Beane is determined to prove
that the team-selection process in place since the game’s inception
is antiquated and, in a modern context, almost completely
“Drive” is such a film, and in what surely must be a miracle, it
has not been abandoned on the arthouse circuit. On the contrary, it
is playing in multiplexes across the U.S., and as of press time was
the second-highest grossing film in general release (behind the
re-release of “The Lion King,” naturally). To see a film of this
caliber performing so well in wide release is inspiring, and goes
to show that there is in fact a demand for this kind of thing among
“mainstream” audiences. Studios should take note — and give
director Nicolas Winding Refn (winner of the best director award at
this year’s Cannes Film Festival) the money and creative control to
do absolutely whatever the hell he wants from this point
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 8:11 am
“In Time.” “The Three Musketeers.” “Footloose.” “Johnny English
Reborn.” These are among the films now playing in multiplexes
across the country. I find this roster to be strange and
unsettling, as I have apparently been laboring under the
misapprehension that we were supposed to be smack-dab in the middle
of awards season. Silly me.
It seems that true prestige pictures are in short supply this
season, and I don’t know about you, but the constant barrage of
second- and third-rate wide releases is really taking a toll on my
movie-going spirit. And unfortunately, the holiday movie schedule
for the next couple months doesn’t promise much relief — 2011 may
well end up as one of the most lackluster years in recent memory,
which is quite a startling feat considering the steady decline of
Hollywood’s output these past few years.
Friday, November 4, 2011 8:11 am.