Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, Philip Baker Hall
A comedy about cancer? Wait, hasn’t Showtime been milking that entertainment improbability for the last year or so. On the plus side, the cast—including lead Jonathan Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Angelica Huston, and Bryce Dallas Howard—is impressive. On the other hand, director Jonathan Levine still has to answer for The Wackness... as well as the fact that his horror movie All the Boys Love Mandy Lane has yet to see an American release some four years after it was made. Still, the trailers have been encouraging, the dark humor and ample heart on display providing a nice balance between subject and approach.
Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas Claire Geare Taylor Geare
This Daniel Craig thriller is already getting a lot of attention… and not necessarily in a good way. Messageboard Nation has been mocking the trailer which seems to give away a major plot point (our lead’s character is a recently released mental patient) but one has to believe that accomplished filmmaker Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America) has more up his sleeve than such a sloppy reveal. Of course, once one learns that the studio, Universal, wrestled control away from the filmmaker and that Craig and co-star Rachel Weisz hate the end result so much they refuse to promote it, the preview possibility becomes all the more probable.
What’s Your Number?
Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Joel McHale, Ari Graynor, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto
What’s Your Number?
Anna Faris plays a woman who looks back at the last 20 relationships she’s had, wondering if one of them was her true love. Hoping to avoid his rush of ridiculous girlfriends, her male buddy Colin decides to help her find out. Guess what happens next? If you are a student of the stunted Hollywood RomCom, you can draw your own cliched conclusions. Until someone radical like Quentin Tarantino or David Fincher comes along and reinvents this rotten genre, we’ll be stuck with more and more mediocre love stories. At one time, the cinematic category was fun and inviting. Now, it’s just irritating.
Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel, Kevin Downes, Ben Davies, Robert Amaya, Renee Jewell, Elanor Brown
Christian Drama… two words which sound death knells at box offices all across America. As much as parents and other concerned adults argue for more wholesome and moral entertainment fair, film such as this one just don’t kick up a lot of commercial dust. Instead, they wear their dated dogma on their preachy sleeves, leaving non-believers cold and the faithful frustrated. The name behind this law enforcement film—Alex Kendrick—has had some success with titles such as Facing the Giants and Fireproof, but he’s still a long way from mainstream success. One doubts this otherwise noble effort will change that fact.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Chelan Simmons
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
The title alone grabs one’s attention. Then, when you learn that this is a horror comedy where blood and guts are used as punchlines, your spirits brighten again. Finally, upon discovering that Eli Craig’s subversive spin sees our redneck hillbilly heroes attacked by a group of teens who are sure they are chainsaw wielding maniacs, the smiles just grow and grow. Of course, with all this promise and anticipated comic carnage, the movie could definitely drop and ball and underwhelm. But with early reviews already ecstatic over the combination of splatter and satire and the genre in desperate need of a jolt, this could be the scary slapstick savior we’ve been waiting for.
Anna Paquin, J. Smith-Cameron, Matt Damon, Krysten Ritter, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick
Oh boy, here’s another long dormant project finally seeing the light of day. Thanks in part to her stunning success as part of HBO’s True Blood, Anna Paquin’s presence here is of interest, and writer/director Kenneth Lonergran was responsible for the beloved indie hit You Can Count on Me (he is also an accomplished writer and playwright). But the near five-year post production on this film doesn’t argue for its ultimate success. The plot revolves around a young girl who may or may not have contributed to a deadly school bus accident while she flirts with her teachers. Sounds like it should stay on the shelf a bit longer.
Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Katy Mixon, Shea Whigham, Kathy Baker
Michael Shannon is due. After amazing work in film after film, he is owed at least one Oscar (for his work as Kim Fowley in The Runaways) and at least a couple of Academy nods. This latest effort, involving a simple workingman suddenly plagued by disturbing apocalyptic visions, seems right up his alley. Co-starring female flavor of the moment Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life, The Help) and offering a more personal and psychological view of the End of the World, Shannon seems perfect for this role. Let’s just hope that relative novice Jeff Nichols can pull this off. His star deserves it.