Paranormal Activity 2

Paranormal Activity 2
Video cameras? Check. Spooky noises? Check. Vague nonsense about demons? Correct and present. Annoying characters with slightly wooden acting? Hello, sir. Yes, 2009's low-budget, hype-tastic horror-phenomenon Paranormal Activity is back, to once again make us stare furiously at a static screen and then freak out at the odd rattle of saucepans.

After notching up $195 million across the globe, the reigning champ of the found-footage horror genre was always sequel-bound. However, heavy hearts will remember that the previous title-holder was The Blair Witch Project. That movie's post-modern (and post-quality) follow-up Book of Shadows single-handedly chiselled "don't hack out a rush-job sequel" into the Horror Cliche Commandments, to sit comfortably alongside "don't go down to the basement."

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The Box

The Box
Richard Matheson's original short story, "Button, Button," was a nifty little morality tale about a couple faced with a peculiar opportunity -- if they push a button in a box, they'll get a sum of money but kill a stranger in doing so. That version of the story ended with the wife pushing the button and killing her husband, a man she didn't really know. As an episode of "The Twilight Zone" in 1986, the story ended with the couple paid off and assured that the device would then go to another couple to whom they qualify as strangers. Now, Richard Kelly's The Box takes that same basic premise and spins it into a mind-bender of the most baffling degree, starting out as another "Twilight Zone"-worthy variant but eventually reaching the outer limits of both patience and reason.

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Emma
In this made-for-TV adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, Emma Woodhouse (Kate Beckinsale) is a clever young woman from a wealthy family who fancies herself a matchmaker and tries to find a husband for her shy friend Harriet (Samantha Morton). However, Emma's skills in bringing romances together are not all she imagines them to be, which causes no small annoyance for Harriet. What's more, Emma's interest in the affairs of others nearly causes her to miss out on the love of her life. This adaptation of Emma was first shown in the U.S. on the A&E cable network; it followed both Douglas McGrath's acclaimed film version starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and Amy Heckerling's considerably updated variation on the story, Clueless. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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One Last Thing

One Last Thing
Perhaps I am unduly harsh on motion pictures that waste a promising premise. One Last Thing is a case in point - the underlying concept is rich with possibilities, yet director Alex Steyermark (Prey for Rock 'n Roll) and writer Barry Stringfellow opt to take the easy way out. There's cloying melodrama, an uplifting final scene, and little in the way of real drama in between. There are things to like about the film. In particular, the acting is solid across-the-board, but the weak script would feel more at home in a made-for-cable movie than in something produced for the big screen.

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Shortbus

Shortbus
With something as controversial as Shortbus, you can never get a sense of what you're in for based on word-of-mouth, especially when there's no consensus. Some think it's a masterpiece (or nearly so). Others think it's an abomination. Such a division of opinion is expected when a filmmaker crosses the daring line of combining narrative with hard-core sex scenes. Although Shortbus doesn't work as porn (and I don't believe it's intended to), it also doesn't work as a serious drama. The storyline is juvenile and the characters remain poorly developed and incomplete.

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The Animatrix

The Animatrix
Featuring nine animated shorts set in and around The Matrix, written and directed by the cream of Japanese anime creators, with the Wachowski brothers' blessing, The Animatrix arrives with a weight of expectation similar to Reloaded.

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War, Inc.

War, Inc.
“War, Inc.” is gonzo moviemaking with a bleeding heart. A satirical farce that wants to be “Dr. Strangelove” for the age of terrorism, it is a zany, nihilistic free-for-all that goes soft.

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Shanghai Knights

Shanghai Knights
East and West team up to take on bad guys in the British Empire in this sequel to the action comedy hit Shanghai Noon. Chon Wang (Jackie Chan), once an Imperial Guard in China, is now the Sheriff of Carson City, NV, while his onetime cohort, former train robber Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson), scrapes together a living writing dime novels based on his adventures and waiting tables in New York City. However, when Wang learns that his father was killed by bandits who broke into the Emperor's palace and stole the Imperial Seal, he's determined to bring the criminals to justice.

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Buddy
This is a fact based story about an English socialite and her husband who live in a mansion with a brood of animals including chimpanzees who are raised as her children. When she discovers an ailing baby gorilla, she decides to care for it as well. Years later, the gorilla is fully grown and its strength is sometimes out of control. However, the gorilla shows love for his mistress and obeys her commands. That all changes when she is invited to display the gorilla and chimps at the Chicago Worlds Fair. Accidentally freed by one of the chimps, the gorilla terrorizes the Fair. From that point on, he becomes moody and more uncontrollable until he attacks his mistress in a bestial rage.

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Prey for Rock & Roll

Prey for Rock & Roll
Jacki (Gina Gershon), sexy punk rocker and lead singer of the all-girl band Clamdandy, is at a crossroads. With her birthday fast approaching, she must decide whether or not to keep the promise she made to herself over a decade earlier Quit the music business at 40 if she hasnt made it by then. The decision gets complicated when old secrets, false hope, and personal tragedies threaten to break up the band.

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'Salem's Lot'

'Salem's Lot'
Ben Mears, a writer returns to the small Maine town of Jerusalems Lot (also known as Salems Lot), where he spent the first few years of his life, to write a book. Little does he or the townfolk realize that a couple of other new residents are coming...Straker, a antiques dealer, and his partner and master Barlow, a ancient and malevolent vampire bent on making Salems Lot his new home.

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Arranged

Arranged
ARRANGED centers on the friendship between an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman who meet as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. Over the course of the year they learn they share much in common - not least of which is that they are both going through the process of arranged marriages.

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Not Easily Broken

Not Easily Broken
After years of disagreeing on what true happiness, success, and love really are, Dave and Clarice Johnson have finally reached a breaking point in their marriage. When Clarice is hurt in a car accident, the obvious truth that more than just her injuries need immediate attention is exposed. Their odds of making it worsen as Clarice begins to see a physical therapist, and Dave develops a friendship with Julie and her teenage son Bryson. The acceptance and comfort he finds in them stirs his longing for a family and a passionate partner. As temptation tugs at Dave and Clarice pulls farther away, they must confront whether their vows are or are NOT EASILY BROKEN.

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Ghostride the Whip

Ghostride the Whip
From acclaimed executive producer Peter Spirer comes A DJ Vlad film. The first film to definitively capture the energy and danger of Hyphy, the Hip Hop youth movement exploding out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Narrated by Oakland native and televisionradio personality Sway, this film explores the political, social and musical history behind the culture that popularized ghostriding the whip - walking, running or dancing next to a moving car with no driver. GHOSTRIDE THE WHIP also follows the fascinating life and career of a young Vallejo rapper named Mac Dre, who has dominated the Bay Area underground music scene for years. Prolific, iconic, and revolutionary, Mac Dres music and legacy is inextricably tied into the Hyphy movement. Featuring music and interviews by top Bay Area Hip Hop artists Mac Dre, Too hort, E-40, MC Hammer, Keak the Sneak, Mistah F.A.B. and more.

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Kaw
On the last working day of Sheriff Wayne, his small town is attacked by blood thirsty ravens that eat human flesh. Meanwhile his wife Cynthia visits a farm where a Mennonite family lives to say farewell to her friend Gretchen and discloses a dark secret about the origin of the fierce ravens.

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Minotaur

Minotaur
Long ago in the Iron Age a shadow loomed over a lonely village. For generations the village youths are stolen from their families and delivered as sacrifice to a mythical beast - the Minotaur, that dwells beneath a great palace. Theo, haunted by the loss of his love in an earlier sacrifice is convinced that the beast isnt real and that his girl still lives as a slave within the palace. His father Cyrnan, the village leader, tries to reason with Theo not to go but Theo is driven by blind rage. He devises a plan and is taken with the other youths who are dragged screaming from their families.

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