'Country Strong'

'Country Strong'
Frankly, I’m amazed that Gwyneth Paltrow even had time for a vanity project, what with all the hours she devotes to her blog, her famous family, feature roles in summer blockbusters and guest appearances on Glee. And as vanity projects go, Shana Feste’s music melodrama Country Strong is no trifle. It’s a veritable tour-de-force: Paltrow sings, (sort of) dances, and treads stoutly though such hazardous emotional territory as addiction, infidelity, heartbreak, and even martyrdom, decorating it all with a thick Texas twang to boot. The woman spends half the film with mascara streaming down her face, for God’s sake. How does she find room in her busy schedule for such strenuous pursuits? One hopes an illuminating Elle article on the matter, chock full of useful tips, is forthcoming.

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The A-Team

The A-Team
Smokin' Aces director Joe Carnahan lends his signature kinetic, seriocomic stylings to this big screen rendition of the small screen classic The A-Team. The film's opening sequence is essentially the origin of the team, introducing our four main protagonists – U.S. Army Rangers Col. John "Hannibal" Smith (Liam Neeson), Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Bradley Cooper), Capt. "Howlin' Mad" Murdock (Sharlto Copley) and Sgt. B.A. Baracus (Quinton "Rampage" Jackson) – before moving on to the main narrative.

In the last days of the U.S. occupation of Iraq (that's how we know the film is set in the future), the A-Team is given an off-the-books mission to snatch back some U.S. printing plates (it's a long story, but one inspired by true events).

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Invictus

Invictus
In 1995, the South African Springbox entered the Rugby World Cup under the leadership of their captain, Francois Pienaar, and with the rousing support of President Nelson Mandela. As a country of blacks and whites cheered the team on toward their potentially historic victory – together, and in unison – it would have been impossible not to recall the previous year. Apartheid had ended. Nelson Mandela had been released from prison and in a landmark victory had been elected president. The blacks, now in the majority after years of oppression, had assumed governmental control to the fear of the white citizenry. The largely white Springboks, an athletic remnant of Apartheid, had played their worst-ever season of Rugby, dashing any hope that they might make that year's World Cup, which was to be hosted in their own backyard. Hated by the blacks and supported by the whites in a country that was headed in the opposite direction, the Springboks were on the verge of being dismantled and rebranded… until Mandela, possessing an incredible foresight, realized the potential of a rousing comeback to inspire unity amongst his divided people.

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Brick Lane

Brick Lane
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home - except when you can't figure out where "home" is. That uncertainty underlies the dynamics of Sarah Gavron's Brick Lane, an adaptation of the novel by Monica Ali. However, while the film tackles the issue of what the concept of "home" means for expats and emigrants, it can also be seen as a coming-of-age story for a woman in her mid-30s. And, to add another layer to the story, the events chronicled during the course of Brick Lane occur in 2001, with the 9/11 attacks transpiring midway through and having a profound impact on the lives of the Muslim characters.

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Descent

Descent
A film about spelunkers going where no sane man (or woman) has gone before and running afoul of things that lurk in the deep darkness… Sound familiar? If you're thinking of a misbegotten film called The Cave, put it from your mind. That movie was flat-out stupid. This one is a creepy white-knuckle excursion into horror, where even the "boo!" moments are so well developed that they cause a jolt. It's too early in the year to coronate a movie with the title of "Scariest Movie of 2006" but, when all the corpses have been counted on New Year's Eve, The Descent will at least be near the top. For horror fans and those who love things that go bump in the night, this is one not to miss.

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Hole in My Heart

Hole in My Heart
Of all the films I have seen in my life, A Hole in My Heart may have been the most disappointing. This is the fourth film from hot Swedish director Lukas Moodysson. Two of his previous three movies, Show Me Love and Lilya 4-Ever, made my year-end Top 10 lists. So it was with great anticipation that I settled into a seat on the first Friday night of the 2004 Toronto Film Festival to see A Hole in My Heart. 98 minutes later, I felt like I had been dragged through a vat of raw sewage laced with Sominex.

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License to Wed

License to Wed
No matter how hard I try, I'm finding it difficult to write anything positive about License to Wed. This movie is bad from top to bottom, front to back, and start to finish. Many romantic comedies sacrifice humor in favor of romance; this one isn't romantic either. If this was the debut outing for Robin Williams or Mandy Moore, neither would get another job. Williams is as unfunny as he has ever been and Moore shows no evidence of charisma or charm. At least License to Wed wasn't so godawful that I wanted to drive a spike through my head to make the pain stop, and when it was all over, I didn't run gibbering up the aisle in a frantic break for the exit.

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No Reservations

No Reservations
No Reservations is an adequate adaptation of Sandra Nettelbeck's 2001 German feature, Mostly Martha. While not as emotionally resonant as its inspiration and tending a little more toward melodrama, No Reservations is nevertheless a uplifting tale about love melting the heart of a cold, lonely woman. It's not exactly revolutionary territory but it is effectively presented and it will be hard to find viewers who aren't at least a little moved by what director Scott Hicks (Shine) has placed on the screen.

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Micmacs

Micmacs
The latest would-be art-house sensation from French auteur Jean-Pierre Jeunet bears the title Micmacs, and has nothing to do with any entrée available at a certain high-profile fast food restaurant. It is, however, an unusual concoction that would have found favor during the '90s, when foreign films of this sort were prized by those seeking something more filling than the fare served by cinema's junk food purveyors, the multiplexes. But can such a film succeed in North America 15 years later?

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Anastasia

Anastasia
Finally, there's a legitimate challenge to Disney. And, while it's unlikely that Twentieth Century Fox's Anastasia will break the Mouse's stranglehold on animated films, it's a good place to start. Anastasia is easily the best non-Disney animated movie in recent memory, and it is good enough to rival such titles as The Lion King and Aladdin. The key is enjoyability and appeal to both adults and children. This degree of magic and energy has been noticeably absent in movies like Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules. Maybe with another studio to push them, Disney will get back on track.

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Lemonade Mouth

Lemonade Mouth
Be heard. Be strong. Be proud. It's time to turn up the music and have some fun with an all-new Disney original movie, starring Bridgit Mendler, and Adam Hicks, and introducing ten awesome new songs. When five ragtag freshman first meet in detention, it seems they have nothing in common.

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Caddyshack

Caddyshack
Comical goings on at an exclusive golf club. All the members are wealthy and eccentric, and all the staff are poor and slightly less eccentric. The main character is Danny hes a caddy who will do almost anything to raise money to go to college. There are many subplots, including the assistant green keepers pursuit of a cute (obviously stuffed) gopher.

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Glenn, the Flying Robot

Glenn, the Flying Robot
Synopsis Henry and Jack are two famous and talented pianists they are rivals and try to outdo each other in the various music events where they regularly compete. They have known each other since their days at the music academy and developed a very strong friendship. They met Lana there and Jack had an affair with her then. This friendship deteriorated along the years and Lana left Jack for Henry. Jacks resentment towards Henry will increase even further when he realizes that although his talent as a pianist is as great a talent as Henrys, he always ended up second... behind Henry. Simultaneously, Lana slowly realized that the only thing Henry cares about is his job. When she gets pregnant, he tells her he doesnt want the child and she leaves him, taking refuge with Jack who thus finds a way to get back at Henry. From that point, the former friends will clash with no mercy, from contest to contest until the day a domestic robot...

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Inside

Inside
Four months before Christmas, Sarah and Matthieu Scarangelo were in a car crash, of which Sarah and her unborn baby were the only survivors. On Christmas Eve, Sarah stays home alone, where she grieves her husband and prepares to go to the hospital the next morning for the delivery. As night falls, a woman knocks on Sarahs door asking to use the phone. When she refuses, the woman reveals that she knows Sarah and tries to force her way in. Sarah calls the police they inspect the home and determine the woman has left, but promise to keep watch over Sarah through the night. The woman returns and tries to take Sarahs unborn child, but Sarah locks herself in the bathroom. The strange woman torments Sarah through the night and kills all who try help her.

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Kaboom

Kaboom
Smiths everyday life in the dorm - hanging out with his arty, sarcastic best friend Stella, hooking up with a beautiful free spirit named London, lusting for his gorgeous but dim surfer roommate Thor - all gets turned upside-down after one fateful, terrifying night.

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Night of the Demons 2

Night of the Demons 2
Angela, the universes most unpleasant party crasher, returns! Angelas sister, Mouse, is taken by her bullying Catholic school classmates to a party at Angelas favorite haunt, and before long, everybodys being turned into demons and only a butt-kickin nun, who wields her ruler like a mighty sword of steel, can save the day.

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