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Ben Affleck returns home to Boston for his sophomore directing effort The Town, a new heist flick that returns him to a similarly gritty Beantown milieu as that of his acclaimed feature directing debut, 2007's Gone Baby Gone. Affleck also co-wrote the script, which is based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan. Affleck stars as Doug MacRay, a veteran thief and resident of the one-square-mile neighborhood of Charlestown, a blue collar enclave that the film tells us produces more bank and car robbers than anywhere else in America. (Boston alone sees over 300 bank heists a year, the film claims.)
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The Vampire's Assistant
With the likes of Twilight and True Blood proving that vampires are big business at the moment, it's no surprise to see an adaptation of Darren Shan's hugely popular Cirque du Freak novels reaching the big screen.
Loosely based on the first three of the now 12-book series, the story revolves around Darren (Chris Massoglia), a 16-year-old living in an unremarkable suburb and leading an unremarkable life. He's the kind of kid that gets good grades, never cuts class, and always listens to his parents, which is a source of great frustration for his more rebellious best friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson).
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El secreto de sus ojos
The money shot in The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos) arrives exactly at the middle of the film: From the sky above Buenos Aires, the camera vertiginously swoops down on a bustling soccer stadium during a match, settling on two investigators in the cheering throng as they chase down a murder suspect through the stands, across the field -- even into the bathroom -- without a single cut.
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Avery had to drop out of college to support his girlfriend Krista and their son Jordan, but he saved his money and is eager to get back in the game. He has returned to the swim meet circuit and is now having the time of his life. One night, after winning a race, he is approached by a college scout. Thrilled, he goes out with his friends Dre and Cashmere to celebrate. A gun used in a drive-by shooting somehow finds its way into Cashmere's car. The cops arrive, and soon the trio land in jail. Cashmere has an easier time adapting to penitentiary life than Dre and Avery, who are more unfamiliar with the gang life that pervades the environment. Avery clings to Krista and Jordan as reasons to hold on, but there is only one man who can, and will, fight on his behalf - Charles, his swimming scout, who believes in his innocence without question. Regardless of the outcome, Avery must learn to hold on to his ideals after the brutality he has witnessed.
What would summer be without a new animated spectacle from Walt Disney Pictures? In recent years, the arrival of warm weather in the Northern Hemisphere has augured the coming of the latest feature-length animated saga from the mega-corporation that holds Mickey Mouse and Regis Philbin in its back pocket. Yet, even though Atlantis: The Lost Empire has captured the traditional Disney summer slot, it's a non-traditional movie, at least by Disney standards. Gone are the songs, the cuddly animals, and the cute, comical sidekicks. In their place is a relatively straightforward adventure story that owes as much to anime as it does to Jules Verne and the Indiana Jones movies. (Someone even compared this to Die Hard, although I fail to see the connection.)
Films like Fish Tank work because they are ruthlessly honest. They do not attempt to placate audiences with recycled clichés or endings pilfered from fairy tales . They seek for some truth and, although that truth may not be revolutionary, it is unvarnished. Writer/director Andrea Arnold has narrowed her focus and used simple filming techniques to follow the life and tribulations of a teenage girl wasting her life in a British housing estate. Her mother shows less maturity than she does and her little sister appears to be growing into a monster. The characters feel real. They talk like real people. And, most importantly, they do not seem to be acting to conform to the contortions of a script. Watching Fish Tank is, as the title implies, like gazing through the glass of an aquarium at the lives of those trapped within, whose only chance of escape would seem to be through death and the indignity of being flushed down a toilet.
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"Something changed with this [quiz show scandal]. It really marked the end of a period of innocence in our social history. No longer did people believe that what you saw on television was the truth... It may sound peculiar to us today that a quiz show scandal could have provoked such public outrage, but it was really the first in a series of disillusionments that violated our sense of trust."
- Robert Redford, producer/director Quiz Show
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I'm not the biggest fan of straight-to-DVD movies. From past experiences, I can safely say that 9.9 times out of 10 if it was a straight-to-DVD release, it will be a bad movie (that .1 being Equilibrium). So of course it surprises me to say this, but Connors' War actually wasn't that bad. In fact, it was almost good.
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I'm sure there will be wags who will glibly compare Cast Away to the likes of "Gilligan's Island" and "Survivor", but, in tone, approach, and overall accomplishment, this atypical Robinson Crusoe tale bears a strong resemblance to one of director Robert Zemeckis' earlier efforts, Contact. No, Cast Away isn't about space or messages from another planet, but, at its core, neither was Contact. Both films ask the same crucial existential question, one that Shakespeare pondered for years: taking all things into account, what does it mean to be human? How do we cope with loss, hopelessness, and isolation, and still find the courage to face the next day? The love and dream of a dead father sustained Jodie Foster's character in Contact. For Tom Hanks' Chuck Noland in Cast Away, it is the promise offered by the smile of his equally absent - and equally beloved - wife-to-be.
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In the Midwest of USA, the sweethearts Drew and Julia are graduating in the college. Drew convinces Julia to move with him to Los Angeles, where his sister Terri lives and got a job for him. The young couple become close friends of their neighbors Elyse and Lenny Steinberg, who owns a small real estate business. However, the immature Drew breaks the relationship with Julia, afraid of the consequences of their commitment.
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Hunt for Justice
The heroic struggle of Canadian Louise Arbour, Chief War Crimes Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, as she battles world politics and fierce opposition to indict Slobodan Milosevic for crimes against humanity.
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Bill Maher: I'm Swiss
I dont hate America, comedian Bill Maher declares during Im Swiss, recorded in March 2005 in Portland, OR. I love America. (But) Im embarrassed. And there we have not only the source of the title (his discomfiture, he jokes, has led him to pretend hes from another country) but also the crux of Mahers overall presentation on this, his third DVD taken from a program that was first shown on HBO. Mahers tendency toward smugness and superiority regularly provoke the wrath of his opponents on the far right. But despite his disingenuous claims to the contrary (Im not making this up, Im just reporting, or Im not being partisan), he certainly cant be accused of not having a point of view. His targets are many in Im Swiss, ranging from reality TV to Cialis (the boner pill) and even Civil War reenactments, but he reserves most of his scorn for the morals and values crowd and George W. Bush. He excoriates the former for turning the 04 presidential election into a referendum on boys kissing, part of their campaign to legislate taste while using their nonsensical and spiritually unnecessary religious devotion to claim the high moral ground. As for Bush, Mahers comment that sometimes this guy is so retarded, he could be on death row in Texas is one of his milder jabs and when it comes to the Iraq war, describing Baghdad as the galleria at Halliburton Square pretty much sums up Mahers feelings about that. Much of what Maher says during this 99-minute monologue (plus a QA session with the audience thats included in the bonus material) is genuinely funny, especially a segment called Master Ps Theater, in which he translates rap lyrics from Ebonics into white. But make no mistake about it Bill Maher is one infuriated fellow, and whether you love him or loathe him, Im Swiss provides ample food for thought.
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Play It to the Bone
Two aging fighters in LA, friends, get a call from a Vegas promoter because his undercard fighters for a Mike Tyson bout that night are suddenly unavailable. He wants them to box each other. They agree as long as the winner gets a shot at the middleweight title. They enlist Grace, Cesars current and Vinnies ex girlfriend, to drive them to Vegas. On the trip, we see flashbacks to their previous title shots, their competitive friendship, and Graces motivational wiles. (She has her own entrepreneurial dreams.) The fight itself is historic ten rounds of savagery and courage. Who will win, wholl get the title shot, who gets Grace, and where will she find venture capital?
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Just Another Day
Follows a day in the life of two men living at either end of the music game. A successful rapper, A-Maze, is dealing with the pitfalls and trappings of his success and facing new challenges in the music business to get a check while the other, Young Eastie, is a young man struggling in a harsh world that is threatening to destroy him.
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Jazz in the Diamond District
When Jasmine Jazz Morgan loses her mother to a long-time battle with lung cancer, she can only focus on one thing - becoming a famous singer. Ignoring the wishes of her father, Blair Morgan a strict doctor who prefers that she return to college, Jazz spends the summer entrenched in the hyper-sexualized, drug-influenced DC music scene, dragging along her younger, more naive, sister Leah). One night, after an impromptu audition, Jazz is invited to join a popular go-go band managed by a charismatic barber, Gabe and supported with drug money provided by the lead MC, Flight. With ease, she falls in line with the band and in love with the stage and together they all reach new heights of popularity. But just as quickly as her success rises, so does the pressure and Jazz recklessly tries to maintain control.
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Murder in the Heartland
A wanna-be tough guy and his 14-year-old girlfriend go on a murder spree.
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