The Good Life

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Home Video Spotlight: April 29 - May 5

Brief capsules on recently released movies worth renting.

By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic


"The biggest adventure of all time," reads the synopsis on the back of the "Avatar" DVD. On paper, yes. At the box office? Indisputably. But without its massive popularity and multi-billion-dollar haul? I'm not so sure about that. But, whatever. You'd better believe I already bought my copy of this sweeping eye-candy extravaganza, which makes up for in technical wizardry what it lacks in screenwriting panache. Director James Cameron didn't opt for the typical jump-out-at-you, dog-and-pony tricks when revolutionizing the world of 3-D viewing, so the artistry of "Avatar" remains well intact without the aid of special glasses. And the film's pacing is so swift, its two-plus hours whiz by like a Pandoran banshee.


Jeff Bridges didn't snag 2009's Best Actor Oscar for nothing. In "Crazy Heart," his vividly realistic turn as alcoholic country crooner Bad Blake is one of those performances where you can't tell where the actor ends and the character begins. The circumstances surrounding Blake's romance with a vulnerable reporter (Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal) never quite jive, but as a performance showcase and tuneful reflection of real-world musicians, this tiny film is effective, engrossing and authentic. The Oscar-winning music by T-Bone Burnett has the lived-in comfort of classic country.


You've seen Meryl Streep play Jewish, Australian, Irish, Polish, Italian, gay, even male, but you've never seen her quite the way you will in chick-flick-auteuress Nancy Meyers' freewheeling romp, "It's Complicated." Checking her inhibitions at the door, Streep revels in the role of a resaturateur with an empty nest who strikes up a love triangle with her horny ex-husband (Alec Bladwin) and timid architect (Steve Martin). Diving head first into some good, clean raunch and devilishly funny irresponsible behavior, the refreshingly not-under-30-or-pencil-thin Streep makes the flawed "Complicated" a true laugh-out-loud affair.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Behold! Some of the newest trailers for some of the most noteworthy upcoming releases.

By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic

Modern noir thriller from Australia about an adulterous couple who find themselves wrapped up in a high-stakes robbery. Written by actor-turned-screenwriter Joel Edgerton and directed by his brother, Nash.

: Locally, I've heard plenty of good buzz about this tiny film, which is set to open in Philadelphia this weekend. There's not much to declare after watching this run-of-the-mill trailer, but the color palette and the shadowy, craggy faces of what appear to be carefully selected actors suggest the Edgertons have a strong sense of what they're putting up on the screen.
Turn-offs: If there is something particularly exceptional about this film, the trailer doesn't convey it. Also, the only critical praise comes from CitySearch (which I've never heard of), OK! Magazine (a gossip rag) and Harry Knowles (the Web's preeminent geek reviewer), implying that the makers were scrounging for good ink.

Fantasy-drama about an Irish fisherman (Colin Farrell) who discovers a mysterious woman (Alicja Bachleda) in his net and believes she may me a water nymph. Based on the Ondine legend, the film is written and directed by Neil Jordan ("The Crying Game").

Turn-ons: As was recently pointed out by a publication I can't remember (probably Entertainment Weekly), Farrell is currently doing the best work of his career, and this brief glimpse suggests "Ondine" will attest to that. Jordan is, generally, a smart and provocative filmmaker, and he may just bring a dark and distinct point of view to what on the surface seems like a typical fairy tale. (The scenery doesn't hurt, either.)
Turn-offs: On the other hand, things could easily take the cute-and-cuddly family film road, with predictability, treacly morals and wise-kid cliches in tow.

Julia Roberts stars in the big-screen adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling 2006 memoir about finding oneself on the other side of the world. Slated for a summer release, the film is directed and co-written by Ryan Murphy, the guy behind TV's "Nip/Tuck" and "Glee," and another memoir adaptation, "Running with Scissors."

: Any movie watcher who tells you he's not excited about Roberts' first marquee-dominating role since "Mona Lisa Smile" is lying to you. Also, the stunning locales of Italy, India and Bali promise to be easy on the eyes, especially given what seems to be a fondness for ethereal, feathery lighting. Top that with an embarrassment of strong supporting actors, including Viola Davis, James Franco, Javier Bardem and Richard Jenkins.
Turn-offs: Murphy didn't exactly do a bang-up job translating Augusten Burroughs' "Scissors," and while having another go at the same type of project is admirable, it simply might not be his forte. In addition, though "Eat, Pray, Love" addresses universal themes and was embraced by millions, it does have a certain air of upper-class entitlement, making a heroine out of a well-to-do woman who runs away from troubles that, compared to those of others, don't seem all that troublesome to begin with.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Star to Watch: ZOE SALDANA

By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic

Zoe Saldana in last year's "Star Trek."

As the 2009 Oscar race was hitting its peak, and "Avatar" was emerging as not just a Best Picture frontrunner, but also the all-time box office champ it ultimately became, word began to spread that Zoe Saldana, the smooth-skinned, cat-eyed American beauty who portrayed the blue-skinned, cat-eyed Pandoran princess Neytiri in the sci-fi saga, had a legitimate shot of landing a Best Actress nomination. Many dismissed such a notion as mere talk -- just another strand of the "Avatar" mania that was sweeping the world -- and that the Academy would never (or, at least, not yet) go for a performance that was essentially born out of a computer.

And, as it turns out, they didn't. But that talk came from a real place, as did Saldana's surprisingly dimensional turn in James Cameron's gargantuan epic. What we saw on screen may have been finalized by a tireless team of animators, but what we felt, such as the sense that the passionate Neytiri was very much a part of the lush, distant moon she called home, was largely Saldana's doing. The essentials of it called to mind many things, but a computer wasn't one of them.

It says a lot when an actor's presence on screen is so captivating that even millions of dollars of spectacle and CGI can't get in its way. It also proves Saldana, 31, is more than just an (extraordinarily) pretty face. Breaking through in teen-friendly, early 2000s hits like "Center Stage" and "Drumline," Saldana could have easily vanished into the homogeneous mix of young, indistinguishable stars. But in choosing the right projects and the right collaborators, she's inched her way ever closer to household-name status, something she may finally achieve this year if she hasn't already.

Following up 2009's mega-hits "Avatar" and "Star Trek" (both of which have sequels in the works), Saldana will be appearing in two films this month: the comedy-remake "Death at a Funeral," which casts her as part of a dysfunctional family and the girlfriend of a tripped-out James Marsden, and "The Losers," a comic-book adaptation that returns her to the action genre as part of an elite Special Forces team. In August, she'll appear in "Takers," a crime thriller in which she'll star alongside Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy and Jay Hernandez.

Though she gravitates toward more popular, popcorn fare, Saldana shows the tenacity and talent of an actress capable of tackling a variety of genres and characters. With her career still taking off, she has the potential to dig in to some really juicy roles and grow even more as a performer. Assuming she does, it's quite possible she'll find herself in the Oscar conversation once more, and, next time, chances are few will see it as just talk.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Studio Film Preview: Summer 2010 and Beyond

Direct from the studios, here's a sneek peak at some of the major releases of the summer, as well as other films set to open throughout 2010. All release dates are subject to change.

Compiled by R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic


Release Date: April 16, 2010
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Nicolas Cage
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
Based on the Comic Book Written by: Mark Millar and John S. Romita JR

“How come nobody’s ever tried to be a superhero?” When Dave Lizewski – ordinary New York teenager and rabid comic-book geek dons a green-and-yellow internet-bought wetsuit to become the no-nonsense vigilante, Kick-Ass, he soon finds an answer to his own question: because it hurts. But, overcoming all the odds, the eager yet inexperienced Dave quickly becomes a phenomenon, capturing the imagination of the public. However, he’s not the only superhero out there – the fearless and highly-trained father-daughter crime-fighting duo, Big Daddy and Hit Girl have been slowly but surely taking down the criminal empire of local Mafioso, Frank D’Amico. And, as Kick-Ass gets drawn into their no-holds-barred world of bullets and bloodletting with Frank’s son, Chris, now reborn as Kick-Ass’s arch-nemesis, Red Mist - the stage is set for a final showdown between the forces of good and evil - in which the DIY hero will have to live up to his name. Or die trying…

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, from a screenplay by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn, and based on the comic written by Mark Millar and John S. Romita JR. Lionsgate and MARV present a MARV Films / Plan B production.

Release Date: June 4, 2010
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara, Katheryn Winnick, Kevin Sussman, Lisa Ann Walter, Casey Wilson, Rob Riggle, Martin Mull, Alex Borstein
Directed by: Robert Luketic
Screenplay by: Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin
Story by: Bob DeRosa

Trying to recover from a sudden break-up, Jen Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl) believes she’ll never fall in love again. But when she reluctantly joins her parents on a trip to the French Riviera, Jen happens to meet the man of her dreams, the dashing, handsome Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher). Three years later, her seemingly impossible wish has come true: she and Spencer are newlyweds living the ideal suburban life – that is, until the morning after Spencer’s 30th birthday when bullets start flying. Literally.

It turns out Spencer never bothered to tell Jen he’s also an international super-spy, and now Jen's perfect world has been turned upside down. Faced with the fact that her husband is a hit man, Jen is determined to discover what other secrets Spencer might be keeping – all the while trying to dodge bullets, keep up neighborly appearances, manage the in-laws…and work out some major trust issues. And you thought suburban life was easy.

Starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher, directed by Robert Luketic from a screenplay by Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin and story by Bob DeRosa, Lionsgate’s KILLERS is a hilarious, unpredictable action comedy about love, marriage and serious firepower.


Release Date: August 13, 2010
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Giselle Itie, Charisma Carpenter, Gary Daniels, with Terry Crews, and Mickey Rourke
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Screenplay by: David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone
Story by: David Callaham
Expendable: capable of being sacrificed in order to accomplish a military objective.

THE EXPENDABLES is a hard-hitting action/thriller about a group of mercenaries hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator. Once the mission begins, the men realize things aren’t quite as they appear, finding themselves caught in a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal. With their mission thwarted and an innocent life in danger, the men struggle with an even tougher challenge – one that threatens to destroy this band of brothers.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is a man with nothing to lose. Fearless and void of emotion, he is the leader, the sage and the strategist of this tight-knit band of men who live on the fringe. His only attachment is to his pickup truck, his seaplane and his team of loyal modern-day warriors. His is a true cynic who describes what he does as “removing those hard to get at stains.” The team behind him is made up of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), former SAS and a savant with anything that has a blade; Yin Yang (Jet Li), a master at close-quarter combat; Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), who has known Barney for ten years and is a long-barrel weapons specialist; Toll Road (Randy Couture), a skilled demolitions expert and considered the intellect of the group; and Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), a combat veteran and an expert in precision sniping who struggles with his own demons.

When the mysterious Church offers Barney a job no one else would take, Barney and his team embark on what appears to be a routine mission: overthrow General Gaza (David Zayas), the murderous dictator of the small island country of Vilena and end the years of death and destruction inflicted on its people. On a reconnaissance mission to Vilena, Barney and Christmas meet their contact Sandra (Giselle Itie), a local freedom-fighter with a dark secret. They also come to learn who their true enemy is: rogue ex-CIA operative James Monroe (Eric Roberts) and his henchman Paine (Steve Austin). When things go terribly wrong, Barney and Christmas are forced to leave Sandra behind, essentially giving her a death sentence. Haunted by this failure, Barney convinces the team to return to Vilena to rescue the hostage and finish the job he started. And to perhaps save a soul: his own.

Lionsgate and Millennium present a Nu Image production.

Release Date: August 27, 2010
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell
Produced by: Eric Newman, Eli Roth, Marc Abraham and Thomas Bliss
Directed by: Daniel Stamm
Screenplay by: Huck Botko & Andrew Gurland

After a career spent helping the devout through prayer and trickery, Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) invites a film crew to document his final fraudulent days as an exorcist. Soon his faith is truly tested when a desperate plea from the father of a possessed girl (Ashley Bell) brings him face to face with evil itself.

Release Date: September 17, 2010
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Jennifer Morrison, and Nick Nolte
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Screenplay by: Gavin O’Connor & Anthony Tambakis & Cliff Dorfman
Story by: Gavin O’Connor & Cliff Dorfman

Two brothers face the fight of a lifetime – and the wreckage of their broken family – within the brutal, high-stakes world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting in Lionsgate’s action/drama, WARRIOR.

An ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past, Tommy Riordan returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and enlists his father, a recovered alcoholic and his former coach, to train him for an MMA tournament awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport. As Tommy blazes a violent path towards the title prize, his brother, Brendan, a former MMA fighter unable to make ends meet as a public school teacher, returns to the amateur ring to provide for his family. Even though years have passed, recriminations and past betrayals keep Brendan bitterly estranged from both Tommy and his father.

But when Brendan’s unlikely rise as an underdog sets him on a collision course with Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront the forces that tore them apart, all the while waging the most intense, winner-takes-all battle of their lives.

Lionsgate presents A Lionsgate, Solaris Entertainment and Filmtribe production.

Release Date: September 24, 2010 (Limited), October 8, 2010 (Wide)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds
Directed by: Rodrigo Cortés
Written by: Chris Sparling

Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), truck driver and family man, wakes up buried alive in an old wooden coffin. Not knowing who might have put him there or why, his only chance to escape from this nightmare is a mysterious cell phone. Poor reception, low battery and lack of oxygen are his worst enemies in a race against time: Paul has only 90 minutes to be rescued.

Release Date: October 1, 2010
Featuring the voices of: Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover, Larry Miller, Eric Price, Vicki Lewis, Chris Carmack, Kevin Sussman, Brian Donovan, and Christina Ricci
Directed by: Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck
Screenplay by: Chris Denk and Steve Moore
Based on a Story by: Steve Moore

What makes for the ultimate road trip? Hitchhiking, truck stops, angry bears, prickly porcupines and a golfing goose with a duck caddy. Just ask Kate and Humphrey, two wolves who are trying to get home after being taken by park rangers and shipped halfway across the country. Humphrey is an Omega wolf, whose days are about quick wit, snappy one-liners and hanging with his motley crew of fun-loving wolves and video-gaming squirrels. Kate is an Alpha: duty, discipline and sleek Lara Croft eye-popping moves fuel her fire. Humphrey’s motto – make ‘em laugh. Kate’s motto – I’m the boss. And they have a thousand miles to go.

Back home rival wolf packs are on the march and conflict is brewing. Only Kate and Humphrey can restore the peace. But first, they have to survive each other.

Release Date: October 22, 2010
Starring: TBD
Directed by: Kevin Greutert
Screenplay by: Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan
A Lionsgate release; Twisted Pictures presents a Burg/Koules/Hoffman production.

Release Date: November 19, 2010
Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy and Liam Neeson
Directed by: Paul Haggis
Screenplay by: Paul Haggis

Life seems perfect for John Brennan (Russell Crowe) until his wife, Lara (Elizabeth Banks), is arrested for a gruesome murder she says she didn't commit. Three years into her sentence, John is struggling to hold his family together, raising their son and teaching at college while he pursues every means available to prove her innocence. With the rejection of their final appeal, Lara becomes suicidal and John decides there is only one possible, bearable solution: to break his wife out of prison. Refusing to be deterred by impossible odds or his own inexperience, John devises an elaborate escape plot and plunges into a dangerous and unfamiliar world, ultimately risking everything for the woman he loves.

Lionsgate presents A Highway 61 Films and Lionsgate production.


6/11/10 KARATE KID
In Columbia Pictures' The Karate Kid, 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's (Taraji P. Henson) latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying—and the feeling is mutual—but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts “the karate kid” on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.

6/25/10 GROWN UPS
Grown Ups, starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade, is a comedy about five friends and former teammates who reunite years later to honor the passing of their childhood basketball coach. With their wives (Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph) and kids in tow, they spend the Fourth of July holiday weekend together at the lake house where they celebrated their championship years earlier. Picking up where they left off, they discover why growing older doesn't mean growing up.

7/23/10 SALT
Angelina Jolie stars in Salt, a contemporary action thriller from Columbia Pictures. As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt (Jolie) swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture. Salt's efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives, as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: "Who Is Salt?"

Set in New York City, The Other Guys follows Detective Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell), a forensic accountant who's more interested in paperwork than hitting the streets, and Detective Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), a tough guy who has been stuck with Allen as his partner ever since an unfortunate run-in with Derek Jeter. Allen and Terry idolize the city's top cops, Danson and Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson), but when an opportunity arises for the Other Guys to step up, things don't quite go as planned.

Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having - a husband, a house, a successful career - yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali. Based upon the bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love proves that there really is more than one way to let yourself go and see the world.



Family Comedy Event
Release: June 4, 2010
Director: Tom Dey
Written by: Tim Rasmussen and Vince DiMeglio, based on the comic strip created by Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming
Producer: John Davis
Cast: Owen Wilson as the voice of Marmaduke, Lee Pace, Judy Greer, and William H. Macy, plus the voices of: Kiefer Sutherland, George Lopez, Stacy Ferguson, Emma Stone, Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Marmaduke, the world’s most lovable Great Dane, leaps from comic strip fame (appearing in 600 newspapers in over 20 countries) to big screen stardom. In this family comedy event, the “Duke” is living large in Orange County, California. But fitting in with his new four-legged friends – and a potential romantic interest -- isn’t always easy for a super-sized teenage dog.

Release: June 11, 2010
Director: Joe Carnahan
Screenplay: Skip Woods and Joe Carnahan & Brian Bloom (screenplay credit not yet final), based on the television series “The A-Team” created by Frank Lupo & Stephen J. Cannell
Producers: Stephen J. Cannell, Spike Seldin, Jules Daly, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Iain Smith
Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Gerald McRaney

THE A-TEAM follows the exciting and daring exploits of a colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit. Going “rogue,” they utilize their unique talents to try and clear their names and find the true culprit. Liam Neeson (“Taken”), Bradley Cooper (“The Hangover”), mixed martial arts champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and “District 9” sensation Sharlto Copley, are “The A-Team.”

Action Comedy
Release Date: June 25, 2010
Director: James Mangold
Screenplay by: Patrick O’Neill and James Mangold; story by Patrick O’Neill (writing credit not final)
Producers: Cathy Konrad, Steve Pink, Todd Garner
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in this sexy action comedy, in which a chance encounter thrusts a woman and a charming but lethal operative into a series of adventures across the globe. As if dodging assassins and uncovering world-changing secrets weren’t enough, she must now figure out if he is a good guy, a traitor – or just plain crazy.

Release: July 9, 2010
Director: Nimrod Antal
Written by: Alex Litvak & Michael Finch, based upon characters created by Jim Thomas & John Thomas.
Producers: Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellàn
Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, and Laurence Fishburne

PREDATORS, a bold new chapter in the Predator universe, shot under the creative auspices of Robert Rodriguez, stars Adrien Brody as Royce, a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors who come to realize they’ve been brought together on an alien planet… as prey. With the notable exception of a disgraced physician, they are all cold-blooded killers – mercenaries, Yakuza, convicts, death squad members – human “predators” that are now being systemically hunted and eliminated by a new breed of alien Predators.

Release: July 23, 2010
Director: Elizabeth Allen
Screenplay by: Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay, based on the novels by Beverly Cleary
Producers: Denise Di Novi, Alison Greenspan
Cast: Selena Gomez, Joey King, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel, Sandra Oh

The adventures of young Ramona Quimby (newcomer Joey King) and her big sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) come to life in this all new film based on the best-selling books (over 30 million…and counting) by Beverly Cleary. Ramona’s vivid imagination, boundless energy, and accident-prone antics keep everyone she meets on their toes. But her irrepressible sense of fun, adventure and mischief come in handy when she puts her mind to helping save her family’s home.



Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: PG-13
U.S. Release Date: May 28, 2010
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina
Director: Mike Newell
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer

From the team that brought the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy to the big screen, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films present PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, an epic action-adventure set in the mystical lands of Persia. A rogue prince (JAKE GYLLENHAAL) reluctantly joins forces with a mysterious princess (GEMMA ARTERTON) and together, they race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time—a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world.

Directed by Mike Newell (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) with a cast that includes SIR BEN KINGSLEY and ALFRED MOLINA, and a screenplay by Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard from a screen story by Jordan Mechner and Boaz Yakin, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME hits theaters Memorial Day Weekend, 2010.

TOY STORY 3 (In Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D)
Genre: Animation/Comedy/Adventure
Rating: TBD
U.S. Release Date: June 18, 2010
Voice Talent: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, John Morris, Laurie Metcalf, R. Lee Ermey, Jodi Benson, Ned Beatty, Bonnie Hunt, Timothy Dalton, Jeff Garlin, Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Keaton

The creators of the beloved “Toy Story” films re-open the toy box and bring moviegoers back to the delightful world of our favorite gang of toy characters in TOY STORY 3. As Andy prepares to depart for college, Buzz, Woody and the rest of his loyal toys are troubled about their uncertain future. Directed by Lee Unkrich (co-director of “Toy Story 2” and “Finding Nemo”), TOY STORY 3 is a comical new adventure in Disney Digital 3D™ that lands the toys in a room full untamed tots who can’t wait to get their sticky little fingers on these “new” toys. It’s pandemonium as they try to stay together, ensuring “no toy gets left behind.” Meanwhile, Barbie comes face to plastic face with Ken (yes, that Ken). Pixar veteran Darla K. Anderson ("Cars," "Monsters, Inc.") produces, while Michael Arndt, Academy Award®-winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine,” brings his unique talents and comedic sensibilities.

Genre: Comedy Adventure
Rating: TBD
U.S. Release Date: July 16, 2010
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Monica Bellucci, Toby Kebbell
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer

Walt Disney Studios, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub, the creators of the “National Treasure” franchise, present THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE -- an innovative and epic comedy adventure about a sorcerer and his hapless apprentice who are swept into the center of an ancient conflict between good and evil.

Balthazar Blake (NICOLAS CAGE) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (ALFRED MOLINA). Balthazar can't do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (JAY BARUCHEL), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness. It'll take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE. The screenplay is by Matt Lopez and Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard from a screen story by Matt Lopez and Larry Konner & Mark Rosenthal.

Genre: Dance Drama
Rating: TBD
U.S. Release Date: August 6, 2010
Cast: Adam Sevani, Alyson Stoner, Rick Malambri, Sharni Vinson, Keith “Remedy” Stallworth, Kendra Andrews, Stephen “Twitch” Boss, Joe Slaughter
Director: Jon M. Chu
Producers: Patrick Wachsberger, Erik Feig Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot
Executive Producers: Bob Hayward, David Nicksay, Meredith Milton
Written by: Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer
Based on characters created by: Duane Adler

New York’s intense street dancing underground comes alive in eye-popping Digital 3D in the third installment of the STEP UP franchise as the raw, passion-fueled culture goes global. A tight-knit group of street dancers, including Luke (RICK MALAMBRI) and Natalie (SHARNI VINSON), team up with NYU freshman Moose (ADAM SEVANI), and find themselves pitted against the world’s best hip hop dancers in a high-stakes showdown that will change their lives forever.

Friday, April 2, 2010

DVD Spotlight - April 1 - April 7

Brief capsules on new DVDs worth renting.

By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic


Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan blooms before your eyes in this eloquent, sophisticated coming-of-age import based on the autobiographical memoir by British journalist Lynn Barber. The solid-across-the-board supporting cast includes Emma Thompson, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike and Alfred Molina, who was robbed of an Oscar nomination. Novelist-turned-screenwriter Nick Hornby's script is way too safe and tidy, but director Lone Scherfig greatly conveys an intoxicating world of posh excitement, and Mulligan is a wonder to behold. (Now available)


Guy Ritchie's first big Hollywood outing, and his most entertaining film since "Snatch," "Sherlock Holmes" puts a stylized spin on the tale of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective, and sees superstar Robert Downey Jr. ham it up perfectly in the lead role. The Golden Globe winner raises his already substantial likability, sporting a Brit accent with ease, spinning gold out of campy lines, and making the most of his bromantic rapport with co-star Jude Law, who portrays sidekick Dr. Watson. The Dan-Brown-esque storyline is less than engaging, but it's the game, not its object, that makes this modern adventure a rollicking entertainment. Mark Strong and Rachel McAdams co-star. (Now Available)

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