Thursday, March 3, 2011

At the Movies – March 2011 – Part 3: Best of the Month

Must See of the Month:

Sucker Punch (Zack Snyder) – Action – Mar 25
The film is about a young institutionalized girl, who retreats into her make-believe alternate reality fantasizing about escaping the facility she is prisoner to, as a way of dealing with the harsh truth of her situation. Writer-director Zack Snyder is known for his stunning and violent visual style (as seen in 300 and Watchmen). Snyder has a good crew with composer Tyler Bates and cinematographer Larry Fong, both of whom worked on his last two films, as well as composer/songwriter Marius De Vries and production designer Rick Carter (who won an Oscar for Avatar). The film stars Emily Browning (who is looking to have a breakthrough performance in the film) and co-stars Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jamie Chung as the other girls in the facility. Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm and Scott Glenn highlight the supporting cast. The film looks to be a fun sensationalized action adventure with attractive woman kicking lots of and all manner of ass including Nazis, samurais and dragons (among others). It visually appears to be in the same vein as 300 and Watchman and Rick Carter seems like the perfect choice to assist Snyder in crafting the look of the film, but I wonder if among all the action Snyder will be able to craft a solid narrative (something that has ever so slightly eluded him in the past). This is certainly the film to see this month for fans looking for a summer blockbuster in March. Check out the trailer.

Worth Checking Out (if not in theatres then at home):

The Adjustment Bureau (George Nolfi) – Sci-Fi – Mar 4
The film is about an affair between a politician and a ballerina that is not supposed to be. Mysterious forces interfere to keep the two apart. The two fight seemingly against destiny to be together. Writer George Nolfi makes his directorial debut with the film, having written Ocean’s Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum. Nolfi has an exceptional principal crew on the film with composer Thomas Newman (American Beauty, WALL-E), cinematographer John Toll (The Thin Red Line, Braveheart) and production designer Kevin Thompson (Igby Goes Down, Michael Clayton). His cast is also very good. The film stars Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, and features supporting work from Terence Stamp, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, and Michael Kelly. Based on a Philip K. Dick short story, the film looks interesting – as a group of men (seemingly out of the 50s) shape the events of our lives, yet this particular man and woman fight against fate to have a relationship. The cast and crew are solid, but whether Nolfi is a good director is not yet known. The initial trailer was lackluster and the film was pushed back from a Fall 2010 release – neither marks in the film’s positive column – but there is a ton of potential for this to be a very good sci-fi thriller (and maybe one of the better films of the year). Check out the trailer.

Battle: Los Angeles (Jonathan Liebesman) – Sci-Fi – Mar 11
The film is about an alien invasion of Los Angeles (the perspective focused around a Marine platoon who faces off against the aliens). Director Jonathan Liebesman does not have a great track record (not even a decent one), but the sheer brilliance of the trailer demands attention for this film. Liebesman has an ok crew on the film with action composer Brian Tyler, frequent collaborator cinematographer Lukas Ettlin and very good production designer Peter Wenham. The cast is a mix of known and less known (unknown) actors, highlighted by Aaron Eckhart, Noel Fisher, Michael Pena, Michelle Rodriguez, and Bridget Moynahan. The film has a massive red flag because of who is directing it, but again the trailer is pretty much astonishing. The visuals look great (though, it does look like a rip-off of, or homage to, District 9) and looks to feature what can be called the “Paul Greengrass” gritty shaky-cam aesthetic style. The film should be a thrilling sci-fi war film at the very least. Hopefully, the full film can live up to its trailer and cool poster. Check out the trailer.

Paul (Greg Mottola) – Comedy – Mar 18
The film is about two comic-book geeks on holiday in America, traveling across the country in an R.V., who encounter an alien outside Area 51. Director Greg Mottola’s last two films were both very funny (Superbad and Adventureland), making him a great choice to do Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s first script as writing partners (having starred together in a number of films and on Spaced). Mottola has a great crew on the film with very good British composer David Arnold and comedy D.P. Larewnce Sher and production designer Jefferson Sage. The cast has a fantastic group of comedians. The film stars Pegg, Frost and Seth Rogen (voicing the alien), with Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, Jeffrey Tambor, David Koechner, and John Carroll Lynch filling supporting roles – all in all, a very funny bunch. I thought Adventureland was a very good film (not just comedy) and thus am interested to see if Mottola can continue to make movies that are both funny and meaningful – though this looks to be a lot more along the lines of Superbad (being rated R and all), which is not a knock at all, just expect a lot of crude humor. Check out the trailer.

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