Wednesday, September 4, 2013

At the Movies – September 2013 – Part 2: Hollywood Films

Serious Films:

Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve) – Drama/Thriller – Sep 20
Plot Summary: A Boston man, Keller Dover, takes the law into his own hands when the police seem to be getting nowhere in finding the man who kidnapped his young daughter and her friend. Filmmakers: Canadian director Denis Villeneuve burst onto the international stage with his absolutely brilliant film Incendies (which was among my ten favorite films of 2011). He is working with composer Johann Johannsson, top cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall), and production designer Patrice Vermette (The Young Victoria). Cast: The film stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The supporting cast features: Maria Bello, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, and Dylan Minnette. Expectations: Prisoners looks like a good drama/thriller. Incendies was such a great drama that I have high hopes for this film, Villeneuve’s debut in Hollywood, and his continued career in America. This is probably worth seeing for fans of character driven drama/thrillers. Trailer: HereReview: Here.


The Family (Luc Besson) – Crime Action/Comedy – Sep 13
Plot Summary: Giovanni Manzoni snitched on his mob friends and now they are out to kill him and his family. And so, Manzoni, his wife, and two kids are relocated to France as the Blake family. What could go wrong? Filmmakers: It is easy to go down the list of writer-director Luc Besson’s great films: The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, and (maybe even) The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (which while flawed has some great moments). The problem is they all came out before the year 2000. Since then he made a series of fairly terrible children’s films and some not so good dramas – through, The Lady is decent. He also has become France’s biggest producer – best known in the States for the Taken series. Besson is again working with frequent collaborators cinematographer Thierry Arbogast and production designer Hugues Tissandier. New to the team are composers Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine. Martin Scorsese is also involved as an executive producer. Cast: The film stars Robert De Niro, and features Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, and Dominic Chianese in support. Expectations: We have all been waiting for Luc Besson to once again make a great action film – waiting a long time. Maybe, just maybe, The Family will see all of us finally rewarded. The film certainly has potential to be very entertaining, as it looks like a fun action/comedy mixing the narrative ploy of fish-out-of-water with cartoonish violence. It will also be enjoyable to see Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones playing off each other. Trailer: Here.


Plot Summary: Flint Lockwood now has his dream job at The Live Corp Company, working for his idol Chester V. But when he learns that his infamous machine that created such havoc is again operational, churning out food-animal hybrids, he must leave the company to stop the machine. Filmmakers: Cody Cameron worked in the animation department on the Shrek films and then made his directorial debut with Open Season 3. Meanwhile, Kris Penn worked in the animation department on the first film and is making his directorial debut with this one. They are working with composer Mark Mothersbaugh and production designer Justin Thompson, both of whom are returning from the original. Cast: The voice-cast includes: Bill Hader (as Flint Lockwood), Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Kristen Schaal, Terry Crews, and Benjamin Bratt. Expectations: The first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was funny and this one looks to be just the same – entertaining for kids, with silly humor that is just witty enough to tickle adults too. And, it has a great voice-cast with very funny people. Trailer: Here.


Insidious: Chapter 2 (James Wan) – Horror/Thriller – Sep 13
Plot Summary: Following the events of Insidious, the Lambert family finally thinks they are at peace, safe from the spirit world in their new home. They are wrong. Filmmakers: Writer-director James Wan is the horror mastermind behind Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring. This is his seventh feature. He is working again with composer Joseph Bishara and cinematographer John R. Leonetti. New to the team is production designer Jennifer Spence (the Paranormal Activity sequels). Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, and Ty Simpkins (fresh off his breakout performance in Iron Man 3) all return. Expectations: Insidious Chapter 2 looks incredibly silly, employing the same horror troupes as everything else – but I have never seen Insidious and do not really know what a sequel to it should look like. However, Wan made the best film of his career, and one of the best horror films in some time with The Conjuring, so maybe he is on a role and Insidious Chapter 2 will be surprisingly good as well. We shall see. This is probably only for horror fans. Trailer: Here.

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