An adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope. The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world from the greedy men who want to exploit the environment.
Vitals: Director: Chris Renaud. Stars: Voices of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Betty White.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 87 min., Family, Box office gross: $211.485 million, Universal.
The Raid: Redemption
As a rookie member of an elite special-forces team, Rama (Iko Uwais) is instructed to hang back during a covert mission involving the extraction of a brutal crime lord from a rundown 15-story apartment block. But when a spotter blows their cover, crime boss Tama (Ray Sahetaphy) offers lifelong sanctuary to every killer, rapist and thief in the building in exchange for the heads of the special forces team. Now Rama must stand in for the team's fallen leader Jaka (Joe Taslim) and use every bit of his fighting strength -- winding through every floor and room to complete the mission and escape with his life.
Vitals: Director: Gareth Evans. Stars: Iko Uwais, Doni Alamsyah, Ananda George, Pierre Gruno, Yayan Ruhian, Ray Sahetapy, Tegar Satrya, Verdi Solaiman, Joe Taslim.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 101 min., Action, Box office gross: $4.104 million, Sony.
The Hunger Games
First in a trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins published by Scholastic that has already become a literary phenomenon with over 36.5 million copies in circulation. Every year in the ruins of what was once North America in a post-apocalyptic future, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its 12 districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in The Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers in her younger sister's place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy when she’s pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Vitals: Director: Gary Ross. Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Willow Shields, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Toby Jones, Donald Sutherland.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 142 min., Fantasy Thriller, Box office gross: $387.0 million, Lionsgate.
In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, Texas, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town's most beloved residents. He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as for her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependent on Bernie and his generosity and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands. Bernie continued to handle her affairs, and the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie. The people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder. Adapted from his article by famed true crime journalist Skip Hollandsworth. One of Jack Black's best performances to date.
Vitals: Director: Richard Linklater. Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Rick Dial, Grant James.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 99 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $7.263 million, Millennium Entertainment.
Inspiring film follows the true-life adventure of Oscar, a young chimpanzee whose curiosity and zest for life showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. Oscar is enjoying his life with his mother in the jungles along the Ivory Coast. Without warning, young Oscar is tragically orphaned during an attack from a rival group of chimpanzees. Afterwards, he attempts to survive on his own, and to be accepted by the other chimps. But Oscar struggles, until he is surprising adopted by the Alpha Male of his group. To celebrate the in-home debut of "Chimpanzee," Disneynature is continuing the "See 'Chimpanzee,' Save Chimpanzees" conservation program initiated with the film's theatrical release: For every purchase of the movie through August 27, 2012, Disneynature will make a donation through the Disney Worldwide ConservationFund to the Jane Goodall Institute to conserve chimpanzee habitat, educate the next generation, and provide care for orphaned chimpanzees.
Vitals: Director: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield. Narrated by Tim Allen.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: G, 78 min., Family Documentary, Box office gross: $28.579 million, Disney.
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease. Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. But Nader refuses to leave behind his Alzheimer-suffering father, and Simin sues for divorce. Her request having failed, Simin returns to her parents' home, but Termeh decides to stay with her father. When Nader hires a religious young woman to assist with his father, he hopes his life will return to a normal state. However, when he discovers that the new maid has been lying to him and her own family, he realizes that there is much more on the line than his marriage. With a very sophisticated and multi-layered screenplay, sharp mise-en-scene, and emotional performances, director Asghar Farhadi raises crucial questions about family relationships between parents and children, men and women, the condition of women in Iran, and how one's beliefs, religious and otherwise, affect our lives. Won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Language film. In Persian with English subtitles.
Vitals: Director: Asghar Farhadi. Stars: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini, Sarina Farhadi.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 123 min., Drama, Box office gross: $7.098 million, Sony.
The film tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed: The tale of an inept despot's first trip to America, as the leader of Wadiya is stripped of power and suddenly forced to live his ultimate nightmare -- the American dream. It's inspired by the best selling novel "Zabibah and The King" by Saddam Hussein. Another off-the wall and raunchy film from the warped mind of Sacha Baron Cohen.
Vitals: Director: Larry Charles. Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly, Megan Fox, Kevin Corrigan, B.J. Novak, Aasif Mandvi, Jim Piddock, Jason Mantzoukas, J.B. Smoove, Danielle Burgio.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 83 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $59.093 million, Paramount.
Very loosely based on the classic Hasbro naval combat game,the action-adventure follows an international fleet of ships that come across an alien armada while on a Naval war games exercise, leading to an intense battle on sea, land and air. Vitals: Director: Peter Berg. Stars: Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard, Tadanobu Asano, Josh Pence, Rihanna, Peter MacNicol, Hamish Linklater, Stephen Bishop, David Jensen.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 132 min.,Sci-Fi Action, Box office gross: $64.334 million, Universal.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Swashbuckling stop-motion animation from Aardman Animation.
Vitals: Director: Peter Lord. Stars: Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Anton Yelchin, Brendan Gleeson, Al Roker. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 88 min., Family, Box office gross: $29.262 million, Sony.
Think Like a Man
Film adaptation of TV and radio personality Steve Harvey's best-selling book about dating and relationships. Follows four interconnected and diverse men whose love lives are shaken up after the ladies they are pursuing buy Harvey's book and start taking his advice to heart. When the band of brothers realize they have been betrayed by one of their own, they conspire using the book's insider information to turn the tables and teach the women a lesson of their own. Vitals: Director: Tim Story. Stars: Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Williams, Chris Brown.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 122 min., Romantic Comedy, Box office gross: $90.677 million, Sony.
The Viral Factor
IDC Agent Jon (Jay Chou) is on a dangerous mission to escort a criminal scientist to another country. En route, a member of his team turns out to be a traitor and shoots Jon in the head while kidnapping the scientist. When Jon wakes up in the hospital, a doctor tells him that within weeks, the bullet in his brain will cause complete paralysis. Jon returns to Beijing to see his mother, who confesses that Jon has a brother in Malaysia. On a flight to meet his long lost sibling, Jon forms a bond with Dr. Kan (Lin Peng), who promises to look into possible treatments for his condition. However, when they arrive, they're kidnapped and Jon soon realizes the kidnapper is his brother (Nicholas Tse), and they decide to work together in order to keep an international consortium of criminals from re-infecting the world with a disease long thought cured. In English and Cantonese with English subtitles
Vitals: Director: Dante Lam. Stars: Jay Chou, Lin Peng, Nicholas Tse, Andy On, Bing Bai.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 122 min., Action, Well Go USA.
In this gentle drama from Lawrence Kasdan, Beth (Diane Keaton) saves a bedraggled lost dog from the side of the freeway on a wintry day in Denver. Struggling with her distracted, self-involved husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) and an empty nest at home, Beth forms a special bond with the rescued animal. When Joseph loses the dog after a wedding at their vacation home in the Rockies, the distraught Beth enlists the help of the few remaining guests and a mysterious young woman (Ayelet Zurer) in a frantic search. Each member of the search party is affected by the adventure, which takes them in unexpected directions -- comic, harrowing, and sometimes deeply emotional. Vitals: Director: Lawrence Kasdan. Stars: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.772 million, Sony.
Roger, a charming scoundrel and Norway's most accomplished headhunter, is living a life of luxury well beyond his means, stealing art as a cat burglar to subsidize his expensive lifestyle. When his beautiful gallery owner wife introduces him to a former mercenary in the possession of an extremely valuable painting, he decides to risk it all to get his hands on it, and in doing so discovers something which makes him a hunted man. Now the mercenary comes after Roger in full force, wiping out everyone and everything in his way, and Roger must figure out how to stay one step ahead in order to survive. Based on Jo Nesbo's best-selling thriller from 2008. In Norwegian with English subtitles.
Vitals: Director: Morten Tyldum. Stars: Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Synnove Macody Lund, Eivind Sander, Julie R. Olgaard.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Action, Box office gross: $1.089 million, Magnolia Home Entertainment.
The Lucky One
A Marine travels to Louisiana after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war. U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive -- a photograph he found of a woman he doesn't even know. Learning her name is Beth and where she lives, he shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel. Despite her initial mistrust and the complications in her life, a romance develops between them, giving Logan hope that Beth could be much more than his good luck charm. Based on the Nicholas Sparks novel.
Vitals: Director: Scott Hicks. Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Drama, Box office gross: $60.154 million, Warner.
All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a
Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center),
and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.