The Coen brothers' version of "True Grit," Charles Portis' novel is about a 14-year-old girl who, along with an aging U.S. marshal and another lawman, tracks her father's killer in hostile Indian territory. Mattie Ross's (Hailee Steinfeld) father has been shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), and she is determined to bring him to justice. Enlisting the help of a trigger-happy, drunken U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), she sets out with him -- over his objections -- to hunt down Chaney. Her father's blood demands that she pursue the criminal into Indian territory and find him before a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf (Matt Damon) catches him and brings him back to Texas for the murder of another man. Features an incredible bravura performance as Bridges, who makes the role of Rooster Cogburn his own. The original 1969 film was a showcase for John Wayne, and starred Kim Darby as the teen, Wayne and Glen Campbell as the lawmen, Jeff Corey as the killer and featured Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper as fellow outlaws.
Vitals: Director: Coen brothers. Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min., Western, Box office gross: $169.381 million, Paramount.
A happy couple for over 30 years, Tom (Broadbent) and Gerri (Sheen) act as a steady anchor to their unmarried circle of family and friends, including their son, a male friend from Hull, and single, unhappy, middle-aged Mary (Manville). But as the seasons change and another year passes, Tom and Gerri's support is put to the test in this masterful look at life, love and the meaning of friendship. Using his trademark production method of improvisation, director Mike Leigh once again delivers a moving and detailed portrait of his characters' inner lives. This process has yielded some of the finest performances ever put on film, and it has generated an Oscar-nominated screenplay for four of his previous films: "Happy Go Lucky," "Vera Drake," "Topsy Turvy," and "Secrets and Lies." Read the entire synopsis here.Vitals: Director: Mike Leigh. Stars: Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, Oliver Maltman, Peter Wight, David Bradley, Martin Savage.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 129 min., Drama, Box office gross: $3.162 million, Sony.
The Company Men
Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is living the American dream: great job, beautiful family, shiny Porsche in the garage. When corporate downsizing leaves him and co-workers Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) and Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) jobless, the three men are forced to re-define their lives as men, husbands, and fathers. Walker, whose sense of self crumbles after losing his job, soon finds himself enduring enthusiastic life coaching, a job building houses for his brother-in-law (Kevin Costner) which does not play to his executive skill set, and perhaps the realization that there is more to life than chasing the bigger, better deal. Company founder McClary tries to fight the good fight against the layoffs, only to discover that he has made himself a target. And older worker Woodward gives in to blind fury as he waits for the inevitable. With humor, pathos, and keen observation, writer-director John Wells (the creator of "ER," "The West Wing," "Southland" and "Shameless") introduces us to the new realities of American life.
Vitals: Director: John Wells. Stars: Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Rosemarie Dewitt, Craig T. Nelson.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Drama, Box office gross: $4.266 million, The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay.
Sosa (Ricardo Darin, "The Secret in Their Eyes") is an ambulance-chasing personal injury attorney with questionable ethics who makes his living in the flourishing, barely legal Argentinean industry founded on insurance payouts from traffic accidents. Sosa tours the A&E Departments of the public hospitals and the police stations in search of potential clients. Lujan (Martina Gusman) is a young, idealistic country doctor, new to the city. Sosa and Lujan first meet in the street: She's trying to save a man's life; he wants him on his client portfolio. After their paths repeatedly cross, the two form an unlikely romance that is threatened by Sosa's turbulent past. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Vitals: Director: Pablo Trapero. Stars: Ricardo Darin, Martina Gusman.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 107 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $.074 million, Strand Releasing.
Just Go With It
After telling his much younger schoolteacher girlfriend (Brooklyn Decker) that he's married as a means of avoiding real commitment, a plastic surgeon (Adam Sandler) must recruit a fake family to prove his honesty. So he enlists his loyal assistant (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his soon to be ex-wife, in order to cover up his careless lie. When more lies backfire, the assistant's kids become involved, and everyone heads off for a weekend in Hawaii to sort things out.
Vitals: Director: Dennis Dugan. Stars: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson, Brooklyn Decker, Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck, Dave Matthews, Kevin Nealon. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $101.917 million, Sony.
Conceived and shot in 3D. From executive producer James Cameron comes a thrilling underwater adventure based on true events. Master diver Frank McGuire leads a team -- including his 17-year-old son -- to explore the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. But when a tropical storm cuts off their only escape route, the team must work together to find their way through an uncharted and dangerous underwater labyrinth to make it out alive.
Vitals: Director: Alister Grierson. Stars: Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 108 min., Action, Box office gross: $18.035 million, Universal.
Red Riding Hood
Dark interpretation of the Grimms' fairy tale (already pretty dark), set in medieval times. Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She's in love with brooding outsider Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon's arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. Panic grips the town as Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast -- one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect ... and bait.
Vitals: Director: Catherine Hardwicke. Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Lukas Haas, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Billy Burke, Virginia Madsen, Julie Christie.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $37.186 million, Warner.
Battle: Los Angeles
For years, there have been documented cases of UFO sightings around the world -- Buenos Aires, Seoul, France, Germany, and China. But in 2011, what were once just sightings will become a terrifying reality when Earth is attacked by unknown forces. As people everywhere watch the world's great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. It's up to a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his new platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they've ever encountered before.
Vitals: Director: Jonathan Liebesman. Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo, Michael Pena.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min., Science Fiction Action, Box office gross: $82.649 million, Sony.
"The Concert" is the new film from Radu Mihaileanu, the acclaimed writer-director of "Live and Become," starring Melanie Laurent ("Inglorious Basterds"), Francois Berlsand; ("Transporter" series) and Alexei Guskov. Guskov stars as Andrei Filipov, a once celebrated Russian conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra who was fired 30 years ago for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a mere cleaning man at the Bolshoi, he learns by accident that the Chatelet Theater in Paris has invited the Bolshoi orchestra to play there and he masterminds a plan to pose as the leader of the group in order to make a triumphant return to the music scene. With a motley bunch of old Jewish and Gypsy musicians at his side, Andrei sets off for Paris, impersonating the Bolshoi, to fulfill his destiny and return to his glory as a great conductor. But to make it work, he needs to persuade a young violinist virtuoso, Anne-Marie Jacquet, to accompany his musicians. Along the way there's missed rehearsals, lost musicians, a little bit of intrigue, and a glimmering hope for second chances. One of the centerpieces of the film: the gorgeous, moving performance of "Violin Concerto in D Major op. 35" by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. In French and Russian with English subtitles.
Vitals: Director: Radu Mihaileanu. Stars: Melanie Laurent, Aleksei Guskov, Dmitri Nazarov, Valeiy Barinov, Miou-Miou.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 119 min., Comedy Drama, Box office gross: $.657 million, The Weinstein Company/Arc Entertainment.
Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are best friends who have a lot in common, including the fact that they have each been married for many years. But when the two men begin to show signs of restlessness at home, their wives (Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate) take a bold approach to revitalizing their marriages: granting them a "hall pass," one week of freedom to do whatever they want ... no questions asked. At first, it sounds like a dream come true for Rick and Fred. But it isn't long before they discover that their expectations of the single life -- and themselves -- are completely, and hilariously, out of sync with reality ... especially when it appears that both wives are engaging in extramarital activities as well. Vitals: Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly. Stars: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenkins.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $44.870 million, Warner.
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
After stints as an undercover grandmother and an undercover nanny, FBI agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence) adds "undercover housemother" to his resume to unmask a murderer. In this second sequel, Big Momma is hired to go deep undercover as the Headmistress of the Atlanta Girls' School for the Arts attended by aspiring music student and leading love interest Haley (Jessica Lucas). Proving "like father, like son," Turner brings along his stepson Trent (Brandon T. Jackson) to double as Big Momma's grand-niece Charmaine and go undercover as a student in the school. The duo tries in vain to derail attempts by the school's security guard (Faizon Love) to get control of the debauchery.
Vitals: Director: John Whitesell. Stars: Martin Lawrence, Brandon T. Jackson, Jessica Lucas, Michelle Ang, Portia Doubleday, Emily Rios, Faizon Love.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 107 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $37.499 million, Fox.
The Adjustment Bureau
Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in this thriller -- based on the short story "Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick.-- as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he's ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) -- a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself -- the men of The Adjustment Bureau -- who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path ... or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.
Vitals: Director: George Nolfi. Stars: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $60.735 million, Universal.
Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesn't recognize him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, tired and on the run. Aided by an unlikely ally (Diane Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he's willing to go to uncover the truth.
Vitals: Director: Jaume Collet-Serra. Stars: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz, Frank Langella.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 109 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $61.094 million, Warner.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Just back from summer vacation, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) and his friend Rowley (Robert Capron) enter the next grade as undersized weaklings in their school. A bully favorite, Greg tries not to get noticed by anyone except the pretty new girl, Holly Hills (Peyton List). And at home, Greg is still at war with his older brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), until their mom Susan (Rachael Harris) instigates a "Mom Bucks" program so Greg and Rodrick can earn play money by doing chores and being nice to each other. Calamity ensues when their parents return from vacation and dad Frank (Steve Zahn) finds evidence that Rodrick secretly threw a houseparty with his band, Loded Diper. As they struggle with school and compete for "Mom Bucks," the brothers discover that avoiding trouble is easier if they unite -- and their once-twisted partnership grows into a hilariously playful and sometimes mischievous friendship.
Vitals: Director: David Bowers. Stars: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Peyton List, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 96 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $48.122 million, Fox.
Aspiring children's book author Sam Davis (Michael Angarano) convinces his former best friend Marshal (Reece Thompson) to spend the weekend with him to rekindle their friendship at an elegant beachside estate owned by a famous documentary filmmaker Whit Coutell (Lee Pace). But it soon becomes clear that Sam has ulterior motives when Marshal learns that Whit's fiancee, Zoe (Uma Thurman) is Sam's older ex. His plan is to crash and thwart their impending nuptials, but it begins to unravel as he is forced to realize how complicated love and friendship can be.
Vitals: Director: Max Winkler. Stars: Uma Thurman, Lee Pace, Michael Angarano, Rebecca Mader, Reece Thompson.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 89 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $.021 million, Magnolia Home Entertainment.
Recently retired from the adult film industry, superstar Elektra Luxx (Carla Gugino) is pregnant with the child of late rock star Nick Chapel. She's trying to make ends meet by teaching a community college sex education class aimed at housewives when a figure from her past, flight attendant Cora (Marley Shelton), approaches her with a proposition. In exchange for the (stolen) lyrics to Nick Chapel's last record, all of which is about Elektra, Cora needs Elektra to seduce her fiancee. Elektra reluctantly agrees to do this favor, setting in motion a series of events that will see her come face to face with a studly private investigator, an obsessed sex blogger, emotionally unstable clothing-challenged neighbors and the Virgin Mary herself as she wrestles with the prospect of motherhood and tries to become a person of substance. Silly, amateurish production is a waste of a lot of good talent.
Vitals: Director: Sebastian Gutierrez. Stars: Carla Gugino, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marley Shelton, Timothy Olyphant, Malin Akerman, Adrianne Palicki, Emmanuelle Chriqui.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 104 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $.010 million, Sony.
In 2nd-Century Britain, celebrated Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) embarks on a dangerous quest to restore the tarnished reputation of his father and find the golden emblem that disappeared with him and thousands of troops twenty years earlier. But the highlands of Caledonia are a savage wilderness, and Marcus must rely on his embittered slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), to navigate the perilous region. Their journey pushes them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism.
Vitals: Director: Kevin Macdonald. Stars: Channing Tatum, Denis O'Hare, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 114 min., Action, Box office gross: $19.478 million, Universal.
After the death of his professional mentor, a small-town, shy, naive Wisconsin insurance agent (Ed Helms) must represent his company at a regional insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where his mind is blown by the big city experience.
Vitals: Director: Miguel Arteta. Stars: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Stephen Root, Kurtwood Smith, Alia Shawkat, Rob Corddry.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 96 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $6.732 million, Fox.
Based on Mordecai Richler's prize-winning comic novel, "Barney's Version" is the warm, wise, and witty story of Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti), a seemingly ordinary man who lives an extraordinary life. Barney's candid confessional spans four decades and two continents, and includes three wives (Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, and Rachelle Lefevre), one outrageous father (Dustin Hoffman), and a charmingly dissolute best friend (Scott Speedman). A candid confessional, told from Barney's point of view, taking us through the different acts of his unusual history. There is his first wife, Clara (Lefevre), a flame-haired, flagrantly unfaithful free spirit with whom Barney briefly lives 'la vie de Boheme' in Rome. The second Mrs. Panofsky (Driver) is a wealthy Jewish princess who shops and talks incessantly, barely noticing that Barney is not listening. It's at their lavish wedding that Barney meets, and starts pursuing, Miriam, his third wife (Pike), the mother of his two children and his true love. With his father Izzy (Hoffman) as his sidekick, Barney takes us through the many highs, and a few too many lows, of his long and colorful life. Vitals: Director: Richard J. Lewis. Stars: Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre, Scott Speedman.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 134 min., Drama, Box office gross: $7.431 million, Sony.
A modern-day take on the "Beauty and the Beast" tale where a New York teen is transformed into a hideous monster in order to find true love. Seventeen-year-old Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is the spoiled, shallow and incredibly popular prince of his high school kingdom. Entirely captivated and empowered by his own physical appearance, Kyle foolishly chooses Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), a classmate rumored to be a witch, as his latest target for humiliation. Unfazed by his cruel behavior, Kendra decides to teach him a lesson -- she transforms him into someone as unattractive on the outside as he is on the inside. Now he has one year to find someone who can see past the surface and love him, or he will remain "Beastly" forever. His only hope, an unassuming classmate he never noticed named Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), may be his best chance to prove that love is never ugly.
Vitals: Director: Daniel Barnz. Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, Mary-Kate Olsen, Peter Krause Neil Patrick Harris.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 86 min., Fantasy Drama, Box office gross: $27.598 million, Sony.
Action fantasy that takes us into the vivid imagination of a young girl whose dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. Unrestrained by the boundaries of time and place, she is free to go where her mind takes her, and her incredible adventures blur the lines between what's real and what is imaginary. She has been locked away against her will, but Babydoll (Emily Browning) has not lost her will to survive. Determined to fight for her freedom, she urges four other young girls -- the outspoken Rocket (Jena Malone), the street-smart Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), the fiercely loyal Amber (Jamie Chung) and the reluctant Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) -- to band together and try to escape their terrible fate at the hands of their captors, Blue (Oscar Isaac), Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) and the High Roller (Jon Hamm). Led by Babydoll, the girls engage in fantastical warfare against everything from samurais to serpents, with a virtual arsenal at their disposal. Together, they must decide what they are willing to sacrifice in order to stay alive. But with the help of a Wise Man (Scott Glenn), their unbelievable journey -- if they succeed -- will set them free.
Vitals: Director: Zack Snyder. Stars: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Scott Glenn, Oscar Isaac, Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 120 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $36.323 million, Warner.
Season of the Witch
Supernatural action adventure about a heroic 14th century crusader, Knight Behmen (Nicolas Cage) and his fellow soldier, Felson (Ron Perlman), who return to a homeland devastated by the Black Plague. A beleaguered church, deeming sorcery the culprit of the plague, commands the two knights to transport an accused witch (Claire Foy) to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence. A priest, a grieving knight, an itinerant swindler and a headstrong youth who can only dream of becoming a knight join a mission troubled by a mythically hostile wilderness and a fierce contention over the fate of the girl. The arduous journey across perilous terrain tests their strength and courage as they discover the girl's secret and find themselves battling a terrifyingly powerful force that will determine the fate of the world. Vitals: Director: Dominic Sena. Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy, Stephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Stephen Graham, Robert Sheehan.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 95 min., Fantasy Thriller, Box office gross: $24.823 million, Fox.
The Warrior's Way
After a lifetime of training in swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat, the world's most dangerous fighter (Jang Dong Gun) flees his homeland after refusing a mission and tries to start a new life in the American West. But soon the hunter becomes the hunted, and the legendary warrior must wage a fierce, all-out battle against a renegade gang of outlaws and a pack of murderous assassins from his own past.
Vitals: Director: Sngmoo Lee. Stars: Jang Dong Gun, Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Martial Arts/Western, Box office gross: $5.664, million, Fox.
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.