The small town of Pacashau, Georgia, has fallen on hard times, but the people are counting on the Divinity Church Choir to lift their spirits by winning the National Joyful Noise Competition. The choir has always known how to sing in harmony, but the discord between its two leading ladies now threatens to tear them apart. Their newly appointed director, Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah), stubbornly wants to stick with their tried-and-true traditional style, while the fiery G.G. Sparrow (Dolly Parton) thinks tried-and-true translates to tired-and-old. Shaking things up even more is the arrival of G.G.'s rebellious grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordan). Randy has an ear for music, but he also has an eye for Vi Rose's beautiful and talented daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer), and the sparks between the two teenagers are causing even more friction between G.G. and Vi Rose. If these two strong-willed women can put aside their differences for the good of the people in their town, they -- and their choir -- may make the most joyful noise of all.
Vitals: Director: Todd Graff. Stars: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Courtney B. Vance, Jesse L. Martin, Jeremy Jordan, Kris Kristofferson.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Comedy Music, Box office gross: $30.586 million, Warner.
New Year's Eve
Celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts in intertwining stories about couples and singles -- as well as providing paychecks for a lot of Hollywood A and B stars -- told amidst the pulse and promise of New York City on the most dazzling night of the year.
Vitals: Director: Garry Marshall. Stars: James Belushi, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Robert De Niro, Carla Gugino, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Hector Elizondo, Cary Elwes, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Lea Michele, Alyssa Milano, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Til Schweiger, Hilary Swank, Sofia Vergara.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Romantic Comedy, Box office gross: $54.540 million, Warner.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a highly trained government operative who works in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist who was being held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Instantly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive. Using her black-ops military training, she devises an ingenious -- and dangerous -- trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes she'll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.
Vitals: Director: Steven Soderbergh. Stars: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Action-Thriller, Box office gross: $18.827 million, Lionsgate.
Madonna's "W.E." delivers an elegantly stylish and beautifully dramatic look into the lives of two fragile yet passionate women intertwined across the decades. The year is 1998, and Manhattan is abuzz with anticipation about the upcoming auction of the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. But the auction is far more than a diversion for Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish), a transplanted Southerner trapped in an unhappy and abusive marriage. Transfixed by the exquisite artifacts of the Windsors' lives, Wally becomes obsessed with the love story of Wallis Simspon (Andrea Riseborough), the chic, charismatic American who captured the heart of King Edward VIII (James D'Arcy). As she learns more about the sacrifices Wallis made in choosing to be with Edward, Wally finds the courage to follow her own heart and create her own happiness. Vitals: Director: Madonna. Stars: Andrea Riseborough, Abbie Cornish, James D'Arcy.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 119 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.265 million, Anchor Bay Entertainment.
After awakening from a 15-year coma, Selene find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species. To complicate matters, she discovers she has a vampire-Lycan hybrid daughter; the two must team to stop a bio-tech company from creating an army of super-Lycans. Vitals: Director: Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein. Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 88 min., Action Fantasy, Box office gross: $62.321 million, Sony.
Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
An all new feature film from the twisted minds of cult comedy heroes Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim ("Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job"). Tim and Eric are given a billion dollars to make a movie, but squander every dime ... and the sinister Schlaaang corporation is pissed. Their lives at stake, the guys skip town in search of a way to pay the money back. When they happen upon a chance to rehabilitate a bankrupt mall full of vagrants, bizarre stores and a man-eating wolf that stalks the food court, they see dollar signs -- a billion of them. Vitals: Director: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Stars: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 94 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $.087 million, Magnolia.
Paige and Leo (Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum) are a happy newlywed couple whose lives are changed by a car accident that puts Paige in a coma. Waking up with severe memory loss, Paige has no memory of Leo, a confusing relationship with her parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), and an ex-fiance (Scott Speedman) she may still have feelings for. Despite these complications, Leo endeavors to win her heart again and rebuild their marriage.
Vitals: Director: Michael Sucsy. Stars: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Jessica Lange, Scott Speedman.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min., Romantic Drama, Box office gross: $122.776 million, Sony.
Liam Neeson stars as John Ottway, a sharpshooting wolf hunter who becomes an unlikely hero, leading a group of oilrig roughnecks on a death-defying backwoods trek through the Alaskan wilderness. When a plane transporting them to Anchorage crashes on a remote mountaintop, eight survivors must find their way back to civilization or perish in a frozen wasteland. With Ottway as their guide, the ravaged group faces hostile terrain with limited supplies. Most terrifyingly, they are stalked by a pack of fierce and cunning wolves. In order to survive, they will have to turn the tables on the ferocious predators.
Vitals: Director: Joe Carnahan. Stars: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, James Badge Dale, Joe Anderson, Dallas Roberts, Nonso Anozie.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 118 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $51.359 million, Universal.
One for the Money
A proud, born-and-bred Jersey girl, Stephanie (Katherine Heigl) has plenty of attitude, even if she's been out of work for the last six months and just lost her car to a debt collector. Desperate for some fast cash, she turns to her last resort: convincing her sleazy cousin to give her a job at his bail bonding company as a recovery agent. The plot twists as Stephanie takes on the company's most notorious bail-jumper -- former vice cop and murder suspect Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara ) -- the same Joe Morelli who happened to break her heart in high school. Nabbing Joe would be satisfying payback, and a hefty paycheck, but as Stephanie learns the ins and outs of the business from hunky colleague Ranger (Daniel Sunjata), she also realizes that the case against Joe isn't airtight. With a plethora of misadventures along the way, Stephanie's new job isn't nearly as easy as she thought. Based on the worldwide best-selling 18-book mystery series by Janet Evanovich.
Vitals: Director: Julie Anne Robinson. Stars: Katherine Heigl, Jason O'Mara, Daniel Sunjata, Sherri Shepherd, Debbie Reynolds, John Leguizamo.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 91 min., Action Comedy, Box office gross: $26.119 million, Lionsgate.
Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny telekinetic powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control as their darker sides begin to take over. What starts out as fun and games quickly becomes dangerous and they must face the inevitable question of whether they can handle the responsibility that comes with their remarkable powers. Uses the by-now cliched hand-held filmmaking technique.
Vitals: Director: Josh Trank. Stars: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 86 min., Sci Fi, Box office gross: $64.306 million, Fox.
Award winning actress Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) plays a woman passing as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland. Some thirty years after donning men's clothing, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making.
Vitals: Director: Rodrigo Garcia. Stars: Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wasikowska, Brendan Gleeson, Aaron Johnson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 113 min., Drama, Box office gross: $2.610 million, Lionsgate.
Los Angeles, 1999. Officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is a Vietnam vet and a Rampart Precinct cop, dedicated to doing "the people's dirty work" and asserting his own code of justice, often blurring the lines between right and wrong to maintain his action-hero state of mind. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as the consequences of his past sins and his refusal to change his ways in light of a department-wide corruption scandal seal his fate. Brown internalizes his fear, anguish and paranoia as his world, complete with two ex-wives who are sisters, two daughters, an aging mentor dispensing bad advice, investigators galore, and a series of seemingly random women, starts making less and less sense. In the end, what is left is a human being stripped of all his pretense, machismo, chauvinism, arrogance, sexism, homophobia, racism, aggression, misanthropy; but is it enough to redeem him as a man? Great turn by Harrelson in a lackluster, almost film-school-amateurish production.
Vitals: Director: Oren Moverman. Stars: Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Steve Buscemi, Jon Bernthal, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Brie Larson, Anne Heche, Ice Cube, Cynthia Nixon, Jon Foster, Robert Wisdom.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 108 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.239 million, Millennium Films.
Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky ... even as they battle discrimination on the ground. During WWII, the black pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program were courageously waging two wars at once -- one against enemies overseas, and the other against discrimination within the military and back home. Racial prejudices held ace airman Martin Easy Julian (Nate Parker) and his black pilots back at base -- leaving them with little to do but further hone their flying skills -- while their white counterparts were shipped out to combat after a mere three months of training. Mistakenly deemed inferior and assigned only second-rate planes and missions, the pilots of Tuskegee mastered the skies with ease but were not granted the opportunity to truly spread their wings ... until they were sent to North Africa and Italy to escort white bomber pilots.
Vitals: Director: Anthony Hemingway. Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Nate Parker, Elijah Kelley, Tristan Wilds, Method Man, Ne-Yo, Michael B. Jordon, Leslie Odom, Jr., Marcus T. Paulk, Kevin Philips, Andre Royo, Daniela Ruah, Gerald McRaney, Bryan Cranston.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 125 min., Action, Box office gross: $49.600 million, Fox.
This Means War
Two of the world's deadliest CIA operatives are inseparable partners and best friends -- until they discover that they've fallen in love with the same woman. Deciding to keep their friendship a secret from her, they pull out their full arsenal of fighting skills and high-tech gadgetry to defeat their greatest enemy -- each other.
Vitals: Director: McG. Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Chelsea Handler , Angela Bassett, Abigail Spencer.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Action Comedy, Box office gross: $52.270 million, Fox.
The Woman in Black
Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a widowed lawyer whose grief has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased eccentric. But upon his arrival, it soon becomes clear that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret. Although the townspeople try to keep Kipps from learning their tragic history, he soon discovers that the house belonging to his client is haunted by the ghost of a woman who is determined to find someone and something she lost ... and no one, not even the children, are safe from her vengeance.
Vitals: Director: James Watkins. Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 95 min., Horror, Box office gross: $54.212 million, Sony.
Man on a Ledge
Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) makes a desperate and life-threatening move to prove his innocence after he is framed for the theft of a rare, prized diamond. Recently escaped from prison and with nowhere else to go, Nick climbs onto the ledge of a towering skyscraper, inviting the eyes of New York City to anxiously watch as one wrong step could mean plunging to his death. But as one police negotiator soon learns, Nick's daredevil stunt, captivating the eyes of the public and media, masks a dangerous ploy to reveal the truth about his tarnished name. With the help of his brother and with time running out, Nick's intricate plan must work perfectly, but when you're on the 25th floor ledge of a building, going down takes on an entirely more hair-raising meaning.
Vitals: Director: Asger Leth. Stars: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Edward Burns, Titus Welliver, Genesis Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, Ed Harris.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $18.600 million, Summit/Lionsgate.
Jill Parrish (Amanda Seyfried) comes home from working the night shift to discover that her sister Molly has suddenly disappeared. Convinced that Molly has been abducted by the same serial killer from whom she escaped just a year before, and that by sundown Molly will be dead, Jill embarks on a break-neck ride to rescue her. Racing the sinking sun in a heart-pounding chase, Jill has only 12 hours to find the killer and save her sister.
Vitals: Director: Heitor Dhalia. Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Carpenter, Sebastian Stan, Wes Bentley. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 95 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $11.527 million, Lionsgate.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
This suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller explores the factious relationship between a mother and her son. Tilda Swinton, in a bracing, tour-de-force performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin (Ezra Miller). Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, "We Need to Talk About Kevin" explores nature vs. nurture on a whole new level as Eva's own culpability is measured against Kevin's innate evilness. The film combines a provocative moral ambiguity with a satisfying and compelling narrative, which builds to a chilling, unforgettable climax.
Vitals: Director: Lynne Ramsay. Stars: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rocky Duer, Siobhan Fallon, Ashley Gerasimovich, Alex Manette, James Chen, Lauren Fox.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 112 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.818 million, Oscilloscope Pictures.
A modern take on Shakespeare's play. Caius Martius "Coriolanus" (Ralph Fiennes), a revered and feared Roman General, is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. Pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) to seek the exalted and powerful position of Consul, he is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office. When the public refuses to support him, Coriolanus's anger prompts a riot that culminates in his expulsion from Rome. The banished hero then allies himself with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.
Vitals: Director: Ralph Fiennes. Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 124 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.569 million, The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay.
Tells the story of Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a simple, but loveable guy who dreams of a more rewarding job and gaining his parents' respect. When a chance encounter with an on-ice thug leads to a fistfight that Doug easily wins, an on-looking hockey h sees Doug's potential, in spite of his lack of any hockey playing ability. Joining the team and with the encouragement of his best friend (Jay Baruchel), Doug quickly becomes a rising star. Soon he'll have the opportunity to face-off against the infamous league thug Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), perhaps finally land a girlfriend and stick to a job he enjoys. Now -- all he needs is to learn how to skate.
Vitals: Director: Michael Dowse. Stars: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 92 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $4.118 million, Magnolia Home Entertainment.
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.