Superstar genetic engineers Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) specialize in splicing together DNA from different animals to create incredible new hybrids. Now they want to use human DNA in a hybrid that could revolutionize science and medicine. But when the pharmaceutical company that funds their research forbids it, Clive and Elsa secretly conduct their own experiments. The result is Dren, an amazing, strangely beautiful creature that exhibits uncommon intelligence and an array of unexpected physical developments. And though, at first, Dren exceeds their wildest dreams, she begins to grow and learn at an accelerated rate -- and threatens to become their worst nightmare.
Vitals: Director: Vincenzo Natali. Stars: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac.
2009, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Horror, Box office gross: $16.980 million, Warner.
Remake of the classic horror film. The kids of Elm Street all have a common bond: At night, they all have the same dream -- of the same man, wearing a tattered red and green striped sweater, a beaten fedora half-concealing a disfigured face and a gardener's glove with knives for fingers. And they're all hearing the same frightening voice. One by one, he terrorizes them within the curved walls of their dreams, where the rules are his, and the only way out is to wake up. But when one of their number dies a violent death, they soon realize that what happens in their dreams happens for real, and the only way to stay alive is to stay awake. Turning to each other, the four surviving friends try to uncover how they became part of this dark fairytale, hunted by this dark man. Functioning on little to no sleep, they struggle to understand why them, why now, and what their parents aren't telling them. Buried in their past is a debt that has just come due, and to save themselves, they will have to plunge themselves into the mind of the most twisted nightmare of all ... Freddy Krueger.
Vitals: Director: Samuel Bayer. Stars: Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Kyle Gallner, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz, Jackie Earle Haley.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 102 min., Horror, Box office gross: $63.059 million, New Line.
Twelve-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could have been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's (Taraji P. Henson) latest career move has landed them in Beijing, China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying (Wenwen Han) and the feeling is mutual -- but cultural differences make the friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng (Zhenwei Wang). In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts "the karate kid" on the floor with ease. Without any friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn until he meets maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life. Remake of the 1984 hit. Vitals: Director: Hard Art. Stars: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson, Wenwen Han, Zhenwei Wang.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 140 min., Action, Box office gross: $172.932 million, Sony.
Human Centipede, The
The plot is diabolically simple: Two pretty American girls (Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie) are on a road trip through Europe. In Germany, their car breaks down, leaving them alone in the woods at night. They take refuge in an isolated villa, where they wake the next morning to find themselves trapped in a basement along with a Japanese businessman. An older German man (a maniacally intense Dieter Laser) introduces himself as a retired surgeon who gained fortune and fame by separating Siamese twins. He then calmly tells his three "patients" that, far from being separated, they will be surgically attached to each other in a ghastly operation to connect their gastric systems. Thus will be born a new creature: the human centipede. Ugh!
Vitals: Director: Tom Six. Stars: Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Dieter Laser, Akihiro Kitamura.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 92 min., Horror, Box office gross: $.181 million, IFC Entertainment/MPI Media Group.
Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is a scarred drifter and bounty hunter of last resort, a tough and stoic gunslinger who can track down anyone ... and anything. Having survived death, Jonah's violent history is steeped in myth and legend, and has left him with one foot in the natural world and one on the "other side." His only human connection is with Lila (Megan Fox), whose life in a brothel has left her with scars of her own. Jonah's past is about to catch up with him when the U.S. military makes him an offer he can't refuse: In exchange for his freedom from the warrants on his head, he must track down and stop the dangerous terrorist Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich). But Turnbull, who is gathering an army and preparing to unleash Hell, is also Jonah's oldest enemy and will stop at nothing until Jonah is dead. Based on the character from the graphic novels about one man's personal quest for redemption against the vast canvas of the battle between good and evil.
Vitals: Director: Jimmy Hayward. Stars: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, Tom Wopat, Wes Bentley.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 81 min., Action, Box office gross: $10.539 million, Warner.
I Am Love
The story of the wealthy Recchi family of Milan, whose lives are rapidly changing at the turn of the millennium. The family patriarch has surprised the family by willing shared ownership of his massive industrial company to both his son Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) and his grandson Edoardo Jr. (Flavio Parenti). Meanwhile, Edoardo Jr. has other plans, dreaming of opening a restaurant with a talented chef friend, Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini). At the heart of the family is Tancredi's wife and Edoardo Jr.'s mother, Emma (Tilda Swinton), a Russian immigrant who has adopted the culture of Milan, and whose existence is shaken when she enters a passionate love affair with Antonio.
Vitals: Director: Luca Guadagnino. Stars: Tilda Swinton, Flavio Parenti, Edoardo Gabbriellini, Alba Rohrwacher, Pippo Delbono.
2009, CC, MPAA rating: R, 120 min., Drama, Box office gross: $4.696 million, Magnolia Home Entertainment.
How to Train Your Dragon
Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the animated action-comedy tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn't exactly fit in with his tribe's longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup's world is turned upside down when
he has to pass his Viking initiation by hunting down the fiercest dragon and bringing it into submission. Instead, he ends up with the smallest, most ornery dragon -- it's even toothless -- who challenges the Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view.
Vitals: Director: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders. Stars: Voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 98 min., Animated, Box office gross: $217.387 million, DreamWorks.
The film stars Adrien Brody as Royce, a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors who come to realize they've been brought together on an alien planet ... as prey. With the exception of a disgraced physician, they are all cold-blooded killers -- mercenaries, Yakuza, convicts, death squad members -- human predators who are now being systemically hunted and eliminated by a new breed of alien Predators. In addition to hunter-of-men Royce, there's an accountant-type whose unassuming facade masks a dangerous serial killer (Topher Grace), a tough female killer (Alice Braga), a man not afraid to die (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), a loose canon (Walton Goggins), a former Russian special ops agent (Oleg Taktarov) and Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) a hardened warrior with twin uzis strapped to his back.
Vitals: Director: Nimrod Antal. Stars: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 106 min., Sci-Fi Horror, Box office gross: $51.061, million, Fox.
Kate (Catherine Keener) and Alex (Oliver Platt) are a couple living in New York City who specialize in vintage furniture -- which they buy on the cheap at estate sales and mark up at their trendy Manhattan store. Kate and Alex have a teenage daughter, Abby (Sarah Steele) -- who has image problems -- and their apartment is starting to feel a bit small for the three of them; Kate and Alex own the unit next door to them, and once the flat becomes vacant, they plan to knock out a wall and take over the space. However, Andra (Ann Morgan Guilbert), their tenant, is an elderly woman with a poor disposition who doesn't seem eager to go anywhere soon, and it's occurred to Kate and Alex that they're probably going to have wait for her to die, since evicting her would be very awkward. Hoping to make the best of the situation, Kate tries to strike up a friendship with Andra and her fiercely protective granddaughter Rebecca (Rebecca Hall), but Andra isn't especially interested in making new friends, and Rebecca's sister, Mary (Amanda Peet), isn't much easier to deal with. Add in Kate's marriage problem of sharing a partnership in parenting, business and life with Alex but sensing doubt nibbling at the foundations. Add in her guilt over the business -- exploiting grief-ridden relatives to buy furniture at low prices -- and her free-floating 21st century malaise -- the problem of how to live well and be a good person when poverty, homelessness, and sadness are always right outside the door, and this quirky comedic tale of human foibles soon takes an unpredictable turn.
Vitals: Director: Nicole Holofcener. Stars: Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Sarah Steele, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peet.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Comedy Drama, Box office gross: $4.010 million, Sony.
The fun, the fashion, the friendship: "Sex and the City 2" brings it all back and more as Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) take another bite out of The Big Apple -- and beyond -- carrying on with their busy lives and loves. What happens after you say "I do"? Life is everything the ladies ever wished it to be, but life holds a few more surprises for the foursome ... this time in the form of a glamorous, sun-drenched adventure that whisks them away from New York to Dubai, one of the most luxurious, exotic and vivid places on earth, where the party never ends and there's something mysterious around every corner. It's an escape that comes exactly at the right moment for the four friends, who are finding themselves in -- and fighting against -- the traditional roles of marriage, motherhood and more. After all, sometimes you just have to get away with the girls. Vitals: Director: Michael Patrick King. Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Alice Eve, John Corbett, Chris Noth, Jason Lewis, Willie Garson, Liza Minnelli. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 146 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $95.136 million, New Line.
Noomi Rapace reprises her role as Lisbeth Salander, the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker, along with Michael Nyqvist, who again portrays Mikael Blomkvist, the crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium. In this fast-paced, edgy thriller, two journalists on the verge of exposing their story in Millennium about an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden are brutally murdered. Lisbeth Salander's prints are on the weapon. Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander's innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings that will implicate highly placed members of Swedish society, business and government. Knowing Salander to be fierce when fearful, he is desperate to get to her before she is cornered and alone but she is nowhere to be found. Digging deeper, Blomkvist also unearths some heart-wrenching facts about Salander's past life. Committed to psychiatric care at aged 12, declared legally incompetent at 18, she is the product of an unjust and corrupt system. Meanwhile, the elusive Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past.
Novelist Stieg Larsson died suddenly in 2004 and left behind three unpublished novels known as the Millennium trilogy. Since his first novel, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," was published in Sweden in 2005, the trilogy has become a major international sensation with an estimated 40 million copies of all of Larsson's books sold worldwide. To say it is unusual for a posthumous work in translation to reach No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list is an understatement. To see a posthumous work in translation reach number one around the world is unprecedented. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," the third novel in the trilogy, was published in the U.S. on May 25. The film adaptation will be released by Music Box Films in theaters on October 15.
Vitals: Director: Daniel Alfredson. Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson, Annika Hallin, Per Oscarsson.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 129 min., Mystery Thriller, Box office gross: $5.951 million, Music Box Films.
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. Seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) sets out to track down her father, who put their house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. If she fails, Ree and her family will be turned out into the Ozark woods. Challenging her outlaw kin's code of silence and risking her life, Ree hacks through the lies, evasions and threats offered up by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth.
Vitals: Director: Debra Granik. Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Sheryl Lee, Tate Taylor.
2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Drama, Box office gross: $4.017 million, Lionsgate.
The latest film from legendary director Alain Resnais ("Last Year at Marienbad," "Hiroshima Mon Amour"). In this romantic drama, a wallet lost and found opens the door -- slightly -- to Georges and Marguerite's romantic adventure. After examining the ID of the red wallet he's found, Georges discovers that it's not a simple matter to turn it in to the police. Nor can Marguerite retrieve her wallet without having her curiosity piqued about the person who found it. As Georges and Marguerite navigate the social protocols of giving and acknowledging thanks, turbulence enters their everyday lives. "Wild Grass" is based on the novel "L'incident" by French novelist Christian Gailly.
Vitals: Director: Alain Resnais. Stars: Andre Dussollier, Sabine Azema, Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric.
2009, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 104 min., Romantic Drama, Box office gross: $.351 million, Sony.
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.