Saoirse Ronan stars as Hanna, a 16-year-old girl raised in the desolate, icy wilds of Finland by her ex-CIA agent father Erik and trained to become the perfect assassin. Every moment of Hanna's childhood and adolescence has been spent building up the strength, stamina and survival instincts she needs to prepare for the day she must strike out on her own. That day has now come; armed with the skills her father has imparted to her and the mantra "adapt or die," Hanna must cross Europe and face her family's longtime enemy, lethal intelligence operative Marissa Wiegler. Featuring a ground-breaking original soundtrack from The Chemical Brothers and filmed on location in Finland, Berlin and Morocco.
Vitals: Director: Joe Wright. Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 111 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $40.201 million, Universal.
Everything Must Go
Adapted and directed by Dan Rush, and based on a short story by Raymond Carver, "Everything Must Go" tells the story of Nick Porter (Will Ferrell) a career salesman whose days of being on top are long gone. The same day Nick gets fired -- for falling off the wagon one last time -- he returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their suburban home and dumped all his possessions out on the front yard. Faced with his life imploding, Nick puts it all on the line -- or more properly, on the lawn -- reluctantly holding a yard sale that becomes a unique strategy for survival. And with the help of a few quirky neighbors and friends, he begins a journey to change his life.
Vitals: Director: Dan Rush. Stars: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Michael Pena, Stephen Root, Laura Dern, Glenn Howerton.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $2.706 million, Lionsgate.
X-Men: First Class
Charts the beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.
Vitals: Director: Matthew Vaughn. Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Zoe Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, Oliver Platt.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 135 min., Fantasy Action, Box office gross: $143.455 million, Fox.
The comic-book adventure "Thor" spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.
Vitals: Director: Kenneth Branagh. Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Jaimie Alexander, Samuel L. Jackson, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgard, Ray Stevenson, Colm Feore.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 115 min., Fantasy Action, Box office gross: $178.739 million, Paramount.
When notary Lebel sits down with Jeanne and Simon Marwan to read them their mother's will, the twins receive a pair of envelopes -- one for the father they thought was dead and another for a brother they didn't know existed. Jeanne sees the letters as the key to their mother's retreat into unexplained silence during the final weeks of her life and journeys to the Middle East to dig into a mysterious family history and to locate the father and brother. Simon joins his sister soon after, and with Lebel's help, the twins piece together the story of their mother Nawal, discovering a tragic fate as well as the courage of an exceptional woman.
Vitals: Director: Denis Villeneuve. Stars: Remy Girard, Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Lubna Azabal. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 130 min., Drama, Box office gross: $6.650 million, Sony.
The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon train of three families has hired mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants face the scourges of hunger, thirst and their own lack of faith in one another's instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as a natural born enemy. This is a Western like none you've ever seen: instead of using the panoramic desert as an exhilarating metaphor for the boundless wide open spaces and endless possibilities for the settlers of the American West, director Kelly Reichardt turns the open spaces into a prison encapsulating all the pain and suffering of an arduous pioneer journey, making the viewer feel and understand the anger and confusion of the lost settlers. It's tough-going but worth the trip. Vitals: Director: Kelly Reichardt. Stars: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson, Rod Rondeaux.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 104 min., Western, Box office gross: $.977 million, Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Loud music. Pornography. Burning shit to the ground. These are a few of Hesher's favorite things. And they are what Hesher (Joseph Gordon Levitt) brings into the lives of TJ (Devin Brochu) and his father, Paul (Rainn Wilson) when he takes up residence in their garage uninvited. Grief-stricken by the loss of TJ's mother in a car accident, Paul can't muster the strength to evict the strange squatter, and soon the long-haired, tattooed Hesher becomes a fixture in the household. Like a force of nature, Hesher's anarchy shakes the family out of their grief and helps them embrace life once more.
Vitals: Director: Spencer Susser. Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rainn Wilson, Natalie Portman, John Carroll Lynch, Piper Laurie, Devin Brochu.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 106 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.382 million, Lionsgate.
Thirty-something Annie's (Kristen Wiig) life is a mess, and things get turned even more upside down when she finds out her lifetime best friend, Lillian, is engaged. She simply must serve as Lillian's maid of honor. In way over her head -- lovelorn and broke -- but determined to succeed, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals and leads a hilarious hodgepodge of bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to the big event.
Vitals: Director: Paul Feig. Stars: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, End McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Jon Hamm.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: R, 125 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $161.329 million, Universal.
Few, if any, changed fashion like Yves Saint-Laurent did in the 20th century. His legacy upon his death in 2008 was more than his contributions to fashion; it included one of the great collections of art in the world -- and the man he built an empire with. Pierre Thoretton‘s directorial debut follows the indelible icon through the eyes of lifetime love and business partner Pierre Berge -- from his early days as a design prodigy for Christian Dior through his decades as the face of a fashion empire. Framed by the auction of their priceless collection, this touching documentary captures the complete life of the man behind the monogram, whose private struggles with depression and substance abuse often underscored his triumphs and innovations. In French with English subtitles.
Vitals: Director: Pierre Thoretton.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 98 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $.298 million, IFC Films.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Autobots Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide and Sideswipe, led by Optimus Prime, are back in action, taking on the evil Decepticons, who are determined to avenge their defeat in 2009's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." In this new movie, the Autobots and Decepticons become involved in a perilous space race between the U.S. and Russia -- the Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets -- and once again human Sam Witwicky has to come to the aid of his robot friends. There's new characters too, including a new villain in the form of Shockwave, a longtime Transformers character who rules Cybertron while the Autobots and Decepticons battle it out on Earth.
Vitals: Director: Michael Bay. Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey, John Turturro, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Frances McDormand, Alan Tudyk, Julie White, Kevin Dunn.
2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 154 min., Sci-Fi Action, Box office gross: $350.8 million, Paramount.
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.