Movies in Theaters This Friday, March 8, 2013: Dead Man Down, Oz the Great and the Powerful, The Girl, and More
Last week had 15+ releases and this week is trying to rival it. Ultimately, there are just two wide releases but the ten limited ones are worth noting. No matter which way you look at it, there are all types and genres. From neo-noir to fantasy prequels to musical documentaries, March 8, 2013 has it all.
In wide release, Dead Man Down (read my review here), starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, and Terrence Howard, releases. Niels Arden Oplev (the Swedish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) tries to duplicate his previous successes. Ultimately, it looks like a revenge crime thriller, but I’m hoping it can transcend some similar-themed pictures.
Next, Oz the Great and Powerful (read Sandrine’s review here) is probably the most ambitious – but ultimately risky – newcomer. Disney’s fantasy adventure will automatically have to undo the expectations stemming from The Wizard of Oz (one of the highest acclaimed films of all time). At least it has Sam Raimi onboard. It stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams.
In limited releases, there are plenty of choices to check out below. I’ve seen The Girl (read my review here) and it takes a look at immigration and motherhood. How effective the movie is can be saved for another time.
Another one of note is the 26-part (yes, you read that right) anthology horror film The ABCs of Death. “Interesting” isn’t the only adjective to describe this premise.
Lastly, The We and the I comes from director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), but people are having trouble figuring out what his newest movie is about.
The rest of the list includes Beyond the Hills, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, Eletrick Children, Emperor (read Americ’s review here), The Monk, The Other Side of Ice, and The Silence.
Niels Arden Oplev, the acclaimed director of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, makes his American theatrical debut with the new action thriller, DEAD MAN DOWN. Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace star as two strangers who are irresistibly drawn to one another by their mutual desire for revenge. The film co-stars Academy Award® nominee Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper, from a screenplay by J.H.Wyman (Fringe).
Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot–fame and fortune are his for the taking–that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity–and even a bit of wizardry–Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.
Twenty-six directors. Twenty-six ways to die. The ABC’s OF DEATH is perhaps the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning fifteen countries and featuring segments directed by over two dozen of the world’s leading talents in contemporary genre film. Inspired by children’s educational books, the motion picture is comprised of twenty-six individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free reign in choosing a word to create a story involving death.
Provocative, shocking, funny and ultimately confrontational, THE ABC’s OF DEATH is the definitive vision of modern horror diversity. Drafthouse Films, Magnet Pictures and Timpson Films are proud to present this alphabetical arsenal of destruction orchestrated by what Fangoria calls “a stunning roll call of some of the most exciting names in horror across the world.”
This harrowing, visually stunning new film from director Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), inspired by the non-fiction novels of Tatiana Niculescu Bran, unfolds in and around a remote monastery where pious young women toil dutifully under the ever-watchful eye of an austere priest known as Papa (the excellent Valeriu Andriuta). As the film opens, Alina (Cristina Flutur) arrives to visit her friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan), one of the nuns in training. As children, the two women lived together in an orphanage where the tough, short-tempered Alina served as a protector for her more delicate friend. Now, Alina wants Voichita to leave her cloistered life and return with her to Germany, but as the fateful hour draws near, Voichita seems disinclined to go, and so Alina stays on for a while, which is when the real trouble begins. Inspired by a case of alleged demonic possession that occurred in Romania’s Moldova region in 2005, Beyond the Hills is not a supernatural thriller but rather an all too believable portrait of dogma at odds with personal liberty in a society still emerging from the shadow of Communism. For their remarkable lead performances, screen newcomers Flutur and Stratan shared the Best Actress prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Mungiu also received the Best Screenplay award.
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey follows the real life rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from YouTube to become the front man for iconic American rock band Journey. In this Cinderella story for the ages, Arnel, having overcome a lifetime’s worth of hardships, must now navigate the immense pressures of replacing a legendary singer and leading a world-renowned band on their most extensive world tour in years.
Rachel is a rambunctious teenager from a fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah. On Rachel’s 15th birthday, she discovers a forbidden cassette tape with rock music on it. Having never heard anything like it, Rachel has a miraculous experience.
Three months later, Rachel turns up pregnant and claims to have had an immaculate conception from listening to the music. Rachel’s parents arrange a marriage for Rachel, but Rachel runs away to the closest city, LAS VEGAS, to search for the man who sings on the cassette tape, thinking he has something to do with her mysterious pregnancy…
In the aftermath of Japanese Emperor Hirohito’s surrender to the U.S., Gen. Douglas MacArthur (Academy Award® winner Tommy Lee Jones) and his adjutant Gen. Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox) are faced with a decision of historic importance, in this epically scaled historical drama from director Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring).
Struggling with the loss of her child to Social Services, a single mother is trapped in the quicksand of her south Texas life. When her path collides with a young girl from Mexico, she begins a journey that will change her life – discovering that she is the architect of her own fate and learning what it is that truly defines home.
From the director of La Ciudad, the producer of Maria Full of Grace and the executive producers of Beasts of the Southern Wild comes the story of Ashley Colton, a ragged beauty in her twenties who has survived a series of minimum wage jobs, trying to prove that she is fit to be a mother to regain custody of her son.
When a visit from her father, a truck driver living in Mexico, brings Ashley to Nuevo Laredo, she discovers that he is smuggling immigrants across the border. Seeing a way out from her troubles, Ashley is lured into the role of a coyote.
Her plan goes awry and Ashley finds herself stranded with a young girl whose life is suddenly in her hands.
Adapted from Matthew G. Lewis’ 1796 cult gothic novel, THE MONK follows the tragic destiny of Brother Ambrosio in 17th century Catholic Spain.
Abandoned at birth at the gates of the Capuchin monastery, Ambrosio has been raised by the friars. Today, he has grown into a preacher admired far and wide for his fervor. Feared for his righteousness, he believes he is immune from temptation.
The arrival of a mysterious apprentice undermines his convictions, leading him onto the path of sin.
Award–winning documentary filmmaker, author and sailor Sprague Theobald sets out from Newport, RI to explore the ultimate uncharted territory of the Northwest Passage. As his estranged children unexpectedly join in as crew members, the 5-month adventure becomes a story of survival. A riveting family drama unfolds, becoming a healing journey over the course of the 8,500 mile treacherous voyage.
“The Silence,” Baran bo Odar’s first feature, begins in 1986, with the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl, who is attacked as she rides her bicycle near a field of summer wheat. The identity of her killer — and of his panicked accomplice, a younger man named Timo (Wotan Wilke Möhring) — is known to the audience, but the case is never solved. Then, 23 years later, it happens again: not just a copycat crime but an eerily precise duplicate. The film, based on a novel by Jan Costin Wagner, unfolds a bit like an episode of the long-running CBS television series “Criminal Minds,” pivoting from perpetrators to investigators to the families of victims and creating suspense less from the classic whodunit question than from the when and why. Some of the characterizations seem a bit too on the nose: the retired policeman (Burghart Klaussner) still obsessed with the earlier crime; the calm, disciplined killer (Ulrich Thomsen) and his weak-willed sidekick; the detective (Sebastian Blomberg) half-crazed with grief over the recent death of his wife.
It is the last day of the school year, and a group of Bronx high-schoolers board a city bus to make their way home. With the summer break ahead, and feeling more liberated than usual, this colorful crowd of kids– the cool ones, the outsiders, and everyone in between–act out as only teens can when they are among their peers and away from authority figures. Oblivious to the grown-ups in their midst, (who are smart enough to either get out of the way or get off the bus entirely), they gossip and gloat, brag and bully, cajole and confide, exchange truths and tall tales, and spar verbally and physically. In short, they are unapologetically themselves at this pivotal point in their lives when the pressures and realities of adulthood have yet to turn them into someone else. In the course of this one afternoon, as day fades to evening and they say goodbye to one another–and to a little bit of their childhood– all their friendships, rivalries, anxieties, and ambitions are gradually revealed.