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Mike's ProfileMike has a degree in Film from The University of Texas at Austin. He has worked in the entertainment industry for the past 25 years and sees two to four new movies in the theatre a week. Mike has a weekly movie blog where he reviews films both present and past at: lastonetoleavethetheatre.blogspot.com He can be followed on Twitter @lastonetoleave
Opening at a theatre near you:
Taken 2 (2012)
In this sequel to the 2008 film, Bryan (Liam Neeson) is on a business trip to Istanbul, when he gets a surprise visit from his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). But Bryan has enemies, and his wife and daughter are now the bad guys’ targets.
What to Watch For: Can lightning strike twice? “Taken” was the surprise hit of the 2008 film season, taking in over $223 million worldwide.
Word on the Street: This will probably be the last “Taken” film that Neeson makes, as he feels he is getting a little too old for the heavy action movies.
My Take: I am just not sure that fans of the first film will come out for this one, since the plotlines are so similar.
Victor Frankenstein is a child scientist whose best friend is his dog, Sparky. When Sparky suddenly dies, Victor decides to conduct a science experiment in an effort to bring his trusted dog back to life. Victor is successful, but a re-animated Sparky may be just too much for him to handle.
What to Watch For: This film was shot in Black and White and will be the first stop-motion animated film to be released in IMAX 3D.
Word on the Street: Director Tim Burton brought back a lot of the crew that worked on his Academy Award nominated 2005 animated film, “Corpse Bride,” and a number of cast members from some of his more successful films such as Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Landau.
My Take: This is a re-make of a live-action short film of the same name that Burton made for the Disney studio in 1984. Burton got the job of directing the 1985 film “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” after Paul Rubens (Pee Wee) saw the film.
The Oranges (2012)
The Wallings (Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener) live across the street from their best friends, the Ostroffs (Oliver Platt and Allison Janney). Their normal, suburban world is turned upside down when the Ostroff’s daughter, Nina (Leighton Meester), comes home for Thanksgiving after being on the road for five years.
What to Watch For: Director Julian Farino is mostly know for directing TV programs, including “Entourage” and “Big Love.”
Word on the Street: Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester is said to be the stand out in this impressive cast that also includes Adam Brody and Alia Shawkat.
My Take: It’s nice to see Hugh Laurie in a part so different than his TV show “House.” And, I will go see Catherine Keener in any movie.
Chicken With Plums (2011)
A violinist in 1950’s Tehran loses his love of music, therefore decides to die. Over the next 8 days, we see how he and his family deal with his decision. As the man slowly dies, the film shows how he made this decision with a series of flashbacks that take us through the big events in his life.
What to Watch For: This French film was based on the graphic novel of the same name written by Iranian author Marjane Satrapi.
Word on the Street: While at times a very sad film, it does have quite a bit of humor in it.
My View: This is a film that, while a little slow at times, ends beautifully where the whole storyline is all tied up in the last 15 minutes.
Releasing this week on DVD/Blu-ray:
Disney is releasing this timeless classic animated film about Cinderella, the young woman who dreams of a better life as she is tormented by her evil stepmother and stepsisters. With the help of her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella gets to go to the Ball and meet the man of her dreams – but will the story end happily ever after? The great thing about the classic Disney films is the great music and songs, such as Biddidi-Bobbidi-Boo and So This is Love.
If you can’t go the theatre this weekend, stay at home and watch movies on CW69.
“Chasing Papi” (2003) Thomas (Eduardo Verastegui) is a successful executive working in the cosmetic industry. He has a beautiful girlfriend (Sofia Vergara) who lives in Miami. Unbeknownst to her, he also has a girlfriend in Chicago (Roselyn Sanchez) and one in New York (Jaci Velazquez). Life is about to get complicated for Thomas as all three come to Los Angeles to visit him…at the same time.
“To Die For” (1995) Suzanne (Nicole Kidman) is a TV weather person, but she isn’t satisfied with that job. She wants to be an anchorwoman. When she realizes that Larry (Matt Dillon) is no longer useful in her pursuit of fame, she plots to have him killed, even if it means seducing some local high school students to get them to do the dirty deed.