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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
Coming to a theatre near your this week:
Cloud Atlas (2012)
A tale that takes place over hundreds of years, where the action of one person affects the lives of many in the present and in the future. If someone commits a horrible act in one life, can that person be redeemed by committing acts of kindness in their future lives? Cloud Atlas website
What to Watch For: One of the most anticipated films of the year with an all-star cast, including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant. The cast members play up to twelve different roles in the film and sometimes change race and gender as the story progresses through time periods. Could Academy Awards be in the film’s future?
Word on the Street: The fans of the first “Matrix” film are hoping this is a return to glory years for directors Andy and Lana Wachowski, who shot into fame with their groundbreaking film in 1999. To help bring this sprawling film to fruition they also brought in Tom Tykwer to help direct.
My Take: When this film first hit the film festival markets the film was a sure Academy Award contender, but lately the reactions are this is a very ambitious film that doesn’t quite live up the expectations.
Chasing Mavericks (2012)
A young high school student , Jay (Jonny Weston), lives for surfing. He has discovered that a legendary wave formation “The Mavericks” is just down the road from where he lives. He becomes determined to ride one of the biggest waves on Earth, but he needs the help of a legendary surfer Frosty (Gerald Butler) to train for this death defying ride. Chasing Mavericks website
What to Watch For: Was the success of the 2011 film “Soul Surfer” an indication that the box office public is ready for more films based on the surfing way of life?
Word on the Street: Gerald Butler trained extensively for this film and had a near death experience when he was pulled underwater for several minutes while shooting surfing scenes. The scenes show how dangerous the sport is; especially when these talented athletes face waves as big as depicted in the film
My Take: I am looking forward to seeing the surfing portion of the film, as the footage has been described as so good that the footage would make one heck of a documentary.
Wren (Victoria Justice) has big plans for Halloween, but all that goes out the wayside when she is given the task of taking her little brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll) trick-or-treating. Things go from bad to worse when Wren loses Albert in a sea of kids. Now Wren must find Albert before her mom finds out he is missing. Funsize website
What to Watch For: Will the fans of the star of Nickelodeon’s popular series, “Victorious” come out to the box office to see her in a new role?
Word on the Street: Nickelodeon hopes this film does for Victoria Justice what the 1987 film “Adventures in Babysitting” did for Elizabeth Shue.
My Take: Not sure parents will love this film, but it’s not aimed at them – it’s targeted toward the young teen market. Parents should be aware that the film was given a PG-13 rating.
Frank (Richard Coyle) is a drug pusher working the streets of London. He has a sometime girlfriend, Flo (Agyness Deyn) and a partner in crime, Tony (Bronson Webb). Things start going bad when Frank’s drug mule, Danka (Daisy Lewis), goes missing and Milo (Zlatko Buric), a local mob boss, wants his money back – money that Frank had borrowed to make the drug deal. Pusher IMDB page
What to Watch For: The reason to see this film is the performance of Richard Coyle, who does a masterful job of showing a man whose life is going down the drain, even as he tries to scramble, he just keeps getting in deeper.
Word on the Street: The two women of this film, the girlfriend/stripper, Flo, played by Agyness Deyn, and the drug mule Danka, played by Daisy Lewis, help give the film a little humanity; which is sorely needed in the depicted dark world of drugs and mobsters.
My Take: I’m not sure fans of the original film, the 1996 cult film of the same name directed by Nicolas Refn, will be happy with this remake.
Least Among Saints (2012)
Anthony (Martin Papazian) is a solider who tries to return to civilian life, but he is having a hard time coping. His ex-wife, Jenny (Audrey Maire Anderson), wants nothing to do with him and has put a restraining order out on Anthony. Things are made worse by Anthony’s neighbors, the drugged-out mom, Cheryl (A.J. Cook), and her hostile son, Wade (Tristan Lake Leabu). When Wade’s mom dies of an overdose, Anthony feels sorry for the boy. Anthony decides to keep the boy in order to keep Wade from going into the local lockup while Anthony waits until social services can find a suitable home for the boy. Least Among Saints IMDB page
What to Watch For: Tristan Lake Leabu brings a multi-layered performance to the role of the troubled Wade.
Word on the Street: Advocates of helping Vets returning to civilian lives will embrace this movie, which shows the stress of coming back from such a horrific experience into the civilian world that no longer seems normal or ordinary.
My Take: First time director Martin Papazian made a smart choice picking several veteran actors to fill out the cast with Laura San Giacomo, who plays a social worker assigned to Wade’s case and Charles Dutton as a police officer who is also a vet and takes a special interest in Anthony’s case.
If you can’t go to the theatre this weekend, stay at home and watch movies on CW69.
The Dog that Saved Halloween (2010) After George breaks his leg, his dog, Zeus, tries to investigate the strange goings on at the house next door. This film is the third film in the “Dog that Saved” series and stars Dean Cain, Elisa Donovan, Gary Valentine and Lance Henriksen.
Night of the Living Dead (1990) A remake of the 1968 cult classic of the same name, where a mysterious virus has re-animated the dead who are out to kill the living. A group of strangers take refuge in an isolated farm house and must survive the night with flesh eating zombies attacking at every turn.