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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 this week at a theatre near you:
Theo (Ryan Reynolds) dreams of being the best race car driver in the world, just like his hero, five-time Indianapolis 500 champ Guy Gagne. There is just one problem Theo is an ordinary garden snail. Theo’s life changes when, by accident, he gets sucked into the supercharger of a drag racer and his DNA mixes with nitrous oxide, creating a snail with super speed. Now Theo can live up to his nickname, Turbo, and make his dreams come alive. Main Image courtsey of Twentieth Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation Turbo Website
What to Watch For: As usual, with a DreamWorks Animation film, this movie has a magnificent cast including, Paul Giamatti, Maya Rudolph, Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg and Michelle Rodriguez.
Word on the Street: DreamWorks worked with the Indy 500 to make the speedway as authentic as possible and used Dario Franchitti, a four-time winner of the race, as a technical consultant.
My Take: How can you go wrong with a snail named Whiplash voiced by Samuel L. Jackson?
“Red 2″ (2013)
Your favorite retired black-ops are back. Frank (Bruce Willis) is just trying to fit in and live the normal life with his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) when he is notified by Victoria (Helen Mirren) that Interpol is on the hunt for him. To clear his name, he gets the gang back together on a quest to hunt down a missing portable nuclear device. Red 2 Website
What to Watch For: Added to the impressive cast of Willis, Parker, Mirren and John Malkovich are Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and hot off his role as Storm Shadow in 2012’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” Lee Byung-hun.
Word on the Street: Hopkins apparently had a blast playing the villain in this movie with his friend Mirren after they made the 2012 film “Hitchcock” together.
My Take: I am sorry there will be one cast member missing from the first “Red” film – Ernest Borgnine, who played Henry the records-keeper, died last year.
“The Conjuring” (2013)
The Perron family (Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston) are being terrorized by a mysterious presence in their old family farmhouse, so they bring in Paranormal Investigators, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) to get rid of the entity. This case may be bigger, though, than anyone ever thought. The Conjuring Website
What to Watch For: When the producers of the film asked the Motion Picture Association of America rating board why their film was being given an R-rating instead of PG-13, the board replied, “It’s just so scary.”
Word on the Street: The film is being compared to classic horror films, like “The Exorcist” (1973) and “The Amityville Horror” (1979).
My Take: I’m ready for a horror film that doesn’t rely on shock or gore to scare its viewers.
Detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is killed in a shootout and discovers that there is a whole other dimension out there inhabited by the spirit world. Now Nick works for the R.I.P.D – the Rest in Peace Department, the police force of the undead. Partnered with Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), Nick has to stop evil spirits from taking over the living world. R.I.P.D. Website
What to Watch For: This is director Robert Schwentke’s follow up film to the 2010 hit “Red.”
Word on the Street: It’s said that the highlight of the film is the banter between Reynolds and Bridges. Think of this film as “Men In Black” but with cops.
My Take: Any film that has Kevin Bacon as the bad guy is a film for me.
“Fruitvale Station” (2013)
Is the true story of the last day in the life of Oscar (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year old man who was killed by transit cops in the Bay area of California one New Year’s morning. Fruitevale Station Website
What to Watch For: Writer/director Ryan Coogler’s film was one of the big winners at both the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals.
Word on the Street: Jordan, following impressive TV work in such shows as “The Wire,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood,” could be seeing an Academy Award nomination in his future.
My Take: Director Coogler has been able to piece together Oscar’s last day alive and almost everything in the film actually happened.
“Crystal Fairy” (2013)
Jamie (Michael Cera) and his friends are traveling through Chile when they encounter a woman (Gaby Hoffmann) who calls herself, Crystal Fairy. The gang, with Crystal in tow, are on a quest to find a psychotropic cactus that they plan on ingesting while on a beach. It’s a trip they never will forget. Crystal Fairy Website
What to Watch For: Hoffmann was a child star of the late 80’s/early 90’s, with memorable roles in “Field of Dreams” (1989), “Uncle Buck” (1989), “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993) and “The Man Without a Face” (1993).
Word on the Street: The film won the Directing Award for Sebastian Silva at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
My Take: This is the first of two films that director Silva and actor Cera made in Chile, the second is a drama called “Magic Magic.” Both films are getting excellent response from critics.
If you can’t go to the theatre this weekend, stay at home and watch movies on CW69.
“Did You Hear About the Morgan’s?” (2009) Paul (Hugh Grant) and Meryl (Sarah Jessica Parker) are successful in their professional lives but have let their marriage suffer. After witnessing a murder in New York City, they are placed in the Witness Protection Program and are relocated to a small town in Wyoming. Will the big city Morgans survive in the Wild West?
“Ice Age” (2002) The first film in the animated series where it all began. Manfred (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo) and Diego (Denis Leary) find a lost human baby and decide to try its find its parents. Great idea, but it’s the Ice Age, and things might get a little rough.
“Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) Jamal (Dev Patel) grew up on the mean streets of Mumbai, India. He appears on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and starts a winning streak which exceeds even his own expectations. After a lot of wins that no one believes, Jamal is held on suspicion of cheating and retells his life through a series of flashbacks that explain why he knows each answer in the game show. This film won eight Academy Awards in 2009, including Best Picture and Best Director for Danny Boyle.