OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams
For movies opening March 21, 2014
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Divergent (PG-13 for intense violence, mature themes and some sensuality) Futuristic sci-fi, set in a supposedly-utopian society where people are segregated by personality, although anyone who fails to fit into one of five groups ends-up condemned to death. Starring Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Theo James and Maggie Q.
Muppets Most Wanted (PG for mild action) Animated adventure set in Europe where the Muppets unwittingly become embroiled in a jewel heist hatched by a Kermit the Frog look-a-like (Steve Whitmore). Voice cast includes Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell, with cameos by Lady Gaga, Sean Diddy Combs, Celine Dion, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett, Usher and Salma Hayek.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
50 to 1 (PG-13 for suggestive material and a bar fight) Fact-based drama chronicling the road trip from New Mexico to Kentucky undertaken by a posse of cowboys when their crooked-footed horse miraculously qualifies for the Derby. Starring Skeet Ulrich, William Devane and Christian Kane.
American Revolutionary (Unrated) Reverential biopic about Grace Lee Boggs, the 97 year-old, progressive political activist who, for many decades, has dedicated her life to the plight of the poor people of Detroit. Featuring commentary by Danny Glover, Angela Davis and Bill Ayers.
Anita (Unrated) Ugly biopic about beauty queen-turned-gay rights opponent Anita Bryant (Uma Thurman) whose homophobic crusade led to her divorce and bankruptcy, and heralded the demise of her showbiz career.
Awakened (Unrated) Supernatural thriller about a young woman (Julianne Michelle) who gets help from beyond the grave while unearthing the truth about whether her father (John Savage) murdered her mother (Kiva Dawson) when she was a child. Featuring Steven Bauer, Edward Furlong and Sally Kirkland.
A Birder’s Guide to Everything (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, drug use and partial nudity) Ornithological comedy about a 15 year-old bird watcher (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who embarks on an expedition with a couple of friends in search of the supposedly-extinct Labrador Duck. With Ben Kingsley, James Le Gros and Katie Chang.
Blood Ties (R for sexuality, violence, brief drug use and pervasive profanity) Gangster saga, set in 1974, revolving around two brothers (Clive Owen and Billy Crudup) operating on opposite sides of the law in their Brooklyn neighborhood. Ensemble cast includes James Caan, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Jamie Hector and Griffin Dunne.
Cheap Thrills (Unrated) Dark comedy about an unemployed auto mechanic (Pat Healy) who, for some much-needed cash, accepts a rich couple’s (David Koechner and Sara Paxton) series of increasingly twisted dares. With Ethan Embry, Amanda Fuller and Laura Covelli.
God’s Not Dead (PG for mature themes, brief violence and an accident scene) Christian-oriented drama about a college freshman (Shane Harper) who finds his faith challenged by a philosophy professor’s (Kevin Sorbo) pressure to embrace atheism for a passing grade. Featuring Dean Cain, Jim Gleason and Willie Robertson.
It Felt Like Love (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama about an envious, 14 year-old virgin (Gina Piersanti) who decides to seduce an older boy (Ronen Rubinstein) to match the exploits of her sexually-active BFF (Giovanna Salimeni). Support cast includes Nick Rosen, Richie Folio and Andrew McCord.
Just a Sigh (Unrated) Serendipitous romance drama about the love which blossoms when a miserably-married actress (Emmanuelle Devos) and a grieving literature professor (Gabriel Byrne) sit across from each other on a train traveling from Calais to Paris. With Gilles Privat, Aurelia Petit and Laurent Capelluto. (In French and English with subtitles)
Maladies (Unrated) Dream deferred drama about a mentally-ill, soap opera star (James Franco) who retires prematurely to a quiet coastal town with his deranged sister (Fallon Goodson) and best friend (Catherine Keener). Cast includes David Strathairn, Jean Carter and Jon Prescott.
McCanick (R for profanity, graphic violence and brief drug use) David Morse stars in the title role of this out-of-the-closet drama chronicling an eventful day-in-the-life of a cop with a big secret. Featuring Mike Vogel, Tracie Thoms, Aaron Yoo and recently-deceased Cory Monteith in the late Glee star’s final screen appearance.
The Missing Picture (Unrated) Claymation documentary recreating the crimes against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the late Seventies. (In French with subtitles)
Nymphomaniac: Part One (Unrated) Lars Von Trier (Breaking the Waves) directed this erotic drama in which a 50 year-old woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) recounts her adventurous sex life to the Good Samaritan (Stellan Skarsgard) who came to the rescue after she was beaten and left for dead in an alley. With Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman and Willem Dafoe.
Rob the Mob (R for sexuality, drug use and pervasive profanity) Crime caper about a couple (Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda) that stumbles upon something unexpected at an underground club in the process of attempting to fleece the Mafia. Support cast features Ray Romano, Andy Garcia and Griffin Dunne.