Opening This Week (14 – 20 Mar 2011)

14 Mar

Battle: Los Angeles knocked off the animated feature Rango for the top spot at the box office, bringing in $36 million, which is pretty decent considering it is a mid-March release. Pac and I will have our review of that film out later, but let’s see what we have got coming out this week:


Rated: R

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig

Director: Greg Mottola

Synopsis from IMDB: Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.


Chris’ Take: This is the third film from my Most Anticipated list for this year, barely making it in at #10. So far my anticipated list has been complete and utter disappointment, but based on early reviews (63% on RT), this could be the first one that is decent. It has  a great cast and Greg Mottola has a pretty good track record as a comedic director. I hope that this film brings some good laughs even if it isn’t a masterpiece.


Rated: PG-13

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel

Director: Neil Burger

Synopsis from IMDB: A copywriter discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super human abilities.


Chris’ Take: Watching Robert De Niro’s descent into ridiculous films has been so sad. I don’t think he is going to pull himself out of it with this one. While premises like these are intriguing, I always end up hoping they truly look at all the ramifications of playing God, but Bradley Cooper doesn’t strike me as an actor that has the depth to do that.

Win Win

Rated: R

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, Bobby Cannavale

Director: Thomas McCarthy

Synopsis from IMDB: Disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty (Giamatti), who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family. Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy’s mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything.


Chris’ Take: Paul Giamatti can strike quite a balance between comedy and drama, as clearly evidenced in films like Sideways. He also played a great role in Cinderella Man as a boxing coach. His role in this film looks like combines all three of those aspects and looks like it will be the best film to come out this weekend.  While it is listed as a wide release, I think it will probably only show up in a few theaters. Amy Ryan is a great actress as well and I think she will be a great complement to Giamatti’s antics.

The Lincoln Lawyer

Rated: R

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy

Director: Brad Furman

Synopsis from IMDB: A lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car while representing a high-profile client in Beverly Hills.


Chris’ Take: While so far the early reviews for this film have been decent, they all seem to harp on one sentence: entertaining, but nothing more. I am sure that this will be a fast paced film trying to return McConaughey to his earlier career roles, but I think the supporting cast is going to do most of the work for the tension. Might be a good film for diversion, but if you’re looking for something meatier, this probably won’t be your cup of tea.

Limited Releases

Winter in Wartime

Rated: R

Starring: Martijn Lakemeier, Yorick Van Wageningen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Raymond Thiry

Director: Martin Koolhoven

Synopsis from IMDB: Near the end of World War II, 14-year-old Michiel becomes involved with the Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded British soldier. With the conflict coming to an end, Michiel comes of age and learns of the stark difference between adventure fantasy and the ugly realities of war.


Chris’ Take: This film was a foreign release a couple of years ago and is just now getting a release in U.S. theaters. It has a solid 75% on RT and looks like a beautiful and harsh coming of age tale.


Rated: Unrated

Starring: Anne Coesens, Esse Lawson, Gabriela Perez

Director: Olivier Masset-Depasse

Synopsis from IMDB: Tania, a young Russian woman who lives illegally in Belgium with her 13-year-old son Ivan. Constantly on her guard, she dreads police checks until the day she is arrested. Mother and son are separated and Tania is placed in a detention center. She will do anything to be reunited with her son but won’t manage to avoid threats of deportation.


Chris’ Take: Looks to be a difficult drama to watch, but also looks like it has some strong performances as well.


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