November and December’s Movies
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About Time - A young man with the ability to time travel discovers that finding true love isn’t as easy as he thought it would be in this romantic comedy from writer/director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Pirate Radio). Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is 21 and lonely. In the harsh morning light following a depressing New Year’s Eve party, however, he discovers a family secret that will change his life forever. Entrusted by his father (Bill Nighy) with the knowledge that the men in their family can time travel, Cornwall native Tim relocates to London to study law, and find a girlfriend. The moment Tim locks eyes with gorgeous Mary (Rachel McAdams) he knows he’s found the woman of his dreams. But as soon as they’ve fallen in love, an unexpected glitch in the time travel renders them complete strangers again. Now, in order to win back Mary’s heart, Tim will have to travel into the past time and again. Eventually, he seems to master the process, using his unique talent to create an unforgettable marriage proposal, ensure his wedding to Mary goes off without a hitch, and circumvent a massive traffic jam that blocks their route to the hospital when his wife goes into labor, but in time Tim discovers that the true key to happiness lies not in his ability to fix the problems of the past, but instead make the absolute most of his life in the present. Author: Jason Buchanan
Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, Lindsay Duncan, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie; Directed by Richard Curtis; Universal Pictures; Rating: R; 123 minutes; 2013
Back to the Future - 1980s teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is transported back in time to 1955 where he accidentally changes the course of history through a series of comic misadventures and finds he must return things to the way they were, back to the future.
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilon, Claudia Wells; Directed by Robert Zemeckis; Universal Pictures; Rating: PG; 116 minutes; 1985
Begin Again - An ambitious young female singer moves to New York City in search of stardom, but finds only disappointment until falling for a struggling record-industry executive who helps her down the road to fame. Songwriting duo Gretta (Keira Knightley) and Dave (Adam Levine) had been dating since college when they decided to seek their fortune in NYC. When Dave is signed by a major label, temptation proves too powerful for him to resist and the couple call it quits. Crestfallen, Gretta fights to get back on her feet until one night, while performing in the East Village, she catches the attention of Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a once-respected music executive who’s since fallen on hard times. Enchanted by Gretta’s powerful voice and skillful songwriting, Dan convinces her to join him in a collaboration that will transform them both over the course of one unforgettable summer. Written and directed by John Carney (Once, Zonad). Author: Jason Buchanan
Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Adam Levine, Aya Cash, Hailee Steinfeld; Directed by John Carney; The Weinstein Company; Rating: R; 101 minutes; 2013
Dallas Buyers Club - Matthew McConaughey headlines director Jean-Marc Vallée’s biographical drama centering on the story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician who was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986, and who subsequently devoted his life to providing fellow HIV patients with non-FDA-approved drugs and supplements during an era when doctors were still struggling to understand the devastating disease. Defying his surprise death sentence, Woodroof set out to procure any and all non-toxic alternative HIV treatments available, and established a “buyers club” to provide the treatments to others afflicted with the disease. But that mission quickly made him a target for both the U.S. medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry, both of which resented his defiance of government sanctions, and joined forces to shut down his operation by any means necessary. Author: Jason Buchanan
Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn, Denis O’Hare, Dallas Roberts; Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée; Focus Features; Rating: R; 117 minutes; 2013
Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas - The cantankerous Grinch (Jim Carrey) descends from his dreary dwelling high in the peaks of Mt. Crumpit upon the unsuspecting citizens of Whoville to wreak havoc on their beloved Christmas season. But this recluse with a heart “two sizes too small” learns a valuable lesson from a little girl named Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) in this holiday favorite based on the book by Dr. Seuss.
Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tombor, Bill Irwin, Jeremy Howard, Kelley; Directed by Ron Howard; Universal Pictures; Rating: PG; 105 minutes; 2000
Eat Pray Love -Liz Gilbert had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having - a husband, a house, a successful career - yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power of prayer in India and finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali.
Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem; Directed by Ryan Murphy; Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.; Rating: PG-13; 133 minutes; 2010
Edge of Tomorrow - Tom Cruise stars as a futuristic soldier who is killed during a battle with alien invaders, and lives out the last day of his life over and over again in director Doug Liman’s adaptation of the popular Manga All You Need is Kill. In the not-too-distant future, a ferocious race of aliens dubbed “Mimics” have descended from the stars to stake their claim on Earth. Five years after arriving, they’re poised to claim Europe. Because the extraterrestrial invaders prove unusually proficient in responding to mankind’s typical combat strategies, the military begins outfitting its soldiers with weaponized bionic suits that increase strength, speed, and agility. Meanwhile, the military is certain that, by conducting a surprise assault on the west coast of France, they can catch the enemy off guard and defeat them. With victory in sight, General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) tasks Major William Cage (Cruise) with heading to the front lines and selling the war to the general public. Cage, however, is wary of the assignment due to his noted lack of combat experience, and unsuccessfully attempts to blackmail Brigham. Subsequently awakening at Heathrow Airport, Cage is greeted by Master Sergeant Farrell Bartolome (Bill Paxton), who introduces the sniveling major to his new unit, J-Squad, as a deserter and a con artist. The next day, as J-Squad prepare to make the drop and attack the enemy, they are ambushed. Somehow, the aliens knew they were coming, and almost as soon as Cage lands on the beach, he is killed during a fight with a Mimic. Much to his shock, he awakens right back at Heathrow Airport, where the entire scenario begins to play out all over again. Desperate to break the cycle when it continues ad nauseam, Cage seeks the help of Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), whose victories on the battlefield have turned her into a high-profile symbol of human strength and endurance. Eventually, thanks to repeated efforts, he manages to convince Vrataski that he is reliving the same day time and again, and after conferring with brilliant but disgraced scientist Dr. Carter (Noah Taylor), the trio devise a plan to use his unique situation to gain the upper hand over an enemy seemingly able to predict mankind’s every move. Author: Jason Buchanan
Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Jonas Armstrong, Tony Way, Kick Gurry; Directed by Doug Liman; Warner Bros.; Rating: PG-13; 113 minutes; 2014
Elf - Buddy was a baby who stowed away in Santa’s toy bag and ended up at the North Pole. The elves raise him as one of their own, but when he begins to notice his differences to the other elves he goes to New York City to find his birth father in this sweet holiday comedy.
Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Edward Asner, Mary Steenburgen, Zooey Deschanel; Directed by Jon Favreau; New Line Cinema; Rating: PG; 90 minutes; 2003
Forgetting Sarah Marshall - In desperate need of a vacation after being unceremoniously dumped by his TV-star girlfriend, a man travels to a lavish Hawaiian resort to nurse his wounds and forget his heartache, only to discover that his ex and her handsome new boyfriend are currently staying at the exact same island hot spot. Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) may be just another struggling musician, but for the past six years he’s been dating Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), one of the hottest stars on television. Sarah is everything in the world to Peter, so when she kindly but firmly tells him that they should each go their separate ways, he is absolutely devastated. Later, after attempting to salvage his ego by awkwardly attempting to become a womanizer and nearly losing his job because of a nervous breakdown, an emotionally fragile Peter attempts to put the past behind him by escaping to the sun-soaked beaches of Oahu. While at first it seems as if Peter has discovered the perfect prescription for a bad case of lost love, his plan soon turns to dust when Sarah and her new rock-star boyfriend, Aldous (Russell Brand), turn up at the exact same resort. Though accepting Sarah’s lavish new lifestyle won’t be easy for the crestfallen Peter, the laid-back companionship of flirtatious resort employee Rachel (Mila Kunis) — not to mention a continuous regimen of fruity cocktails — goes a long way in mending the wounds of a broken heart. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was penned by Segel and produced by Judd Apatow. Fun with Dick and Jane screenwriter Nicholas Stoller makes his directorial debut. The cast also includes Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, Jack McBrayer, and Jonah Hill. Author: Jason Buchanan
Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Liz Cackowski; Directed by Nicholas Stoller; Universal Pictures; Rating: R; 111 minutes; 2008
The Hurt Locker - Based on the personal wartime experiences of journalist Mark Boal (who adapted his experiences with a bomb squad into a fact-based, yet fictional story), director Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War-set action thriller The Hurt Locker presents the conflict in the Middle East from the perspective of those who witnessed the fighting firsthand — the soldiers. As an elite Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team tactfully navigates the streets of present-day Iraq, they face the constant threat of death from incoming bombs and sharp-shooting snipers. In Baghdad, roadside bombs are a common danger. The Army is working to make the city a safer place for Americans and Iraqis, so when it comes to dismantling IEDs (improvised explosive devices) the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) crew is always on their game. But protecting the public isn’t easy when there’s no room for error, and every second spent dismantling a bomb is another second spent flirting with death. Now, as three fearless bomb technicians take on the most dangerous job in Baghdad, it’s only a matter of time before one of them gets sent to “the hurt locker.” Jeremy Renner, Guy Pearce, and Ralph Fiennes star. Author: Jason Buchanan
Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse; Directed by Kathryn Bigelow; Summit Entertainment; Rating: R; 130 minutes; 2008
Love Actually - All of London is in love — or longing to be — in Four Weddings and a Funeral writer Richard Curtis’ first directorial effort. Billed as “the ultimate romantic comedy,” Love Actually involves more than a dozen main characters, each weaving his or her way into another’s heart over the course of one particularly eventful Christmas. The seemingly perfect wedding of Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) brings many of the principals together, including heartsick best man Mark (Andrew Lincoln), who harbors a very unrequited crush on Juliet. There’s also recent widower Daniel (Liam Neeson), trying to help his lonely stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster) express his true feelings to a classmate. Across town, devoted working mother Karen (Emma Thompson) tries to rekindle the passion of her husband, Harry (Alan Rickman), who secretly pines for a young colleague of his. In the same office, the lonely Sarah (Laura Linney) not-so-secretly pines for a man just a few desks away (Rodrigo Santoro), who returns her affections but may not be able to dissuade her neuroses. Providing the unofficial soundtrack for all of the couples is an aging rocker (Bill Nighy) who just wants to cash in and get laid — but even he might find a meaningful relationship in the most unlikely of places. A working print of Love Actually premiered at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival. Author: Michael Hastings
Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth; Directed by Richard Curtis; Universal Pictures; Rating: R; 130 minutes; 2003
Rent - The revolutionary Broadway musical comes to the big screen. A ragtag group of bohemians are struggling with AIDS, poverty, drugs, illness and just trying to pay the rent in the 525,600 minutes that make up a year. As the title song says, they are “measuring their lives in love.”
Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Jesse L. Martin, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Idina Menzel; Directed by Chris Columbus; Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.; Rating: PG-13; 135 minutes; 2005
The Shawshank Redem - In 1946, a banker named Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of a double murder, even though he stubbornly proclaims his innocence. He’s sentenced to a life term at the Shawshank State Prison in Maine, where another lifer, Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), picks him as the new recruit most likely to crack under the pressure. The ugly realities of prison life are quickly introduced to Andy: a corrupt warden (Bob Gunton), sadistic guards led by Capt. Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown), and inmates who are little better than animals, willing to use rape or beatings to insure their dominance. But Andy does not crack: he has the hope of the truly innocent, which (together with his smarts) allow him to prevail behind bars. He uses his banking skills to win favor with the warden and the guards, doing the books for Norton’s illegal business schemes and keeping an eye on the investments of most of the prison staff. In exchange, he is able to improve the prison library and bring some dignity and respect back to many of the inmates, including Red. Based on a story by Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption was the directorial debut of screenwriter Frank Darabont. Author: Mark Deming
Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows; Directed by Frank Darabont; Warner Bros.; Rating: R; 142 minutes; 1994
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