OnVideo: APRIL's Top Movies
BORN TO BE WILD"Born to be Wild 3D" is an inspired story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. This film documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them -- saving endangered species one life at a time. Stunningly captured in IMAX 3D, the film is a heartwarming adventure transporting moviegoers into the lush rainforests of Borneo with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas, and across the rugged Kenyan savannah with celebrated elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick, as they and their teams rescue, rehabilitate and return these incredible animals back to the wild. Narrated by Morgan Freeman.
CONTRABANDFast-paced thriller about a man trying to stay out of a world he worked so hard to leave behind and the family he'll do anything to protect. Set in New Orleans, the film explores the cutthroat underground world of international smuggling -- full of desperate criminals and corrupt officials, high-stakes and big payoffs -- where loyalty rarely exists and death is one wrong turn away. Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after his brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), Chris is forced back into doing what he does best -- running contraband -- to settle Andy's debt. Chris is a legendary smuggler and quickly assembles a crew with the help of his best friend, Sebastian (Ben Foster), for one final run to Panama and back, hoping to return with millions in counterfeit bills. Things quickly fall apart and with only hours to reach the cash, Chris must use his rusty skills to successfully navigate a treacherous criminal network of brutal drug lords, cops and hit men before his wife (Kate Beckinsale) and sons become their target.
Director: Baltasar Kormakur. Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi, Ben Foster, Lukas Haas, Caleb Landry Jones, Diego Luna, J.K. Simmons. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 110 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $65.860 million, Universal. Available: 4/24.
THE DARKEST HOURSci-fi actioner about five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien invasion that saw the invaders attack via our power supplies. The thriller highlights the classic beauty of Moscow alongside mind-blowing special effects.
Director: Chris Gorak. Stars: Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 89 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $21.426 million, Summit Entertainment. Available: 4/10.
THE IRON LADYA surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. One of the 20th century's most famous and influential women, Thatcher came from nowhere to smash through barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male dominated world. Much more than a biographical epic, the film is also the surprisingly intimate journey of a "common" grocer's daughter whose social ambition and steel will -- along with the love of her husband and confidant, Denis (Jim Broadbent) — propelled her to unprecedented power. Combining fact, fiction and poetic flight of imagination -- as well as flashbacks -- director Phyllida Lloyd creates a portrait that reveals the many faces of Thatcher: the hard-nosed conservative; the woman who demolished the barriers of gender and class in a male-dominated world; the spirited wife and mother who longed to change her country for the better. And it doesn't hurt that Streep gives one of the greatest performances of her career.
Director: Phyllida Lloyd. Stars: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd, Richard E. Grant. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 105 min., BioDrama, Box office gross: $17.519 million, The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay. Available: 4/10 .
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE -- GHOST PROTOCOLBlamed for the terrorist bombing of the Kremlin, IMF operative Ethan Hunt is disavowed along with the rest of the agency when the President initiates "Ghost Protocol." Left without any resources or backup, Ethan must find a way to clear his agency's name and prevent another attack. To complicate matters further, Ethan is forced to embark on this mission with a team of fellow IMF fugitives whose personal motives he does not fully know. Spectacular gadgets and stunts, including a dizzying ascent up the world's tallest building.
Director: Brad Bird . Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, Josh Holloway, Anil Kapoor, Lea Seydoux. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 132 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $207.404 million, Paramount. Available: 4/17.
SHAMEBrandon (Michael Fassbender) is a New Yorker who shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. When his wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment and stirs up memories of their shared painful past, Brandon's insular life spirals out of control.
Director: Steve McQueen. Stars: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie, Hannah Ware. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: NC-17, 125 min., Drama, Box office gross: $3.735 million, Fox. Available: 4/17.
WAR HORSEBased on the Tony Award-winning play, and set against the sweeping canvas of WWI, this tale begins with the remarkable friendship between a feisty colt named Joey and his young trainer Albert (Jeremy Irvine). When they’re forced apart by war, the film follows Joey's extraordinary journey as he changes and inspires the lives of everyone he meets -- British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter. No matter where they go or what they experience, both boy and horse keep forging ahead, driven by devotion and the hope of returning home -- -before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man's Land.
Director: Steven Spielberg. Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 146 min., Adventure, Box office gross: $78.775 million, DreamWorks/Disney. Available: 4/03.
WE BOUGHT A ZOOBenjamin Mee (Matt Damon) is a Los Angeles newspaper columnist and adventure writer who, as a single father, faces the challenges of raising his two young children. Hoping that a fresh start and a new life will restore their family spirit, Mee quits his job and buys an old rural house outside the city with a unique bonus feature: a zoo named the Rosemoor Animal Park, where dozens of animals reside under the care of head zookeeper Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson) and her dedicated team. With no experience, limited time and a shoestring budget, Mee sets out with the support of his family and the local community to reopen the zoo. Now, Benjamin is no longer reporting an adventure story; he's living it in his own backyard. Based on a true story.
Director: Cameron Crowe. Stars: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Colin Ford, Maggie Elizabeth Jones, Angus Macfadyen, Elle Fanning. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 124 min., Family, Box office gross: $73.743 million, Fox. Available: 4/03.
All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.
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April 1, 2012