OnVideo: OCTOBER's Top Movies
BABIESDocumentary look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world -- from birth to first steps. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco. Captures the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.
GET HIM TO THE GREEKAaron Green (Jonah Hill) gets things done. The ambitious 23-year-old has exaggerated his way into a dream job just in time for a career-making assignment. His mission: Fly to London and escort a fading rock god to L.A.'s Greek Theatre for the first-stop on a $100-million comeback tour. His warning: Turn your back on him at your own peril. British rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) is both a brilliant musician and walking sex. Weary of yes men and piles of money, the former front man is searching for the meaning of life. But that doesn't mean he can't have a few orgies while he finds it. Aaron has just 72 hours to wrangle the out-of-control rocker across the Atlantic. The seemingly simple assignment devolves into a thicket of groupies and parties, as Snow does his anarchic best to undermine his handler at every turn and Aaron does whatever it takes -- including navigating a minefield of London drug smugglers, New York City brawls and Vegas lap dances -- to keep his unruly charge on track.
Director: Nicholas Stoller. Stars: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Rose Byrne, Sean Combs, Elisabeth Moss, Colm Meany, Nick Kroll, Aziz Ansari, T. J. Miller. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $60.758 million, Universal. Available: 9/28.
IRON MAN 2In "Iron Man 2," the world is aware that billionaire inventor Tony Stark is the armored super hero Iron Man. Under pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military, Tony is unwilling to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armor because he fears the information will slip into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts and James "Rhodey" Rhodes at his side, Tony forges new alliances and confronts powerful new forces. And don't forget an exciting new nemesis, the resentful Russian science whiz Ivan Vanko, who gives Iron Man a run for his money.
Director: Jon Favreau. Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Rockwell, Kate Mara, Clark Gregg, Garry Shandling, Jon Favreau, John SLattery. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 17 min., Action, Box office gross: $310.8 million, Paramount. Available: 9/28.
JUST WRIGHTLeslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is a straight-shooting physical therapist who gets the gig of a lifetime working with NBA All-Star Scott McKnight (Common). Everything is going great until Leslie finds herself falling for him. Oblivious to her romantic overtures, McKnight is instead drawn to Leslie's gorgeous childhood friend Morgan (Paula Patton), who has her sights set on being an NBA trophy wife. Is Leslie destined to play the role of "best friend" forever or will Scott finally see that what he has always wanted is right in front of him?
KILLERSTrying to recover from a sudden break-up, Jen Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl) believes she'll never fall in love again. But when she reluctantly joins her parents on a trip to the French Riviera, Jen happens to meet the man of her dreams, the dashing, handsome Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher). Three years later, her seemingly impossible wish has come true: She and Spencer are newlyweds living the ideal suburban life -- that is, until the morning after Spencer's 30th birthday when bullets start flying. Literally. It turns out Spencer never bothered to tell Jen he's also an international super-spy, and now Jen's perfect world has been turned upside down. Faced with the fact that her husband is a hit man, Jen is determined to discover what other secrets Spencer might be keeping -- all the while trying to dodge bullets, keep up neighborly appearances, manage the in-laws…and work out some major trust issues.
Director: Robert Luketic. Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O'Hara, Katheryn Winnick, Kevin Sussman,Lisa Ann Walter, Casey Wilson. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min., Action Comedy, Box office gross: $46.859 million, Lionsgate. Available: 9/7.
LETTERS TO JULIETBy the book rom-com about a young American woman (Amanda Seyfried) who travels to Verona, Italy, home of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. There she comes across a group of volunteers who act as an Italian Dear Abby, responding to letters written to "Juliet" seeking advice about love. She comes across a lost letter from 1951, and answers it, inspiring its author (Vanessa Redgrave) to travel to Italy in search of her long-lost love, giving everyone (Seyfried included) a new chance at romance. Vitals: Director: Gary Winick. Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal, Chris Egan, Franco Nero. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 105 min., Romantic Comedy, Box office gross: $52.897 million, Summit Entertainment. Available: 9/14.
MACGRUBEROnly one American hero has earned the rank of Green Beret, Navy Seal and Army Ranger. Just one operative has been awarded 16 purple hearts, three Congressional medals of honor and seven presidential medals of bravery. And only one guy is man enough to still sport a mullet ... MacGruber. Will Forte brings "Saturday Night Live's" clueless soldier of fortune to the big screen. In the 10 years since his fiancee was killed, special op MacGruber has sworn off a life of fighting crime with his bare hands. But when he learns that his country needs him to find a nuclear warhead that's been stolen by his sworn enemy, Dieter Von Cunth, MacGruber figures he's the only one tough enough for the job. Assembling an elite team of experts, MacGruber will navigate an army of assassins to hunt down Cunth and bring him to justice.
Director: Jorma Taccone. Stars: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe, Maya Rudolph, Powers Boothe. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 88 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $8.361 million, Universal. Available: 9/7 .
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIMEJake Gyllenhaal stars as the adopted son of the King of Persia who's framed when his step-father is assassinated. On the run to prove his innocence, he meets a princess ("Quantum of Solace" Bond girl Gemma Arterton) who guards a legendary dagger that contains The Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that allows the possessor to turn back time and, if so inclined, rule the world. Naturally, the pair must safeguard the dagger from the evil forces around them.
Director: Mike Newell. Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min., Adventure, Box office gross: $89.523 million, Disney. Available: 9/14.
ROBIN HOODDirector Ridley Scott's take on the Robin Hood legend -- before he became Robin Hood. The expert archer Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), a man interested only in self-preservation during his service in King Richard's army, first during the Crusades, and then against the French, leaves the king's army after Richard dies in battle. King John, who has ascended to the throne, increases taxation and oppresses his people, and appoints the brutal and treacherous thug Godfrey as his Earl Marshal of England. Hoping to stir opposition to the weak King John to set the stage for a French invasion, Godfrey brutally sacks the countryside under the pretext of collecting royal taxes. On his way back home, Robin, along with Will Scarlett, Alan-a-Dale and Little John, encounters the dying knight Robert of Locksley, whose party was ambushed by Godfrey. Robin promises Locksley he will return his sword to his father Walter in Nottingham and upon his arrival, Walter encourages him to impersonate his son to prevent their land from being confiscated. Here he falls for Marian, Robert's widow, and forms a local army to fend off Godfrey's men. When he learns of the impending invasion, Robin helps unite the armies of the English barons under the command of King John (who has, temporarily, come to his senses), and they do battle against the French. Robin's reward: a price on his head and banishment to the forests of Sherwood.
Director: Ridley Scott. Stars: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes, Matthew Macfadyen, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney, Max von Sydow. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 141 min., Adventure, Box office gross: $105.054 million, Universal. Available: 9/21.
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYESRecently retired criminal court investigator Benjamin (Ricardo Darin) decides to write a novel based on a 25-year-old unresolved case that still haunts him: In the early 1970s -- a time in Argentine history when a military junta ruled the country, waging a Dirty War against the people in which citizens just "disappeared" -- a beautiful young newlywed was raped and murdered in her home while her husband worked at a bank. Benjamin shares his plans with Irene (Soledad Villamil), the beautiful judge and former colleague he has secretly been in love with for years. Benjamin's initial involvement with the case is shown through flashbacks, following his efforts to identify the murderer. But as the mystery of the heinous crime continues to unfold in the present, his search for the truth will put him at the center of a judicial nightmare and will test the limits of a man seeking justice and personal fulfillment at last. A stunning tour-de-force that explores the depths of human emotions -- love, fear, loneliness, yearning, hate -- disguised as a police procedural mystery that effortlessly juggles romance, comedy, suspense and political commentary. Academy Award-winner for Best Foreign-Language Film. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Director: Juan Jose Campanella. Stars: Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino, Guillermo Francella. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: R, 129 min., Drama, Box office gross: $5.876 million, Sony. Available: 9/21.
SOLITARY MANThe dryly funny story of Ben Kalmen (Michael Douglas), a fifty-something New Yorker and former successful car dealer, who through his own bad choices lost his entire business. He's also divorced from Nancy (Susan Sarandon), his college sweetheart and the one person who knows him better than anyone. Although he still finds the time for his daughter Susan (Jenna Fischer) and her adoring grandson, his role as more of a friend than father or grandfather is starting to wear thin on the family. His girlfriend Jordan (Mary-Louise Parker) is the daughter of a very influential businessman who's on the board of a major auto manufacturer. If Ben can just keep his hubris in check for a little while longer, he will be back as big as ever, but some of the same motivations that lead to his demise are threatening to take him down again, and for good.
Director: Brian Koppelman, David Levien. Stars: Michael Douglas, Mary-Louise Parker, Jenna Fishe, Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Comedy-Drama, Box office gross: $.871 million, Anchor Bay Entertainment. Available: 9/7.
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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October 1, 2010