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New Releases and Upcoming Movies

New & Upcoming Movie Releases


Little Accidents
Release: January 22nd
Rated: NR
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Lofland
Genre: Drama
Synopsis: In a small American town still living in the shadow of a terrible coal mine accident, the disappearance of a teenage boy draws together a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy in a web of secrets.
The Duke of Burgundy
Release: January 23rd
Rated: NR
Cast: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Chiara D'Anna, Eugenia Caruso
Genre: Drama
Synopsis: A woman who studies butterflies and moths tests the limits of her relationship with her lover.
Red Army
Release: January 23rd
Rated: PG
Cast: Scotty Bowman, Vyacheslav Fetisov, Anatoli Karpov
Genre: Documentary | Biography | History
Synopsis: Red Army is a feature documentary about the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team. 
Cake
Release: January 23rd
Rated: R
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Lucy Punch, Felicity Huffman
Genre: Drama
Synopsis: Claire initiates a dubious relationship with a widower while confronting fantastical hallucinations of his dead wife.
Strange Magic
Release: January 23rd
Rated: PG
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Kristin Chenoweth
Genre: Animation | Family | Fantasy 
Synopsis: A fairy tale of goblins, fairies and imps meeting for the first time and the consequent confusions and conflicts the culture clash causes.
Black Sea
Release: January 23rd
Rated: R
Cast: Jude Law, Jodie Whittaker, Ben Mendelsohn 
Genre: Adventure | Thriller
Synopsis: In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold.
Mortdecai
Release: January 23rd
Rated: R
Cast: Johnny Depp, Olivia Munn, Ewan McGregor
Genre: Action | Comedy
Synopsis: Art dealer Charles Mortdecai searches for a stolen painting that's reportedly linked to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.
The Boy Next Door
Release: January 23rd
Rated: R
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Kristin Chenoweth
Genre: Thriller
Synopsis: A divorced woman falls in love with the young man who moves in to the street and finds he has a dark secret.
Amira & Sam
Release: January 30th
Rated: NR
Cast: Martin Starr, Dina Shihabi, Paul Wesley
Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
Synopsis: An army veteran attempts to assimilate back into a country he barely recognizes while trying to win the heart of an Iraqi immigrant who is on the verge of being deported.
Project Almanac
Release: January 30th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Amy Landecker, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Virginia Gardner
Genre: Sci-Fi | Thriller
Synopsis: A group of teens discover secret plans of a time machine, and construct one. However, things start to get out of control.
Ballet 422
Release: February 6th
Rated: PG
Cast: Tiler Peck, Sterling Hyltin, Justin Peck 
Genre: Documentary | Drama | Music 
Synopsis: From first rehearsal to world premiere, Ballet 422 takes us backstage at New York City Ballet as emerging choreographer Justin Peck crafts a new work.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
Release: February 6th
Rated: NR
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Thomas F. Wilson, Seth Green
Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy
Synopsis: SpongeBob goes on a quest to discover a stolen recipe that takes him to our dimension, our world, where he tangles with a pirate.
Seventh Son
Release: February 6th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges
Genre: Adventure | Family | Fantasy
Synopsis: Young Thomas is apprenticed to the local Spook to learn to fight evil spirits. His first great challenge comes when the powerful Mother Malkin escapes her confinement while the Spook is away.
Jupiter Ascending
Release: February 6th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne
Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
Synopsis: In the future, a young destitute human woman gets targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe, and begins her destiny to finish the Queen's reign.
What We Do in the Shadows
Release: February 13th
Rated: NR
Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh
Genre: Comedy | Horror
Synopsis: Follow the lives of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) - three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life's obstacles-like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. 
The Last Five Years
Release: February 13th
Rated: NR
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Jeremy Jordan, Meg Hudson 
Genre: Comedy | Drama | Musical 
Synopsis: Based on the musical, a struggling actress and her novelist lover each illustrate the struggle and deconstruction of their love affair.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Release: February 13th
Rated: R
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle
Genre: Drama | Romance 
Synopsis: Literature student Anastasia Steele's life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey.
Kingsman:  The Secret Service
Release: February 13th
Rated: NR
Cast: Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Taron Egerton 
Genre: Action | Adventure | Comedy
Synopsis: A veteran secret agent takes a young upstart under his wing.
Gloria
Release: February 20th
Rated: NR
Cast: Sofía Espinosa, Osvaldo Ríos, Marco Pérez
Genre: Biography | Drama | Music 
Synopsis: Based on the life story of controversial Mexican pop/rock icon Gloria Trevi.
The DUFF
Release: February 20th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Bella Thorne, Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell
Genre: Comedy
Synopsis: A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier more popular friends.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Release: February 20th
Rated: R
Cast: Chevy Chase, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs
Genre: Comedy
Synopsis: When Lou, who has become the "father of the Internet," is shot by an unknown assailant, Jacob and Nick fire up the time machine again to save their friend.
Maps to the Stars
Release: February 27th
Rated: R
Cast: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson
Genre: Drama
Synopsis: A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.
The Lazarus Effect
Release: February 27th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Evan Peters, Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass
Genre: Thriller
Synopsis: A group of medical students discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.
Focus
Release: February 27th
Rated: R
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro
Genre: Comedy | Crime | Drama 
Synopsis: A veteran grifter takes a young, attractive woman under his wing, but things get complicated when they become romantically involved.
In the Heart of the Sea
Release: March 13th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson
Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama 
Synopsis: Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.
Insurgent
Release: March 20th
Rated: TBD
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Theo James
Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Synopsis: Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.
Little Boy
Release: April 24th
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Emily Watson, David Henrie, Kevin James
Genre: Comedy | Drama | War 
Synopsis: A 7-year old boy is willing to do whatever it takes to end World War II so he can bring his father home. The story reveals the indescribable love a father has for his little boy and the love a son has for his father.


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Project Almanac
When I was a little kid, one of my favorite movies was called The Explorers. It starred River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke when they were like 15-years-old. It was about a bunch of teenagers who were really interested in science and they end up decoding a mysterious message they get from space to make a spaceship that they use to meet the aliens who sent it to them. It was awesome...when I was 7-years-old. I actually have no idea how it holds up now. The beginning of Project Almanac has a similar vibe and made me feel nostalgic and hopeful for a movie that has the same impact on a new generation. When it was over, it certainly made an impact with me and that impact was disappointment. The plot for Project Almanac is almost exactly like The Explorers except instead of a spaceship they build a time machine. Now, it doesn't matter how good or bad a time travel movie is, I end up getting a migraine when it's over trying to figure out how it all adds up at the end. The finest example of time travel cinema is the Back to the Future trilogy and even that has its moments where it doesn't quite work out logically. Project Almanac does such a poor job of trying to have it make sense on a scientific level that it's actually easier to enjoy because it's so stupid. I know I'm being a stickler on that aspect so if you don't care about whether or not the impact of time jumping makes sense in the story than ignore this...just know that in this film it certainly does not. The cast if filled with unfamiliar teenage faces which is usually a kiss of death but here you buy that they are friends and they actually have some pretty funny back-and-forth with each other. Allen Evangelista and Jonny Weston (Taken 3, Chasing Mavericks) are the scene stealers and actually are both pretty talented. The problem with the film isn't the cast, it's the director. I try not to come down too hard on first time directors, like Dean Israelite here. I especially don't want to rag on him considering Project Almanac is produced by director Michael Bay (the Transformers and Bad Boys movies). The man has a reputation for having an ego as large as his films' budgets and a mouth that's even bigger. I would imagine working under that is very, very difficult...especially for a newb. The reason why the direction is what sunk this film is because it uses the "found footage" vehicle as the narrative. This shaky, hand-held, first person approach to movies has beaten a dead horse so hard that it's beaten through it and is now beating the ground under it. In 1999, I sat in the Anjelica Theater in lower Manhattan and watched The Blair Witch Project, the first film to bring this style to the mainstream. At the time, the "found footage" approach made everyone in that theater think they were watching a snuff film that really showed the deaths of three people in the woods. It was terrifying because we didn't know any better. That was 16 years ago and there have probably been 100 films done that way since and it's no longer effective. Project Almanac is the kind of film that's easy to pummel as a horrible time in a theater. That's probably why a lot of critics will. I personally didn't think it was all that bad once you get past the exhausting and implausible first person camerawork, illogical science in a science-fiction and meaningless, empty romantic subplot. However, if you go see it and can't get past all that, you may find yourself wishing the device for time travel was real so you could go back and avoid wasting your time.
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Selma
Every year, when the Oscar nominations come out, there is a Snub List that comes out right after. It's where respected critics release the list of films and people that have been shamefully overlooked by the Academy for nominations. Usually these lists are wildly different since it's so dependent on opinion and what they liked and didn't like throughout the year. This is one of the few years that I can think of where every single Snub List that I saw had the same two names at the top of it; Ava Duernay and David Oyelowo - the director and star of Selma. There have even been cries of racism lobbed at the Academy for overlooking these two. Now, I'm not one to casually toss around the "r-word" but for the life of me I can't think of a single reason why these two were left off the nominee roster, sooooooo... Selma is about the historical march that Martin Luther King Jr. led to protest voter inequality in the state of Alabama but really the entire country. It shows how the march was planned, who helped him plan it, the struggles he went through with President Johnson and his wife, as well the dangers he and his followers faced for doing it. To call the movie profound is an understatement. It is one of the finest pieces of cinema about the civil rights movement ever made and it is incredibly moving. There are several layers to human beings crying and Selma makes you go through all of them from the lip quiver to the full blown sob. Most people don't know Oyelowo yet but he's been in films like The Butler, Interstellar, Jack Reacher and Lincoln but Selma is the film that is his crowing achievement. His portrayal of King is inspired and true aided by a stellar script that shows King as a flawed man who, despite feeling the sting of every beating and death in his marrow, still struggled to be a good husband and saw his followers as players in a bigger game of chess for the greater good despite the dangers it put them in. All of the heroes in the film are shown without sugarcoating history. Oyelowo is the star but everyone in the cast gives amazing performances. There are times when Selma feels heavy-handed and flirts with being cliche but those moments are few and greatly overshadowed by its might. DuVernay has a keen eye for telling a complex story in ways that make it mass appeal and inclusive. This is her first feature film and it's obvious that she's in for a very long career. Female directors are rare in Hollywood. Black female directors are almost non-existent. Black female directors that tackle complex historical dramas are as common as Bigfoot and for her to hit a home run with Selma makes it even that much more of a tragedy that she was ignored by the Academy. It's interesting that American Sniper, a film that isn't great but breaking box office records, is up against Selma for Best Picture (although neither will win). They're both dramatic depictions of history of America when she was at some of her worst moments. American Sniper had a goal to make you feel proud to be an American by showing a war hero without addressing the darkness that put him in that position. Selma didn't have a patriotic goal and is about a civil hero that tackles the darkness head-on and deals directly with the politics. Despite Selma being about a truly shameful time in our story (that was only 50 years ago mind you!), it filled me with more patriotism than American Sniper did because it shows some of us at our worst, some of us at our best and how much we can overcome as a country. How do you not feel proud of that? Want to see Selma too? Enter to win Run of Engagement passes HERE!
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Paddington
When I was a teenager, I was forced to sit through a screening of a children's movie called Mousehunt. Within the first ten minutes I was gripped with the realization that, yes this was a movie made for children, but was in the hands of a director who didn't care. I had never heard of the guy who directed Mousehunt but I could tell that he was going to be a huge director one day. That guy's name was Gore Verbinski and he went on to direct the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, The Ring and Rango. Paddington is the first feature film from director Paul King and he also is going to be a huge director one day. At times I wonder what Hollywood producers are thinking. It's like they are just combing through what characters and stories they own the rights to and say, "Well, how can we squeeze some blood out of this stone" never even thinking how relevant said character or story is anymore. Paddington Bear not only was created 57-years-ago but never even really caught on in America like he did in Europe. That may be one of the contributing factors for why Paddington may not become a $100 million children's film franchise but it certainly deserves to be. Producers took a gamble by keeping the film true to the books and having it be uniquely British. The film takes place in London and features British actors that are far from mainstream. Nicole Kidman appears as the villain but her part is small. The principle cast is Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, The Monuments Men), Sally Hawkins (Godzilla, Blue Jasmine), Peter Capaldi (In the Loop, World War Z) and Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rogue, the Harry Potter films). But casting 34-year-old Ben Whishaw (Skyfall, Cloud Atlas) as the voice of the young bear was the best choice of all the great casting done. There's something truly amazing about his voice work that makes the bear seem so charming. Everything about this origin story of Paddington Bear is adorable and I do mean everything. There are some cliches that you'll find here and there but what children's film is completely cliche-free? It's impossible to not fall in love with Paddington and the family that takes him in. There's very funny moments even outside of the Paddington Bear trademark slapstick. The script has moments and lines that are aimed right at adults in the audience that are British and dry but still very, very funny. All that considered, there is still one thing that makes Paddington an excellent film...it's Paul King's direction. From the opening moments King slaps and smears his style of filmmaking all over the screen and it's wonderful. His choices of colors, angles, lighting, sets, editing...the list goes on...are all flawless. He's almost like a young Wes Anderson but without overstepping the style so much it feels like a fantasy (like Anderson does). It makes me look forward to see what else he's capable of doing and other films that he'll make years from now. Much like Verbinksi, King has displayed the promise of the next up-and-coming mega director.
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American Sniper
Clint Eastwood is someone that has earned the right to make whatever film he wants. The man has been doing movies since my parents were 2-years-old. He has won Oscars, Golden Globes and made some of the greatest films of the last 25 years. However, he's someone that I think critics and the public alike give too much credit when it comes to his work. I consider Million Dollar Baby one of the best films of all time but I also consider 75% of his directing resume to be vastly overrated. Seeing American Sniper after it was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor made me realize that the overrated streak continues. Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle who was the Navy Seal sharpshooter that was considered the most deadly sniper in US history. The entire film takes place during the Iraq War and follows the true story of a man who did four tours of duty voluntarily and had over 170 confirmed kills. Cooper plays Kyle earnestly transforming into a hulking, quiet, reserved Texas roughneck. His performance is good and controlled but lacking in evidence that a Best Actor nomination was deserved. Eastwood actually impresses the most simply because he did this film. Way over half of the film is fast-paced action that shows what Kyle and his men did in Iraq. It's the kind of direction you'd expect from Michael Bay, Peter Berg or any other number of A-list Hollywood action junkies. Eastwood is an 84-year-old man who should be making nice, easy musicals like his last film, Jersey Boys (which also came out this year). How he PHYSICALLY pulled off making American Sniper is an impressive achievement but it's far from an impressive movie. Remember the first time you saw Million Dollar Baby and realized it was so much more than just a film about a female boxer? That moment of surprise on the realization that you bought a ticket for a far darker, emotional and challenging film than you thought you did was what made it one of the best movies of all time. American Sniper teases us the entire film with moments showing how Kyle didn't know how to be a father, a husband, adjust to civilian life, admit the ugly side of war. You wait for that moment to come when the film becomes more than just a hero action flick and something deeper, more emotional and more important. That moment never comes and what we're left with is mere American propaganda that simply shows the awesome power of the US Armed Forces and the savage evil that is Islamic fundamentalism. Academy Award nominations are tricky things if you see the movie after it's been nominated; you instantly hold the film to a higher standard. Had I seen American Sniper before it was decided that it was one of the eight best films of the year, I might have liked it slightly more or judged it slightly less harshly. Seeing it after the fact made me view it with a "okay, this ought to blow me away" and as unfair as that is, it's impossible to ignore. American Sniper is a fine piece of war cinema but it's a story that's been told before and been told better. Click HERE to enter to win Hollywood Movie Money for Inherent Vice.
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