Big Miracle

PG for heartwarming whales, blood-freezing temperatures, poignant reminder that Alaska was once a place where people came together for reasons other than to foist Sarah Palin upon the mainland

Release Date: February 3, 2012

 

In this cynical age – this era of corporate cronyism, and foreign wars, and The Office staggering on zombie-like without Steve Carell – do you find yourself looking for something to believe in? Continue reading

Red Tails

PG-13 for aerial combat, dangerously sharp propellers, incredulous racists who don’t believe that black fighter pilots can help our nation’s box office totals

Release Date: January 20, 2012

 

If the aerial fight scenes, lovable underdogs, and cheering pilots didn’t already make it clear, let me spell it out for you. George Lucas has made the best decision of his post-1989 career, which is to remake Star Wars with the following three updates:

  1. Fewer space aliens.
  2. More black people.
  3. Absolutely no Mark Hamill.

If you’re half as excited about this as I am, please  join me in celebration by high-fiving your computer screen right now. Continue reading

One for the Money

PG-13 for Jersey low-lifes, elderly people wielding handguns, the totally non-sexual handcuffing of Katherine Heigl to a shower rod

Release Date: January 27, 2012

 

If you’ve always thought Katherine Heigl’s performances were missing something – and that something was an intermittent New Jersey accent – then I’m happy to say that this is your film. And I’m sad to say that your condition has no cure. Continue reading

Haywire

R for high kicks, lady spies, villains who don’t seem to realize that asking “Is the divorce final?” instead of “Did you kill her?” does not fully disguise the nature of your communication

Release Date: January 20, 2012

 

Hard to fathom, but some people still don’t believe that Hollywood gives men and women an equal chance.

Well, after seeing this trailer – for yet another action film targeted at men, starring an attractive woman with a background in Mixed Martial Arts, who is billed below several better-known male actors despite being the ostensible protagonist – will the doubters change their tune? Continue reading

Contraband

R for warring smugglers, smashing glass, a career criminal drawn out of retirement for one last gratuitously violent job

Release Date: January 13, 2011

 

Do you, like many Americans, struggle to identify the protagonist in an action movie? Well, simply answer these foolproof questions about your prospective hero, and tally one point for each “yes” answer!

  • Does he seem reluctant at first to engage in violence, even though he eventually spends most of the movie on a killing rampage? Continue reading

Joyful Noise

PG-13 for secular music, forbidden romance, a generational conflict in which Dolly Parton somehow winds up on the side of youth and progress

Release Date: January 13, 2011

 

Joyful Noise is a perfect storm of relevance. It’s got choir singing (just like Glee!), a budget-cut story (just like real life!), a rendition of “Man in the Mirror” (just like Michael Jackson, RIP!), and relevant young stars like…

Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton? Continue reading

In the Land of Blood and Honey

R for love, war, massive genocide that you’d totally forgotten about until Angelina Jolie reminded you

Release Date: December 23, 2011

 

We get it, Angelina. You’re better than us.

You should be easy to mock, with your past role as a video game character, and your Cheshire cat-sized mouth, and the fact that you stole Jennifer Aniston’s husband.

But then you have to go and do humanitarian work with the UN, and found charities, and raise six children who were born in five countries to four different mothers. Continue reading

The Iron Lady

PG-13 for British conservatism, blue pantsuits, a woman caught between her drive to raise a family and her ambition to be portrayed by Meryl Streep in a gauzy biopic

Release Date for purpose of Meryl Streep’s Oscar eligibility: December 30, 2011

Release Date for purpose of actually being seen by audiences: January 13, 2012

 

Look, film critics. Maybe you just don’t get biopics. Continue reading