Friday, December 19, 2008

FILM: New in Theaters - 12/19/08

If you want to see a heart-wrenching romance starring Will Smith and Rosario Dawson, then watch Seven Pounds. The major plot is supposed to be top secret. You should stop reading if you don't want to know what I've heard. The blogosphere is reporting that Smith is playing a survivor who feels guilty for causing an accident where seven people die, and to repent he decides that he's going to choose seven ailing people to donate his organs to once he commits suicide. Unfortunately, Dawson plays a woman who needs a heart, and while unknowingly making a case for herself, he falls in love with her. He must make the hardest choice of his life--stay alive and be with her for the short period she has to live or kill himself and give her a chance to have the life she dreams of. Cue the violins.

If you want to have a laugh that is completely non-holiday related, then you should see Jim Carrey's Yes Man. In 2007's Chaos Theory, Ryan Reynolds played a guy who was sort of OCD and paranoid, and prone to freaking every time things didn't go as he planned them. His world starts to unravel and eventually, he accepts his chaotic fate and goes with the flow. This flick is adapted from Danny Wallace's autobiography, where he decided to throw caution to the wind and say "Yes" to every question and request asked of him for an entire year after a well-known history of always saying "No." So in the movie, if someone says to Carrey, "Let's get a tattoo," he has to get one. If someone suggests bungee jumping, he has to jump (which Carrey begged to do himself). You get the gist. They're slightly different films, but they have the same moral. If you let go and live a little, you just might fall in love. While it's a little difficult to believe that Zooey Deschanel (The Happening and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), who is half Carrey's age (they ironically have the same birthday though), would ever be interested in him in real life, her mellowed-out demeanor is a nice break from Carrey's erratic ADD slapstick.

If you or your kids are fans of Ratatouille and fairy tales, then saddle up for the animated Tale of Despereaux. I love cartoon underdogs, especially when their story focuses on a fun way. Matthew Broderick voices a heroic little mouse who is an outcast because of his rebellious attitude towards all things human. He doesn't fear cats or mouse traps, he befriends rats, which is apparently the equivalent of a human befriending a hobo, and aspires to be a knight--mini-sword and all. This behavior endangers his community, so they banish him. He then finds refuge in the companionship of a human named Princess Pea (voiced by Emma Watson of Harry Potter), who teaches him how to read, and Roscuro the Rat (Dustin Hoffman), who loves his tales of bravery. Unfortunately, since humans hate rats too, Princess Pea ends up shunning Roscurro, so he stages her kidnapping, leaving Despereaux to come to her rescue.

If you want to see the resurrection of Mickey Rourke in an Oscar-buzzworthy role he was practically born to play, then I suggest you find an indie-theater nearby and watch The Wrestler. Rourke plays an ailing, retired professional wrestler known as Randy "The Ram" Robinson, who decides to return for one final blow-out to defeat his longtime rival. I know, it sounds a little Rocky-ish, and I'm sure if it wins an Oscar Sylvester Stallone will be pissed. But take comfort in knowing that we were spared from Nicholas Cage scoring this role. Marisa Tomei (War, Inc. and Before the Devil Knows Your Dead), who's also slowly getting back into the big leagues, and Evan Rachel Wood are co-starring, and Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain) is directing.

If you're not interested in seeing Kate Beckinsale half-naked, vamped-out, or sporting a British accent, but you do love her endearing charm (which she showcased on "Ellen"), then I'd support the aspiring ingenue by seeing her political indie Nothing But the Truth. The film is a dramatization of the Judith Miller/Valerie Plame scandal, where Miller refused to name her CIA source for her article that exposed an unlawful American missile attack against Venezuela. Beckinsale has already been nominated for her performance as Miller by the Critics' Choice Award--her first major American nomination for a lead role.

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