By Jack Rico
Unlike the previous two weeks, this particular week of theatrical releases doesn’t really have anything I’d trip over to see. I mean, Smurfs 2 is on the menu, that should tell you what us moviegoers are dealing with here. Perhaps the more interesting of the bunch are Europa Report for its premise, a film directed by Ecuadorian Sebastian Cordero starring Sharlto Copley (District 9) and The Canyons anchored by Lindsay Lohan. The latter seems to be the one to see this week for the pop culture puns and references she begets. Read the rest of the plot lines and see who’s starring in them… something just might catch your eye.
9. Smurfs 2
Director: Raja Gosnell
Cast: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays
Synopsis: The Smurfs team up with their human friends to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer’s newest creation – creatures called the Naughties – into real Smurfs.
8. The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear
Director: Tinatin Gurchiani
Synopsis: A filmmaker puts out a casting call for young adults, aged 15- to 23. The director wants to make a film about growing up in her home country, Georgia, and find commonalities across social and ethnic lines. She travels through cities and villages interviewing the candidates who responded and filming their daily lives. The boys and girls who responded to the call are radically different from one another, as are their personal reasons for auditioning. Some want be movie stars and see the film as a means to that end; others want to tell their personal story. One girl wants to call to account the mother who abandoned her; one boy wants to share the experience of caring for his handicapped family members; another wants to clear the name of a brother, currently serving a jail sentence. Together, their tales weave a kaleidoscopic tapestry of war and love, wealth and poverty, creating an extraordinarily complex vision of a modern society that still echoes with its Soviet past.
7. Our Children
Director: Joachim Lafosse
Cast: Niels Arestrup, Tahar Rahim, Émilie Dequenne
Synopsis: Like millions of other couples, Mounir and Murielle fall in love. Like millions of other couples, Mounir and Murielle have children. But unlike them, they accept to give up their autonomy by agreeing to live with Mounir’s well off adoptive father, Doctor André Pinget. On the material level, all is well. But a house is not a home, and Murielle feels more and more stifled…
Director: Ben Nott, Morgan O’Neill
Cast: Sam Worthington, Xavier Samuel, Lesley-Ann Brandt
Synopsis: In the 70s two brothers battle killer waves, conservative society and ruthless bikers to kick-start the modern surf industry.
5. The Artist and the Model
Director: Fernando Trueba
Cast: Jean Rochefort, Aida Folch, Claudia Cardinale
Synopsis: Summer of 1943. In an occupied France, not far away from the Spanish border, a famous old sculptor who is tired of life and wars finds the desire to work on his last masterpiece when a beautiful young Spanish girl comes knocking after escaping a refugee camp in the South of France.
4. 2 Guns
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Cast: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton
Synopsis: A DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer find themselves on the run after a botched attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel. While fleeing, they learn the secret of their shaky alliance: Neither knew that the other was an undercover agent.
3. The Spectacular Now
Director: James Ponsoldt
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Synopsis: With sly humor and an intensity of feeling, THE SPECTACULAR NOW (directed by James Ponsoldt) creates a vivid, three-dimensional portrait of youth confronting the funny, thrilling and perilous business of modern love and adulthood. This is the tale of Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior and effortless charmer, and of how he unexpectedly falls in love with “the good girl” Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley). What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed, straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth – one that doesn’t look for tidy truths. The film was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (500) DAYS OF SUMMER and also features wonderful supporting turns from Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
2. The Canyons
Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Nolan Gerard Funk, James Deen
Synopsis: While calculating young movie producer Christian (Deen) makes films to keep his trust fund intact, his actress girlfriend, Tara (Lohan), hides an affair with an actor from her past. But Christian becomes aware of her infidelity, which leads the young Angelenos into a violent, sexually-charged tour through the dark side of human nature.
1. Europa Report
Director: Sebastian Cordero
Cast: Christian Camargo, Embeth Davidtz, Michael Nyqvist
Synopsis: A unique blend of documentary-style film-making, alternative history and science fiction thriller, EUROPA REPORT follows a contemporary mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa to investigate the possible existence of alien life within our solar system. When unmanned probes suggest that a hidden ocean could exist underneath Europa’s icy surface and may contain single-celled life, Europa Ventures, a privately funded space exploration company, sends six of the best astronauts from around the world to confirm the data and explore the revolutionary discoveries that may lie in the Europan ocean. After a near-catastrophic technical failure that leads to loss of communication with Earth and the tragic death of a crew member, the surviving astronauts must overcome the psychological and physical toll of deep space travel, and survive a discovery on Europa more profound than they had ever imagined.