On The Road - Jack Kerouac's seminal pseudo-autobiography finally heads to the big screen thanks to director Walter Salles Jr. (The Motorcycle Diaries) and producer Francis Ford Coppola. The tale is semi-based on the author's trips across America, with fiction intertwining with reportedly real events and people met along the way. The starring cast includes Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart.
Arbitrage - When we first meet New York hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere) on the eve of his 60th birthday, he appears the very portrait of success in American business and family life. But behind the gilded walls of his mansion, Miller is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire to a major bank before the depths of his fraud are revealed. Struggling to conceal his duplicity from loyal wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) and brilliant daughter and heir-apparent Brooke (Brit Marling), Miller's also balancing an affair with French art-dealer Julie Cote (Laetetia Casta). Just as he's about to unload his troubled empire, an unexpected bloody error forces him to juggle family, business, and crime with the aid of Jimmy Grant (Nate Parker), a face from Miller's past.
Tai Chi Zero - In legendary Chen Village, everyone is a martial arts master, using their powerful Chen Style Tai Chi in all aspects of their lives. Lu Chan has arrived to train, but the villagers are forbidden to teach Chen Style to outsiders, and do their best to discourage him by challenging him to a series of fights. Everyone, from strong men to young children, defeats him using their Tai Chi moves. But when a man from the village's past returns with a frightening steampowered machine and plans to build a railroad through the village at any costs, the villagers realize they may have no choice but to put their faith in Lu Chan... who has a secret power of his own.
Weekly Recommendation: I have heard some positive responses to Arbitrage, and particularly Gere's performance, but the pick this week is Looper. Now I didn't LOVE Looper but it is further proof of Rian Johnson's skills as a filmmaker and its an intelligent and compelling high-concept futuristic action thriller with great performances.