Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Releases (10/1/13)

Gangster Squad: Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and-if he has his way-every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It's enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop...except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen's world apart.

Hitchcock: a love story about one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife and partner Alma Reville (Helen Mirren). The film takes place during the making of Hitchcock's seminal movie Psycho.

ParaNorman: The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated Coraline. ParaNorman is, following Coraline, the company's second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In ParaNorman, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he'll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

Weekly Recommendation - ParaNorman and Jack Reacher (Jan. 3)
Hitchcock's reception has been far from flattering. Some have described it as a shallow, mediocre TV movie-esque biopic. Others have praised the performances and thoroughly enjoyed it. The consensus suggests it will please plenty but is not essential viewing. Gangster Squad is not recommended - a cartoonish, woefully scripted LA noir with a conglomeration of genre cliches, and some ludicrous characters. ParaNorman has been well received and is a likely Oscar-nominee for Best Animate Feature. I am looking forward to checking it out this week myself. If you haven't yet seen the new Tom Cruise thriller, Jack Reacher, it is also worth a look. 

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