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Movie News & Reviews
Opening this week
Article published on Tuesday, March 1, 2011
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[Image]
Photo courtesy of PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Rango (Johnny Depp), left, and Beans (Isla Fisher) face gun-slinging outlaws in the Wild West city of Dirt in the film “Rango,” from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.
Damon fights ‘The Adjustment Bureau,’ Depp gives ‘Rango’ a voice. A number of new movies will hit theaters this week, including the following films opening in wide release:

The Adjustment Bureau
Genre: Science fiction, romance and thriller
Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery and Michael Kelly
Director: George J. Nolfi
Rated: PG-13

Are we in charge of our lives, or are decisions made for us long before we consider them?

Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate it? Oscar winner Matt Damon and Emily Blunt star in the romantic thriller “The Adjustment Bureau.” In the film, Damon plays a man who glimpses the future planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he’s ever loved (Blunt) and defy the agents of Fate – a mysterious group of men exerting control over their lives.

On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, charismatic politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful, contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Blunt)—a woman unlike any he’s ever known. But just as he realizes he’s falling madly in love with her, strangers conspire to keep the two apart.

David learns he is up against Fate itself – the men of The Adjustment Bureau – who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from sharing their lives together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept his predetermined path … or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.

Beastly
Genre: Comedy, drama and romance
Cast: Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Alex Pettyfer, Neil Patrick Harris and Peter Krause
Director: Daniel Barnz
Rated: PG-13

“Beastly” is a teen romance about learning how to see past false surfaces to discover true inner beauty.

Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is the spoiled, shallow and incredibly popular 17-year-old prince of his high school kingdom. Entirely captivated and empowered by his own physical appearance, Kyle foolishly chooses Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), a goth classmate rumored to be a witch, as his latest target for humiliation. Unfazed by his cruel behavior, Kendra decides to teach him a lesson – she transforms him into someone as unattractive on the outside as he is on the inside. Now he has one year to find someone who can see past the surface and love him, or he will remain "Beastly" forever. His only hope, an unassuming classmate he never noticed named Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), may be his best chance to prove that love is never ugly.

Rango
Genre: Action, adventure and animation
Cast: Johnny Depp, Alanna Ubach, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher and Alfred Molina
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rated: PG

From the director of "The Pirates of the Caribbean" comes “Rango,” featuring Johnny Depp in an original animated comedy-adventure that takes moviegoers for a hilarious and heartfelt walk in the Wild West.

The story follows the comical, transformative journey of Rango (Depp), a sheltered chameleon living as an ordinary family pet, while facing a major identity crisis. After all, how high can you aim when your whole purpose in life is to blend in? When Rango accidentally winds up in the gritty, gun-slinging town of Dirt – a lawless outpost populated by the desert's most wily and whimsical creatures – the less-than-courageous lizard suddenly finds he stands out.

Welcomed as the last hope the town has been waiting for, new Sheriff Rango is forced to play his new role to the hilt ... until, in a blaze of action-packed situations and encounters with outrageous characters, Rango starts to become the hero he once only pretended to be. With a cast that includes Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone and Timothy Olyphant as the Spirit of the West, “Rango” is an exciting new twist on the classic Western legend of the outsider who saves a town – and himself in the process.

Take Me Home Tonight
Genre: Comedy and drama
Cast: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer and Seth Gabel
Director: Michael Dowse
Rated: R

As the summer of 1988 winds down, three friends on the verge of adulthood attend an out-of-control party in celebration of their last night of unbridled youth.

Starring Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler and Teresa Palmer, “Take Me Home Tonight” is a raunchy, romantic and ultimately touching blast from the past set to an awesome soundtrack of timeless rock and hip-hop hits.

Recent MIT grad Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) should be working for a Fortune 500 company and starting his upward climb to full-fledged yuppie-hood. Instead, the directionless 23-year-old confounds family and friends by taking a part-time job behind the counter of a video store at the Sherman Oaks Galleria.

But Matt's silent protest against maturity comes to a screeching halt once his unrequited high school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), walks into the store. When she invites him to an epic, end-of-summer party, Matt thinks he finally might have a chance with the girl of his dreams. With his cynical twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris) and best friend Barry (Dan Fogler), Matt embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime evening. From stealing a car to a marriage proposal to an indescribable, no-holds-barred dance-off, these friends share experiences that will change the course of their lives on one unforgettable night in the Go-Go '80s.

The following will open in limited release. It may be several weeks before these films appear in local movie theaters.

I Saw the Devil
Genre: Foreign, thriller and crime
Cast: Lee Byeong-heon, Choi Min-shik, Chun Kook-huan and Cheon Ho-jin
Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Not rated

“I Saw the Devil” is a shockingly violent and stunningly accomplished tale of murder and revenge from Korean genre master Kim Jee-woon.

Oldboy’s Choi Min-sik plays Kyung-chul, a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. The embodiment of pure evil, he has committed horrifying and senselessly cruel serial murders on defenseless victims, successfully eluding capture by the police.

On a freezing, snowy night, his latest victim is the beautiful Ju-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief and pregnant fiancée of elite special agent Soo-hyun. Obsessed with revenge, Soo-hyun decides to track down the murderer, even if doing so means becoming a monster himself. And when he finds Kyung-chul, turning him in to the authorities is the last thing on his mind.

The lines between good and evil fall away in this diabolically twisted game of cat and mouse. Pushing the concept of revenge to its most extreme limits, Kim Jee-woon brilliantly transcends the police procedural and serial killer genres in surprising and thrilling new ways. 
Article published on Tuesday, March 1, 2011
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