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Movie News & Reviews
Movies opening this weekend - March 21
Article published on Monday, March 17, 2014
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Photo by JAAP BUITENDIJK / SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT
Shailene Woodley stars in “Divergent.”
Muppets Most Wanted hits theaters; Woodley stars in Divergent. A number of new movies will hit theaters this week, including the following films opening in wide release.

Muppets Most Wanted
Genre: Comedy and family
Cast: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey
Director: James Bobin
Rated: PG

Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and London.

But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine – the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit the Frog – and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais. The film stars Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon, and Tina Fey as Nadya, a feisty prison guard.

Divergent
Genre: Action and adventure
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zo? Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer and Kate Winslet
Director: Neil Burger
Rated: PG-13

In a future world where people are divided into distinct factions based on their personalities, Tris Prior is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group.

When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, she must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.

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

Anita
Genre: Documentary
Cast: Anita Hill
Director: Freida Mock
Not rated

An entire country watched transfixed as a poised, beautiful African-American woman in a blue dress sat before a Senate committee of 14 white men and with a clear, unwavering voice recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had endured while working with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

That October day in 1991 Anita Hill, a bookish law professor from Oklahoma, was thrust onto the world stage and instantly became a celebrated, hated, venerated, and divisive figure.

Anita Hill’s graphic testimony was a turning point for gender equality in the U.S. and ignited a political firestorm about sexual misconduct and power in the workplace that resonates still today. She has become an American icon, empowering millions of women and men around the world to stand up for equality and justice.

Against a backdrop of sex, politics, and race, “Anita” reveals the intimate story of a woman who spoke truth to power. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, the film is both a celebration of Anita Hill’s legacy and a rare glimpse into her private life with friends and family, many of whom were by her side that fateful day 22 years ago. Anita Hill courageously speaks openly and intimately for the first time about her experiences that led her to testify before the Senate and the obstacles she faced in simply telling the truth. She also candidly discusses what happened to her life and work in the 22 years since.

Blood Ties
Genre: Crime and thriller
Cast: Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Austin Williams, Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, Zoe Saldana and James Caan
Director: Guillaume Canet
Rated: R

It is New York, 1974, and 50-year-old Chris has just been released on good behavior after several years in prison following a gangland murder.

Waiting for him reluctantly outside the prison gates is his younger brother, Frank, a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon, who has raised them alone, seems strangely to prefer Chris – this, despite all his troubles.

Yet blood ties are the ones that bind. Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance; he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica. But Chris' past quickly catches up to him, and his descent back into a life of crime becomes inevitable. For Frank, this descent proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother's latest transgressions, he banishes him from his life. But it's already too late; the brothers' destiny will be bound, forever.

The French Minister
Genre: Comedy
Cast: Thierry Lhermitte, Raphaël Personnaz, Niels Arestrup and Julie Gayet
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Not rated

Alexandre Taillard de Vorms is tall and impressive, a man with style, attractive to women. He also happens to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the land of enlightenment: France. With his silver mane and tanned, athletic body, he stalks the world stage, from the floor of the United Nations in New York to the powder keg of Oubanga. There, he calls on the powerful and invokes the mighty to bring peace, to calm the trigger-happy, and to cement his aura of Nobel Peace Prize winner-in-waiting. Alexandre Taillard de Vorms is a force to be reckoned with, waging his own war backed up by the holy trinity of diplomatic concepts: legitimacy, lucidity and efficacy. He takes on American neo-cons, corrupt Russians and money-grabbing Chinese. Perhaps the world doesn't deserve France's magnanimousness, but his art would be wasted if just restricted to home turf. Enter the young Arthur Vlaminck, graduate of the elite National School of Administration, who is hired as head of "language" at the foreign ministry.

In other words, he is to write the minister's speeches. But he also has to learn to deal with the sensibilities of the boss and his entourage, and find his way between the private secretary and the special advisors who stalk the corridors of the Quai d'Orsay – the ministry's home – where stress, ambition and dirty dealing are the daily currency. But just as he thinks he can influence the fate of the world, everything seems threatened by the inertia of the technocrats.

Jodorowsky’s Dune
Genre: Documentary
Director: Frank Pavich
Rated: PG-13

In 1975, Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky began work on his most ambitious project yet. Starring his own 12-year-old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, featuring music by Pink Floyd and art by some of the most provocative talents of the era, including HR Giger and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel “Dune” was poised to change cinema forever.

For two years, Jodo and his team of “spiritual warriors” worked night and day on the massive task of creating the fabulous world of “Dune,” generating more than 3,000 storyboards, numerous paintings, incredible costumes, and an outrageous, moving and powerful script.

In the words of Jodorowsky’s producer, Michel Seydoux, “It should have been enough. But it wasn’t.”

Through interviews with legends and luminaries including HR Giger, Gary Kurtz and Nicolas Winding Refn, and an intimate and honest conversation with Jodorowsky filmed over the course of three years, director Pavich’s film – featuring never-before-seen realizations of Jodo’s mind-blowing psychedelic space opera (animated by Emmy Award nominated Syd Garon) – finally unearths the full saga of “The Greatest Movie Never Made.”

Maladies
Genre: Comedy and drama
Cast: James Franco, Catherine Keener, Fallon Goodson, David Strathairn and Alan Cumming
Director: Carter
Not rated

A daring new film from internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Carter, “Maladies” charts the struggles of an unstable former soap opera star (James Franco) in 1960s New York as he tries to restart his floundering creative career.

Hoping to find clarity and new purpose as a writer, he holes up with his eccentric sister (Fallon Goodson) at the seaside home of their best friend (Catherine Keener). But as he disappears further into his own mind, reality begins to slip through his grasp. Featuring an award-winning ensemble, including David Straithairn and Alan Cumming, “Maladies” is a heartfelt but defiantly unconventional exploration of the creative mind.

Nymphomaniac: Volume 1
Genre: Drama
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen and Udo Kier
Director: Lars von Trier
Not rated

“Nymphomaniac: Volume 1” is the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is discovered badly beaten in an alley by an older bachelor, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who takes her into his home.

As he tends to her wounds, she recounts the erotic story of her adolescence and young-adulthood (portrayed in flashback by newcomer Stacy Martin). The film also stars Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark and Connie Nielsen.
Article published on Monday, March 17, 2014
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