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Movie News & Reviews
Opening this week
Comedic actors team up for ‘Date Night’
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A number of new movie releases will hit theaters this week, including the following films opening in wide release:

Date Night

[Image]
Photo by MYLES ARONOWITZ
Claire (Tina Fey) and Phil (Steve Carell) make a frantic call for help in the romantic comedy “Date Night.”
Genre: Romantic comedy
Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson and Jimmi Simpson
Director: Shawn Levy
Rated: PG-13

Phil (Carell) and Claire Foster (Fey) are a sensible, loving couple with two kids and a house in suburban New Jersey. The Fosters have their weekly “date night” – an attempt at re-experiencing the spice of the dates of yesteryear, involving the same weekly night out at the local Teaneck Tavern. Their conversations quickly drift from barely-date talk to the same chore-chat they have at the dinner table at home. Exhausted from their jobs and kids, their dates rarely end in fore- or any other kind of play, let alone romance.

After seeing two of their best friends – another married couple with kids in suburban New Jersey – split apart from living the same life they themselves lead, Phil and Claire begin to fear what may lie ahead: a state of bland indifference and eventual separation.

In an attempt to take date night off auto-pilot, and hopefully inject a little spice into their lives, Phil decides a change of plans is in order:

take Claire into Manhattan to the city’s hottest new restaurant. The Fosters, however, don’t have reservations. Hoping to be seated sometime before the clock strikes 12, they steal a no-show couple’s reservations.

What could it hurt? Phil and Claire are now the Tripplehorns.

The real Tripplehorns, however, it turns out, are a thieving couple who are being hunted down by a pair of corrupt cops for having stolen property from some very dangerous people. Forced on the run before they’ve even finished their risotto, Phil and Claire soon realize that their play-date-for-parents has gone hilariously awry, as they embark on a wild and dangerous series of crazy adventures to save their lives … and their marriage.

Letters to God

Genre: Drama
Cast: Jeffrey S.S. Johnson, Robyn Lively, Tanner Maguire and Maree Cheatham
Director: David Nixon and Patrick Doughtie
Rated: PG

Tyler Doherty (Maguire) is an extraordinary 8-year-old boy. Surrounded by a loving family and community, and armed with the courage of his faith, he faces his daily battle against cancer with bravery and grace. To Tyler, God is a friend, a teacher and the ultimate pen-pal – Tyler’s prayers take the form of letters, which he composes and mails on a daily basis.

The letters find their way into the hands of Brady McDaniels (Johnson), a beleaguered postman standing at a crossroads in his life. At first, he is confused and conflicted over what to do with the letters. Overtime he begins to form a friendship with the Doherty family – getting to know not just Tyler but his tough, tender yet overwhelmed mom (Lively), stalwart grandmother (Cheatham) and teen brother Ben (Bolten) – who are each trying to stand strong against the doubts that come with the chaotic turn their lives have taken. Moved by Tyler’s courage, Brady realizes what he must do with the letters, a surprise decision that will transform his heart and uplift his newfound friends and community – in an exhilarating act of testament to the contagious effect of one boy’s unwavering faith against the odds. 

The following will open in limited release.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Genre: Foreign, comedy and western
Cast: Jung Woo-sung, Lee Byeong-heon, Song Kang-ho, Ryu Seun-su and Zhang Qi
Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Not rated

From acclaimed Korean genre wizard, Kim Jee-Woon comes “The Good, The Bad, The Weird,” a classic good versus bad showdown shot through with wild kinetic enthusiasm, off-the-charts action and, well, a bit of weird.

In the 1930s Manchurian desert, where lawlessness rules, the fates of three mysterious Korean men collide on a train carrying precious cargo.

The Good, a suave bounty hunter, The Bad, the brazen leader of a gang of outlaws, and The Weird, a hard-up robber with nine lives, are swept up in a frantic chase across the wilderness, fighting all the way for possession of a mysterious treasure map. “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” explodes in a flurry of violence as the Japanese Army and a brassed-off posse of Chinese bandits join the pursuit. Who will claim the prize for themselves? In this pulse-pounding adventure, you can never be sure who exactly is good, bad, or weird.

Who Do You Love

Genre: Drama, performing arts and biopic
Cast: Alessandro Nivola, Jon Abrahams, Chi McBride, Megalyn Echikunwoke and Robert Randoplh
Director: Jerry Zaks
Not rated

From four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks (Marvin’s Room) comes “Who Do You Love,” an intimate portrayal of how Phil and Leonard Chess built the legendary music label Chess Records.

Chess launched some of the best loved names in blues and rock ’n’ roll, and the film features authentic musical performances and a score steeped in hits from the Chess Records canon including Muddy Waters’ “Stuff You Gotta Watch,” Etta James’ “At Last” and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love.”

Leonard Chess, a Polish Jewish immigrant living in Chicago, becomes enamored with the new blues sound emanating from that city in the mid-1940s. He and his brother Phil open a club called Macomba and gamble on producing “race records” with the help of bass player and songwriter Willie Dixon. After initial failure, they find tremendous success with the iconic bluesman Muddy Waters, and on the strength of his popularity, started Chess Records.

Chess Records quickly grew into an influential label, launching the careers of Waters, Bo Diddley, Etta James, and Chuck Berry, among others, and introducing the Blues to American audiences on a broad scale. “Who Do You Love” tracks the growth of Chess Records, but more importantly, presents an intimate look into the strains the label placed on Leonard Chess’ family, namely his wife Revetta and his son Marshall.
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