* Indicates a Miles Top choice.
The Green Hornet (PG-13) Seth Rogen does the Green Hornet with predictable results – it's silly but he's likeable. The action adventure moves along, replete with the requisite special effects, bad guys (the mob and heroin dealers) and pretty co-star Cameron Diaz.
Barney's Version (R) Paul Giamatti stars as a very unlikable, uncouth television producer reflecting on his life as death approaches. It's a bit overdone, but the cast led by Dustin Hoffman and Minnie Driver is solid and the character, though a cad, has his charms.
New On DVD
Jersey Shore Seasons 1 and 2: Really, it's hard to believe what the rest of America must think of New Jersey after experiencing these characters on screen. But yes, America, they are not stereotypes. Dey really is like dese idiots. Snooki this.
Season Of The Witch (PG-13) Nicolas Cage (National Treasure, Ghost Rider) romps through this typical supernatural/fantasy action adventure outsmarting the forces of evil and being seduced by an irresistible –- though dangerous -- vixen of rare beauty. Ron Perlman (Hellboy) kills his share. It's all in good fun and some of the special affects are surprisingly good, but it's pretty ridiculous stuff when it comes right down to it.
True Grit * (PG_13) John Wayne won an Oscar in 1969 for his portrayal of wizened old alcoholic who shows a soft side to an orphan looking to avenge her dad's death in True Grit. Like everything in Hollywood, it's back –- not Wayne, he's still dead -- but the movie, and it has a rich Oscar pedigree. Jeff Bridges, in the Rooster Cogburn role, won the statue last year, and producers Joel and Ethan Coen are Oscar darlings, having taken their most recent Best Picture trophy for No Country For Old Men. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, both former nominees, are on board. Hailee Steinfeld gets the coveted Mattie Ross role. Think Oscar – this film will be a major player come February.
The Fighter *(R) Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner, the new favorite to win the Oscar: The Fighter. David O. Russell (Three Kings) crafts a compelling portrait of Irish Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg), a Boston-based welterweight who came from obscurity to win the world title. His bouts with Arturo Gatti are considered among the fiercest of all time. The movie is first and foremost about a boxer, but the star-crossed characters within add complexity and drama. Christian Bale, as Ward's drug-addled half brother training him for his comeback, is certain to earn a best Supporting nod. Amy Adams and East Hampton's Melissa Leo co-star. Don't miss it.
Tron Legacy (PG) * The most anticipated film of the season just may be Tron Legacy, out of the Disney stable. It is the long-awaited sequel to the 1982 cult classic and stars Jeff Bridges, who was in the original release. Olivia Wilde, Beau Garrett, Michael Sheen and John Hurt co-star and, of course, it's presented in the obligatory 3-D. Steven Lisberger, who animated and directed the original groundbreaking film, returns as producer. Garrett Hedlund plays 27-year old Sam Flynn, the son of Kevin Flynn (Bridges), who is looking for his father in the digital world. It is unlike anything ever made before, a visual wunderkind that will stun and amaze viewers.
And Everything is Going Fine (NR) Steven Soderbergh's documentary about Spalding Gray, the Sag Harbor monologist who eventually drowns himself. Predictably, Gray talks a lot.
Love And Other Drugs (R) Director Edward Zwick, best known for action movies (Glory, Legends Of The Fall), tries his hand at romantic comedy – not good. Based on the popular book Hard Sell: The Evolution Of A Viagra Salesman, the script is bland and the pairing of Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway simply doesn't work.
The Kings Speech (R) The darling of the Hamptons Film Festival is set for general release and there is Oscar buzz about it, especially for Colin Firth, who plays newly-crowned King George VI, and Geoffrey Rush, cast as an eccentric speech therapist charged with helping the King master a debilitating speech impediment. Also starring Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Michael Gambon. David Seider, the scriptwriter, is a likely nominee.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (PG-13) This is reportedly the seventh and final installment in the series, which leads us to wonder why it says Part I in the title. That said, the kids have kept their youthful sheen, and the bad guys are still deliciously evil. Fans will love it; casual fans will like it.
The Next Three Days (PG-13) Paul Haggis (Casino Royale) enlists Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks for his drama about a wife suddenly accused of murder. Even with an excellent supporting cast that includes Brian Dennehy, Liam Neeson, and Olivia Wilde, something rings hollow.
Unstoppable (PG-13) Denzel Washington and Chris Pine play buddies charged with an impossible task – stopping a runaway train filled with toxic chemicals. Rosario Dawson is the eye candy. Critics and advance audiences have been loving it.
Morning Glory (PG-13) This film has the pedigree to be the holiday season's top comedy. After all, director Roger Michell gave us Notting Hill, and writer Aline Brosh McKenna penned The Devil Wears Prada. Rachel Adams gets a star-making role as a producer of a small TV station that has to deal with a grumpy TV anchor – played wonderfully by Harrison Ford – and an over-the-hill former beauty queen Diane Keaton.
It's a fun flick, and the actors mesh seamlessly like an ensemble that has been doing it for years. Jeff Goldblum co-stars.
127 Hours (R) The buzz on the latest film from Academy Award-winning visionary director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), who also co-wrote the script, is that it is a good one. A mountain climber (James Franco) becomes trapped under a boulder in Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive. Franco is in line for an Oscar nomination, and Boyle is gunning for another one. This film drew raves when screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
Client Nine: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer: This documentary chronicles his rise up the ladder to the New York governorship and his rapid fall after it was discovered he frolicked with high-priced hookers. It's fascinating but it's almost two hours long, and after awhile we got sick of looking at the jerk.
Monsters (R) People who have screened this movie loved it. A journalist (Scoot McNairy) is hired to find a woman (Whitney Able) who has disappeared in Mexico (follow along here) in a huge INFECTED zone inhabited by (you guessed it) aliens. Yes, this is set in the future. Yes, he's hot and she's babelicious. Credit Gareth Edwards, who directs his own script, for putting it all together.