After Earth – One thousand years ago, mankind was driven from Earth and forced to relocate. Without man ruling the planet, animals have evolved into something much more dangerous and deadly. Not the greatest of places to crash-land a spaceship. The only two survivors are the father and son duo of Kitai (Jaden Smith) and Cypher (Will Smith). They must do everything they can to try to brave the new world, but they are going to have to do it while an alien that they were transporting on the ship hunts them down. Written by M. Night Shymalan (who also directs) and Gary Whitta, with a story credit to Will Smith. Out in wide release from Sony Pictures.
American Mary – Mary (Katharine Isabelle) is a med student who is drowning in debt and sick and tired with her instructors, so she decides to up and quit. She’s a good-looking girl, and figures it’s time to turn her assets into something of financial use and starts stripping at a shady club. Mary soon learns that they do off-the-books surgeries in the basement, and they want to employee her expertise. There are a lot of people who just can’t afford medical insurance, so why not get all kinds of plastic surgery and body modifications from the cheapest game in town? Mary needs money and decides to go along with it. Things to take a turn for the worse for Mary and Mary decides to extract a little revenge. Written and directed by The Twisted Twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska, and out in limited release from Xlrator Media on May 31st and DVD on June 18th.
The East – Sarah (Brit Marling) is a young secret agent working for an insurance company. Handpicked from the FBI, she joins a new firm that specializes in insuring companies from Eco-Terrorists. The East is one of many groups of domestic terrorists that attack the heads of major corporations that are dumping toxic waste into our water supply, oil into the gulf, faulty medication into our pharmacies, and Sarah’s job is to go undercover and expose these people. However, the people who make up The East have their reasons, and that might be enough to turn Sarah to their side. Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Shiloh Fernandez, and Toby Kebbell make up The East, Patricia Clarkson stars as Sarah’s boss, and Zal Batmanglij directs and co-wrote the script with Marling. Out in limited release from Fox Searchlight.
Hannah Arendt – The Banality of Evil: a crime committed not by a madman, a psychopath, or a sociopath, but by a common individual that believes in the state, in other words, someone who simply follows orders. Writer Hanna Arendt (Barbara Sukowa) lands a job writing for the New Yorker to cover the trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann, where he was tried for war crimes in Jerusalem in 1961. Arendt raised a lot of ire when she started reporting that Eichmann was not a monster, but just another solider. It’s difficult to explain the systematic extermination of an entire race if it is not perpetrated by evil incarnate. If ordinary citizens did it, then no one is truly safe. Janet McTeer, Nicholas Woodeson, Axel Milberg, Julia Jentsch, and Klaus Pohl co-star, Margarethe von Trotta writes and directs and Zeitgeist Films releases this one into limited theaters on May 29th.
The History of Future Funk – “Earth is a complicated place, and so are it’s women.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Two aliens come from the planet Hondo to exterminate us and take Earth for their own, but their plan is derailed when they hear pop music. Instead of taking over, they decided to form a folk duo and go on tour, fall in love, and learn about the human race. I am reminded of an old SNL skit where Voyage reaches an alien planet and the Aliens send a message back to Earth, “Greetings people of Earth, please send more Chuck Berry records.” Nils d’Aulaire and Jay Klaitz play the Hondionans, and the great Dee Snider has a role as the bar owner where Future Folk performs. Directed by John Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker from a script from Mitchell. Out in limited release from Variance Films.
The Kings of Summer – It’s tough to be a teen. You are finally old enough to have your own thoughts and desires, but never before have so many people told you what to do and imposed so many meaningless rules. Sometimes you have no choice but to break free and establish your own place. These three kids take off to the woods and build their own house where they live without parents and rules. Sounds kind of like the expansion of America, the settlers were just tired of England and taxes so they just kept moving further and further into the woods where they were completely on their own. Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias are the Kings of Summer, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally play two of the parents, and the lovely Alison Brie joins in on the fun. Chris Galletta wrote the script, Jordan Vogt-Roberts directs and CBS Films releases this one into limited theaters.
Now You See Me – The Four Horsemen are a super group of illusionists (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco) who stage very public and impressive tricks. They also happen to rob the rich and give to the poor. There seems to be a lot more Robin Hoods in movies now that the 99% have blamed the 1% for all their problems. FBI Agent Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is trying to crack their code before they manage to stage their greatest trick of all. Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine are also involved and sometimes a cast is worth the price of admission, and this might be one of those times. Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, and Edward Ricourt wrote the script and Louis Leterrier directed. Out in wide release from Lionsgate Films.
Shadow Dancer – Here is something I have learned from movies, if a character ever says, “Nobody dies, nobody gets hurt” then it is guaranteed that someone will die and a lot of people will get hurt. That’s what Mac (Clive Owen), a MI5 officer, promises Collette (Andrea Riseborough) who has been arrested for an aborted IRA bomb plot. She has no choice but to go along with it because she has to protect her son and her brother. Mac does what he can to protect her, but his own organization is screwing him too. Gillian Anderson co-stars with Tom Bradby as screenwriter and James Marsh as director. Out in limited release from Magnolia Pictures.
Sirius – Nothing quite like a good conspiracy theory to get people whipped up into a needless frenzy. The supposed evidence of extra terrestrial life visiting Earth is nothing new, but why would the government go to such lengths to cover it up? This doc proposes that the systematic cover-up of these beings is due to propulsion and energy systems that they possessed to get here in the first place. Big business and the government is once again doing everything it can to keep us burning coal and oil because they can capitalize on it better. Too bad it looks like they try to tie the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 in there as well, might be a bit too much. Narrated by Thomas Jane and directed by Amardeep Kaleka, out in limited release and you can locate the theatrical schedule and all other information on their Facebook page.
The Wall – The Woman (Martina Gedeck) is alone, truly, unspeakably alone. Surrounding her is a giant invisible wall, keeping her from communicating with others, keeping her from reaching civilization, from even leaving her location of extreme isolation. Many characters in literature and film are completely alone, Tom Hanks in Cast Away or Robinson Crusoe, but they are stranded on deserted islands that they can’t physically escape. This Woman is stranded in a psychological form of isolation, will she be able to break free. Written by Marlen Haushofer and Julian Pölsler and directed by Julian Pölsler. Out in limited release from Music Box Films.