Budrus 2009 NR 82 minutes
Documentarian Julia Bacha delves into the fraught world of Palestinian-Israeli relations in this amazing account of one family’s leadership of a movement to prevent Israel’s Separation Barrier from slicing the Palestinian village of Budrus in half. Ayed Morrar inspires nonviolent protests of the giant barrier by numerous factions, and his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, leads a women’s group. Archival footage and interviews illuminate the action.
How I Ended This Summer 2010 NR 124 minutes
At an isolated science station in the Arctic, meteorologist Sergei and young intern Pavel face the impending closure of the now-irrelevant base. While Sergei eagerly anticipates returning to his family, Pavel still hopes for a grand adventure. Time is distorted so far north, where the never-setting summer sun can make a day stretch into weeks, and this engrossing thriller examines how altered perceptions affect the two men.
I Saw the Devil 2010 NR 141 minutes
From famed thriller director Ji-woon Kim comes this edgy thriller about secret agent Dae-hoon (Byung-hun Lee), who discovers how far over the edge he will go in order to seek revenge after his fiancée is brutally slain by psychopathic serial killer Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi). With the police baffled by Kyung-chul’s murders, Dae-hoon decides to capture the killer, but his own increasing violence makes him wonder who the monster really is.
Black Death 2010 R 102 minutes
Sean Bean stars in this historically rooted horror-thriller as Ulric, a church-appointed knight in the age of the Bubonic Plague’s first wave who’s tasked with investigating rumors of a woman (Carice van Houten) who can bring the dead back to life. A young monk (Eddie Redmayne) named Osmund is aiding Ulric on his quest to root out the necromancer — and to determine whether or not she has ties to Satan.
The Violent Kind 2010 R 89 minutes
From the producers of Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” and the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake comes this tale of rowdy bikers who find their partying cut short by a malevolent force and a gang of equally rough Rockabilly types who may already be dead. Writer-directors the Butcher Brothers have created an instant and utterly original grindhouse classic, a meat-and-potatoes slasher flick sure to satisfy the hungriest gorehounds.
The Hit List 2010 R 90 minutes
Screenwriter brothers Chad and Evan Law penned this gripping action-thriller about a man (Cole Hauser) who bends a stranger’s (Cuba Gooding Jr.) ear during a night of drinking — and accidentally sentences the people he complains about to die. The moral implications are bad enough. But when the people on his theoretical “hit list” start turning up truly dead, a detective (Jonathan LaPaglia) gets awfully suspicious.
Anime & Animation
The Illusionist 2010 PG 80 minutes
Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature, this wistful tale follows the fading fortunes of aging illusionist Tatischeff , who’s forced to perform in obscure venues as his act is eclipsed by the growing popularity of rock bands. He gets an emotional lift, though, from a wide-eyed girl named Alice, who thinks he possesses magic powers. But Tatischeff’s “sleight of hand” efforts to impress her with expensive gifts may lead to his financial undoing.
Children & Family
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Pt I 2010 PG-13 146 minutes
The first installment of the two-part conclusion to the Harry Potter series finds the bespectacled wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) walking away from his last year at Hogwarts to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, putting an end to Voldemort’s bid for immortality. But with Harry’s beloved Dumbledore dead and Voldemort’s unscrupulous Death Eaters on the loose, the world is more dangerous than ever.
Cougars, Inc. 2011 R 82 minutes
Faced with a tuition bill he can’t afford to pay, college-age Sam concocts a lucrative side business that pairs sex-crazed students with sex-starved “cougars,” older women who are keen on showing the eager boys around the bedroom.
No Strings Attached 2011 R 107 minutes
Emotionally unencumbered and sexually satisfied, friends with benefits Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) have an open relationship that suits them just fine. That is, until those pesky little things called feelings enter the picture. Ivan Reitman directs and Kevin Kline and Cary Elwes co-star in this comedy that explores the perks and pitfalls of modern romance.
Bhutto 2010 NR 111 minutes
Duane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara’s documentary is an in-depth and at times incendiary look at the epic life and tragic death of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, whose 2007 assassination sent her country’s political system into a tailspin. As a passionate and outspoken voice of reason and democracy, Bhutto’s return to the seat of power seemed inevitable; but as a deeply divisive figure, her death was perhaps inescapable as well.
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 2011 G 105 minutes
*DISCLAIMER* Though I did say “No Justin Bieber here,” this is a legit Netflix New Release, so I suppose I’ll give him equal billing.
In this high-energy 3-D musical documentary, teen singing sensation Justin Bieber provides personal snapshots from throughout his career, starting with his first set of drums and culminating with scenes from his triumphant 2010 concert tour. Other stars and family members interviewed include Jaden Smith, Miley Cyrus and Justin’s mother, Pattie Mallette. Also included are the praises of Bieber’s army of devoted young fans.
Blue Valentine 2010 R 112 minutes
Once crazy about each other, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) have now grown apart. Cindy is bored and disenchanted with her life while Dean languishes in the emotional emptyness of their sexless, routine life in rural Pennsylvania. As they muddle through their marriage, they hearken back to the golden days when life was filled with possibility and romance. Derek Cianfrance writes and directs this drama.
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do 2010 NR 108 minutes
In this romantic drama, Vince and Shonda find themselves in a tricky place — unable to decide whether their relationship still makes sense. When nothing else helps, they give therapy a try in an effort to understand what each of them truly wants.
Country Strong 2010 PG-13 117 minutes
While out on tour to revive her stalled career, once-popular country singer Kelly (Gwyneth Paltrow) falls for emerging newcomer Beau (Garrett Hedlund) and tries desperately to hide their burgeoning romance from her ever-present husband and manager, Ed (Tim McGraw). Written and directed by Shana Feste, this musical drama co-stars Leighton Meester as a former beauty queen trying to break out as a songstress.