The Weekender: ‘Freedom’ 90


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty* (PG)
Starring Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott
Written for the screen by Steve Conrad
Directed by Ben Stiller
Thoroughly entertaining and occasionally inspiring, the film would have been better served to go much darker, like Spike Jonze’s take on Where the Wild Things Are. Read my review at College Movie Review.

The Wolf of Wall Street (R)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
Written for the screen by Terence Winter
Directed by Martin Scorsese
DiCaprio and Scorsese go into full-on comedy mode here, with Leo as real-life Wall Street scumbag Jordan Belfort, recounting all the sordid details of his rise and fall. The three-hour, hard-R film has divided audiences but should be looking at several Oscar nominations.

Grudge Match (PG-13)
Starring Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger
Story by Tim Kelleher
Screenplay by Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman
Directed by Peter Segal
It’s a parade of sad Oscar winners, with De Niro and Stallone going head-to-head in the boxing ring.

47 Ronin (PG-13)
Starring Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki
Screen story by Chris Morgan & Walter Hamada
Screenplay by Chris Morgan and Hossein Amini
Directed by Carl Rinsch
Every year, there’s one completely nutso mainstream movie that somehow makes it to theaters. Not surprisingly, the last few have all involved ninjas or samurai (Ninja Assassin, The Warrior’s Way and Sucker Punch immediately come to mind). This version of the Japanese legend looks completely bonkers (but not in a good way). At least its production design is gorgeous.

Justin Bieber’s Believe (PG)
Directed by Jon M. Chu
I have yet to see anything beyond a poster for this film. I’m just shocked the studio is releasing this on a crowded holiday instead of the dregs of January or February.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (PG-13)
Starring Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge
Written for the screen by William Nicholson
Directed by Justin Chadwick
Cynically, this movie is guaranteed to do better now that Mandiba has passed on. Hopefully it’s a worthy tribute instead of a paint-by-numbers biopic starring a great actor who bears no resemblance whatsoever to the man he’s portraying.

To rent:
Caesar Must Die (91%)
Insidious: Chapter 2 (37%)
More than Honey (100%)
Una Noche (81%)

(Release dates subject to change.)

Note: There will be no Weekender column next week as I’m on vacation. Look for the next post on January 10. In the meantime, there will be plenty of year in review stuff for you to disagree about.

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