Friday, March 1, 2013


"Eden," the name of the film and our Korean-American protagonist, takes us into the hidden world of human trafficking in the United States. It's a closer-to-home version of "Taken," only Eden doesn't have an indestructible daddy to come save the day. Of course, and troublingly so, this is based on a true story. The trailer appears to contain multiple twists in a story that spans over two years, but also serves to advertise this unsexy thriller. Look for it in theaters on March 20th. 

"No" was Chile's official selection for the Oscars. It stars Gael Garcia Bernal as an ad executive who spearheads the campaign to beat out Augusto Pinochet in the country's referendum. We are dropped in Chile circa 1988 and get a glimpse of the protests, rallies and propaganda. Bernal has been on my radar since "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and seems like a good fit for these creative characters types (see also "Science of Sleep" and "Even the Rain"). "No" is currently playing in select cities.

"A Place at the Table" comes from the makers of "Food, Inc.," a doc I started but never got around to finishing. I think it made me hungry... Obescity is a well-known problem in America, but this doc takes a look at the growing problem of hunger. I'd like to think this is  more than Obama administration propaganda (Michelle Obama's health agenda is portrayed as the solution). Look for this being served at select theaters on March 1st.

"Before they were incorporated, they had to be educated" explains the trailer for "Monster University," the first prequel Pixar has released for one of its established IPs. The original "Monsters, Inc." is among my favorite of their incredibly impressive portfolio. Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their voice roles for the memorable Mike and Sully. This time we follow them as scaring majors at the titular school. Their classmates are an eclectic bunch with plenty of sight gags to go around. We already know this story has a most-happy conclusion, which is going to work against any major conflict in this story. Besides the roomies not getting along I do not see much. Enroll by June 21st (3D optional).

Based on the controversial novel, "Bless Me, Ultima" is an account of the boy who seeks wisdom from the medicine woman in his village. Set in New Mexico during WW2 there were still some superstitious (or just racist?) townsfolk in this region of our country who suspected the elder of being a witch. Originally published in 1972, this story has been awaiting a film adaptation for some time. Well, Carl Franklin ("Devil in a Blue Dress") has finally done it and the result seems more than watchable. Oh, and how about that female voice saying "Rated PG-13" at the end of the trailer? Don't think I've ever heard that before... "Bless Me, Ultima" is currently playing in select theaters. I hope to catch sometime in the next week.

"The Silence" gets a creepy but aesthetically admirable trailer. This German film is also based on an award-winning novel about two astonishingly similar kidnappings and murders of young teenage girls that are separated by 23 years. No main character reveals him or herself in this wordless preview. It looks more like a community procedural than anything, though we are also unsettled witnesses to the crimes at hand. "The Silence" currently has a very limited release. It's playing at the Nuart for a week if you're in the Los Angeles area.

Kids, take note. When your parents aren't giving you the attention you deserve, hold them hostage! That'll teach 'em! And that's precisely what's at play in "Family Weekend" after Emily's parents miss her jumprope competition. As you might guess from that description it's played out to be a comedy. Her mother is a shrill presence after just a 2-minute trailer and it's hard to care about the lead, selfish as she is. "Family Weekend" will be in select theaters on March 29th, but you probably don't want to take your family... and possibly not even yourself. 

"Peeples" is essentially black version of the successful "Meet the Parents" model. Craig Robinson (you might know him as Daryl on "The Office") is wanting to ask for Kerry Washington's (most recently seen in "Django Unchained") hand in marriage, but he has a lot to prove to the initially unimpressed potential in-laws. It's a scenario that can be told and retold for each and every subculture. Many of the laughs feel uninspired or just plain weak. I predict there's going to be a lot of antics before the inevitable wedding scene. "Peeples" is in theaters on May 10th.

"6 Souls" has had a tough run getting released. Made back in 2009 under the name "Shelter," it follows  Julianne Moore as a forensic psychologist who is shocked to discover that all six of her current patient's (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) multiple personalities were murder victims. Great talent onscreen, little-known talent off, at best I think this can hope to reach the status of the decent likes of "The Forgotten," another horror Moore vehicle. "6 Souls" has been testing the waters overseas for years, it finally gets a limited run here in the States starting April 5th.

Quit stallin' in the horse stall, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!


We've been seeing a lot of great films from Norway lately, but I learned long ago that there's opposition in all things. "Thale," inspired by native folklore, is the story of two cleaning men who stumble upon Thale in a basement. Just what is she/it? I cheated and checked out the Wikipedia entry for huldra. Nothing like a CGI tail to seduce the hearts of men! No word on any type of release date in the States. I'm sure it'll wind up on Netflix Instant before the year's over.


"3G - A Killer Connection" is the latest Bollywood blockbuster (which you can guess from the trailer) and claims to be a drama, horror, sci-fi. It's dazzling and bewildering and pretty terrible; it ultimately feels somewhere between a music video and a B-movie thriller. It debuts on March 15th in India and the UK. We'll just have to await its connection our way.

Wesley Snipes hunted vampires again and again in the successful "Blade" series. Now he's taking his tactics to the Wild West in "Gallowwalkers." He's a gunfighter who's been cursed to find that everyone he kills returns as a zombie. At least ripping their heads off with his bare hands seems to put them down eternally. This premise makes for a perpetual bloody horror/action flick that will hopefully balance out the dumb with fun. This will surely not get a theatrical run, but look for it at a Redbox near you soon!


"Graceland," like "Eden" (above), is about a young girl taken from her family by the evil peons of human trafficking. The story follows the father who will stop at nothing to get her back. On paper it's very much a Philippine version of "Taken," but being the product of this country it brings some valuable perspective and weight to this growing world problem. This thriller looks bleakly realistic yet truly heart-pounding. It has run around the festival circuit, I'm awaiting to hear when the rest of us might be able to see it.

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