Frankenstein, RoboCop and Mr. Peabody are all part of the year's first batch of movies
January 16, 2014 12:00 AM
Mr. Peabody (Ty Burell), Penny (Ariel Winter) and Sherman (Max Charles) enjoy the benefits of time travel in "Mr. Peabody & Sherman."
From left, John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray in Columbia Pictures' "The Monuments Men."
Concept Art by Ryan Meinerding
Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"
Kevin Costner stars in "Draft Day."
By Barbara Vancheri / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Moviegoers will step into the way-back machine this winter with reboots of Jack Ryan, Frankenstein, RoboCop, "About Last Night," "Endless Love," Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman, and the Bible.
In a switch from the past, most of the big awards contenders have already opened in Pittsburgh, although a title or two -- such as the animated "The Wind Rises" -- might be among the Oscar nominees being revealed at 8:38 a.m. today in Beverly Hills.
Feb. 7 will be a red-letter day for adults and children thanks to George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" and "The Lego Movie," and Shailene Woodley will try to recapture the March magic of "The Hunger Games" with "Divergent" set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. Two film festivals, one starting in late March and another at the end of April, also are coming our way.
As always, this list (which doesn't include special or single-night showings) will grow or shrink some weeks and dates are subject to change:
"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit": Chris Pine follows in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck to play Tom Clancy character Jack Ryan alongside Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley and director Kenneth Branagh.
"The Nut Job": Animated comedy about a squirrel who leads a mission to get into Maury's Nut Store and stock up on food for the winter. With voices of Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser and Liam Neeson.
"Ride Along": When a fast-talking guy, who happens to be a high school security guard, joins his girlfriend's brother -- a hot-tempered and decorated cop -- to patrol the streets of Atlanta, he gets entangled in the officer's latest case in this action comedy starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube.
"Devil's Due": After a mysterious, lost night on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple find themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned and sinister pregnancy.
"Broken Circle Breakdown": Tearjerker and official Oscar entry from Belgium about a couple -- she runs a tattoo shop, he's a bluegrass banjo player -- and their gravely ill daughter. Back from the 2013 Three Rivers Film Festival.
"The Punk Singer": Also returning from the festival, a look at Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre.
"I, Frankenstein": Aaron Eckhart stars in an action thriller based on the Darkstorm Studios graphic novel of the same name created by Kevin Grevioux. Two hundred years after his creation, Dr. Frankenstein's creature, Adam, still walks the Earth and discovers he might hold the key to the destruction of mankind.
"Gimme Shelter": Vanessa Hudgens takes the decidedly unglamorous role of a runaway teen facing hard choices about her biological parents, notion of family and her unplanned pregnancy in this drama based on a true story.
"American Promise": In 1999, filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson turned the camera on themselves and began filming their 5-year-old son and his best friend as they started kindergarten at the prestigious Dalton School just as the private institution was committing to diversify its student body. They follow both families for another 12 years as one boy stays in private school and the other navigates public education.
"Labor Day": Jason Reitman ("Up in the Air," "Juno") directs a movie version of Joyce Maynard's 2009 novel about an alienated boy, his lonely mother and the escaped convict who comes into their lives one Labor Day weekend. The cast features Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin and newcomer Gattlin Griffith.
"That Awkward Moment": Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan star in an R-rated comedy about three best friends who find themselves in dating relationships with each trying to decide, "So, where is this going?"
Oscar Shorts: Nominees, to be revealed this morning, in the live action and animated categories of the 86th Academy Awards.
"The Monuments Men": Action drama focusing on over-the-hill museum directors, artists, architects, curators and art historians who went to the front lines of World War II to rescue masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. George Clooney directs, co-writes and stars alongside Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett.
"The Lego Movie": It's the first full-length theatrical Lego adventure, in both 3-D and 2-D. Need we say more? Well, the computer animated story follows the ordinary Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt) who is mistakenly identified as the key to saving the world.
Oscar Documentary Shorts: Pittsburgh Filmmakers once again will make it possible for Pittsburghers to see these nominees, also being announced this morning.
"RoboCop": The 1987 film formula of part-man, part-robot police officer gets a reboot with Joel Kinnaman as a loving husband, father and good cop battling crime and corruption in Detroit who is critically injured and reborn as RoboCop. Michael Keaton goes to the dark side as the villainous head of the corporation that envisions a RoboCop in every city, which would mean billions for shareholders.
"Winter's Tale": Akiva Goldsman, who won an Oscar for the screenplay of "A Beautiful Mind," adapts Mark Helprin's novel and directs the romantic fantasy set in a mythic New York and spanning more than a century. It stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint and Russell Crowe.
"About Last Night": Reimagining of the 1986 romcom starring Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, James Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins, this time with Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald and Paula Patton. It's based on the same screenplay, itself inspired by a David Mamet play.
"Endless Love": Another remake, this time of the Scott Spencer novel, starring Gabriella Wilde ("The Three Musketeers") and Alex Pettyfer as a privileged young woman and charismatic young man whose love affair is made more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart. Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt appeared in the 1981 adaptation.
"One Chance": Taylor Swift co-wrote "Sweeter Than Fiction" with fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff that plays over the end credits of this movie inspired by the true story of British tenor Paul Potts' meteoric rise to stardom via the TV program "Britain's Got Talent." James Corden plays Mr. Potts.
"Gloria": Paulina Garcia was named best actress at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival for her portrayal of a 58-year-old divorcee and mother who still feels young. Her quest to be loved and valued is set over the clamors of a Chilean society that wants its rights to be recognized.
"The Past": Following a four-year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie's request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend. During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her teenage daughter and his efforts to improve the relationship unveil a secret from their past. Ali Mosaffa, Berenice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Pauline Burlet star.
"Vampire Academy": Movie inspired by Richelle Mead's best-selling series about a hidden boarding school for Moroi (mortal peaceful vampires) and Dhampirs (half-vampire/half-human guardians). Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry star.
"Pompeii": As Mount Vesuvius erupts in A.D. 79, a slave turned gladiator races to save his true love, the daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman senator. Kit Harington from "Game of Thrones" and Emily Browning star.
"Kids for Cash": Robert May examines the "kids for cash" scandal in which prosecutors said children were locked away in private juvenile detention and treatment facilities -- often for minor offenses -- by Luzerne County judges who took illegal payments from the facilities' builder and co-owner. (Has a sneak preview tonight at the Hollywood in Dormont.)
"Non-Stop": During a flight from New York to London, a U.S. air marshal (Liam Neeson) receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on the flight will be killed every 20 minutes in the thriller also starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong'o.
"Son of God": A stand-alone feature of 138 minutes based on "The Bible" TV miniseries from producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey but here concentrating on the New Testament, with additional footage added. The film spans the period from the birth of Jesus to his resurrection, with Diogo Morgado in the title role.
"The Wind Rises": Oscar-winning Hayao Miyazaki ("Spirited Away") has said this will be his final animated feature as he concentrates on manga and short films. It's a tribute to engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who, unable to be a pilot due to nearsightedness, becomes one of the world's most accomplished airplane designers. Voices in the English-language version: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski.
"Welcome to Yesterday": Teens discover secret plans for a time machine and build one, but, you guessed it, bad things happen.
"Mr. Peabody & Sherman": Animated adventure in which Sherman takes the WABAC (way back machine) out for a joyride to impress a friend, and they accidentally rip a hole in the universe. That wreaks historical havoc in this comedy with the voice of "Modern Family" dad Ty Burrell as Mr. Peabody, the brainy dog.
"300: Rise of an Empire": Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) is pitted against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and Artemisia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy in this follow-up to the 2007 blockbuster.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel": Filmmaker Wes Anderson reunites with some of his favorite actors and brings others into the fold in this story recounting the adventures of a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the world wars, and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, and the battle for a family fortune.
"Need for Speed": Aaron Paul is a mechanic, a muscle-car racer and an ex-prisoner framed for a crime he didn't commit who wants to take down a wealthy arrogant rival (Dominic Cooper) in this action movie based on the popular video game series.
"Grace of Monaco": Nicole Kidman channels the former Grace Kelly to Tim Roth's Prince Rainier in a movie about the political conflict between Charles de Gaulle and Monaco and Alfred Hitchcock's attempt to tempt the Philadelphia-born beauty back to Hollywood.
"Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club": When five struggling single mothers put aside their differences to form a support group, they find inspiration and laughter and help each other overcome the obstacles that stand in their way. Nia Long, Amy Smart, Cocoa Brown, Terry Crews, William Levy and Wendi McLendon-Covey star alongside the filmmaker.
"Divergent": Move over, "Hunger Games," and make way for the futuristic action-adventure based on Veronica Roth's novel set in the Chicago of the future. Shailene Woodley stars as a 16-year-old who must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life -- but it turns out she doesn't fit into any single group, setting the stage for questions about the seemingly perfect society.
"Muppets Most Wanted": On a global tour, the Muppets sell out grand European theaters but find themselves entangled in an international crime caper. The mastermind is a dead ringer for Kermit in this comedy starring Ricky Gervais as the criminal's sidekick, Tina Fey as a feisty prison guard and Ty Burrell is an Interpol agent.
"Stretch": Action comedy about an in-debt chauffeur and a mysterious billionaire, with Patrick Wilson, Chris Pine and Ed Helms.
JFilm Festival, previously known as the Pittsburgh Jewish Israeli Film Festival, will open on this date and run to April 6.
"Noah": The Bible is back -- as a source for Hollywood movies, that is. Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan," "The Wrestler") directs Russell Crowe in the title role of a man chosen by God to build an ark before an apocalyptic flood arrives. Joining him in the cast are Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins and Logan Lerman.
"A Haunted House 2": A little more than a year after spoofing the "Paranormal Activity" series Marlon Wayans returns. This time, he has a new girlfriend with two children and -- of course -- a dream home plagued by bizarre events.
"Cesar Chavez": Michael Pena ("End of Watch," "Crash") stars as the civil rights leader and labor organizer torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. Diego Luna directs a cast also including America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich.
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier": Anthony Mackie joins the Marvel franchise as the Falcon, a new ally for Captain America and the Black Widow in this sequel returning Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson to their costumed characters. Cast also includes Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as, once again, Nick Fury.
"Dom Hemingway": Cheeky black comedy starring Jude Law in the title role of a safecracker, released from prison after 12 years for taking the fall to protect his benefactor. He sets off with his partner in crime to collect what he's owed in this film also starring Richard E. Grant and Demian Bichir.
"Island of Lemurs: Madagascar": Morgan Freeman narrates the story of lemurs and introduces scientist Patricia Wright, whose lifelong mission has been to help the creatures survive in the modern world.
"Rio 2": Jewel (voice of Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and their three winged offspring leave their domesticated life for a journey to the Amazon where they encounter a menagerie of characters born to be wild. Andy Garcia, Rita Moreno, Bruno Mars and Kristin Chenoweth join the voice talent in a sequel to the 2011 animated hit.
"Draft Day": Tough sell for Steeler fans? Kevin Costner plays the GM of the Cleveland Browns, who has the chance to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the No. 1 pick. He must decide what he's willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of perfection in this Ivan Reitman movie, which also stars Jennifer Garner and Denis Leary and spent seven weeks filming in Northeast Ohio.
"Sabotage": Arnold Schwarzenegger leads an elite DEA task force that takes on the world's deadliest drug cartels. When the team successfully executes a high-stakes raid on a cartel safe house, they think their work is done -- until the team members mysteriously start to be eliminated. Cast includes Terrence Howard and Joe Manganiello.
"Heaven Is for Real": Easter week will bring a PG-rated drama inspired by the best-seller about a boy who claims to have visited heaven during a near-death experience. Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly portray the parents, and newcomer Connor Corum plays the child who says he met relatives, including a sister lost in a miscarriage and a long-dead great- grandfather.
"Bears": John C. Reilly narrates a yearlong look at two brown bear cubs who emerge from hibernation to face bitter cold, the threat of avalanches, the search for food and rivals and predators in this live-action movie timed to coincide with Earth Day.
"Transcendence": Cinematographer Wally Pfister, an Oscar winner for "Inception" and triple nominee for other Christopher Nolan pictures, makes his directing debut with this sci-fi thriller. Johnny Depp plays the foremost researcher in the field of artificial intelligence who is working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. Anti-technology extremists target him, with unintentional results.
"The Other Woman": Two women who discover their boyfriend is married join forces with his wife to plot revenge in a comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
"The Quiet Ones": An unorthodox professor (Jared Harris) uses controversial methods and leads his best students off the grid to participate in a dangerous experiment to create a poltergeist in this horror movie.
The ninth annual Silk Screen Film Festival will open with its gala on this evening and present films April 26 through May 4.
"Bad Words": Jason Bateman makes his feature directorial debut with a subversive comedy about a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of a national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition. (March)
"Let's Be Cops": When two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party, they become neighborhood sensations and later encounter real-life mobsters and dirty detectives. Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson, Rob Riggle, James D'Arcy, Andy Garcia and Nina Dobrev star.
"The Invisible Woman": Romantic drama about the secret love affair between Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes, who also directs) and young actress Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones). He was 45 and long married, while she was 18 when they met in this movie based on Claire Tomalin's biography of the mistress.
"The Lunchbox": The mistaken delivery of a special lunch to a Mumbai stranger launches a series of lunch box notes between a married housewife and an about-to-retire widower. Their missives become little confessions about loneliness, memories, regrets, fears and small joys in this film starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur.
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