Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Jem and the Holograms (PG for mature themes, reckless behavior, mild epithets and suggestive content) Live-action adaptation of the animated TV series starring Aubrey Peeples as the lead singer of an all-girl rock group with an underground cult following which morphs into a worldwide sensation. With Molly Ringwald, Juliette Lewis, Stefanie Scott and Aurora Perrineau.
The Last Witch Hunter (PG-13 for violence and frightening images) Action-oriented fantasy revolving around a valiant warrior (Vin Diesel) representing the last hope for humanity in an epic showdown with a reincarnated demon (Julie Engelbrecht). Supporting cast includes Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie and Michael Caine.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (R for violence and profanity) Sixth and final installment of the found footage horror franchise featuring supernatural phenomena around the haunted house in Palo Alto just moved into by a married couple (Chris J. Murray and Brit Shaw) with of a young son (Dan Gill) and daughter (Ivy George). With Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown and Hallie Foote.
Rock the Kasbah (R for profanity, drug use, sexual references and brief violence) Musical comedy about a broke rock producer (Bill Murray) who helps an Afghani teenager (Leem Lubany) compete on her country's reality-TV version of American Idol after he finds himself stranded in Kabul. Featuring Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson, Bruce Willis, Danny McBride and Scott Caan.
Steve Jobs (R for profanity) Michael Fassbender portrays the late Apple founder in this warts-and-all biopic spanning the critical period from 1984 to 1998 and highlighting the Machiavellian CEO's drive to gain the competitive edge in technological innovation. Cast includes Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Katherine Waterston and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Suffragette (PG-13 for intense violence, mature themes, brief profanity and partial nudity) Historical drrama, set in England, chronicling the selfless fight for women's equality staged by feminists at the dawn of the 20th Century. Co-starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Burnt (Unrated) Culinary dramedy about a disgraced Parisian chef's (Bradley Cooper) attempt to restore his reputation in London with the help of an attractive assistant-turned-love interest (Sienna Miller). With Omar Sy, Uma Thurman, Emma Thompson and Alicia Vikander.
Difret (Unrated) Women's rights drama, set in Ethiopia, revolving around a 14 year-old girl (Tizita Hagere) on trial for the murder of the man (Girma Teshome) who'd kidnapped and raped her with the intent of turning her into his child bride. Co-starring Meron Getnet, Abel Abebe and ShitayeAbraha. (In Amharic)
Extraordinary Tales (Unrated) Animated adaptation of five short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, including "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar," and "The Masque of the Red Death." Voice cast includes Christopher Lee, Guillermo del Toro and Roger Corman.
Heart of a Dog (Unrated) Performance artist Laurie Anderson wrote, directed, produced, filmed, scored, animated and stars in this introspective auto- biopic reflecting upon the deaths of her mother, dog and husband, Lou Reed.
I Smile Back (R for profanity, substance abuse, disturbing behavior and graphic sexuality) Dysfunctional family drama revolving around a New Jersey housewife's (Sarah Silverman) quest for redemption following a self-destructive descent into depravity marked by addiction, promiscuity and child abuse. With Josh Charles, Skylar Gaertner and Shayne Coleman.
India's Daughter (Unrated) Women's rights documentary recounting the events surrounding the murder of Jyoti Singh, the 23 year-old, medical student gang-raped on a moving bus in Delhi in December of 2012. (In English and Hindi with subtitles)
The Looking Glass (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama about a recently-orphaned 13 year-old (Grace Tarnow) forced by circumstances to move to Indiana to live with a grandmother (Dorothy Tristan) suffering from Alzheimer's. With Trish Basinger, Ed Ernstes and Elizabeth Stenholt.
Nasty Baby (R for sexuality, profanity, drug use, graphic nudity and disturbing violence) Homoerotic drama, set in Brooklyn, about a gay couple (Sebastian Sliva and Tunde Adebimpe) that enlists the help of their best friend (Kristen Wiig) in their attempt to have a baby. Support cast includes Alia Shawkat, Mark Margolis and Reg E. Cathey. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)
The Pearl Button (Unrated) Eco-documentary highlighting the importance of H2O to the indigenous peoples of Patagonia, and, by implication, to folks all over the planet. (In Spanish with subtitles)
Top Spin (Unrated) Ping pong documentary chronicling the efforts of three teenagers in 2012 to qualify for the United States' Olympic Table Tennis team. (In English and Mandarin with subtitles)