With The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan has created a cinematic symphony that melds action and drama, unpacking the threads of Batman’s mythology even further. The Dark Knight explores that which drives individuals to disturbing ends, whether good or evil in intent, and never is this more brilliantly illustrated than through Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker. Ledger masterfully inhabits the character, bringing the psychotic villain’s neuroses to the fore of his performance. The film serves as timeless proof of his talent and the dramatic legacy he leaves behind.
As an avatar of black comedy, writer/director Alan Ball founds his creativity upon ripping apart suburban living seam by seam. With Towelhead, Ball’s full-length directorial debut, he tackles a modern-day bildungsroman, with a female character at its heart. Thirteen-year-old Jasira (Summer Bishil) is sent to live with her strict father (Peter Macdissi) in Houston, where she struggles with racism and her burgeoning sexuality in equal measure. Ball portrays Jasira’s coming-of-age journey with honesty and humor, territory that few other filmmakers dare broach. Ball’s brave storytelling, successfully subverts the gender paradigm, proves that what’s shocking is real, and brings to light truths which we’d often rather not face.
Playing Harvey Milk, the first openly-gay individual elected to public office, Sean Penn is a bleeding heart. He burrows deep into the emotional crevices of the activist icon he portrays, painting Milk’s self-effacing, flawed, heroic, and earnest humanity with refined grace. Director Gus Van Sant (To Die For) leaves behind the feel-good fuzziness of Good Will Hunting in favor of a layered approach to framing this superb biopic. As a piece of raw filmmaking, Milk is admirable, but if you share Harvey's ideals—among them a belief in equality, opportunity, and human rights for all—then the movie is a call to action. Van Sant and Penn are here to recruit you.
The Pineapple Express frantically fluctuates from pot comedy to ‘80s action throwback to tender “bromance,” all at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-something pace. Nevertheless, director David Gordon Green’s film is taut and focused, and above all, ridiculously funny. Pineapple is replete with gory, bombastic action, from a bong-to-head showdown between heroic duo Saul (James Franco) and Dale (Seth Rogen) and a fellow “connect” (Danny McBride) to an explosive final sequence. There’s no need to buy any of the absurd situations Dale and Saul find themselves in; Green flourishes in fleshing out characters worth caring about, and having accomplished that, the attendant action is a fantastic bonus.
Slumdog Millionaire is a film that will break your heart and mend it again, but not before taking you on a biographical journey set against the frenetic backdrop of Mumbai, India. Jamal (Dev Patel) is a young contestant on India’s version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, and on the cusp of winning 20 million rupees when he is arrested on suspicion of cheating. While being brutally interrogated he relates his life story to authorities, speaking of formative experiences which defend his intellectual integrity. Mumbai is a location teeming with unique energy—a magical quality which director Danny Boyle has managed to communicate through stunning visuals and well-balanced shifts in tone. By the time you get to the Bollywood dance number which closes Slumdog, you’ll be inwardly screaming carpe diem with vigor.
300 's Zack Snyderbrings Alan Mooreand Dave Gibbons' critically acclaimed comic book -Watchmen to the big screen, courtesy of DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures. Set in an alternate universe circa 1985, the film's world is a highly unstable one where a nuclear war is imminent between America and Russia. Superheroes have long been made to hang up their tights thanks to the government-sponsored Keene Act, but that all changes with the death of The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a robust ex-hero commando whose mysterious free fall out a window perks the interest of one of the country's last remaining vigilantes, Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley). His investigation leads him to caution many of his other former costumed colleagues, including Dr. Manhattan, Night Owl (Patrick Wilson), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), Sally Jupiter ( Carla Gugino), and her daughter, The Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman). Heralded for bringing the world of superheroes into the literary world, -Watchmen gave the super-powered mythos a real-life grounding that had been missing in mainstream comics to that point. The film adaptation had languished in one form of development hell or another for years after the book's release, with various directors on and off the project, including Terry Gilliam, David Hayter, and Darren Aronofsky, as well as Paul Greengrass, whose eventual dismissal stemmed from budget conflicts with the studio.
Adolescent wizard-in-training Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for another year of schooling and learns more about the dark past of the boy who grew up to become Lord Voldemort in this, the sixth installment of the film series that originated from the writings of author J.K. Rowling
Mission: Impossible III director andAlias creator J.J. Abrams resurrects the classicfranchise created by Gene Roddenberry with this feature film that embraces the rich history of the influentialtelevisionand film series while also exploring some uncharted territory. Heroes star Zachary Quinto assumes the role of the Federation Starfleet lieutenant and Vulcan made famous in the original series by Leonard Nimoy (who also appears in an older incarnation of his original role), Spock, with Anton Yelchin stepping into the role of USSEnterprisenavigator Pavel Chekov, Zoe Saldana assuming the role ofcommunicationsofficer Uhura, Simon Pegg keeping the ship in top shape as chief engineer Montgomery Scott (aka "Scotty"), and Eric Bana tormenting the benevolent space explorers as the villainous Nero. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle co-star John Cho also boards theEnterpriseas staff psychiatrist Hikaru Sulu, with Chris Pine and Karl Urban assuming the legendary roles of Captain Kirk and Leonard "Bones" McCoy, respectively.
The fourth installment of theTerminator series follows an adult John Connor (played by Christian Bale) as he attempts to organize a human resistance force which could prove to be humankind's last true hope for survival in the war against their intelligent robot overlords. Aussie Sam Worthington portrays Marcus, an early version of the Terminator robot, with Anton Yelchin filling Michael Biehn's shoes as a young Kyle Reese in what is planned to be a new trilogy from director McG (Charlie's Angels).
A feisty septuagenarian teams with a fearless wilderness ranger to do battle with a vicious band of beasts and villains in this computer-animated adventure scripted by Pixar veteran Bob Peterson and co-directed by Peterson and Monsters, Inc. director Peter Docter