<strongSilver Linings Playbook
David O. Russell’s follow-up to The Fighter deals, once again, with the question of male aggression, only this time the fights are all strictly amateur. (Still violent, though!) After discovering his wife cheating on him, Pat (Bradley Cooper) assaults the man who’s cuckolding him and ends up getting treated in a mental institution. After returning home to live with his parents in Philadelphia, Pat is determined to give himself a whole-life makeover so that his ex-wife will find him worthy again, despite the fact that she has taken out a restraining order against him. But his path keeps crossing that of Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow who’s dealing with her grief by teaching herself ballroom dancing.
Playbook was an awards monster: Its stars were nominated in all four acting categories at this year’s Oscars, with Lawrence taking home her first Academy Award for playing Tiffany. The two leads have nice chemistry despite the fact that she is clearly way too young for him, but midway through the movie tries to make you forget that it’s been making Tiffany’s depression, Pat’s bipolar disorder, and Pat’s father’s OCD seem like cute personality quirks, as opposed to debilitating mental illnesses, by turning into a dance movie. But hey: If you rent it this weekend, you kind of get two movies for the price of one.
New and Notable
The Guilt Trip
Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen play mother and son, who take a road trip together and accidentally bond along the way. Do yourself a favor and just watch Albert Brooks’s Mother again instead.
Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, and Catherine Zeta-Jones are among the stars of this “crime thriller.” It hit theaters in January, so … you know what that means. (It’s probably pretty crappy.)
Not Fade Away
Sopranos creator David Chase wrote and directed this film, set in 1964, about high-school kids trying to start their own rock band in suburban New Jersey.
A smug loser tries to set his life’s path aright after moving back in with his mother.
Getting Back to Zero
Brothers turn illegal casino moguls when they inherit their late father’s seven-figure gambling debt.
Half-sisters find themselves clothed fish out of water when they inherit their late father’s nudist resort.
Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection
The venerable zombie franchise adds another installment.
Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People
Following the paths of three different men seeking peace at a rally held by a South African preacher.
The Wedding Chapel
A hard-charging urban lady teams up with a small-town lawyer to save a local wedding chapel in this Nicholas Sparks–alike romance.
The Attacks of 26/11
This scripted film offers a dramatic retelling of the 2011 terrorist attack on Mumbai.
Least Among Saints
A troubled veteran comes back to himself through his friendship with an equally troubled boy.
“In Theaters” VOD Picks
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
A Muslim Pakistani finance genius (Riz Ahmed) in New York has to reconsider everything he thinks he knows after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Female porn stars talk about their lives and careers in this “documentary” that may also be positive propaganda for the adult film industry?
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: Star Trek
To help you prep for J.J Abrams’s forthcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness, you get a collection of movies from all eras of the franchise: The Original Series, The Next Generation, and my personal fave, the 2009 Abrams reboot.
Weird Indie of the Week
This broad spoof of a variety of action genres revolves around a dead soldier who gets a second chance at life thanks to a cybernetic upgrade.
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
An executive (Amber Heard) cynically marketing a new soda teams up with a lower-level employee to prevent a rival from stealing their great ideas in what looks like a dopey Duplicity.
A vengeful widower with plans to kill the murderer of his wife and child reconsiders everything when he ends up in the middle of a diner robbery with a preachy Christian man.