1. FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion animated film based on Roald Dahl's book of the same name. It features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Willem Defoe, Michael Gambon and Bill Murray. It is the first animated film directed by Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited).
Mr and Mrs Fox (Clooney & Streep) live an idyllic home life with their son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) and visiting young nephew Kristopherson. But after 12 years, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr Fox's wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground and with not enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil Farmers -- Boggis, Bunce and Bean -- who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr Fox at any cost.
The movie premiered on October 14, 2009 at the London Film Festival. It went on general UK release on October 23, 2009. It was limited released in the US on November 13, 2009, and was released for wide viewing on November 25, 2009.
2. ME and ORSON WELLES
Me and Orson Welles is a period-drama directed by Richard Linklater and starring Zac Efron, Christian McKay, and Claire Danes. Based on Robert Kaplow's novel of the same name, the story, set in 1937 New York, tells of a teenager hired to star in Orson Welles' production of Julius Caesar, where he becomes attracted to a career-driven production assistant.
In New York in 1937, seventeen-year-old Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) meets theatre director Orson Welles (Christian McKay), whom he convinces to give him the role of Lucillus in Julius Caesar, Broadway's first Shakespearean production. Welles, who is having an extramarital affair with the leading actress while his wife is pregnant, couples Richard with production assistant Sonja Jones (Claire Danes) to rehearse. Welles decides the entire production crew would benefit from a coupling game, and Richard cheats to ensure he is paired with Sonja.
Runtime: 1hr. 49 min. Rated: PG-13 (Limited Release)
3. NINJA ASSASSIN
Ninja Assassin is an action martial arts film directed by James McTeigue and starring Rain (Speed Racer), Naomie Harris (Calypso in the Pirates of the Caribbean). The film was produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers (guys that brought you Matrix).
Raizo (Rain) is one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan, a secret society whose very existence is considered a myth. But haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them...and vanishes. Now he waits, preparing to exact his revenge. In Berlin, Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomi Harris) has stumbled upon a money trail linking several political murders to an underground network of untraceable assassins from the Far East. Defying the orders of her superior, Ryan Maslow, Mika digs into top secret agency files to learn the truth behind the murders. Her investigation makes her a target, and the Ozunu Clan sends a team of killers, led by the lethal Takeshi, to silence her forever. Raizo saves Mika from her attackers, but he knows that the Clan will not rest until they are both eliminated. Now, entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse through the streets of Europe, Raizo and Mika must trust one another if they hope to survive and finally bring down the elusive Ozunu Clan.
Runtime: 1hr. 39 min. Rated: R
4. OLD DOGS
Old Dogs is a comedy directed by Wild Hogs' Walt Becker and starring John Travolta and Robin Williams with supporting roles played by Kelly Preston, Matt Dillon, Justin Long, Seth Green, Rita Wilson, Dax Shepard and Bernie Mac. It is also Bernie Mac's final film, as he died in August 2008.
Charlie (John Travolta) and Dan (Robin Williams) are best friends and co-workers who have no clue about the importance of family or what life is truly about. Dan's ex-wife, Vicki (Kelly Preston), shows up after a long period of time and reveals that she and Dan have seven-year-old twins: a son and a daughter. Dan recruits Charlie and together they take care of the twins and a dog. With help from a co-worker friend named Ralph (Seth Green), they go from outdoor activities with the kids and a rough instructor (Matt Dillon), to enduring mix-ups of medicine and even a flamboyant children's entertainer (Bernie Mac), and eventually they will learn the true meaning of life and family.
Runtime: 1hr. 28 min. Rated: PG
5. THE PRINCESS and THE FROG
The Princess and the Frog is a Disney animated family feature film, which is loosely based on E.D. Baker's novel The Frog Princess and the Grimm brothers' The Frog Prince. It is being directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, directors of The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and Treasure Planet, with songs and score composed by Randy Newman and with the voices of Anika Noni Rose, Oprah Winfrey, Keith David, Jim Cummings, John Goodman, Jenifer Lewis, Bruno Campos, Michael-Leon Wooley, Peter Bartlett and Terrence Howard.
When the free-spirited, jazz-loving Prince Naveen of Maldonia (Bruno Campos) comes to town, a deal with a shady voodoo doctor (Keith David) goes bad and the once suave royal is turned into a frog. In a desperate attempt to be human again, a favour in exchange for a fateful kiss on the lips from the beautiful girl, Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), takes an unexpected turn and leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana to the banks of the almighty Mississippi and back in time for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. An unforgettable tale filled with music, humor and heart where two frogs—along with the help of a 197-year-old voodoo priestess, a love-sick Cajun firefly, and a trumpet-playing alligator—discover that what they want isn’t as important as what they need.
Runtime: 1hr. 35min. Rated: G (Limited Release)
6. THE PRIVATE LIVES of PIPPA LEE
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is a drama written and directed by Rebecca Miller. The screenplay is based on her novel of the same title. It stars Robin Wright Penn, Keanu Reeves, Alan Arkin, Julianne Moore, Robin Weigert, Maria Bello, Blake Lively, Monica Bellucci, and Winona Ryder.
From all outward appearances, Pippa Lee (Robin Wright Penn) leads a charmed existence. She is the devoted wife of an accomplished publisher thirty years her senior, the proud mother of two grown children, and a trusted friend and confidant to all who cross her path. But as Pippa dutifully follows her husband to a new life in a staid Connecticut retirement community, her idyllic world and the persona she has built over the course of her marriage will be put to the ultimate test. In truth, looks are deceiving, and this picture-perfect woman has seen more than her fair share of turmoil in her youth. Embarking on a bittersweet journey of self-discovery, accompanied by a new, strange and soulful acquaintance, Pippa must now confront both her volatile past and the hidden resentment of her seemingly perfect life in order to find her true sense of self.
Runtime: 1hr. 40min. Rated: R
7. THE ROAD
The Road is a Drama/Adventure directed by John Hillcoat, and is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize winning author of No Country for Old Men. The film stars Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as a father and his son in a post-apocalyptic wasteland; also Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce.
The Road follows the premise from the book of the same name. An unnamed father (Mortensen) and his young son (Smit-McPhee) struggle to survive after an unspecified apocalypse and make their way toward the coast for possible food, shelter, safety, or to potentially find other survivors of the cataclysmic events. Along the way, they encounter grave struggles and hardships across the barren landscapes, with scarce shelter and resources available to them, and having to avoid bands of cannibals and other desperate gangs looking to pillage valuables and food. Various flashback sequences occur where the Man remembers events prior to the catastrophe, many involving his deceased wife.
Runtime: 1hr. 53min. Rated: R
All these movies opened on the 25th (Wednesday), except The Private Lives of Pippa Lee which opens today.