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January 2019

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FILM!

The Upside!

The Upside (starring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston) hits theaters January 11th

The Upside!

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of STX Films

I am usually a bit skeptical about remakes particularly when Hollywood does it to one of my favorite foreign films, but my faith was restored after seeing The Upside.

The all-star cast – Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman – takes the original film, The Intouchables, to a new level putting a heartwarming contemporary spin on the odd couple story of the uber-wealthy sophisticated Phillip (Cranston) who has been paralyzed from the neck down in a freak hang-gliding accident and Dell (Hart), a fast-talking rough around the edges loveable ex-con who needs a job, any job. Kidman as Yvonne, Philip’s Gal Friday, is the perfect foil and secret ingredient in the mix.

As expected (just enjoy, don’t analyze), the two opposites soon attract each learning and sharing each other’s very different lifestyles, simple pleasures and eccentric quirks. There’s lots of laugh out loud moments particularly the fish out of water sequences; and yes there are lots of clichés (and handicap jokes) thrown around but the performances of Cranston and Hart are spot on. And they really look like they are having a great time… and have remarkable on screen chemistry.

The Upside” hits theaters on January 11th.

GLASS!

Glass (starring James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis) hits theaters January 18th

GLASS!

  • By Alex Brown
  • Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

If it seems like Superhero movies are produced like Hershey’s Kisses on a conveyor belt, being pumped out faster than they can be consumed, you are not alone. That is why when a different kind of film in the genre comes along audiences and critics take notice. Enter Glass.

Written, co-produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, this latest movie comes on the heels of his two previous films Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016). Taken together they have come to be known as the Unbreakable series. While sometimes controversial, Shyamalan hit the mark with box office and critics alike with these two films, with every expectation that Glass will do so as well. While still neatly fitting into the superhero/supervillain genre, there is something that is expectedly darker about this series, which can only be anticipated given its creator.

Reprising their roles in this latest installation are Bruce Willis (David Dunn / The Overseer), Samuel L. Jackson (Elijah Bruce / Mr. Glass), Spencer Treat Clark (Joseph Dunn), and Charlayne Woodward (Mrs. Price), all from Unbreakable. James McAvoy (Kevin Wendell Crumb / The Horde, consisting of 24 personalities) is also returning in his chilling previous role from Split alongside his costar from that film, Anya Taylor-Joy (Casey Cooke). Joining them all is phenom Sarah Paulson (Dr. Ellie Staple) and Adam David Thompson (Daryl Pierce).

 Glass opens nationwide on January 18th. 

Serenity!

Serenity (starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway) hits theaters January 25th

Serenity!

  • By Michael Jacobo
  • Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Sharon Stone. Glenn Close. Ann Hathaway? Yes, the Oscar winner is joining the ranks of femme fatales this month in her new film Serenity, which some are calling a “sexy-noir.” Written and directed by Steven Knight (Locke), there’s a sure bet you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Hathaway (who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Les Miserables) stars as an affluent woman, Karen, who tracks down her ex-husband Baker — played by Matthew McConaughey — and hires him to kill her current husband. Baker is the main character, and his newfound fish boating life is quickly challenged as his dark past comes back to haunt him after the arrival of Karen. No doubt nothing is as it seems, as the murder offer shakes the already murky surface of Baker’s new life, which he has hoped would redeem him from whatever sin he has committed.  Also starring in the film are Diane Lane (Tully), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), and Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy).

Unusual for a thriller of this caliber, Knight directs his own original screenplay. His previous credits include the films Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises, and the television series Peaky Blinders and Taboo. The film reunites McConaughey and Hathaway, who starred in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 sci-fi epic, Interstellar.

Serenity” hits theaters January 25th.

What Men Want!

What Men Want (starring Taraji P. Henson) hits theaters January 11th

What Men Want!

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

In 2000, Mel Gibson starred in Nancy Meyers’ What Woman Want, a romantic comedy about the transformation of a chauvinistic male who suddenly can hear the thoughts of woman all around him.  Will it be a learning experience or a mixed blessing?  Fast forward to 2019 and we have a gender-switching remake of the film now called What Men Want starring Taraji P. Henson in the Gibson role.

Henson plays Ali Davis, a hard driving on the rise sports agent looking for insight into how to succeed in a man’s world.  With the help of a psychic’s magic potion, she can hear what the men around her are thinking and then the real story unfolds along with many awkward and hilarious situations.  Valuable lessons are learned about relationships, success, business, friendship, and of course, the sexes.

Fair warning the film contains a good deal of good-natured raunchiness – after all we are in the brains of some very strange men played by Pete Davison, Tracy Morgan, Shaquille O’Neal and Josh Brener.

I have always been a big fan of Henson from her pivotal role on the popular TV series Person of Interest to her powerful film portrayal of Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures to her current standout role as Cookie Lyon on TV’s Empire. In What Men Want she puts her comedic talents front and center which really brings the movie to the next level.

What Men Want” hits theaters January 11th.

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