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Genre: Sports Biopic
Director: Brian Helgeland (The Order)
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher MeloniThe Story: The tale of Jackie Robinson and the hardships he faced breaking baseball’s color barrier. The Lowdown: A basic biopic that’s too straightforward and heavy-handed, but perfectly solid if you’re looking for nothing more than an uplifting sports-crowd-pleaser.
Director: Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen, Ben MendelsohnThe Story: Three stories — involving a dirt-bike-riding bank robber, a small-town cop and their respective sons — intersect. The Lowdown: An often flawed, overlong drama that remains worthy of attention because of its humanely drawn characters and sheer ambition.
Genre: Animated Adventure
Director: Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon) and Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps)
Starring: (Voices) Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Ryan Reynolds, Cloris Leachman, Clark DukeThe Story: A Stone Age family must learn how to adapt to a drastically changing world that threatens to become — literally — a thing of the past. The Lowdown: Spectacular-looking, exciting and (I dare say) even moving animated film with extremely good voice casting. It's nothing at all like the film the trailer suggests and even though it's not Chris Sanders' earlier Lilo & Stitch or How to Train Your Dragon, it's still very good indeed.
Genre: Jingoistic Revenge Action
Director: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day)
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, Melissa LeoThe Story: Renegade North Korean terrorists take over the White House and one Secret Service agent must save the president — and possibly the United States itself. The Lowdown: Preposterous, yet utterly predictable, nasty little jingoistic thriller with bad special effects. Loud, mean-spirited, fairly appalling Die Hard rip-off that will probably make a fortune.
Genre: Fact-Based Comedy-Drama
Director: Randall Miller (Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School)
Starring: Chris Pine, Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodríguez, Dennis FarinaThe Story: A Brit wine snob with a failing shop in Paris arranges a blind wine-tasting competition between French and California wines -- with an all-French panel of experts. The Lowdown: Based on fact and drowned in TV-movie level dramatic embellishments, this little indie offering has one thing going for it -- Alan Rickman -- and he may be enough.
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