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Hello, everyone.

Well, looking at the weeks ahead it looks like Hollywood is ready to shake off its post-Oscar hangover and get back to some serious work.  There is a serious amount of good cinema coming at us over the next few weeks.

Of course, how good it actually will be is speculation.  I have learned in recent years to expect disappointment (see “Public Enemies” & “The American,” among many others).

Still, hope springs eternal in the light of the coming Spring weather.  So, in that spirit let’s take a look at this week’s national releases…

“Paul”

Trailer

Synopsis: For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town — a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings. Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And, as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Every time I see the trailer for this one I change my mind about it.  One minute I’m rolling my eyes about how ridiculous it looks, the next I’m chuckling over the semi-inane humor of it all.  I guess the best I can say is that if this is your sort of thing, go for it.  They have put together a good team for these types of shenanigans.  Greg Mottola (“Superbad” & “Adventureland”) is behind the camera with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (of “Shaun of the Dead” & “Hot Fuzz” fame) teaming up again for this one.  I don’t know you can go wrong with this one, provided you enjoy this type of film.

“The Lincoln Lawyer”

Trailer

Synopsis: Michael “Mick” Haller is a slick, charismatic Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln Continental sedan. Having spent most of his career defending petty, gutter-variety criminals, Mick unexpectedly lands the case of a lifetime: defending a rich Beverly Hills playboy who is accused of attempted murder. However, what initially appears to be a straightforward case with a big money pay-off swiftly develops into a deadly match between two masters of manipulation and a crisis of conscience for Haller.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Matthew McConaughey (“A Time To Kill” & “Reign of Fire”) has, over the last few years, turned into Mr. Romantic Comedy.  And, while a well-conceived romantic comedy can be a very entertaining film, his talents are in many ways wasted on such films.  It is nice to see him returning to meatier dramatic roles.  The film looks solid and is an adaptation of a novel by Michael Connelly, one of the more respected writers in the genre these days.  The film also has a pretty solid supporting cast including Ryan Phillipe (“Cruel Intentions” & “Breach”), William H. Macy (“The Cooler” & “Air Force One”), John Leguizamo (“Land of the Dead” & “The Miracle at St. Anna”), and Marisa Tomei (“My Cousin Vinnie” & “Only You”) among others.  I think this will prove to be one of McConaughy’s better roles and hopefully will show a return to dramatic roles for him.

“Limitless” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: Aspiring author Eddie Morra suffers from chronic writer’s block, but his life changes instantly when an old friend introduces him to NZT, a new pharmaceutical that allows him to tap his full potential. With every synapse crackling, Eddie can recall everything he has ever read, seen or heard, learn any language in a day, comprehend complex equations and beguile anyone he meets. Soon Eddie takes Wall Street by storm, parlaying a small stake into millions. But, his accomplishments catch the attention of people willing to do anything to get their hands on his stash of NZT. With his life in jeopardy and the drug’s brutal side effects taking their toll, Eddie attempts to hang on to his dwindling supply of NZT long enough to outwit his enemies.

MovieDruid’s Comments: This is the type of film I wait for.  An idea that seeps with originality and attracts talent to fulfill its promise.  First, they entrusted the film to Neil Burger, director of “The Illusionist,” one of the best films that came out in 2006.  Then they entrust the lead role to an actor, Bradley Cooper (“The Hangover” & “Yes Man”), who made his name in comedies.  By giving an actor who thriller fans may not be familiar with a shot at exploring his dark side they lend the film a bit of an edge that might not be there with an actor seasoned in these films.  For the love interest they brought in Abbie Cornish (“Bright Star” & “Legend of the Guardians”), and actress who has worked primarily in smaller budget and independent film.  Again, the unfamiliarity breeds additional mystery within the film.  But, to anchor us they give us the inimitable Robert DeNiro (“GoodFellas” & “Raging Bull”) as our villain.  DeNiro can carry a film all by himself when he has to, but this doesn’t look like it required that much heavy lifting from him.  All in all, this one looks like it has everything going for it.

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