By Tim Parks
Flicks with chicks
Everyone’s favorite film Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, returns to the big screen in the adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love.
The three title activities are brought about when her character finds herself standing at a crossroads, after her long festering dreams of a life filled with career, home and family come to a screeching halt when she winds up divorced.
Rather than give into the confusion that compounds her situation, she throws caution to the wind and herself headlong into uncharted territory by taking a trip around the world. The journey itself helps inform the destination of what her life is meant to be, as she experiences different sensations at different stations of her quest. She learns the pleasure of nourishing herself in Italy, while seeking another type in India with prayer and encounters true love in Bali. Eat, Pray, Love co-stars Javier Bardem and is directed by Glee creator Ryan Murphy. Opens August 13.
Jennifer Aniston’s latest romcom The Switch, which was originally titled The Baster, features the former “Friends” star attempting to get knocked up by being artificially inseminated.
Kassie (Aniston) has decided that the time has come to dive into the parenting pool, sans a father figure to act as a flotation device in raising her future offspring.
Unfortunately, her semi-neurotic best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) decides to lend a helping hand in the creation process, substituting his sample over the sperm donor (Patrick Wilson) she has chosen.
When the two friends reunite several years later, Wally feels pangs of guilt as he meets Kassie’s semi-neurotic son, and wrestles with telling her the truth and risking their friendship. Opens August 20.
Drew Barrymore and her real-life on again/off again boyfriend Justin Long headline Going The Distance, in which the duo have to see if they have the goods to turn their bout of brief summer lovin’ into a bonafide bi-coastal relationship.
There are more than miles standing in the way of the romance becoming a more solvent bond, as San Francisco-based Erin (Barrymore) must contend with her naysayer sibling (Christina Applegate), who is hell bent on not seeing her sister travel down that potentially lonely road.
Meanwhile in New York, Garrett (Long) is up against the same predicament, in the form of his best friends (Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day), who worry that their pal has become less of a drinking buddy and more than involved with his cell phone, as he and Erin text, sext and speak frequently to bridge the gap between the miles that separate them. Opens August 27.
Oh, the horror and the humanity!
Stop me if you’ve heard this film premise before…a group of birds converge on a small Northern California town and wreck havoc upon its populace. Birdemic: Shock and Terror pays homage to the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds that featured our fine feathered friends becoming our fine feathered enemies for reasons unknown.
The campy thriller, which features stock footage of Birds actress Tippi Hedren, finds its stars Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore under siege by a marauding band of eagles and vultures, which supplant the aviary of terrifying seagulls, crows and even finches from the horror classic.
Director James Nguyen has described the flick as “a romantic thriller.” However, it has received a great deal of worldwide buzz for being from the so-bad-it’s-good school of filmmaking, with Entertainment Weekly citing it as “Our New, Crazy Movie Obsession!” Now Playing.
Life During Wartime is director Todd Solondz’s semi-sequel to his controversial 1998 film Happiness, with the characters from the first film being portrayed by a set of new actors.
Ten years have passed since the events of Happiness, which left the Jordan family in tatters, after the very fabric of their family was torn apart like gossamer paper by a pedophile in their midst.
Now, sisters Joy (Shirley Henderson), Trish (Allison Janney) and Helen (Ally Sheedy) attempt having the past come back to haunt them in the present. Life has been hailed for being “a heady mix of deadpan humor” by The Hollywood Reporter and co-stars Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens. Now Playing.
The Celluloid Portrait
Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist And Rebel chronicles the man in the smoking jacket’s trailblazing endeavors as the founder of the Playboy kingdom, which led to one of the first shots heard ’round the world for the ensuing sexual revolution with the mere click of a camera.
Beginning in 1953 when Hef, as he is commonly referred to as, launched Playboy magazine and found himself an outspoken lightning rod for civil and human rights and defender of First Amendment, after being lambasted by the combined forces of the Church and State during their decades long crusade against him.
The documentary features a bevy of well-known pop culture players that chime in on the influence of the man and his magazine, while Hefner is painted in this celluloid portrait as both a groundbreaking entrepreneur and a man with the message of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Opens August 6.