Simon and the Oaks

“Simon and the Oaks” is a Swedish coming-of-age story set in the city of Gothenberg. Presented with English subtitles, the film is an epic drama that spans 13 years, 1939 to 1952, and is told from the viewpoint of Simon (played as a child by Jonatan S. Wachter  and as an adult by Bill Skarsgård).

Simon and the Oaks

Simon, the adopted son of a loving working class couple, always feels somewhat out of place with his family. A very bright and intellectual boy, Simon desperately wants to acquire the type of education that is normally reserved for the children of the professional classes. Although his father (Stefan Godicke), a boat maker, is worried that this will make Simon stuck up, he eventually agrees to enroll Simon in an upper-class grammar school. At this school Simon meets the Isak (played as a child by Karl Martin Eriksson and as an adult by Karl Linnertorp), a Jewish boy whose family has fled from Nazi Germany. Isak is the son of a wealthy Jewish bookseller, Ruben (Jan Josef Leifers).

Simon and the Oaks

Simon and Isak become good friends, and the two families eventually become intertwined. Simon is dazzled by Ruben’s world of books, art and music. Isak finds comfort in learning to work with his hands, helping Simon’s father makes boats. With World War II raging in the background, Simon helps Isak stand up to the anti-Jewish sentiment he is now facing at school. Then, when Isak starts to face problems at home, Simon’s family takes him in to help shield him from Nazi persecution. The two households gradually merge, connecting in very unexpected ways.

Simon and the Oaks

“Simon and the Oaks” provides a unique depiction of the situation of the Jews in Sweden during World War II. A beautiful film with striking cinematography, it offers a unique depiction of fate, destiny and free will.

“Simon and the Oaks” is based on the international best selling novel of the same name by Marianne Fredriksson. Directed by Lisa Ohlin based on a screenplay which she wrote, the film also stars Helen Sjöholm as Karin. The drama is scheduled for a limited release by Film Arcade in New York and Los Angeles on October 12, 2012.

 

 

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Here Comes the Boom

Here Comes The Boom

In “Here Comes the Boom,” high school biology teacher Scott Voss (Kevin James), declares that some things are worth fighting for. Literally.

Here Comes The Boom

Faced with severe budget cuts, the principal of the failing high school at which Scott teaches announces that they have to cut $48,000. His solution: cancel all extra-curricular activities, cancel the music program, and lay off the music teacher, Marty (Henry Winkler). Although the 42-year-old Scott is usually quite apathetic, the realization that “everyone has quit on these kids” spurs him to action. “We’ll raise the money!” he declares – and then starts trying to figure out how he’ll do so. His rather unlikely fundraising idea: to start moonlighting as a mixed-martial arts fighter! After all, he was a wrestler in college. How hard can it be?

Here Comes The Boom

Of course, everyone thinks that Scott is crazy, especially Bella (Salma Hayek), the school nurse for whom Scott has the hots. Scott gets repeatedly injured, the school principal gets angry with him, and things just don’t seem to be going well. Until the unexpected happens, and Scott’s foray into the mixed-martial arts world ends up turning him into a sensation that rallies the entire school.

Here Comes The Boom

Directed by Frank Coraci from a screenplay by Allan Loeb and Kevin James, “Here Comes the Boom” is a sports comedy. The film is set for release on October 12, 2012 by Columbia Pictures (Sony). Rated PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor and language.

The Barrens

The Barrens movie poster

Back when he was a kid, Richard Vineyard (Stephen Moyer) used to go camping with his father deep in the area of dense pine forests in southern New Jersey known as the Pine Barrens. Now, in spite of their reluctance, Richard takes his family – including his wife Cynthia (Mia Kirshner), teenage daughter Sadie (Allie MacDonald) and young son Danny (Peter DaCunha) – to Wharton State Forest for a long weekend of rustic camping

“The Barrens,” based on the legend of the Jersey Devil, a winged beast said to have been spawned 400 years ago by Satan himself, tells the story of their ill-fated adventure.

The Barrens

Right from the start of this camping trip, things get a little creepy. As they arrive at the forest, their car nearly collides with a mutilated deer that dashes into the road. Later that evening, they watch as another bloodied animal drops down from a tree. Even more frightening, a college student sleeping in a nearby campsite disappears in the middle of the night.

The Barrens

In spite of all of these negative omens, Richard insists that the family hike further into the forest, because he wants to go back to the place where he and his father used to camp. As they hike, however, Richard becomes increasingly ill. He develops a fever, and an old wound on his arm suddenly appears to be infected. Richard begins to hallucinate and his sickness becomes debilitating. As he teeters on the edge of sanity, Richard becomes convinced that they’re being stalked by the blood-crazed Jersey Devil. By the time the disfigured bodies of two college students turn up, the Vineyard family is truly terrified.

The Barrens

“The Barrens,” a twisted horror/thriller from writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman, also stars Eric Knudsen, Max Topplin, J. LaRose and Jason Detheridge. “The Barrens” is set for a limited release on September 28, 2012 by Anchor Bay Films.

How To Survive A Plague

How To Survive A Plague movie poster

Thirty-one years ago, on January 15, 1981, the first known AIDS death took place. It took a year-and-a-half, until July 1982, before the disease even got a name. As the disease spread and the death rate just kept climbing, AIDS quickly became the “plague” of our time.

How To Survive A Plague

So how did HIV/AIDS go from a death sentence to a treatable condition? “How to Survive a Plague,” a documentary directed by David France and written by France, Todd Woody Richman and Tyler H. Walk, addresses this question. The film details the work of early AIDS activists that forced the government and pharmaceutical companies to take notice and take action.

How To Survive A Plague

Featuring never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and 1990s, “How to Survive a Plague” puts viewers in the middle of the demonstrations, heated meetings and emotions that surrounded the AIDS epidemic. Although many may have forgotten how extremely controversial the AIDS issue was 30 years ago, the early AIDS activists had to become experts on the virus and demand changes in research, drug development and treatment approaches.

How To Survive A Plague

“How to Survive a Plague” is essentially the story of two coalitions: ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group). The brave young men and women who made up these coalitions bucked oppression and became activists. As successful change agents they mastered the issues, navigated the politics, infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry, and changed the world.

How To Survive A Plague

“How to Survive a Plague” is scheduled for a limited release on September 21, 2012 by Sundance Selects.

Bringing Up Bobby

Bringing Up Bobby

In “Bringing Up Bobby,” Milla Jovovich plays Olive, a Ukranian con artist who has just arrived in Oklahoma with her 10-year-old American-born son, Bobby (Spencer List). Her goal: to escape her murky past and build a better future for herself and the child she adores. Life for the two of them is one fun adventure after another. Olive does her best to be a good mother, enrolling Bobby in school, making him do his homework, trying to demonstrate her love. Even so, Bobby’s behavior gets him in trouble both at school and in their very conservative neighborhood.

Bringing Up Bobby

Meanwhile, with the help of an old friend from Oklahoma, Walt (Rory Cochrane), Olive is “providing” for Bobby in the only way she knows how. Things take a turn for the worse after Olive had a run in with Kent (Bill Pullman), a local wealthy businessman. Eventually Olive’s criminal past catches up to her and she is arrested. While behind bars Olive is forced to make a terribly difficult decision: whether or not she can bear to put her son’s happiness before her own.

Bringing Up Bobby

“Bringing Up Bobby” also stars Marcia Cross as Mary, Ray Prewitt as Chuck Lee Buck and Justin Hall as Jamie. Written and directed by Famke Janssen, the drama is set for a limited release on September 28, 2012 by Monterey Media.

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights Movie Poster

Based on Emily Brontë classic novel of love and revenge, “Wuthering Heights” is a visually stunning film that explores love, loss and pain. As with Bronte’s novel, the film starts in the protagonists childhood years and spans well into their young adulthood. It tells the story of Heathcliff (portrayed by Solomon Glave as a youth and James Howson as an adult), an abandoned orphan who is taken in by a benevolent farmer, Mr. Earnshaw (Paul Hilton). Brought to the wild English moor estate known as Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff falls in love with Mr. Earnshaw’s teenage daughter, Cathy (Shannon Beer and Kaya Scodelario).

Wuthering Heights

The passionate relationship that develops between Heathcliff and Cathy inspires the envy and mistrust of Earnshaw’s son, Hindley (Lee Shaw). When Earnshaw passes away, the now-grown characters must finally confront the intense feelings and rivalries that have built up throughout their years together.

Wuthering Heights

The film features beautiful cinematography that brings out the emotions that are at the heart of the story. Although earlier adaptations of the novel had used white actors to portray all of the main characters as Director Andrea Arnold made the somewhat controversial decision to assign the role of Heathcliff to actors who are black. This served to make the distinctions between Heathcliff and Cathy feel even stronger.

Wuthering Heights

 

“Wuthering Heights,” which was filmed based on a screenplay by Olivia Hetreed, is scheduled for a limited release on October 5, 2012 by Oscilloscope Laboratories.

The Paperboy

The Paperboy

Set in the 1960s in the swamplands of South Florida, “The Paperboy” is a crime thriller that explores everything from prejudice and family dysfunction to desire and ambition. W.W. James (Scott Glenn) is a small town Florida newspaper publisher. His son Jack James (Zac Efron), recently kicked out of college, just returned home to take a job as a lowly paper boy. Jack’s older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) makes his living as a journalist in Miami.

Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey in The Paperboy

Shortly after Jack returns home, Ward and his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) come into town, too. Their goal: to write a big story about an apparant miscarriage of justice. They want to prove that an innocent man, Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), was hastily convicted of murdering the local sheriff. Ward also brought in tow the alluring and very unstable Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), a woman who has been corresponding with Hillary and is now engaged to marry him.

Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy

With Jack coming along as their driver, Ward and Yardley are allowed to accompany Charlotte as she visits Hillary on death row. Although he may be innocent of this particular crime, Hillary, a seedy alligator hunter, proves to be a very sleazy character anyway.

Matthew McConaughey and John Cusack in The Paperboy

Inevitably, Jack falls for Charlotte, and amidst a tangled web of sexual tension, mixed motives and shadowy facts they all end up in strange and sometimes dangerous journey to prove Hillary’s innocence.

Inevitably, Jack falls for Charlotte, and amidst a tangled web of sexual tension, mixed motives and shadowy facts they all end up in strange and sometimes dangerous journey to prove Hillary’s innocence.