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Opens Friday, Apr 18, 2014 Synopsis: This landmark juvenile-delinquent drama scrupulously follows the classic theatrical disciplines, telling all within a 24-hour period. Teenager Jimmy Stark (James Dean) can't help but get into trouble, a problem that has forced his appearance-conscious parents (Jim Backus and Ann Doran) to move from one town to another. The film's tormented central characters are all introduced during a single night-court session, presided over by well-meaning social worker Ray (Edward Platt). Jimmy, arrested on a drunk-and-disorderly charge, screams "You're tearing me apart!" as his blind-sided parents bicker with one another over how best to handle the situation. Judy (Natalie Wood) is basically a good kid but behaves wildly out of frustration over her inability to communicate with her deliberately distant father (William Hopper). (The incestuous subtext of this relationship is discreetly handled, but the audience knows what's going on in the minds of Judy and her dad at all times.) And Plato (Sal Mineo), who is so sensitive that he threatens to break apart like porcelain, has taken to killing puppies as a desperate bid for attention from his wealthy, always absent parents.
The next morning, Jimmy tries to start clean at a new high school, only to run afoul of local gang leader Buzz (Corey Allen), who happens to be Judy's boyfriend. Anxious to fit in, Jimmy agrees to settle his differences with a nocturnal "Chickie Run": he and Buzz are to hop into separate stolen cars, then race toward the edge of a cliff; whoever jumps out of the car first is the "chickie." When asked if he's done this sort of thing before, Jimmy lies, "That's all I ever do." This wins him the undying devotion of fellow misfit Plato. At the appointed hour, the Chickie Run takes place, inaugurated by a wave of the arms from Judy. The cars roar toward the cliff; Jimmy is able to jump clear, but Buzz, trapped in the driver's set when his coat gets caught on the door handle, plummets to his death. In the convoluted logic of Buzz' gang, Jimmy is held responsible for the boy's death. For the rest of the evening, he is mercilessly tormented by Buzz' pals, even at his own doorstep. After unsuccessfully trying to sort things out with his weak-willed father, Jimmy runs off into the night. He links up with fellow "lost souls" Judy and Plato, hiding out in an abandoned palatial home and enacting the roles of father, mother, and son. For the first time, these three have found kindred spirits -- but the adults and kids who have made their lives miserable haven't given up yet, leading to tragedy. Out of the bleakness of the finale comes a ray of hope that, at last, Jimmy will be truly understood.
Rebel Without a Cause began as a case history, written in 1944 by Dr. Robert Lindner. Originally intended as a vehicle for Marlon Brando, the property was shelved until Brando's The Wild One (1953) opened floodgates for films about crazy mixed-up teens. Director Nicholas Ray, then working on a similar project, was brought in to helm the film version. His star was James Dean, fresh from Warners' East of Eden. Ray's low budget dictated that the new film be lensed in black-and-white, but when East of Eden really took off at the box office, the existing footage was scrapped and reshot in color. This was great, so far as Ray was concerned, inasmuch as he had a predilection for symbolic color schemes. James Dean's hot red jacket, for example, indicated rebellion, while his very blue blue jeans created a near luminescent effect (Ray had previously used the same vivid color combination on Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar). As part of an overall bid for authenticity, real-life gang member Frank Mazzola was hired as technical advisor for the fight scenes. To extract as natural a performance as possible from Dean, Ray redesigned the Stark family's living room set to resemble Ray's own home, where Dean did most of his rehearsing. Speaking of interior sets, the mansion where the three troubled teens hide out had previously been seen as the home of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Of the reams of on-set trivia concerning Rebel, one of the more amusing tidbits involves Dean's quickie in-joke impression of cartoon character Mr. Magoo -- whose voice was, of course, supplied by Jim Backus, who played Jimmy's father. Viewing the rushes of this improvisation, a clueless Warner Bros. executive took Dean to task, saying in effect that if he must imitate an animated character, why not Warners' own Bugs Bunny? Released right after James Dean's untimely death, Rebel Without a Cause netted an enormous profit. The film almost seems like a eulogy when seen today, since so many of its cast members -- James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Nick Adams -- died young. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Cast: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Corey Allen, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper Movie Details Movie Review
Opens Friday, May 16, 2014 Synopsis: The recipient of the Best Screenplay award at the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Jia Zhang Ke's four-part drama explores the corrosive effects of violence in contemporary China through the eyes of a disgruntled miner, a migrant worker returning home for the New Year, a receptionist who was assaulted by a wealthy client, and a frustrated factory worker. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Cast: Zhao Tao, Jiang Wu, Wang Baoqiang, Luo Lanshan Movie Details Play Trailer Movie Review
Now Playing Synopsis: Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejifor as Solomon Northup, a free black man in 1840s America. He makes his living as a fiddle player, and his wife is a teacher. He is shanghaied by a pair of nefarious white men, and soon finds himself on a ship headed to New Orleans where he is informed he will be called Platt and is sold into slavery by an unscrupulous businessman (Paul Giamatti). As he toils away for the kindhearted but conflicted plantation owner Mr. Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), who recognizes that Platt is both educated and an artist, he butts head with Ford's underlings, especially the casually cruel Tibeats (Paul Dano). After they have a violent altercation, Ford fears for his slave's life and sells him to Mr. Epps (Michael Fassbender), an alcoholic sadist who owns a cotton plantation. Though Epps reads from the bible to his property, as he frequently refers to his slaves, he is himself not immune to sins of the flesh. He has taken the young Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o) - his best cotton picker -- as his lover, and this doesn't sit well at all with his severe wife (Sarah Paulson), whose particular hatred for blacks and her jealousy fuels her many degrading actions toward Patsey. Solomon bides his time, attempts to preserve a modicum of self-respect, and waits for the chance to reclaim his rightful name as well as his family. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano Movie Details Play Trailer Movie Review
Opens Friday, Aug 22, 2014 Synopsis: Robert Rodriguez returns to direct this follow-up to Sin City from a script by Frank Miller and William Monahan based on preexisting stories along with new ones written for the big screen. osh Brolin stars in the adaptation of the comic mini-series (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), which tells the backstory of Clive Owen's Dwight character as he is wrapped up in the thralls of femme fatale, Ava (Eva Green). Also new to the series is Joseph Gordon Levitt, who plays Johnny, a mysterious gambler set on taking down his sworn enemy in a high stakes game of life and death. Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, and Jaime King return for the Dimension Films release, with Jamie Chung and Dennis Haysbert stepping into roles left by Devin Aoki and the late Michael Duncan Clarke. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi Cast: Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson Movie Details Play Trailer Movie Review
Opens Friday, May 30, 2014 Synopsis: Seth MacFarlane plays a hapless farmhand in the Old West who loses his girl (Amanda Seyfried) when he ducks out of a fight, only to be taught to shoot by the wife (Charlize Theron) of a gunfighter (Liam Neeson) in this Media Rights Capitol western comedy. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Liam Neeson Movie Details Play Trailer Movie Review
Opens Friday, Jun 20, 2014 Synopsis: The underground hit Think Like a Man gets a follow-up with this Screen Gems production from writers Keith Merryman and David A. Newman. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi Cast: Adam Brody, Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall Movie Details Play Trailer Movie Review
Opens Friday, Apr 18, 2014 Synopsis: Marlon Wayans gets an extra dose of hauntings in this sequel from Octane and Open Road Films. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi Cast: Jaime Pressly, Essence Atkins, Dave Sheridan, Affion Crockett, Gabriel Iglesias, Ashley Rickards, Marlon Wayans Movie Details Play Trailer Movie Review
Now Playing Synopsis: When a German officer is killed in WWII-era Romania, a group of frightened villagers attempt to coerce the local idiot (Gérard Depardieu) into confessing to the murder in order to avoid being massacred by the vengeful Nazis. Harvey Keitel co-stars. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Harvey Keitel, Laura Morante, Bogdan Iancu, Adina Cartianu Movie Details Movie Review
Opens Friday, Aug 29, 2014 Synopsis: Natalie Portman stars in this western concerning a woman who has to defend her home against a group of outlaws. Gavin O'Connor handles directing duties, with Ewan McGregor and Joel Edgerton co-starring. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi Cast: Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich Movie Details Movie Review