The Book Thief (2013)

My Rating : 4.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Sophie and Rush portrays a masterful performance in this literature/war masterpiece.”

A young girl (Sophie Nelisse) living with foster parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) in Nazi Germany begins collecting forbidden books and sharing them with the Jewish refugee hiding in her home in this war drama adapted from Markus Zusak’s book by screenwriter Michael Petroni (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) and director Brian Percival (Downton Abbey).

The Book Thief

Liesel Meminger, a young German girl growing up in Nazi Germany, is the star of the show. She’s also the chief book thief in the novel, which is narrated by Death. When Liesel’s foster parents decide to give refuge to a young Jewish man hiding from the Nazi regime, the characters grow and change in horrible and beautiful ways.

Neighbors (2014)

My Rating : 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Nothing really cool about this, it’s like another version of American Pie with a couple and a baby involved.”

An immature couple with a newborn infant go to war with the fraternity that turns their once-peaceful neighborhood into party central in this outrageous comedy of one-upsmanship. Restless thirtysomethings Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are still clinging to the last vestiges of their youth as they attempt to adjust to the rigors of raising a newborn in their picturesque suburban starter home.

Neighbors

When a massive moving truck pulls into the driveway next door, the bleary-eyed pair grow excited at the prospect of getting new neighbors. Unfortunately for Mac and Kelly, the new arrivals turn out to be the Delta Psi Beta fraternity. Even so, the couple remain convinced that they still have a modicum of cool left in them, extending a hearty greeting to popular chapter president Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and hoping for the best.

Neighbors

A few epic parties later, however, and Mac and Kelly have had more than their fill of the frat’s wild antics. Before long the gloves have come off, and a turf war erupts between the parents who only want a solid night’s sleep and the Greeks who crank up the stereo until the crack of dawn. Who will win is anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for sure — this neighborhood isn’t big enough for the both of them.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

My Rating : 5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Live, die, repeat!”

Tom Cruise stars as a futuristic soldier who is killed during a battle with alien invaders, and lives out the last day of his life over and over again in director Doug Liman’s adaptation of the popular Manga All You Need is Kill. In the not-too-distant future, a ferocious race of aliens dubbed “Mimics” have descended from the stars to stake their claim on Earth. Five years after arriving, they’re poised to claim Europe. Because the extraterrestrial invaders prove unusually proficient in responding to mankind’s typical combat strategies, the military begins outfitting its soldiers with weaponized bionic suits that increase strength, speed, and agility.

Edge of Tomorrow

Meanwhile, the military is certain that, by conducting a surprise assault on the west coast of France, they can catch the enemy off guard and defeat them. With victory in sight, General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) tasks Major William Cage (Cruise) with heading to the front lines and selling the war to the general public. Cage, however, is wary of the assignment due to his noted lack of combat experience, and unsuccessfully attempts to blackmail Brigham.

Subsequently awakening at Heathrow Airport, Cage is greeted by Master Sergeant Farrell Bartolome (Bill Paxton), who introduces the sniveling major to his new unit, J-Squad, as a deserter and a con artist. The next day, as J-Squad prepare to make the drop and attack the enemy, they are ambushed. Somehow, the aliens knew they were coming, and almost as soon as Cage lands on the beach, he is killed during a fight with a Mimic. Much to his shock, he awakens right back at Heathrow Airport, where the entire scenario begins to play out all over again.

Desperate to break the cycle when it continues ad nauseam, Cage seeks the help of Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), whose victories on the battlefield have turned her into a high-profile symbol of human strength and endurance. Eventually, thanks to repeated efforts, he manages to convince Vrataski that he is reliving the same day time and again, and after conferring with brilliant but disgraced scientist Dr. Carter (Noah Taylor), the trio devise a plan to use his unique situation to gain the upper hand over an enemy seemingly able to predict mankind’s every move.

Maleficent (2014)

My Rating : 5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “This is not just another bedtime story, this is Angelina Jolie reinventing a classic tale!”

Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent stars Angelina Jolie stars as the title character, who, as a teenager, is a powerful and respected winged fairy helping to rule a magical land full of strange creatures. Her homeland borders a country that is populated by humans and run by the cruel King Henry (Kenneth Cranham).

Maleficent

One day, Henry’s son Stefan (Jackson Bews) traipses into the fairy’s land and meets Maleficent, causing the two crazy teens to fall into forbidden love. Year later, Henry seeks to take over the magical land next to his kingdom, but is thwarted in battle by Maleficent. He demands revenge, and eventually his now-grown son Stefan (played as an adult by Sharlto Copley) succeeds by betraying the fairy and clipping her wings.

In response, an infuriated Maleficent swears revenge on Stefan; she gets her chance when the prince becomes king and has his first child, a daughter named Aurora (Elle Fanning) — as Sleeping Beauty fans will remember, Maleficent curses her to fall into a death-like sleep after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday.

Stefan demands that all of the spinning wheels be collected, and orders his daughter to be secretly raised in the woods by three good-hearted but dim-witted fairies, who will return her to him the day after her 16th birthday. However, Maleficent refuses to stay away from Aurora and ends up developing maternal feelings for the girl, eventually inspiring her to try to undo the curse she placed upon the princess.

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

My Rating : 4/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “John Hamm + Baseball + A.R Rahman’s amazing music = A Hit. Never ever miss a combo like this!”

Craig Gillespie’s drama Million Dollar Arm stars Jon Hamm as JB Bernstein, a one-time successful sports agent who left the massive company he worked for to start in his own agency, Seven Figures Management, with his business partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi). The company is in serious financial straits, and they lose the big client they’ve been grooming.

Million Dollar Arm

In a fit of inspiration, JB believes they can go to India, find a cricket bowler, and teach him to be a baseball pitcher. In order to pay for the scheme, he convinces wealthy businessman Chang (Tzi Ma) to create a reality show titled “Million Dollar Arm” to help with his quest for fresh talent. Upon arriving in India, he is quickly befriended by Amit (Pitobash), an overly eager man who loves baseball and wants to do anything he can to help. JB also brings in retired scout Ray (Alan Arkin) to help him weed through the thousands of candidates who try to whip a baseball over 90 mph.

Million Dollar Arm

Although at first the going is rough, they eventually find a pair of eager and promising prospects — Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku (Suraj Sharma). The duo travel back to the States with JB where they are then tutored by Tom House (Bill Paxton), a USC baseball coach whose approach to the game is as much mental as physical.

The two young men are finally given a highly publicized tryout in front of scouts from numerous pro teams, as well as media from around the world. Meanwhile, the fiercely single JB, whose personal life involves dating a string of models, begins to strike up something of a serious romance with his tenant, Brenda (Lake Bell), a doctor who rents the guest house on JB’s beautiful L.A. estate.

No One Lives (2012)

My Rating : 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Luke Evans kills everyone ruthlessly in this flick, and it’s a bloody mayhem!”

Ryuhei Kitamura, director of The Midnight Meat Train, delivers this twisting tale of terror concerning a missing heiress, a gang of vicious bandits, and a vacationing couple who aren’t what they seem.

No One Lives

In the wake of a bloodbath that left 14 students dead, wealthy heiress Emma (Adelaide Clemens) has vanished without a trace. A few months later, a young couple (Luke Evans and Laura Ramsey) cross paths with the ruthless Hoag (Lee Tergesen) and his band of thieves, who run them off of the road in a violent robbery attempt.

No One Lives

When Hoag and his crew learn that the mysterious couple has taken Emma hostage, they assume they’ll be collecting a handsome reward. Little do they realize they’ve just gotten in deep over their heads, and as the body count spikes, the real fight for survival begins.

Planes (2013)

My Rating : 3.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Planes are colorful, different and they are like ‘CARS’ in the sky. A must see for CARS fans!”

Cars gets a high-flying spinoff with this Disney Toon Studios film about a humble crop duster who dreams of becoming a great air racer. Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) spends most of his days flying low, but his eyes are always turned up toward the clouds.

Planes

Sadly, Dusty’s modest engine and intense fear of heights make a career in racing a long shot at best. Things begin to look up for Dusty, however, when a veteran aviator helps him qualify for a race against the reigning circuit champ. Now if Dusty can just learn to let go of his fears, his checkered-flag dreams may finally come true. Also featuring the voices of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Cleese, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, and Brad Garrett. Dusty Crophopper is a little cropduster plane with a fear of heights and a crazy dream of being a racer.

While his friends need convincing, Dusty gets the training he needs from Skipper, a veteran fighter, and qualifies for the Wings Across the World race. In the event, Dusty finds competitors who soon learn that there is something special about this underdog as he is tested to his physical and emotional limits.

In doing so, Dusty soon finds enemies, and more importantly friends, who are inspired by his dream. In the face of all obstacles, the winner of this air race will be anyone’s guess.

The Rover (2014)

My Rating : 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Pearce and Pattinson team up to deliver some rock solid unbeatable acting.”

Guy Pearce stars in this post-apocalyptic Western about a lone-wolf drifter who joins forces with a wounded man to pursue a sadistic band of thieves. A decade after the collapse of the western world, Australia has become a lawless wasteland.

 The Rover

As desperate outsiders pillage the country’s precious mineral resources, taciturn Eric (Pearce) travels from town to town searching for signs of life. Then, one day, Eric falls prey to vicious thieves who steal his car. In the process of making their getaway, the thieves abandon Rey (Robert Pattinson), their wounded partner in crime.

Meanwhile, Eric vows to reclaim his most-treasured possession by whatever means necessary, and forces Rey to help him track down the men who left him for dead. Scoot McNairy and David Field co-star in this grim tale of revenge from writer/director David Michôd (whose script for the 2010 crime drama Animal Kingdom took the Best Screenplay prize at that year’s Australian Film Institute awards).

Turbo (2013)

My Rating : 3.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Turbo doesn’t talk much in terms of inspiration for kids, but it’s an action studded animated flick which cannot be missed.”

A misfit snail with a need for speed strives to earn a slot in the Indy 500 in this adrenaline-charged adventure for the entire family. Turbo (voice of Ryan Reynolds) may live life at a snail’s pace, but his dreams charge along at light speed. Whenever Turbo closes his eyes, he sees himself zooming past the checkered flag at the Indianapolis 500, and leaving all of his competitors in the dust.

Turbo

Unfortunately for Turbo, all of his fellow snails — including his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) — seem to savor the slow life. Then, one day, it happens: Turbo is methodically making his way across a freeway overpass when he is suddenly sucked into the intake valve of a speeding muscle car. His molecular structure altered by the volatile nitrous oxide that fuels the car, Turbo gains the ability to travel at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.

Turbo is in the midst of mastering his newfound ability when he and Chet are unexpectedly captured by Tito (Michael Peña) — a California taco-stand proprietor who organizes snail races on the side. Tito quickly takes his two newest racers to Starlight Plaza, where all of the speed-freak snails await their next run on the track. It’s there that Turbo makes some colorful new friends, and learns to have some fun while trash-talking the competition.

But his adventure is still far from over, and by the time Turbo realizes that his dreams are finally within reach, his newfound family will be right there to cheer him past the finish line. Samuel L. Jackson, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, and Snoop Dogg also lend their voices to this colorful adventure from the folks who brought you The Croods and Kung Fu Panda.

Chef (2014)

My Rating : 4/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Jon Favreau takes you on a mouth watering & heart whelming journey filled with street food and emotions.”

An out-of-work L.A. chef (writer/director Jon Favreau) opens a food truck in a bid to realize his culinary potential and reconnect with his estranged family in this indie ensemble comedy co-starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Bobby Cannavale. Carl Casper is an acclaimed chef with a family life that seems as decaying as his artistic freedom.

Chef

Those frustrations boil over into a raucous viral-videoed public confrontation against a restaurant critic who panned his cooking of food that his boss ordered him to make against his instincts. Now with his career ruined, Carl’s ex-wife offers an unorthodox solution in Miami: refit an old food truck to offer quality cooking on his own terms.

Chef

Now with his young son, Percy, and old colleague, Martin, helping, Carl takes a working trip across America with that truck to rediscover his gastronomic passion. With Percy’s tech savvy and Martin’s enthusiasm, Carl finds that he is creating a traveling sensation on the way home.

In doing so, Carl discovers he is serving up more than simply food, but also a deeper connection with his life and his family that is truly delicious in its own way.

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