In Theaters Now: The Dark Knight, Mamma Mia!, Transsiberian Space Chimps


The Dark Knight
directed by Christopher Nolan

Three years ago, Warner Bros. released the revolutionary Batman Begins. With a bit of color correction and a mightier looking batsuit, writer-director Christopher Nolan reinvented not only a dying franchise but the whole man-fighting-crime-in-tights genre, setting a standard that has remained unprecedented. Until The Dark Knight. It’s not so much Christian Bale that adds to the film’s hype but instead the slew of talented actors joining him, such as Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face and the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. Replacing Katie Holmes’ Rachel Dawes with Maggie Gyllenhaal is also a refreshing addition, though let’s just hope Dawes actually has a well-written character this time around. As The Dark Knight is sure to be one of the biggest hits at the box office this summer and quite possibly one of the most critically acclaimed superhero films of all time, it’s a shame Ledger can’t be here to revel in its glory.

Mamma Mia!
directed by Phyllida Lloyd

Mamma Mia, here we go again. A Hollywood trend that’s almost as big as superhero reincarnates, another Broadway musical has found its way to the silver screen. Told through the music of the 1970s Swedish disco-pop band ABBA, Mamma Mia! is the story of a bride-to-be searching for her real father, which could be any one of three of her mother’s past suitors. A little sappy, yes, but with an excellent cast that includes the legendary Meryl Streep, hunky Pierce Brosnan, charming Colin Firth and British icon Julie Walters, how can one not be crossing their fingers that Mamma Mia! becomes the next Hairspray? Is there anything Meryl Streep can’t do? Well, while the movie is up against the much-anticipated The Dark Knight, it’s common knowledge that one thing Streep can most certainly do is cash in at the box office.

Transsiberian
directed by Brad Anderson

Yet another film by another Anderson—no, not Wes or Paul Thomas, but independent moviemaker Brad Anderson (The Machinist). Anderson’s latest film, which opens in a limited release in Los Angeles and New York City, is a thriller set along the backdrop of the Transsiberian Express railway, an expansive route extending from Beijing to Moscow. Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer star as a couple taking the long journey home, only to find the path muddled with murder and deception after befriending a younger couple, played by Eduardo Noriega and Kate Mara. Plotlines aside, the gorgeous cinematography of the arctic wilderness will be sure to keep you cool during the summer’s sweltering heat. Plus, the ever-brilliant Ben Kingsley drops in as the shady Russian detective with something up his sleeve (just in case you didn’t get enough of him this month already in another Sundance veteran, The Wackness).

Space Chimps
directed by Kirk De Micco

It seems like everyone is running to catch up with the unstoppable Pixar nowadays. The studio’s most recent release was the space-themed WALL-E and 20th Century Fox is following suit with their latest animated feature, Space Chimps. Featuring the voice talents of Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”), Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Stanley Tucci and Jeff Daniels, the film follows HAM III, the grandson of the first chimp astronaut, as he sets off into space to rid a distant planet of its wicked leader. Despite the film’s lack of “buzz,” it’s sure to be popular among audiences who are too young for The Dark Knight or those who simply despise comic books and disco tunes.

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