Cadillac Records
directed by Darnell Martin

This music-filled movie chronicles the rise and fall of Chess Records and its artists. Adrien Brody stars as Leonard Chess, the record company’s founder, alongside Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James and Mos Def as Chuck Berry. Other notable performances include Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon and Gabrielle Union as Geneva Wade. In the same vein as Beyoncé’s last hit, Dreamgirls, this is a star-studded musical drama about singing sensations of the past and the troubles they face. If history tells us anything, Cadillac Records is sure to do well at the box office this weekend.

directed by Ron Howard

Ron Howard’s latest movie is a dramatization of disgraced ex-president Richard Nixon’s opening up about the Watergate scandal to BBC host David Frost. Frank Langella (Nixon) and Michael Sheen (Frost) reprise their roles from the stage version of this bio-drama written by Peter Morgan (who also penned The Last King of Scotland and The Queen), with a supporting cast that includes Kevin Bacon, Toby Jones and Sam Rockwell. The historical aspect, along with Morgan’s stellar writing and Howard’s ability to produce award-winning material, can be expected to generate great box office turnout and possible Oscar nominations.

Punisher: War Zone
directed by Lexi Alexander

Vigilante Frank Castle is back in the latest Punisher movie, this time played by Ray Stevenson (“Rome”) in place of the previous entry’s Thomas Jane. If it’s anything like 2004’s The Punisher, audiences don’t have a whole lot to look forward to. After losing his entire family and seeking vengeance, Castle now goes up against a disfigured gangster who goes by the name of “Jigsaw,” played by Dominic West (“The Wire”). Since the movie’s buzz has been riddled with rumors of production problems and even a possible firing of director Lexi Alexander, it’s a safe bet that Punisher: War Zone won’t be on par with recent successful comic book-based movies like Iron Man and The Dark Knight. In fact, it’s likely that the only people being punished will be the few folks in the audience.

Nobel Son
directed by Randall Miller

In this independent movie from the creators of the recently released Bottleshock, Alan Rickman plays Eli Michaelson, a Nobel Award-winning chemist whose son, Barkley (Bryan Greenberg), is kidnapped by a student (Shawn Hatosy) demanding the prize money as ransom. This caper, which really takes a twist when Eli refuses to pay, boasts an excellent supporting cast that includes Mary Steenburgen, Bill Pullman, Ted Danson, Danny DeVito and Eliza Dushku. Despite Nobel Son’s limited release, it seems like a promising contender in this weekend’s box office with an expected stellar performance from Rickman.