directed by Charles Guard, Thomas Guard
The latest remake of a Japanese horror movie, The Uninvited concerns Anna (Emily Browning, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events), a young girl who returns home to be with her sister (Arielle Kebbel, The Grudge 2) and father (David Strathairn) following her mother’s tragic death. Anna’s father is newly engaged to his late wife’s former nurse, Rachael (Elizabeth Banks), and before long Anna is warned by her mother’s ghost that her soon-to-be stepmom is not who she appears to be. Despite a strong cast, the movie’s visual style appears to be cobbled together from The Ring, The Grudge and other recent remakes of Japanese horror flicks. Moviegoers might also have a tough time differentiating The Uninvited from the similarly titled horror-fest The Unborn, which was released just weeks ago and also utilized creepy ghost figures. If the movie fails to grab the attention of horror fans, The Uninvited might just become The Uninterested.
directed by Pierre Morel
From the makers of The Transporter series (director Morel was the cinematographer for the first installment and co-screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen has penned all three movies) comes this action-packed tale. Liam Neeson stars as a former spy who must revive his old skills in order to save his daughter (Maggie Grace, “Lost”), who’s been kidnapped by slave traders in Paris. Taken originally premiered in Europe last February, even though it’s just now making its stateside debut. Hopefully, the movie is a fast-paced thrill ride, similar to what co-writer/producer Luc Besson achieved so well in his action classic, The Professional.
New in Town
directed by Jonas Elmer
In this romantic comedy, Renée Zellweger stars as Lucy, a Miami-based businesswoman shipped out to a small town in Minnesota to oversee the restructuring of a local manufacturing plant. Shockingly, after an initially chilly reception, the townspeople warm up to Lucy (and vice-versa), although a tough business decision forces her to reconsider her personal and professional goals. Once considered America’s Sweetheart, Zellweger is in desperate need of a hit, and New In Town, with its complete lack of buzz and sitcom premise, probably won’t be the one to boost her career.
directed by Laurent Cantet
This ambitious-sounding French import follows a year in the life of teacher and novelist François Bégaudeau as he struggles with racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood. The movie is apparently a quasi-documentary, with Bégaudeau playing a version of himself. Earlier this year, The Class won the prestigious Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and was recently nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar, which makes it look likely to emerge as a gem amid the winter movie waste pile.