by HELEN GEIB
Alice in Wonderland – Tim Burton adapts Lewis Carroll. Sort of. In 3-D. Teenager Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland to help the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) end the despotic rule of the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter). The question in everyone’s minds is how Burton got hired by Disney to make a family-friendly film after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I still plan to see it, though for the art direction as much as anything.
Brooklyn’s Finest – Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter) directs this police drama starring Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, and – going deeper into the cast list – Vincent D’Onofrio, Will Patton, Lili Taylor, and Ellen Barkin. I plan to see this one too, for the director and the cast. Let’s hope first-time screenwriter Michael C. Martin has what it takes.
Green Zone – Director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, United 93, the second two Bourne films) re-teams with Matt Damon for this thriller about an Army officer hunting the truth in Iraq. Written by veteran screenwriter Brian Helgeland (LA Confidential, Man on Fire) and adapted from a non-fiction book by Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran.
Our Family Wedding – They’re getting married – as long as their feuding fathers (played by Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia) don’t get in the way. America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) plays the bride-to-be in this comedy directed by Rick Famuyiwa (Brown Sugar).
Remember Me – Robert Pattinson no doubt hopes to establish himself as more than a pretty vampire with this young-love romantic drama set in New York City. Co-starring Emilie de Raven, with Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Martha Plimpton, and Lena Olin; directed by Allen Coulter (Hollywoodland, numerous TV credits).
The Bounty Hunter – Bitter ex-spouses (played by Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston) are reluctantly thrown together when he – the bounty hunter – tries to take her – a reporter on the trail of a hot story – in. Directed by Andy Tennant (Sweet Home Alabama, Hitch) and written by Sarah Thorp (a few credits, mostly in TV).
Diary of a Wimpy Kid – This month’s Hollywood attempt to launch a new movie franchise from a popular series of books, the books in this case themselves a spin-off of author Jeff Kinney’s web comic. Zachary Gordon (a child actor with lots of TV credits) plays the hapless title character. Directed by Thor Freudenthal (Hotel for Dogs).
Repo Men – Sci-fi actioner set in a world where transplant recipients pay on the installment plan, and have their new organs “repossessed” (i.e., cut out of them) when they fall too far behind on their bills. Jude Law plays a repo man who has a crisis of conscience when he becomes a transplant recipient himself; Forest Whitaker is the former partner sent to bring him in and Liev Schreiber their conscienceless corporate-flunky boss. Directed by first-time director Miguel Sapochnik; the script by Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner is based on Garcia’s novel.
Hot Tub Time Machine – The title sort of says it all. Steve Pink (various credits, mostly in acting and writing) directs John Cusack, Crispin Glover, and a bunch of people whose names I didn’t recognize. Their time-traveling destination is the ’80s.
How to Train Your Dragon – 3-D animated film for the family audience about a misfit Viking lad who bonds with a toothless dragon. Written and directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (co-directors of Lilo and Stitch).