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Rebel Without a Cause

Opens Friday, Apr 18, 2014 Synopsis: This landmark juvenile-delinquent drama scrupulously follows the classic theatrical disciplines, telling all within a 24-hour period. Teenager Jimmy Stark (James Dean) can't help but get into trouble, a problem that has forced his appearance-conscious parents (Jim Backus and Ann Doran) to move from one town to another. The film's tormented central characters are all introduced during a single night-court session, presided over by well-meaning social worker Ray (Edward Platt). Jimmy, arrested on a drunk-and-disorderly charge, screams "You're tearing me apart!" as his blind-sided parents bicker with one another over how best to handle the situation. Judy (Natalie Wood) is basically a good kid but behaves wildly out of frustration over her inability to communicate with her deliberately distant father (William Hopper). (The incestuous subtext of this relationship is discreetly handled, but the audience knows what's going on in the minds of Judy and her dad at all times.) And Plato (Sal Mineo), who is so sensitive that he threatens to break apart like porcelain, has taken to killing puppies as a desperate bid for attention from his wealthy, always absent parents.

The next morning, Jimmy tries to start clean at a new high school, only to run afoul of local gang leader Buzz (Corey Allen), who happens to be Judy's boyfriend. Anxious to fit in, Jimmy agrees to settle his differences with a nocturnal "Chickie Run": he and Buzz are to hop into separate stolen cars, then race toward the edge of a cliff; whoever jumps out of the car first is the "chickie." When asked if he's done this sort of thing before, Jimmy lies, "That's all I ever do." This wins him the undying devotion of fellow misfit Plato. At the appointed hour, the Chickie Run takes place, inaugurated by a wave of the arms from Judy. The cars roar toward the cliff; Jimmy is able to jump clear, but Buzz, trapped in the driver's set when his coat gets caught on the door handle, plummets to his death. In the convoluted logic of Buzz' gang, Jimmy is held responsible for the boy's death. For the rest of the evening, he is mercilessly tormented by Buzz' pals, even at his own doorstep. After unsuccessfully trying to sort things out with his weak-willed father, Jimmy runs off into the night. He links up with fellow "lost souls" Judy and Plato, hiding out in an abandoned palatial home and enacting the roles of father, mother, and son. For the first time, these three have found kindred spirits -- but the adults and kids who have made their lives miserable haven't given up yet, leading to tragedy. Out of the bleakness of the finale comes a ray of hope that, at last, Jimmy will be truly understood.

Rebel Without a Cause began as a case history, written in 1944 by Dr. Robert Lindner. Originally intended as a vehicle for Marlon Brando, the property was shelved until Brando's The Wild One (1953) opened floodgates for films about crazy mixed-up teens. Director Nicholas Ray, then working on a similar project, was brought in to helm the film version. His star was James Dean, fresh from Warners' East of Eden. Ray's low budget dictated that the new film be lensed in black-and-white, but when East of Eden really took off at the box office, the existing footage was scrapped and reshot in color. This was great, so far as Ray was concerned, inasmuch as he had a predilection for symbolic color schemes. James Dean's hot red jacket, for example, indicated rebellion, while his very blue blue jeans created a near luminescent effect (Ray had previously used the same vivid color combination on Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar). As part of an overall bid for authenticity, real-life gang member Frank Mazzola was hired as technical advisor for the fight scenes. To extract as natural a performance as possible from Dean, Ray redesigned the Stark family's living room set to resemble Ray's own home, where Dean did most of his rehearsing. Speaking of interior sets, the mansion where the three troubled teens hide out had previously been seen as the home of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Of the reams of on-set trivia concerning Rebel, one of the more amusing tidbits involves Dean's quickie in-joke impression of cartoon character Mr. Magoo -- whose voice was, of course, supplied by Jim Backus, who played Jimmy's father. Viewing the rushes of this improvisation, a clueless Warner Bros. executive took Dean to task, saying in effect that if he must imitate an animated character, why not Warners' own Bugs Bunny? Released right after James Dean's untimely death, Rebel Without a Cause netted an enormous profit. The film almost seems like a eulogy when seen today, since so many of its cast members -- James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Nick Adams -- died young. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Cast: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Corey Allen, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper Movie Details Buy Tickets Movie Review

I Origins

Opens Friday, Jul 18, 2014 Synopsis: Writer/director Mike Cahill's drama I Origins centers on medical student Ian Gray (Michael Pitt). Ian specializes in the evolution of the human eye. One day he attends a party where he meets a masked woman whose eyes transfix him, and soon the two fall in love. Years later, Ian makes a startling discovery in the lab, forcing him on a trek across the globe in order to uncover profound truths about mankind. I Origins screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi Cast: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergés-Frisbey, Steven Yeun Movie Details Buy Tickets Movie Review

Million Dollar Arm

Opens Friday, May 16, 2014 Synopsis: Inspired by a true story, this sports drama from director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Thomas McCarthy follows the journey of an aging American sports agent (Jon Hamm) who attempts to save his failing business by traveling to India and recruiting a cricket pitcher to play in the Major Leagues. Fearing that the recruitment agency he owns with partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi) is about to go bust, sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Hamm) has a flash of inspiration while watching a game of Indian cricket on television: Why search for the next pitching sensation in America, where everyone else is looking, when you can find one in India? Convinced that he's onto something big, J.B. travels to Mumbai with a sharp-eyed veteran scout (Alan Arkin) and announces a nationwide contest to find India's best bowler (the pitcher in cricket). Dubbed the "Million Dollar Arm" competition, it quickly draws in 40,000 hopeful athletes in search of their big break. When 18-year-old finalists Rinku (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) come out on top, J.B. arranges for them to train under famed pitching coach Tom House (Bill Paxton) until they're ready to join the big leagues. Although at first the two talented pitchers experience a serious case of culture shock, in time they begin to adjust to American customs, and their growing relationship with J.B. takes on a familial tone, offering the self-absorbed agent an important life lesson in the power of commitment. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Cast: Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Madhur Mittal, Suraj Sharma Movie Details Play Trailer Buy Tickets Movie Review

McFarland

Opens Friday, Nov 21, 2014 Synopsis: Set in the 1980s and inspired by actual events, the inspirational Disney sports drama McFarland stars Kevin Costner as a California track coach determined to shape a predominately Hispanic team into state champions. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Cast: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Carlos Pratts, Morgan Saylor, Martha Higareda Movie Details Buy Tickets Movie Review

We Are the Best!

Opens Friday, May 30, 2014 Synopsis: Three teenage rebels from Stockholm form an all-girl punk trio in this period drama set in the 1980s, and directed by Lukas Moodysson (Together, Lilya 4-Ever). Although their talent may be lacking, they've got enough DIY spirit to shatter some musical boundaries, and embrace life on their own terms. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Cast: Mira Barkhammar, Liv LeMoyne, Mira Grosin, Alexander Karlsson, David Dencik Movie Details Play Trailer Buy Tickets Movie Review

Fury!

Opens Friday, Nov 14, 2014 Synopsis: Brad Pitt leads a tank crew in the final days of World War II in this war drama from End of Watch's David Ayer. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi Cast: Jason Isaacs, Michael Peña, Logan Lerman, Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf Movie Details Buy Tickets Movie Review

Heaven Is For Real

Now Playing Synopsis: A young boy suffers a near-death experience in which he claims to have visited heaven in this earnest inspirational drama based on the best-selling book of the same name. When their young son Colton (Connor Corum) enters the hospital with a life-threatening illness, devastated parents Todd (Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear) and Sonja Burpo (Kelly Reilly) are uncertain whether he will make it out of the operating room alive. But in what Colton's doctors credit as "a miracle," he survives -- and with an incredible story that seems to confirm the existence of heaven. Later, despite Colton's accurate and intimate revelations about people he has never encountered -- including his sister who died in utero and his late grandfather -- skeptics hastily dismiss any possibility that the young boy's fantastical claims could be true. Meanwhile, his astonished parents seek meaning in the alleged miracle that has turned their once-peaceful lives completely upside down. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Cast: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Connor Corum, Margo Martindale, Thomas Haden Church Movie Details Play Trailer Buy Tickets Movie Review

The Judge

Opens Friday, Oct 10, 2014 Synopsis: Robert Downey Jr. plays a lawyer who heads home when his father, a judge, is implicated as a murder suspect in this comedy drama from Warner Bros. Vera Farmiga, Robert Duvall, Vincent D'Onofrio and Billy Bob Thornton head up the rest of the starring cast. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi Cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D'Onofrio, Billy Bob Thornton Movie Details Buy Tickets Movie Review

The German Doctor

Opens Friday, Apr 25, 2014 Synopsis: Lucía Puenzo's drama The German Doctor centers on a family in Argentina who are making a voyage in order to open a small resort lodge. Along the way they meet up with the title character, who appears to be a charming and helpful man. However, he hides a disturbing secret, and grows uncomfortably fixated on the family's diminutive 12-year-old daughter. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi Cast: Alex Brendemühl, Florencia Bado, Diego Peretti, Natalia Oreiro, Alan Daicz Movie Details Play Trailer Buy Tickets Movie Review

God's Not Dead

Now Playing Synopsis: A devoutly religious college freshman must debate the existence of God with his skeptical philosophy professor in order to earn a passing grade in this faith-based comedy-drama featuring Kevin Sorbo and David A.R. White. Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) is a Christian who never thought his faith would get in the way of his higher education. As a result, he is deeply shaken when, on the first day of his Philosophy class, Professor Radisson (Sorbo) begins the semester by demanding that each of his students deny the existence of God in order to earn a passing grade. Although Josh tries his best to graciously refuse, Professor Radisson informs him that in order to continue in the class, the disagreeable student must make an air-tight argument for the defense. Not only that, but the semester will culminate in a debate between teacher and student on the subject. Should the class still remain unconvinced of God's existence, Josh will fail, sending his entire academic future up in flames. Duck Dynasty's Willie and Korie Robertson have cameos. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Cast: Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, David A.R. White, Dean Cain, Willie Robertson Movie Details Play Trailer Buy Tickets Movie Review

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