Photo: Summit Entertainment
The Hurt Locker
Hailed as the first movie to expose the true experiences of those fighting in the Middle East, The Hurt Locker depicts the life of soldiers in Baghdad from the troops' perspective. For Sgt. J.T. Sanborn, Spc. Owen Eldridge and their new leader, Staff Sgt. William James every mission is another brush with death. The bomb specialists are trained to dismantle Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which account for more than half of American hostile casualties. The high-pressure assignment leaves no room for error, and for these men who have only 38 days left in their tour of duty, every day is crucial.
Photo: The Weinstein Company
Quentin Tarantino's latest film tells the fictional story of a group of Jewish American soldiers in World War II France. Led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), "the Basterds" are charged with spreading fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. When they learn of a plot by a Jewish French movie theater owner to kill a number of Nazi leaders, their plans intersect in one fateful evening.
Newcomer Gabby Sidibe delivers a raw and intensely emotional performance as Clareece "Precious" Jones, an overweight teenager who's beaten by her mother, Mary (played by Mo'Nique), and is carrying her father's baby. For a second time. Nothing has ever gone her way until she enrolls in an alternative school under the tutelage of Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), a kind-hearted teacher who sees potential in Precious. Executive produced by Oprah and Tyler Perry, Precious is a raw portrayal of one teen's unimaginable life, but it gives hope that anyone can rise above their situation and find a chance to start over.
Up in the Air
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a corporate downsizing expert who lives his entire life on the road. When Natalie, a fresh-out-of-college go-getter, joins his company, her proposal to start doing business virtually threatens Ryan's cherished nomadic lifestyle. Plus, he's just met Alex, the frequent flier of his dreams. Ryan takes Natalie on the road to show her why they need to do their business in person, but her presence, along with his burgeoning relationship, has the opposite effect, forcing Ryan to reevaluate his own isolated existence.
Set in the early 1960s, An Education is the coming-of-age tale of 16-year-old Jenny, who lives in a suburb of London and has been groomed since childhood to attend Oxford. Her plans are rattled when she falls for David, an older man who provides her with the cultural exposure she's been craving. David enchants Jenny with concerts, auctions and dinners that last into the night, all of which tempt her to forgo her long-standing university dreams for a different sort of education.
Photo: Twentieth Century-Fox
Set in the future on a moon named Pandora, Avatar tells the story of man's attempts to trick an indigenous population into letting humans mine a precious resource. With its brave new world of special effects and epic storytelling, director James Cameron's film raked in nearly $1.5 billion in its first four weeks, making it the second-highest-grossing movie in history behind Cameron's own Titanic. With a team of 3,000 people and 10,000 computers, Cameron pushed the limits of filmmaking and helped invent new 3D technology to bring his fantasy world to life. The effort earned the film a Golden Globeaward for Best Motion Picture Drama.
A Serious Man
It's 1967, and Larry Gopnik's life seems in disarray. His wife has just left him, his unemployable brother Arthur is sleeping on the couch, his son is a discipline problem and his daughter Sarah is stealing money from him to save up for a nose job. If that wasn't enough, someone is trying—anonymously— to sabotage his chances for tenure at the university where he is a physics professor, and a graduate student is threatening to sue him for defamation. Searching for guidance, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis in hopes of finally becoming a serious man.
The latest offering from Disney/Pixar is the touching tale of 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills the lifelong dream he shared with his late wife when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and floats away to South America. But as soon as he's airbound, Carl discovers that he's inadvertently brought along a companion—an eager 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell who was hiding under his porch at the time of takeoff. The two embark on an adventure of a different sort when they encounter Carl's childhood idol, explorer Charles F. Muntz, who turns out to be not quite the hero Carl expected.
The Blind Side
Based on the best-selling book by Michael Lewis, The Blind Side tells the inspiring true story of how Michael Oher went from down-and-out homeless teen to newest member of a family he never expected and first-round NFL draft pick. Sandra Bullock stars as Oher's adoptive mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy, a Southern spitfire with a commanding presence and charming drawl.
In 1984, aliens made first contact with Earth. Twenty years later, when a company of humans uninterested in the aliens’ welfare try to move them of their home in South Africa’s District 9, conflict erupts. Soon, one of the company’s operatives, Wikus van der Merwe, contracts an alien virus that begins changing his DNA. Wikus quickly becomes the most hunted man in the world, as well as the most valuable—he is the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology.