Your Weekend Movie Preview: Fred Claus, P2, Lions for Lambs, No Country for Old Men

Before he tried to kill Hitler, Tom Cruise tried to win the War on Terror in “Lions for Lambs”, a Robert Redford directed movie that screams “I’m Important! Watch Me and Discuss!”. Meanwhile, horror fiends get to watch Rachel Nichols of “Alias” fame try to survive a night alone in her office building’s parking garage in “P2”, although why she starts the movie in a business suit but quickly ends up in a skimpy silk nightgown is a mystery that begs to be explored. For the kids, “Fred Clause” will have to do. Vince Vaughn plays the brother of Santa Claus. It’s a kid’s movie, what do you expect? And lastly, Coens Brothers fans rejoice, because “No Country for Old Men” is opening, and my God does it look good.


No Country for Old Men: Based on the acclaimed novel by Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug- runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. The story begins when Llewelyn Moss (BROLIN) finds a pickup truck surrounded by a sentry of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law – in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell (JONES) – can contain. As Moss tries to evade his pursuers – in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives (BARDEM) – the film simultaneously strips down the American crime drama and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines.

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Beth Grant, Garret Dillahunt
Directed by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen


Fred Clause: Fred Claus has lived his entire life in his brother’s very large shadow. Fred tried, but could hardly live up to the example set by the younger Nicholas, who was just a perfect, well, saint. True to form, Nicholas grew up to be the model of giving, while Fred became the polar opposite: a fast-talking repo man who’s run out of luck and money. Over Mrs. Claus’ objections, Nicholas agrees to help his brother on one condition: that he come to the North Pole and earn the money he needs by working in Santa’s Toy Shop. The trouble is that Fred isn’t exactly elf material and, with Christmas fast approaching, Fred could jeopardize the jolliest holiday of the year.

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks
Directed by: David Dobkin


Lions for Lambs: Two determined students at a West Coast University, Arian and Ernest, follow the inspiration of their idealistic professor, Dr. Malley, and attempt to do something important with their lives. But when the two make the bold decision to join the battle in Afghanistan, Malley is both moved and distraught. Now, as Arian and Ernest fight for survival in the field, they become the string that binds together two disparate stories on opposite sides of America. In California, an anguished Dr. Malley attempts to reach a privileged but disaffected student, who is the very opposite of Arian and Ernest. Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. the charismatic Presidential hopeful, Senator Jasper Irving, is about to give a bombshell story to a probing TV journalist that may affect Arian and Ernest’s fates. As arguments, memories and bullets fly, the three stories are woven ever more tightly together, revealing how each of these Americans has a profound impact on each other–and the world.

Starring: Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Michael Pena, Derek Luke
Directed by: Robert Redford


P2: It’s Christmas Eve: a time for curling up by the fire with family and friends; a day when even the most voracious corporate climbers generally head home by dinner time. But not Angela. She’s the last one left at the office, determined to close one more deal before the holiday. The long hours she keeps will have an impact, but not the kind she’s been hoping for. When she gets down to the parking garage, she discovers her car won’t start. The timing couldn’t be worse; she’s already late for Christmas Eve dinner with her family, the garage is deserted and her cell phone doesn’t get a signal underground. But then a friendly security guard comes along and offers to help. He flirtatiously invites her to stay and share a small Christmas dinner he’s preparing in the parking office, but she laughs it off. Before she knows what’s hit her, she’s been knocked unconscious. When she wakes up, she’s tied to a chair in the security guard’s office. As it turns out, his dinner invitation was not optional – and it’s going to involve a lot more than a meal. If Angela wants to live to see Christmas morning, she must find a way to escape from level “P2” of the parking garage.

Starring: Wes Bentley, Rachel Nichols, Simon Reynolds, Grace Lynn Kung
Directed by: Franck Khalfoun


Opening in selected theaters:

Christmas in Wonderland
Three kids and their dad go Christmas shopping at a mall, find counterfeit cash, help grab the crooks, and discover Santa is real.

I’ll Believe You
A late-night radio talk show host receives a mysterious phone call that he and his listeners believe came from an extraterrestrial.

Set during Uganda’s civil war, documentary tells the story of a school’s journey to compete in a national music/dance festival.