The Harbinger Online

There are a ton of movies vying for your weekend time, but few make the cut. Let Movie Professor Alex Lamb school you on what’s worth your lawn-mowing money.

Where the Wild Things Are

Remember reading this book with mom or dad when you were a kid, every night before bed? I know I sure do, and now that a live-action, larger-than-life version is finally hitting the big screen (in IMAX, no less), I can’t wait to relive this beloved aspect of my childhood.

In case you need a refresher, the story is about the young boy Max, who after being sent to bed without dinner invents his own fantasy world where giant, furry forest beasts make him their king and treat him as one of their own. Directed by Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation”), visual flair balanced with an absorbing story is guaranteed, as well as endearing, heartfelt characters, so prepare to let your imagination run wild all over again.

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

Based on the best-selling, hysterical true memoir by party extraordinaire Tucker Max, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” takes different anecdotes from his book of the same name and combines them into a coherent single entity. This mishmash plot focuses around Max taking his engaged friend to a legendary strip club for a bachelor party blowout. Predictably, he manages to screw everything up, so Max must make amends for his selfish behavior or lose his pals as a result of it.

Because the book was the funniest piece of literature I’ve ever read, I have high hopes for this raunchy buddy comedy tailored towards frat boys, which was co-written by Max and promises hilarious entertainment in the vein of “The Hangover.”

Boondock Saints II

Ten years ago, Troy Duffy’s inventive action flick “The Boondock Saints” wowed audiences with its perfect dosage of awesome style and engrossing substance. Since then, the story of the two Irish siblings killing off the criminal scum of Boston’s streets has amassed an immense following, and now that the long-awaited follow-up has finally arrived, words cannot describe my giddy excitement.

In the sequel, the McManus brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) and their father (Billy Connolly) return to Boston and avenge the recent murder of their cherished childhood priest, seemingly by killing the entire crime family responsible. Chances are this slick vigilante tale will be the hardcore, intense action hit that old-school shoot-em-up fans have been waiting years for.

The Box

When a financially struggling couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) is given the opportunity to receive a million dollars for pushing a button, which will kill someone somewhere in the world whom they don’t know, the ultimate game of conscience begins as the audience is questioned “What would you do?” as often as the characters.

Based off an old “Twilight Zone” episode, this version is sure to freak out and thrill audiences with it’s creepy, half-jawed mystery men, deep-rooted conspiracy and overall weirdness. Director Richard Kelly mystified and entranced audiences with his debut cult classic “Donnie Darko,” so hopefully he can repeat that success here, too.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

There’s no doubt that Wes Anderson (“Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums”) is a master of heartfelt, quirky little comedies. So while “Mr. Fox” is basically just another one, it’s the first movie Anderson is stepping out of his comfort zone with, as it’s a stop-motion animated comedy based on a Roald Dahl novel.

The story follows the sneaky Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and the local farmers attempting to stop him from snatching their chickens. They plan to get rid of him and his family once and for all, while Mr. Fox and his animal friends plan to finally escape the farmers’ clutches. With a star-studded cast including Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, and lots of charming humor and characters, Anderson may just have the next “Chicken Run” on his hands.

The Road

Originally slated for release a year ago, “The Road” stars Viggo Mortensen in the story of a father and son travelling across the freezing, barren post-apocalyptic countryside as they make their way south. They expect to find life-sustaining weather and other survivors at their destination, but along the way continually run into death, destruction and barbaric cannibals out to kill them, which only put a grim damper on their hopes.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, this adaptation thankfully stays faithful to the book, leaving aside any Hollywood glitz to take viewers on a haunting, heart-wrenching journey that easily has the potential to be the most captivating and affecting film of the year.

Avatar

Director James Cameron’s first cinematic feature since “Titanic,” the sci-fi epic “Avatar” is his return to the kind of big-budget, blockbuster action he does so well. The basic plot is that in the future, a group of humans face off against a new planet’s alien population, with one man (Sam Worthington) in the middle of the fight.

Purportedly a revolution in CGI special effects and 3D experiences, I’m a little worried that all the computer animation will make it feel too fake, but that probably won’t be a problem since almost two years have been spent on the film’s post-production alone. Considering that Cameron is the man behind the sci-fi action masterpieces “Aliens” and “Terminator 2,” I have faith he’ll amaze once again with another piece of extraordinary, cinematic brilliance.

Sherlock Holmes

After several missteps, British director Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Snatch”) finally regains his knack for crafting genius caper comedies. Now he’s helming the reboot of the original clever detective (Robert Downey, Jr.) and his indispensable partner Dr. Watson (Jude Law) in “Sherlock Holmes.”

Little is known about the actual plot right now, but it involves the two investigators fighting with both brains and brawn against an adversary who’s scheme endangers the entirety of England. One thing is for sure, however – with the talents of both Downey Jr. and Law in the leads and Ritchie behind the camera, this will no doubt be a cool, hilarious, action/adventure romp that sweeps the Christmas box office, marking Ritchie’s most fun flick since “Snatch.”

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Alex Lamb

Alex Lamb joined Harbinger his freshman year and became East's resident film critic. He also worked his way up from being a videographer on the Harbinger Online during its rebirth in 2009 to the convergence editor his senior year. He graduated in 2012 and still writes movie reviews, only now at the University of Kansas, where he is double majoring in Film and Media Studies and Journalism. He plans to become a movie director. Read Full »

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