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New at Town & Country Video Tuesday and Friday:
Synopsis – 12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE stars Chiwetel Ejifor as Solomon Northup, a free black man in 1840s America. He makes his living as a fiddle player, and his wife is a teacher. He is shanghaied by a pair of nefarious white men, and soon finds himself on a ship headed to New Orleans where he is informed he will be called Platt and is sold into slavery by an unscrupulous businessman (Paul Giamatti). As he toils away for the kindhearted but conflicted plantation owner Mr. Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), who recognizes that Platt is both educated and an artist, he butts head with Ford’s underlings, especially the casually cruel Tibeats (Paul Dano). After they have a violent altercation, Ford fears for his slave’s life and sells him to Mr. Epps (Michael Fassbender), an alcoholic sadist who owns a cotton plantation. Though Epps reads from the bible to his property, as he frequently refers to his slaves, he is himself not immune to sins of the flesh. He has taken the young Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) – his best cotton picker — as his lover, and this doesn’t sit well at all with his severe wife (Sarah Paulson), whose particular hatred for blacks and her jealousy fuels her many degrading actions toward Patsey. Solomon bides his time, attempts to preserve a modicum of self-respect, and waits for the chance to reclaim his rightful name as well as his family.
Synopsis – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on video Friday
THE HUNGER GAMES SAGA continues in this sequel that finds a revolution brewing as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) take a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts, and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) plots their downfall during preparations for the Quarter Quell, which only occurs every 25 years in celebration of the Capitol’s victory over the districts. Hoping to put an end to the growing threat of rebellion, President Snow announces that the Quell’s tributes will be reaped from the existing pool of victors — guaranteeing Katniss a place in the arena. Though Katniss vows to keep Peeta safe even if it means sacrificing her own life, her fellow tributes have a different plan.
New at Town & Country Video on Tuesday, Feb. 25:
Synopsis – Afternoon Delight
A dissatisfied wife and mother strives to find greater meaning in her life — with outrageous results — in this offbeat, contemporary comedy-drama. Thirtysomething Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) seemingly has everything a young woman could want: a handsome, devoted, successful husband; beautiful children; considerable wealth; and a chic home in L.A.’s exclusive Silver Lake neighborhood. Inside, however, she’s drowning in dissatisfaction. In a desperate bid for a sense of purpose, Rachel visits a local strip joint and begins to fixate on the idea of “saving” McKenna (Juno Temple), a stripper at the club whom she promptly hires as a live-in nanny for her children. It’s a rash decision, and one that sends not merely ripples but shockwaves throughout the surrounding community, as Rachel tries to draw on the situation to attain a clearer and sharper sense of her own identity. First-timer Jill Soloway directs from her original script.
New at Town & Country Video on Tuesday, Feb. 18:
Synopsis – The Best Man Holiday
Forgotten rivalries flare up and old romances reignite when a group of college friends reunite during the holiday season in this long-awaited sequel to THE BEST MAN (1999). Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut, Monica Calhoun, and Regina Hall headline this upbeat comedy from writer/director Malcolm D. Lee.
Synopsis – Battle of the Damned
A retired commando attempts to rescue the daughter of a prominent industrialist from a city under quarantine, and uses a small army of militarized robots to battle a rampaging army of the living dead. A deadly virus has swept through a major city, creation legions of flesh-eating zombies as the military races to sequester the population. Meanwhile, an influential business tycoon’s daughter has gone missing in the danger zone. Determined to get her out at all costs, he hires formidable mercenary Max Gatling (Dolph Lundgren) to track her down, and escape before the city is incinerated. With just one day to accomplish his mission, Gatling quickly enters the city and locates the girl. Just when it starts to look like the duo will be devoured by the rampaging legions of the living-dead, however, the sudden appearance of some high-powered robots gives Gatling the idea for an escape plan that’s sure to work – if they can just pull it off before the entire city goes up in flames.
New at Town & Country Video on Tuesday, Feb. 11:
Synopsis – Counselor
Ridley Scott’s THE COUNSELOR, from a script by Cormac McCarthy, stars Michael Fassbender as the title character, a slick lawyer who is madly in love with Laura (Penelope Cruz). He asks her to marry him, and she agrees, though she is unaware that serious financial troubles have prompted him to fund a drug deal with a shady but established middle man named Westray (Brad Pitt), that could bring in millions. Part of the counselor’s financial troubles stem from the fact that he’s investing in a club being opened by his best friend Reiner (Javier Bardem), a hedonist and occasional client who has attained his wealth by any means necessary, and likes to keep his wife, Malkina (Cameron Diaz) covered in all the accoutrements the wealthy enjoy. However, when the drug deal starts to go wrong, the counselor finds himself unprepared to deal with the fallout, and soon he’s trying to protect his bride-to-be as well as himself from the wrath of a drug cartel that has no qualms about exacting revenge.
Synopsis – Ender’s Game
A brilliant young strategist rises to the top of his class in Battle School while training to defend Earth against hostile aliens intent on exterminating the entire human race in this sci-fi epic based on the celebrated novel. In the not-too-distant future, our planet has come under attack from a malevolent race of aliens known as the Formics. Incredibly, fearless International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) sent them fleeing back into the stars, becoming a living legend in the process. But decorated Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) knows that the Formics will soon return even stronger than they were before, and he’s determined to find a new hero who can meet them head on. Enter Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a modest young man with vast untapped potential. Upon being recruited into Battle School, Ender partakes in a grueling series of simulations, effortlessly mastering every challenge presented to him. Celebrated by his peers and respected by his superiors, Ender is quickly promoted to Command School, where the one and only Mazer Rackham provides him with the knowledge and tools needed to save mankind from certain extinction. As the final battle approaches, Ender prepares to embrace his destiny as one of the greatest heroes in the history of planet Earth.
New at Town & Country Video on Tuesday, Feb. 4:
Synopsis – Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey headlines director Jean-Marc Vallée’s biographical drama centering on the story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician who was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986, and who subsequently devoted his life to providing fellow HIV patients with non-FDA-approved drugs and supplements during an era when doctors were still struggling to understand the devastating disease. Defying his surprise death sentence, Woodroof set out to procure any and all non-toxic alternative HIV treatments available, and established a “buyers club” to provide the treatments to others afflicted with the disease. But that mission quickly made him a target for both the U.S. medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry, both of which resented his defiance of government sanctions, and joined forces to shut down his operation by any means necessary.
Synopsis – Escape Plan
A structural security expert must escape from a prison that was built based on his own designs in order to track down the person who framed him in this gritty action thriller starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. B&C Security founder Ray Breslin (Stallone) wrote the book on structural security. His encyclopedic knowledge of the subject has transformed the prison industry, and he’s been known to test his theories by allowing himself to be incarcerated just to examine his work from the inside. Along with his business partner Lester Clark (Vincent D’Onofrio), trusted associate Abigail Ross (Amy Ryan), and resourceful technology expert Hush (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), Breslin makes a good living escaping from the world’s toughest prisons. When Breslin’s team is approached by a CIA lawyer (Caitriona Balfe) with a proposal to test an off-the-grid penitentiary, the challenge (and the sizable paycheck) is impossible to resist. From the moment Breslin is picked up by a team of murderous private contractors, however, it’s obvious something has gone horribly wrong. Later, when Breslin regains consciousness in The Tomb — a highly fortified prison based on his own design — it quickly becomes apparent he’s been set up. Warden Hobbs (Jim Caviezel) runs The Tomb with ruthless efficiency, and his team of masked guards is quick to make an example of unruly inmates. At first it looks as if Breslin has finally been beaten at his own game, but then he meets Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) — a convict who’s equally tough, and equally determined to regain his freedom. If Breslin and Rottmayer can just survive long enough to formulate a plan, they’ve got a fighting chance. But should they fail, they will both perish in a hell that was constructed as a place where people go to disappear forever.
New at Town & Country Video on Tuesday, Jan 28:
Synopsis – Last Vegas
Four geriatric friends vow to set Last Vegas ablaze during the ultimate bachelor party in this all-star comedy from director Jon Turteltaub (NATIONAL TREASURE, THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE). Amongst his friends, Billy (Michael Douglas) has always been the confirmed bachelor. When Billy finally pops the question to his much-younger girlfriend, his pals Paddy, (Robert De Niro), Archie, (Morgan Freeman), and Sam (Kevin Kline) plan to send him off in style. But Vegas has changed since the last time they prowled the Strip, and once the party gets started, there’s no telling how it will end.
Synopsis – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Picking up precisely where its hit predecessor left off, Sony Pictures Animation’s CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 finds Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader) invited to join the Live Corp Company, and use his gift for invention for the good of mankind. Just as young Flint prepares to go to work for his hero Chester V (voice of Will Forte), however, the young genius learns that his water-to-food machine is not only still functional, but it’s also started cross-breeding animals with food. Now, in order to prevent a growing army of “foodimals” from escaping isolation on an island and wreaking havoc on the mainland, Flint and his loyal group of friends will have to do battle with such delicious, but deadly, hybrids as the ferocious tacodiles, slithering apple pie-thons, and vine-swinging shrimpanzees. Saving the world from these rampaging monstrosities won’t be easy, but if anyone is up to the task, it’s Flint and company. Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn takes the reins for this sequel also featuring vocal contributions by Anna Faris, James Caan, Kristen Schaal, Terry Crews, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, and Benjamin Bratt.
New at Town & Country Video on Tuesday, Jan. 21:
Synopsis – Captain Phillips
Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks teams with Oscar-nominated director Paul Greengrass and screenwriter Billy Ray to tell the true story of Richard Phillips, a U.S. cargo-ship captain who surrendered himself to Somali pirates so that his crew would be freed. Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) and his crew are carrying freight around the Horn of Africa when four Somali pirates forcefully take over their ship, the MV Maersk Alabama. While Phillips’ team follow his orders to hide until they hear him give the safe word, the captain and a few essential crew members remain on the bridge as the heavily armed pirates make their way up to seize control of the ship. But the interlopers soon discover something that sends them into a furious rage: After effectively shutting down the ship, Phillips explains that the Maersk had malfunctioned when the crew pushed it too hard in an attempt to evade the attackers. In order to appease their leader, the ruthless Muse (Barkhad Abdi), Phillips offers them the $30,000 that’s been locked in the ship safe. But that isn’t enough, and Muse demands that Phillips help him search every corner of the ship to root out the terrified crew. When that plan fails, the pirates agree to take the cash from the safe and flee in the Maersk’s lifeboat. At the last minute, however, they kidnap Phillips in the hope of supplementing their take with a sizable ransom — a decision that leads to a tense standoff with the U.S. Navy, who would sooner see the lifeboat sunk with Phillips inside than allow it to reach Somalia.
Synopsis – Blue Jasmine
Woody Allen trades New York City for San Francisco with his comedy-drama BLUE JASMINE, starring Cate Blanchett as a troubled former Manhattanite who moves to the City by the Bay to live with her sister after her wealthy husband divorces her. Forced to put her life back together piece by piece while under the effect of powerful anti-depressants, she dates a series of men, attempts to build a career, and slowly learns how to count on herself to survive. Alec Baldwin, Louis C.K., and Bobby Cannavale co-star.
New at Town & Country Video on Tuesday, Jan. 14:
Synopsis – Carrie
Stephen King’s classic novel about a tortured, telekinetic teen gets new life in this adaptation from BOYS DON’T CRY director Kimberly Peirce. A misfit from the moment she first stepped out into the world, high-school senior Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) has been taunted and teased by her peers as far back as she can remember. Her mother Margaret (Julianne Moore) is a Christian zealot prone to locking her in a small broom closet and making her pray for hours on end. All Carrie wants is to fit in, but after the shock of experiencing her first period in the gym shower results in a devastating bout of bullying initiated by cruel Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and her circle of friends, the young outcast realizes that she has the ability to move objects with the power of her mind alone. Meanwhile, as gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) bans Chris from the prom following a defiant outburst by the entitled teen, Chris’ best friend Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) begins having second thoughts about the way that Carrie has been treated. In an attempt to atone for her past misdeeds, Sue convinces her lacrosse-star boyfriend Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) to ask Carrie to the prom — an invitation that she eventually accepts. But Chris isn’t finished with Carrie just yet, and later, when a cruel prank at the prom goes horribly awry, Carrie puts her newfound telekinetic powers to terrifying use.
Synopsis – The Butler
Director Lee Daniels (PRECIOUS) teams up with Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Danny Strong to tell the remarkable story of White House butler Eugene Allen (played by Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker), who served eight U.S. presidents over the course of 30 years, and witnessed sweeping social change during his three decades of service at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Inspired by Wil Haygood’s Washington Post article, the film features Robin Williams as Dwight D. Eisenhower, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, John Cusack as Richard M. Nixon, and Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan. Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Jane Fonda, David Oyelowo, Lenny Kravitz, Melissa Leo, and Vanessa Redgrave co-star.
New at Town & Country Video on Tuesday, Jan. 7:
Synopsis – Runner Runner
A Princeton grad student finds himself caught between the FBI and a malevolent online gambling tycoon in this thriller from THE LINCOLN LAWYER director Brad Furman. A whiz at the virtual-poker table, bright young Ivy Leaguer Richie (Justin Timberlake) had nearly raised enough cash to pay his tuition when he lost it all in the blink of an eye. Convinced that he’s been cheated and determined to confront the swindler, Richie hops a plane to Costa Rica, and comes face-to-face with online gambling mogul Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), who introduces him to a world of wealth and privilege. Meanwhile, the FBI has been watching Ivan, and attempts to strong-arm Richie into turning informant. With Richie’s help they could bring Ivan’s illegitimate empire crashing to the ground. But who’s more dangerous, the entrepreneur who feeds his enemies to crocodiles, or the agents who seem like they’re willing to break the law in order to uphold it? Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie co-star.
Synopsis – Closed Circuit
BOY A director John Crowley teams with DIRTY PRETTY THINGS screenwriter Steven Knight for this topical thriller starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall star as two former lovers who encounter danger when they are both assigned to the same defense team in a high-profile terrorism trial. It was a typical morning in London when a powerful bomb exploded in the heart of the city. After the smoke cleared, sole surviving terrorist cell member Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto) was quickly taken into custody. As preparations for his trial begin, however, the government’s plan to use classified evidence to prosecute the suspect leads the Attorney General (Jim Broadbent) to appoint Special Advocate Claudia Simmons-Howe (Hall) to the case. Claudia’s unique position as a government-approved defense lawyer ensures that she can review the top-secret evidence, and advocate for full disclosure during the inevitable “closed” session portion of the trial. Once Claudia has reviewed the evidence, however, any communication with the defense team and the defendant himself is strictly forbidden. Later, When Erdogan’s lawyer dies just before the trial begins, Claudia’s driven ex-lover, attorney Martin Rose (Bana), takes his place. Realizing that their previous affair could jeopardize their involvement with the case, Claudia and Martin vow to keep the relationship a well-guarded secret. In time, however, Martin’s exhaustive investigation reveals evidence of a shocking conspiracy that threatens to consume them both. Ciarán Hinds and Julia Stiles also star.
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