Director Wes Anderson started out charming audiences with his whimsical studies of exceptional characters (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums). But then the whimsy began taking over (The Darjeeling Limited), and it grew increasingly difficult to care. Happily, Moonrise Kingdom is a welcome step back. Set in 1965, it’s the story of two troubled 12-year-olds, orphan Sam (Jared Gilman) and problem child Suzy (Kara Hayward), who run away together into the wilderness of the New England island where they are both spending the summer, leaving her parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), his scout master (Edward Norton) and the local sheriff (Bruce Willis) leading the search party as a hurricane draws near. Everything is delivered in Anderson’s singular style — eccentric behavior, carefully crafted kitsch design, square-on shots, deadpan humor… But, like his best works, it’s solidly anchored in a world of childhood enthusiasm crashing into adult reality, and it’s all the more affecting for it.
Sci-fi action thriller Lockout stars Guy Pearce as a framed government agent given the chance of a pardon if he can rescue the president’s daughter from rioting inmates in a maximum security space prison. A French-financed movie in US genre clothing (in the mold of Liam Neeson-starrer Taken), it’s co-written by Luc Besson.
Directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, Act of Valor is an action thriller with a gimmick. Made with military cooperation as a kind of inflated army recruitment film, it features real Navy SEALS acting in a fictional story about an operation to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent who uncovers a threat to global security.
Starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, Wanderlust is a fish-out-of-water comedy about a New York couple who give up on their big-city dream and wind up in a Georgia hippie commune inhabited by Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman and Alan Alda.
Hysteria tells the true story of how Dr Joseph Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) invented the electric vibrator to treat disturbed women in 1880s London. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones and Rupert Everett also feature in Tanya Wexler’s period comedy.
With a script co-written by Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later), Miguel Ángel Toledo’s The Path is a psychological thriller featuring Gustavo Salmerón as a man who tries to repair his marriage to Irene Visedo by taking her and their young son to spend Christmas in a remote mountain cabin. But after a handsome neighbor’s interest in his wife stirs his jealously, he finds reality beginning to collapse around him.