This week’s movie releases
Actor Ben Affleck gets back behind the camera for Iran hostage drama 'Argo'
From the creators of 'Little Miss Sunshine,' 'Ruby Sparks' sees Paul Dano write up his dreamgirl
Based on recently declassified documents, Argo marks one more step forward in the increasingly impressive directorial career of Ben Affleck — after Gone Baby Gone and bank-robbing drama The Town. Set at the height of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, it’s the story of the outlandish plan to smuggle out of the country six Americans who got away when revolutionary militants stormed the US Embassy in Tehran. Affleck himself is the CIA consultant who hatches the harebrained scheme — involving a Hollywood make-up artist and the production of a fake science-fiction movie — to get the half-dozen out of hiding in the Canadian ambassador’s house. Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman also join in the caper.
Romantic comedy Ruby Sparks is the new film from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the husband-wife team responsible for 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine. A veteran of that comic hit, Paul Dano plays a novelist who starts writing about his ideal woman only to find her come to life in the form of Zoe Kazan — not only Dano’s real-life partner, but also the author of the screenplay. Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan and Elliott Gould also star.
Hotel Transylvania is a Sony Pictures-produced animated comedy about a luxurious retreat where monsters go to get away from stressful humans. On the occasion of his daughter Mavis’s (Selena Gomez) birthday, owner Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) invites over pals the Frankensteins (Kevin James and Fran Drescher), the Mummy (Cee Lo Green), the Werewolf family (Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon) and more to help celebrate, only for a strayed human traveler to turn up and spoil it all.
Gibson goes south
Get the Gringo stars Mel Gibson as a bank robber thrown into a corrupt Mexican jail who learns the ropes with the help of a ten-year-old boy. With flavors of Elmore Leonard, it’s the feature debut of Adrian Grunberg, former first assistant director on Gibson’s Apocalypto.
Sounding like a Catalan version of recent Seth MacFarlane comedy Ted, which starred Mark Wahlberg as a thirtysomething living with his talking teddy bear, Animals is the feature debut of Marçal Forés, a graduate of the ESCAC Catalan film school that produced J. A. Bayona. The movie stars Oriol Pla as a youngster whose soulmate is a cuddly toy by the name of Deerhof and also features a surprise appearance from The Office’s Martin Freeman, soon to be seen as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s forthcoming Hobbit trilogy.