Out in cinemas this week: A president hunting down vampires, a regular guy tracking down a lost love as the world ends, and a young Scottish princess fighting to live her own life.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
It's a summer action movie that happens to feature a two-fisted, axe-wielding Abe Lincoln. The director of Wanted is probably a good call to realize this material—Seth Grahame-Smith's history/horror mash-ups are extremely vulnable to camp, which would ruin this revisionist tale of (apparently) the most badass of presidents. (Personally, I'd wish for the whole cabinet out there with him as a monster-hunting posse—Salmon Chase, William Seward, all of 'em.)
The story: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.
Starring: Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln), Dominic Cooper (Henry Sturgess), Anthony Mackie (Will Johnson), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Mary Todd Lincoln), Rufus Sewell (Adam), Marton Csokas (Jack Barts), Jimmi Simpson (Joshua Speed), Joseph Mawle (Thomas Lincoln), Robin McLeavy (Nancy Lincoln), Erin Wasson (Vadoma), John Rothman (Jefferson Davis), Cameron M. Brown (Willie Lincoln), Frank Brennan (Senator Jeb Nolan), Lux Haney-Jardine (Young Abraham Lincoln), Curtis Harris (Young Will).
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
This may be a romantic comedy first and a sci-fi movie second, but it does follow the sci-fi remit: posit a huge what-if and then take it to places both disturbing and heartwarming.
The story: As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.
Starring: Steve Carell (Dodge), Nancy Carell (Linda), Mark Moses (Anchorman), Roger Aaron Brown (Alfred), Rob Huebel (Jeremy), Trisha Gorman (Crying Woman), Keira Knightley (Penny), Adam Brody (Owen), Tonita Castro (Elsa), Leslie Murphy (Amy), Connie Britton (Diane), Rob Corddry (Warren), Kasey Campbell (Danny), Melanie Lynskey (Karen).
Directed by: Lorene Scafaria (the screenwriter for Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist; here both wrote and directed).
The innovation of a scrappy female lead in a Pixar film (voiced by Kelly Macdonald from Boardwalk Empire and No Country for Old Men--and she was Helena Ravenclaw to boot) may cloud something just as intriguing: this is Pixar software 2.0.
The story: Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.
Starring: Kelly Macdonald (Merida), Billy Connolly (Fergus), Emma Thompson (Elinor), Julie Walters (The Witch), Robbie Coltrane (Lord Dingwall), Kevin McKidd (Lord MacGuffin/Young MacGuffin), Craig Ferguson (Lord Macintosh), Sally Kinghorn (Maudie), Eilidh Fraser (Maudie), Peigi Barker (Young Merida), Steven Cree (Young Macintosh), Steve Purcell (The Crow), Callum O'Neill (Wee Dingwall), Patrick Doyle (Martin), John Ratzenberger (Gordon).
Directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell.