||# Of Screens
||Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
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1. "Valentine's Day": An all-star ensemble cast comes together in 'Valentine's Day,' following the intertwining storylines of a group of Los Angelinos as they find their way through romance over the course of one Valentine's Day.
Directed by veteran filmmaker Garry Marshall, the film stars Jessica Alba ('Fantastic Four'), Academy Award winner Kathy Bates ('Misery'), Jessica Biel ('I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry'), Bradley Cooper ('The Hangover'), Eric Dane (TV's 'Grey's Anatomy'), Patrick Dempsey ('Enchanted'), Hector Elizondo (the 'Princess Diaries' films), Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx ('Ray'), Jennifer Garner ('Juno'), Topher Grace ('Spider-Man 3'), Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway ('Rachel Getting Married'), Ashton Kutcher ('What Happens in Vegas'), Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah ('Chicago'), Taylor Lautner ('The Twilight Saga: New Moon'), George Lopez ('Beverly Hills Chihuahua'), Academy Award winner Shirley MacLaine ('Terms of Endearment'), Emma Roberts ('Hotel for Dogs'), Academy Award winner Julia Roberts ('Erin Brockovich') and award-winning singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
2. "Wolfman": Universal Studios resurrects the classic lycanthrope with this tale of a man who experiences an unsettling transformation after he returns to his ancestral home in Victorian-era Great Britain and gets attacked by a rampaging werewolf. When Ben Talbot (Simon Merrels) vanishes into this air, his brother Lawrence (Benicio Del Toro) returns to his family estate to investigate. Upon reuniting with his estranged father Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), however, he discovers a destiny far darker than his blackest nightmares. Ben is dead; the victim of a savage attack by a beast that keeps the superstitious locals cowering in fear every time the moon shines bright in the sky. Shortly after discovering his brother's true fate, Lawrence swears to Ben's wife Gwen that he will bring her late husband's killer to justice. As a young boy, the untimely death of his mother caused Lawrence to grow up before his time. Though Lawrence had previously attempted to bury his pain in the past by leaving the quiet Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor behind, he discovers that you can't outrun fate when he's attacked by the very same nocturnal beast that claimed his brother. Not even recently arrived Scotland Yard inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) can dream up a rational explanation for the gruesome spell cast over Blackmoor, yet rumors of an ancient curse persist. According to legend, the afflicted will experience a horrific transformation by the light of the full moon. Now, the woman Talbot loves is in mortal danger, and in order to protect her he must venture into the moonlit woods and destroy the beast before it destroys her. But this isn't a typical hunt, because before the beast can be slain, a simple man will uncover a primal side of himself that he never knew existed. Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker pens a film directed by Joe Johnston and featuring creature effects by special-effects makeup legend Rick Baker. - Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
3: "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief": It's the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they're not happy: Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother. As Percy adapts to his newly discovered status as a demi-god (his father is Poseidon), he finds himself caught between the battling titans of Mt. Olympus. He and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.
4: "Avatar": A paraplegic ex-marine finds a new life on the distant planet of Pandora, only to find himself battling humankind alongside the planet's indigenous Na'vi race in this ambitious digital 3D sci-fi epic from Academy Award-winning Titanic director James Cameron. The film, which marks Cameron's first dramatic feature since 1997's Titanic, follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a war veteran who gets called to the depths of space to pick up the job of his slain twin brother for the scientific arm of a megacorporation looking to mine the planet of Pandora for a valued ore. Unfortunately the biggest deposit of the prized substance lies underneath the home of the Na'vi, a ten-foot-tall, blue-skinned native tribe who have been at war with the security arm of the company, lead by Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). Because of the planet's hostile atmosphere, humans have genetically grown half-alien/half-human bodies which they can jack their consciousnesses into and explore the world in. Since Jake's brother already had an incredibly expensive Avatar grown for him, he's able to connect with it using the same DNA code and experience first-hand the joys of Pandora while giving the scientific team, led by Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) and Norm Spellman (Joel David Moore), some well-needed protection against the planet's more hostile forces.
On a chance meeting after getting separated from his team, Jake's Avatar is rescued by Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), a Na'vi princess, who brings him into her tribe in order to give the humans a second chance at relating to this new environment. When word gets out of his increasing time with the alien species, Quaritch enlists Jake to do some reconnaissance for the company, as they'd like to persuade the tribe to move their home before taking more drastic measures to harness the treasure hidden below. Yet as Jake becomes one with the tribe and begins to understand the secrets of Pandora, his conscience is torn between his new adopted world and the wheelchair-bound one awaiting him when the psychic connection to his Avatar is broken. Soon battle lines are drawn and Jake needs to decide which side he will fight on when the time comes. The film was shot on the proprietary FUSION digital 3D cameras developed by Cameron in collaboration with Vince Pace, and offers a groundbreaking mix of live-action dramatic performances and computer-generated effects. The revolutionary motion-capture system created for the film allows the facial expressions of actors to be captured as a virtual camera system enables them to see what their computer-generated counterparts will be seeing in the film, and Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning Weta Digital visual-effects house supervises Avatar's complex special effects. - Jeremy Wheeler, All Movie Guide
5. "Dear John": Directed by Lasse Halstrom and based on the novel by best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, 'Dear John' tells story of John Tyree (Channing Tatum), a young soldier home on leave, and Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried), the idealistic college student he falls in love with during her spring vacation. Over the next seven tumultuous years, the couple is separated by John's increasingly dangerous deployments. While meeting only sporadically, they stay in touch by sending a continuous stream of love letters overseas--correspondence that eventually triggers fateful consequences.