Three releases this week explore strange new worlds: From the warp speed of 'Star Trek' to the shape-changing fashion world of 'Bruno' to the world of a priest-turned-vampire in 'Thirst.' Throw in the tearjerker 'My Sister's Keeper' and you have an eclectic slate of movies to watch.
What It's About: Director J.J. Abrams' phenomenal reimagining of the legendary space adventure -- with a young, adventurous crew -- pleased both die-hard Trekkies and new fans as well. Abrams wisely builds up Captain Kirk's (Chris Pine) backstory and then unleashes the rambunctious young man on Starfleet, where he meets the gallery of familiar Trek characters: Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin). And then they go off to fight (and defeat) that nasty Romulan, Nero (Eric Bana).
It's Kinda Like: No other 'Star Trek' before it
What We Say: You can't beat love, angst and action in outer space when its perpetuated by a master, and Abrams has his chops down just right. The story line is smooth, the acting perfect and the special effects are immaculate. Beam yourself up for this one.
What It's About: Bruno -- the self-proclaimed "voice of Austrian youth TV" -- is the host of 'Funkyzeit mit Bruno' ('Funky Time With Bruno') where he exposes the fashion and entertainment industries. But a stunt-gone-wrong during Milan Fashion Week gets Bruno canned from his show and he takes his act to California, where he finds easy marks for his exposes and humor.
It's Kinda Like: 'Borat' with a swish
What We Say: Originally conceived as part of Sacha Baron Cohen's cult television series 'Da Ali G Show,' the character of the gay fashionista Bruno offered cleverly costumed Cohen the opportunity to highlight the absurdities of the image industry by interviewing unsuspecting fashion icons and other haute couture hangers-on. As in 'Boart,' he puts at-times-naive people (and some celebrities) through outrageous, outlandish, boorish and disgusting situations.
'My Sister's Keeper'
What It's About: Tearjerker that revolves around a family coming apart at the seams because of illness. Young Kate has been fighting leukemia since childhood and younger sister Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for her. Pretty much all her young life she's been defined by her older sister -- until she decides to hire a lawyer to claim her body for herself and throws the family into a tailspin.
It's Kinda Like: 'Love Story' meets 'The Sisters'
What We Say: Based on the novel 'My Sister's Keeper' by Jodi Picoult and directed by Nick Cassavetes, the film features heartbreaking performances by Abigail Breslin and Sofia Vassilieva as the two sisters, with a change-of-pace turn by Cameron Diaz as the mother who will stop at nothing to find a cure for her sick daughter. Keep those tissues handy for this one.
What It's About: An original vampire story with a chilling, erotic style. A blood transfusion saves the life of a priest, but also transforms him into a vampire. He struggles to control his insatiable thirst for blood until a love affair unleashes his darkest desires in deadly new ways.
It's Kinda Like: 'Going My Way' meets 'The Hunger'
What We Say: This is another riveting outing from South Korean director Chan-wook Park, who brought us such oddball thrillers as 'Old Boy' and 'Lady Vengeance.' This is a bizarre and at-times brutal black comedy that takes the vampire genre way beyond it's current fascination with teens and romance. A worthwhile change of pace from a modern master.
Other New November 17 Releases:
'The Limits of Control'
'Is Anybody There?'