Recent cinematic history has not been kind to stories recounting infamous Nazi larceny of precious artwork during World War II. First there was the George Clooney flop Monuments Men and now there’s Woman in Gold, a mildly intriguing but hopelessly sentimental true-life saga from British director Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn). The bulk of […]Full Story
The first shot in Get Hard might be a reliable indicator of enjoyment for the 100 minutes that follow. It’s a close-up, with nothing in the background, of Will Ferrell crying. If such a sight causes you to burst into knee-slapping hysterics, then you might want to get comfortable. If that image makes you joke […]Full Story
Al Pacino has been seeking a lot of redemption lately, from the over-the-hill actor he recently played in Barry Levinson’s The Humbling to the aging locksmith he portrays in the upcoming David Gordon Green drama Manglehorn. His latest attempt to reconcile with past demons comes in Danny Collins, in which Pacino plays a fledgling rock […]Full Story
I wish I’d liked It Follows even a fraction as much as writer-director David Robert Mitchell plainly admires the 1970s and ‘80s horror flicks on which his aggressively retro film is modeled.
With an ominous score regularly pounding out sustained bass notes, point-of-view camera shots misdirecting the audience into believing a nubile blonde is under surveillance by a sinister force, and the implication that young people will be violently punished for their sexual promiscuity, the elements should be familiar to anyone who’s seen any entry of the Halloween or Friday the 13th series.Full Story
Maybe Sean Penn wanted to grab for himself some of that sweet money Liam Neeson’s been collecting as a late-career action hero. Maybe he just wanted an excuse to show off, at age 54, a ridiculously chiseled physique. Whatever the case, with The Gunman, he’s made a sturdy little thriller.Full Story
As actor Robert Duvall has noted, Westerns are perhaps America’s most important contribution to the dramatic arts. The genre is for us equivalent to England’s relationship with Shakespeare — it is both definitively ours and a gift to the rest of the world. Like the work of the Bard, the best Western stories combine an elegant simplicity in structure, meditations upon the trials of life, and just plain ripping-good yarns.
It’s no wonder then that foreigners are sometimes attracted to trying their hand at it. Danish director Kristian Levring’s admiration is obvious in The Salvation, which plays like a faithful reconstruction of bits and pieces from previous films of the genre.Full Story
Adam Sandler doesn’t rise to the usual level of director Tom McCarthy in The Cobbler, nor does McCarthy succumb to Sandler’s typical shtick. Instead, they meet somewhere in the middle, to the benefit of neither.
An odd mix of broad comedy and quaint nostalgia, this flailing attempt at crowd-pleasing comedy attracted a strong cast to thankless roles, which take a backseat to a supernatural gimmick that’s mildly amusing at first but quickly starts to feel more like a kick to the groin with a steel-toe boot.Full Story
Of course, there’s not much creative rationale at this point for another cinematic retelling of Cinderella, whose story is so well known among all ages that its title has become a staple in the pop-culture lexicon.
This handsomely mounted British version of the classic fairy tale from director Kenneth Branagh (Thor) is a visually ambitious if narratively straightforward adaptation that might appeal to young girls who can add another slender big-screen princess to their toy collection.Full Story
Neill Blomkamp, the science-fiction director behind the excellent District 9 and the confused misfire Elysium, brings us another not-too-distant future view of his native South Africa that you won’t be seeing on tourism posters.Full Story
This raunchy comedy about a business trip from hell is the latest example of big-screen men behaving badly, except that those who enjoy the low-brow antics probably won’t care much for the negotiations between suits, while those who favor the boardroom shenanigans likely will be put off by all the sophomoric tendencies.Full Story