Ron Howard's 'Rush' is over two straight hours of lionizing F1 drivers as though they were Gods who ride among us. That aspect is demeaning and insufferable. But the thing is, 'Rush' is a good enough movie on its merits that I pretty much enjoyed it. If you are one who enjoys racing, I can only imagine how you'll react. (Perhaps you should wear a bib for all the drooling.)
Here's a tip. If you don't want people to think you are a child molester, pick out different frames than the ones Paul Dano wears in 'Prisoners.'
When neither Jake Gyllenhaal (as Detective Loki - yeah, you read that right) or his CSI crew can find any evidence that suspected molester Dano abducted two little girls that went for an unsupervised walk through a Pennsylvania suburb after Thanksgiving dinner, it's up to one of the two fathers of the girls - Hugh Jackman - to take matters into his own hand...
It should have been called ‘No Homo: The Movie.’
Vin Diesel, whose entire career feels like homage to the musclebound machismo of the 1980s, has possibly reached the peak – by which I mean, nadir – of his search for the meaning of virility. ‘Riddick,’ the overdue, and largely unwanted, third installment in Diesel’s first big film series, is so full of tough-guy overcompensation that it makes the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies seem like understated character studies by comparison.
In 'I Declare War,' a pretend game of war between kids goes way too far when one over-zealous boy takes the rules into his own hands. An intense rivalry develops as PK, the general from one camp, tries to adhere to the rules and play an honorable game, while the smarmy Skinner from the opposing camp does the unthinkable and takes a prisoner, throwing the whole game into upheaval.
'I Declare War' is an inventive film that embraces the seriousness of childhood imagination, while affectionately acknowledging the lack of wisdom in adolescence.
It's clear from the start that 'Getaway' is not a good movie. The opening sequence is a mess of different video stocks and flashbacks, an easy tell that a team of editors tore out their hair trying to skip as much boring exposition while leaving the first scenes cogent. But once former race car driver Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is behind the wheel of his stolen souped-up vehicle and is receiving crazy, destructive orders from the disembodied voice of Jon Voight, there's at least plenty of smashy-smashy to keep you occupied. The bad guy has some master plan – kidnapping Hawke's wife so that he'll be a mobile slave to his chaotic whims is part of laying the ground work.
But more than seeing traffic destruction on the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria (this month's production location low-bidder) there's a bigger catastrophe. Fifteen minutes into the movie, Selena Gomez shows up.
There's an old expression about how all great art comes from suffering. Writer/director Destin Cretton may not agree with that statement, but his new film 'Short Term 12' is a great testament to it. It is set in a group home for troubled teens, where kids who have been discarded by life are saved and cared for -- at least until they turn 18 and get discarded again. These kids know suffering, and they transform that anguish into fuel for their stunningly beautiful art -- a phrase that applies equally well to the film itself.
I'd call it something of a coup that 'The World's End' - sloppy drunk though its plotting may be - so well captures the melancholy essence of men accepting, with varying success, that somehow they got old. Even though Gary King (Simon Pegg) refuses to grow up, he's caught in an early-90s time warp, still listening to mixed tapes of Soup Dragons and Stone Roses and still thinks about his high school guidance counselor. When he spies a gaggle of young punks in his quiet hometown of Letchworth he sees them as a natural threat to his entire way of life.
While subtext, this emotional material "works" in 'The World's End,' mostly due to Pegg's striking performance - a dark turn from him that mixes the sad, antic clown of early Bill Murray with a dash of genuine self-destructive menace. Also, and this is a compliment, the character drama refuses to take a back seat to the lunacy driving the plot.
How could something that is so gorgeous also be so damn dull? Well, where there's a will, there's a Wong Kar Wai.
The jazzy, experimental arthouse darling of the 1990s ('Chunking Express,' 'Fallen Angels,' 'Happy Together') fails to get out of his '2046'/'My Blueberry Nights' slump with 'The Grandmaster,' a strong contender for most boring picture of 2013. The version I saw is the Weinstein Company's “American Cut,” not to be confused with the homegrown successful “Chinese Cut” or the intermediary cut that played at festivals like Berlin.
Watching Hollywood's endless parade of genre remakes, sequels and ripoffs can get pretty discouraging -- enough to convince you there's no undiscovered country left out there; that it's all been done before and filmmakers will keep repeating themselves over and over again until the end of time. Thank goodness, then, for something like 'You're Next,' which is scary and fun, and, best of all, fresh and original. It restores your faith in the future of horror movies.
While explaining his business model to the soon-to-be corporate spy Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth), tech magnate Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) relays a timeless adage: "Good artists copy. Great artists steal." That puts 'Paranoia' director Robert Luketic somewhere between the two superlatives, constructing his smart phone-enabled thriller out of every existing blueprint in history while winding up with an entertaining, functional finished product. The twists are inevitable, the turns come from a mile away, but a surprisingly charming and humble Hemsworth (no brooding 'Hunger Games' machismo here) becomes a reliable interface for the old mechanics. It makes sense to pair him with the aging Harrison Ford — if Hemsworth was around in the '70s, the two would be competing for all the same roles.