Ridley Scott's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's original screenplay starring Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, et. al. is one frustrating movie. At its very best – if you buckle down and really work to piece together the nearly inscrutable plot – you aren't going to come away with much. “Crime doesn't pay,” is the gist of it.
For a gal named Carrie White, she's sure got a lot of red on her.
Watching Kimberly Peirce's 'Carrie' is an odd experience. If you've seen Brian De Palma's version from 1976, this new version is - and there's really no point in denying this - like watching a cover band. There's a tweaked scene here and there (including a new, creepy-as-heck opening) plus the addition of cell phones and references to 'Dancing With The Stars.' This remake, more than most, really feels like hitting the same marks. It may be a peculiarity specific to 'Carrie,' because, let's face it, not a whole heck of a lot happens in this story. Considering most moviegoers' familiarity, there's plenty of room to stew and think, "Why is this considered such a classic?"
"What kind of man would choose to spend his life in prison?"
It’s the most obvious question in Mikael Hafstrom’s 'Escape Plan,' and while it’s asked early on in the startling convoluted action film, it’s never quite answered, probably because the answer is actually, "well, otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie here."
“What can't Justin Timberlake do?” said the internet after the performer dominated 2013 with the release of two albums, a musical turn in Cannes favorite 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' and a handful of Jimmy Fallon late-night sketches that all went viral. 'Runner Runner' suggests there's really one thing: convince us he's anyone but Timberlake.
'Lincoln Lawyer' director Brad Furman directs the middling thriller, another gambling-infused escapade from 'Rounders' writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien that packs the integrity of their previous efforts without any spark. The writing duo can talk the poker talk, this time immersing their script in the seedy world of online betting. Their leading man can't keep up.
“Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.” - Ingmar Bergman.
Is it appropriate to open a review for a sci-fi film, a Sandra Bullock movie, with a quote as heavy-handed as this one? Since I did it, obviously I think so, because the only other phrase I could think of that would tersely sum up my feelings toward 'Gravity' goes something like, “Aggghghghghghhhdhhghhhh! *droool *drool *drool” and that makes me look like an idiot.
Terry Gilliam returns with his follow-up to 2009's 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' with the equally divisive 'The Zero Theorem.' Christoph Waltz plays Qohen Leth, a computer and math whiz who is tasked by his enigmatic boss (Matt Damon, doing his best Karl Lagerfeld impression) to solve the impossible zero theorem -- a nihilistic mathematical equation that would effectively prove that the world means nothing. Along the way, Qohen finds plenty of meaning, though Gilliam practically bludgeons his audience to get there.
With piracy drama 'Captain Phillips,' Paul Greengrass ('Bloody Sunday,' 'United 93') has defended his ground as the go-to man for tragic, reality-based pressure-cooker films. The dude really knows how to get your palms sweaty, even when you kinda-sorta know how things are going to end up. Note to self: don't take your cargo ship through the Somali Basin if you don't have to.
Greengrass is also the director of the best two 'Bourne' movies ('Supremacy' and 'Ultimatum') and just as Matt Damon glided through those films as the steely, mixed-martial killing machine, Tom Hanks' center-seat performance here is a master class in keeping it cool.
Before I write anything else about 'Don Jon': yes, there are some guys in Northern New Jersey who really do act this way. Some of the particulars are exaggerated, but not really. Whether the interior life of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's protagonist gym rat, club denizen, muscle car driver is accurate is something I'll never know, and considering the emotional dysfunction on display, I think I'm okay with it.
Renowned pianist Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) comes out of retirement for one night only to play a classical concert in honor of his late mentor. What is already a pressure-filled evening for the stage fright-stricken musician quickly devolves into a nightmare when a mysterious man threatens to murder Selznick's wife if he makes a single mistake. Drawing inspiration from Hitchcock, De Palma and Italian horror, 'Grand Piano' is a surprisingly fun and snappy little thriller.
If you’re feeling flummoxed by the mess of half-food/half-animal supporting characters that populate the charming animated sequel ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,’ it’s fully understandable – the “foodimals” (including hip-potato-muses, watermelo-phants, chee-spiders, and sush-eep) were not present in the first film. Instead of aping the original film, co-directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn have made ‘Cloudy 2’ their own (delicious) beast, riffing on the first feature and evolving things in a most unexpected manner.
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