Archive for the 'Recent Releases' Category
Back from the Future
Writer/director Rian Johnson burst onto the independent film scene in 2005 with Brick, a spin on the classic film noir genre set in a modern day high school. That movie starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and helped the actor get out of the shadow of his 3rd Rock from the Sun persona. Gordon-Levitt also had a brief cameo in Johnson’s follow-up to Brick, 2008’s The Brothers Bloom. That movie was not quite as innovative as its predecessor, but was entertaining nonetheless. Having tackled the noir and con artist genres, the actor and director now re-team for the sci-fi thriller Looper, a movie that starts with a bang… literally.
Everyone Has One
Ever since his breakthrough with 1997’s Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson has been a fascinating director to follow. Whether it be a sprawling, multi-character drama, or the story of how wealth and power can corrupt an individual, or even an experiment with Adam Sandler, his movies are always worth watching, whether you ultimately enjoy them or not. The same can be said for The Master, the director’s examination of the powers behind belief systems akin to Scientology. It’s a fascinating examination, but whether or not it truly says anything is still up for debate.
Not Quite the Anti-Moneyball
Bringing him out of acting retirement, Trouble with the Curve is the first movie that Clint Eastwood has acted in, but not directed, since 1993’s In the Line of Fire. Instead, the movie is directed by first-timer Robert Lorenz, Eastwood’s longtime assistant director. Assuming the pupil has been paying attention to his mentor all those years, Trouble with the Curve has the potential to be this year’s anti-Moneyball.
The Plagiarism Movie
Finally, it’s the plagiarism drama for which we’ve all been waiting. Remember all those years in school when your teachers would warn you about the consequences that would come if you plagiarized another person’s work? Well, The Words is the movie version of those consequences… and you know what? The consequences don’t seem so severe. Essentially, this is an after-school special with a bigger budget for more recognizable stars.
What Just Happened?
Walking into Cosmopolis, this writer had no idea what the latest movie from director David Cronenberg was about. Walking out of Cosmopolis 108 minutes later, this writer still had no idea what the latest movie from director David Cronenberg was about. Was it really happening? Was it just a dream? Were all of these characters real? Is Robert Pattinson acting like that at his director’s instruction, or is he just a bad actor? The movie doesn’t really explain anything, leaving that up to the audience. Some may buy into it, but this writer did not.
Growing Up Green
Real-life mom Jennifer Garner seems to have trouble having babies of her own in the movies, always looking for alternative options. In 2007, she convincingly played a woman looking to adopt a child in Juno and now she takes an alternative approach: growing a child in the garden. The Odd Life of Timothy Green starts off well with that original idea, but unfortunately, it fails to really go anywhere from there.
Will vs. Zach
Will vs. Zach. No last names were required in the promotional material for The Campaign, a political farce starring two of today’s most popular comic actors. Their names perhaps overshadow a key figure in the movie’s production, that being director Jay Roach. Having directed both comedy (Austin Powers & Meet the Parents) and political drama (Recount & Game Change), Roach is the perfect director to spoof political campaigns. The final product leans more towards outrageous comedy than political satire, but that’s okay. After all, it’s got Will and Zach.
New Bourne is a Talker
The original Bourne trilogy starring Matt Damon stands alone as one of the better trilogies in movie history. Now, writer/director Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter of that original trilogy, introduces a new protagonist in The Bourne Legacy, which lives somewhere between sequel and spin-off. Jeremy Renner is the new protagonist, but unfortunately he was not given nearly as much to work with as his predecessor.
In 2010, director Rodrigo Cortes created a claustrophobic thriller of Hitchcockian proportions with Buried, a movie that earned itself a share of this writer’s year-end top ten list. With his new film, Red Lights, Cortes stays within the framework of the thriller genre, but goes beyond the coffin to examine the subject of paranormal science. The movie attempts to do the same for its subject as Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige did for magic, but unfortunately Red Lights falls way short of that superior movie.
Mr. Allen Goes to Rome
The new Woody Allen movie, To Rome with Love, is exactly what its title suggests: a love letter to Rome. An ensemble piece, the movie tells four different stories. The stories all take place over a different timeline and never intersect; they are connected only by the fact that all four stories take place in Rome. When Allen’s character talks about how much he is struggling with retirement, you can’t help but wonder if Allen is expressing his own feelings about retiring from acting, explaining his return here. He does well, playing the same character we have seen for decades.
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