The Story: An up-and-coming pop star, struggling with her rise to fame, falls in love with a humble police officer. The Lowdown: A mature, realistic romance that struggles due to a lack of cinematic style and dramatic tension.
The Story: A teen with dreams of becoming a great jazz drummer must survive his maniacal music teacher. The Lowdown: While it’s little more than your standard coming-of-age/chase-your-dreams type of drama (with considerably more swearing and jazz), the film is elevated with a perfect, expert climax that alone is worth admission.
The Story: A woman who loses her memory every time she sleeps tries to uncover the truth behind the accident that caused it. The Lowdown: A technically proficient film with a superb cast can’t overcome a flimsy, forgettable plot.
The Story: A retired hit man heads out for revenge after his car is stolen and his dog is murdered. The Lowdown: Occasionally exceptional for being a simple, straightforward action picture, the film can’t sustain for its full running time, eventually unraveling into tedium.
In Brief: A curious, occasionally fascinating, but unfortunately uneven look at the life and work of musician Nick Cave, as seen through the eyes — or more accurately, the memory — of Cave himself. Like so many documentaries, 20,000 Days on Earth depends mostly on your interest in Cave, his music and his thoughts on life, art and himself. Occasional striking images and an interesting — but eventually too thin — motif of documenting one's life make for an original angle at which to tackle the documentary form, but this is ultimately a movie for fans, who should be easily satisfied. The film plays for one show on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. at Fine Arts Theatre.
The Story: Old high school sweethearts reunited after the death of their mentor must look back on — and finally face — their past. The Lowdown: Run-of-the-mill goopy, melodramatic romance from the master of the form, novelist Nicholas Sparks.
The Story: A hotshot defense attorney is forced into defending his estranged dad’s murder charge. The Lowdown: A gooey mess of shameless Oscar bait clichés that’s watchable and little else.
The Story: After people disappear due to the rapture, those left behind must deal with the chaos and aftermath. The Lowdown: A goofy, cheap, idiotic thriller with a disappointingly restrained Nicolas Cage performance at its center.
The Story: A down-on-his-luck failed writer inherits a Parisian apartment from his late father, only to find it inhabited by a mother and daughter, who — due to a quirk in French law — he must also take care of until the mother’s death. The Lowdown: A surprisingly dark look at the effects our parents — and their choices — have on children, but one that’s tonally uneven and a bit of a mess.
The Story: A home improvement store employee with a mysterious past takes on the Russian mob. The Lowdown: An incredibly uneven movie that oscillates between goofy, vaguely competent and out-and-out dumb, while managing to at least be a mildly entertaining distraction.
The Story: A retired cop and unlicensed detective gets hired to track down a group of sadistic kidnappers who target drug dealers. The Lowdown: A stylish noir detective story that’s both welcomely self-aware and intelligent.
The Story: After the death of their father, four siblings return home to deal with his death and their own pasts. The Lowdown: A flimsy, dull look at modern life, through the lens of vaguely sad middle-class Americans that says nothing new.
The Story: An escaped convict terrorizes a woman home alone. The Lowdown: For such a sleazy concept, the outcome is especially tedious, something that doesn’t do much for the general dunderheaded character of the script.
The Story: A marine hospital struggles to find a partner for a tailless dolphin after her surrogate mother passes away. The Lowdown: Innocuous, dull familycentric drama that’s the kind of pap better suited for basic cable.
The Story: A retired spy is pulled back into action and hunted by a former protégé. The Lowdown: A generally unlikable, convoluted, silly and worn out espionage thriller that’s needlessly overwrought and brainless.
The Story: A high school football coach — burdened with an over-decade-long winning streak — must learn how to motivate his players and bond with his family. The Lowdown: A dull, preachy, troublesome film that’s dramatically inert and purely predictable from a storytelling standpoint.
The Story: The Expendables go after one of their own, a nefarious villain long thought dead. The Lowdown: A superbly uneven and overtly uninteresting journey into machismo and stuff blowing up.
The Story: Two bored pals take up pretending to be cops and become entangled in taking down a crew of mobsters. The Lowdown: Meandering, joyless tedium in the form of a buddy cop comedy.
The Story: Four mutated turtles and a plucky journalist try to stop an evil scientist and an even eviler samurai. The Lowdown: Bargain-basement Michael Bay pastiche and a lot of sound and fury make for a noisy, not very fun action flick.
The Story: The life and times of James Brown, from extreme poverty to the height of his fame and beyond. The Lowdown: While its non-linear narrative is interesting as filmmaking, it’s not enough to conceal the numerous biopic pitfalls that drag the film down.
The Story: A grumpy widower is forced to take in his estranged granddaughter, who he helps raise with a widowed neighbor. The Lowdown: An unfunny, flat piece of melodrama that wants desperately to be adult and a little bit raunchy but instead comes across as childish and boorish.