twodaysonenight
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salée, Batiste Sornin, Pili Groyne, Simon Caudry, Alain Eloy

Two Days, One Night

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The Story: A woman has a weekend to change the minds of her co-workers to vote for her to keep her job at the cost of their bonuses. The Lowdown: Marion Cotillard's Oscar-nominated performance is at the center of Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's frequently powerful new drama.
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Starring: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Jacqueline Wells / Karloff and Lugosi, Irene Ware, Lester Matthews

The Black Cat / The Raven

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In Brief: They were Universal’s “Twin Titans of Terror,” and during the first wave of horror movies, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi defined the genre. Of the six films they made together, the best are probably the first two, The Black Cat (1934) and The Raven (1935). Certainly, the first is the most twisted — to a degree that…
blancanieves
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Macarena García, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ramón Barea, Ángela Molina

Blancanieves (Snow White)

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In Brief: This brilliant Spanish film from 2012 is everything the overrated The Artist (2011) wanted to be and never was. Blancanieves (Snow White) actually feels like a genuine late-period silent movie. It is done without camp or forced quaintness and could easily pass for a real film from 1929 — while at the same…
marieroget
Starring: Patric Knowles, Maria Montez, Maria Ouspenskaya, John Litel, Nell O'Day, Lloyd Corrigan, Edward Norris

Mystery of Marie Roget

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In Brief: Universal traded one last time on the name of Edgar Allan Poe with Mystery of Marie Roget (1942) — another of their mystery movies masquerading as horror. This, of course, meant it was destined to be part of the "Shock Theater" package. The fact that it is so clearly a Universal film, has so many…
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Starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Culkin

Mortdecai

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The Story: Bumbling, snobbish, disreputable art dealer Charlie Mortdecai is blackmailed into helping find a stolen painting. The Lowdown: A curious throwback to the kind of comedy made about 50 years ago, which has left a great many people baffled and even angry. The truth is that it's a film of considerable wit and appeal…
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Starring: Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Erskine Sanford, Richard Bennett

The Magnificent Ambersons

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In Brief: It's hard to believe that no one has run Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) locally before, but that seems to be the case. The fact that Welles would have turned 100 in May plays into this showing, but it has still been a curious omission. No film has ever been so mythologized…
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Starring: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, Albert Brooks

A Most Violent Year

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The Story: A man in the heating oil business deals with hijackers and corruption in his pursuit of expanding his business to the next level. The Lowdown: A good — consistently entertaining and interesting — movie that hurts itself by trying too hard to be a great one. Definitely worth seeing, but it's just not…
400
Starring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy, Guy Decomble

The 400 Blows

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In Brief: François Truffaut's first feature The 400 Blows (1959) struck a blow of its own as the first of the New Wave films — movies that came as a reaction to what was perceived as the stodginess of classical French filmmaking (and filmmaking around the world for that matter). It was a movement that would change…
operation
Starring: Sophia Loren, George Peppard, Tom Courtenay, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, Lilli Palmer

Operation Crossbow

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In Brief: Reasonably well-produced, fairly standard 1960s war movie (there seemed to be a new one every week through 1967, mostly thanks to the wildly popular The Guns of Navarone in 1961), Operation Crossbow (1965) was largely sold on Sophia Loren's name (well, it was produced by husband Carlo Ponti). It was good business sense…
day2
Starring: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Vladimir Menshov, Valeriy Zolotukhin, Mariya Poroshina, Galina Tyunina

Day Watch

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In Brief: Timur Bekmambetov's Day Watch is, of course, the even more ambitious follow-up to Night Watch. (A third film was announced, but it appears to be dead in the water.) Everyone from the previous film is back for more — and by that I mean more of everything. It's bigger, it's over a half-hour longer, the effects…
cake-11
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Mamie Gummer, Felicity Huffman

Cake

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The Story: A 40-ish woman suffering from chronic pain and loss tries to cope with her situation. The Lowdown: A modest, flawed, but mostly engaging drama that showcases a solid — and out of character — performance from Jennifer Aniston.
paddington2
Starring: Ben Whishaw (voice), Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Jim Broadbent, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi

Paddington

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The Story: A young bear from Peru tries to find a home in London. The Lowdown: Thoroughly charming, gently funny, stylish, great to look at and with a wonderful cast, there's just no excuse for missing this.
halfshot poster2
Starring: Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Dorothy Lee, Edna May Oliver, George MacFarlane, Leni Stengel

Half Shot at Sunrise

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In Brief: This early sound Wheeler and Woolsey comedy (their fourth) finds the duo in great form as they milk every possible gag and pun — and a few impossible ones, too — to be found in the service comedy format. Actually, until the last reels, it's only slightly a normal service comedy, since our heroes are…
teorema
Starring: Silvana Mangano, Terence Stamp, Massimo Girotti, Anne Wiazemsky, Andrés José Cruz Soublette

Teorema (Theorem)

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In Brief: While this surreal — and sexually charged — drama is certainly nowhere near the most unsettling thing Pier Paolo Pasolini ever made (that would be 1975's Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom), Teorema is high on the Not for Everyone list. It's less that the film is upsetting (though some will find…
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Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler January 21-27: Strange Mortdecai Boy Cake

  In Theaters.  Well, this week is juggernaut-free, which suits me just fine — not that I don’t understand the pull of last week’s newsmaking big winner. I just can’t join in the enthusiasm for it. Probably the most interesting thing this week is the chance to see whether or not Jennifer Aniston was “robbed” […]

ninth2
Starring: Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Neville Brand

The Ninth Configuration

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In Brief: Most people know William Peter Blatty as the author of The Exorcist, but Blatty also made two films — The Ninth Configuration and The Exorcist III (which gets my vote as the best of all Exorcist movies). Adapting his novel, Twinkle Twinkle Killer Kane, Blatty proved himself a natural filmmaker right off the bat with The Ninth Configuration, a rich metaphysical comedy-tragedy,…
AmericanSniper1
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Jake McDorman, Ben Reed

American Sniper

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The Story: Fact-based war drama about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The Lowdown: Clint Eastwood's latest will please many, but it's a simplistic movie with often slack direction and little to say beyond the obvious in a print-the-legend manner.