Movie Review New
Genre: Ancient World Action
Director: Noam Murro (Smart People)
Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Hans Matheson, Callan Mulvey, Lena HeadeyThe Story: The navy of Athens attempts to thwart a sea-born invasion from the Persian Empire. The Lowdown: A pointless excuse for a lot of unexciting bloodletting with no thematic direction and zero vision.
Genre: Horror Fantasy
Director: Gunther von Fritsch, Robert Wise
Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph, Ann Carter, Eve March, Julia Dean, Elizabeth Russell, Sir LancelotIn Brief: Though undeniably a sequel to 1942's Cat People, The Curse of the Cat People (1944) is almost not a horror film. It can even be argued that its fantasy elements all take place inside the mind of its young heroine (Ann Carter), but it does have characters from the original film and addresses the events of that film. Curse, however is a very different proposition — a kind of (maybe) delicate ghost story involving a lonely child. It is also beautiful and unique.
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking)
Starring: Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki, Rirî FurankîThe Story: Two families have to deal with the fact that their 6-year-old boys were switched at birth. The Lowdown: Delicate, intensely moving family drama with strong performances — a subtle, yet provocative exploration of what it means to be a family and what makes a father.
Genre: Comedy Romance
Director: John Ford
Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor McLaglen, Ward Bond, Mildred Natwick, Arthur ShieldsIn Brief: John Ford and John Wayne scored one of their biggest — and perhaps best-loved — hits with this unassuming Irish comedy about a retired American boxer (Wayne) migrating to Ireland and the trouble and love he finds there. On the downside, the movie really is too long, and the attitudes about the roles of men and woman are on the archaic side. On the plus side, there's a first-rate cast, a savvy screenplay, the most gorgeous Irish countryside imaginable and a generous heart. It's not really a great film, but it's an endearing one.
Genre: Surreal Comedy/Drama
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Emily Watson, Dianne WiestIn Brief: Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York (2008) represents not just one of the actor's most accomplished performances but one of his most challenging. It is also easily the most challenging film that's being shown as part of a monthlong tribute to Hoffman. It is a rich, fantasticated, heavily layered work that is apt to puzzle and even infuriate some viewers with its often nearly impenetrable story about the life, loves and losses of theatrical director, Caden Cotard (Hoffman).
Genre: Horror Drama
Director: Lars von Trier
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte GainsbourgIn Brief: Impossible to fault as filmmaking, I believe Lars von Trier's Antichrist is equally impossible to defend on any other level. From its charged (but meaningless) title to its final assault on viewers' sensibilities, it is a repellent work — a nasty film that is nasty for its own sake. Ostensibly an examination of a grieving couple as they descend into mutually destructive madness, the end result is a cross between phony Ingmar Bergman and torture porn, with everything that implies.
Genre: Animated Fantasy Comedy
Director: Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little 2)
Starring: (Voices) Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Allison Janney, Stephen Colbert, Leslie MannThe Story: The world's smartest dog, Mr. Peabody, must fight to keep his adopted son, Sherman. The Lowdown: Brisk, funny and entertaining, Mr. Peabody & Sherman may not set the world on fire and certainly won't change the way you think about animated films, but it does provide a fun 90 minutes at the movies.
Genre: Dark Comedy
Director: Geoff Moore, David Posamentier
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, Ray Liotta, Ken Howard, Ben Schwartz, Jane FondaThe Story: A timid, henpecked pharamacist falls under the spell of a bored femme fatale. The Lowdown: A somewhat clever dark comedy that falls prey to predictability, but is kept afloat by Sam Rockwell's performance.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate ParkerThe Story: A U.S. Air Marshall on an intercontinental flight must go into action after receiving text messages threatening to kill the passengers on board if demands aren't met. The Lowdown: With a plot that can’t stand up to any real scrutiny, this mindless thriller is nothing more than silly entertainment.
Genre: WWII Thriller
Director: John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate)
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scoffield, Jeanne Moreau, Michel Simon, Albert RémyIn Brief: A solid and old-fashioned war thriller (it was old-fashioned when it was new), The Train (1964), is perhaps a movie the not-dissimilar The Monuments Men ought to have been a little more like. Here, it's all about an art-obsessed — and generally obsessive — Nazi colonel (Paul Scoffield) doing his best to get a trainload of art masterpieces out of France before the Allies arrive. The French resistance (headed by a not entirely willing Burt Lancaster) have other plans. Entertaining and fairly intense.
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